Queen's speech: Britain to keep to the right
Still elated by her sweeping general election victory, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has presented Parliament with an agenda of policy proposals designed to ensure that conservative principles of government prevail throughout the land.
By long-established custom, the government's ''shopping list'' of new legislation was delivered through the lips of Queen Elizabeth II amid the panoply of a full state opening of Parliament. But there was no mistaking the Thatcherite character of the government's program, which ranges all the way from a Trident strategic missile program for the next century to the abolition of the Greater London Council.
High on Mrs. Thatcher's list of priorities are:
* New measures to curb trade unions.
* A continuing battle against inflation.
* Maintained defense of the Falkland Islands, following last year's successful south Atlantic campaign.
* A bill aimed at strengthening police powers and the forces of law and order.
* Follow-through on Britain's part in the NATO commitment to begin deploying theater nuclear missiles in December, failing agreement in Geneva.
Perhaps to rub salt into the defeated Labour opposition's political wounds, the prime minister inserted in the Queen's Speech reference to financial measures blocked by her opponents in the twilight days of the old Parliament.
Middle-class house buyers will get increased mortgage relief and higher salary earners will benefit from relaxed tax provisions.
Opposition leader Michael Foot, who has already signaled his intention to retire in October, had the difficult task of assailing the new legislative program. He did so in a House of Commons where Labour's ranks have been decimated.
The prime minister, according to the Queen's Speech, will introduce the Trident missile program and keep adequate conventional forces. Critics of her defense policy are suggesting Trident will be more expensive than Mrs. Thatcher expects, but there is no sign of her thinking twice about it.
Mrs. Thatcher also has the Labour-controlled Greater London Council, which presides over the lives of 8 million people living in 600 square miles, squarely in her sights. She wants the big-spending council dismantled and its powers devolved to borough councils and specialist bodies.
Westminster insiders say the Queen's Speech was personally supervised in the draft stage by Mrs. Thatcher. Suggestions that she might soft-pedal on trade-union reform proved unfounded. The prime minister wants the unions more accountable to their members.
On one controversial issue the address from the throne was silent: hanging. Mrs. Thatcher wants the death penalty restored, at least for terrorist crimes, and it appears a majority of members of the new Parliament agree with her.
Instead of foreshadowing legislation, however, the Prime Minister has agreed there should be a debate later in the year, followed by a free vote. If a House of Commons majority opts for the reintroduction of hanging, Mrs. Thatcher is believed to be ready to act accordingly.
The Labour Party is promising to mount a vigorous attack on what it tends to regard as a relapse into barbarism, but the opposition's thin presence in the House of Commons may prevent it from blocking the return of the rope.