The Queen’s Speech will take place on Wednesday. The media and the Labour Party will be keen to say thow there isn’t much in it. The message will be prepared that the main items from the Coalition Agreement have already been implemented and that tensions between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives makes any new radical impetus difficult to achieve. The Lib Dem refusal to put an in/out EU referendum into law is a prominent example. Thus, runs the suggestion, the coming year will be a period of drift. “The Government has run out of steam,” is prepared as the chorus.
However that was also the script that was prepared for George Osborne’s budget this year. Then when the budget was delivered it proved Mr Osborne’s most radical to date – with the revolutionary change that we are to be trusted to spend our own pension funds as we choose.
So far as the Queen’s Speech is concerned we already know about a certain number of important items. There will be legislation on combating slavery. There will be a provision for the recall of MPs who are found guilty of serious wrong doing. Crucial changes will take place to allow fracking to get under way.
Also this morning we learnt about another item.
The Daily Mail reports:
“Have-a-go-heroes are to be given special protection from prosecution or legal action under a radical ‘Good Samaritan law’ being drawn up by ministers.
“David Cameron wants to protect emergency workers and the public from legal consequences if they intervene in good faith to help someone in difficulty, the Daily Mail has learned.
“Similar legislation operates in Australia where it has reduced the potential for negligence claims against doctors, police and firefighters, as well as ordinary members of the public.”
The impetus for the change came from Lord Young who has said:
“If a fireman or a policeman commits an act of heroism in the course of his duty, he can be prosecuted for endangering himself.
“We all know stories of policemen standing by when people have got into trouble, and have been backed up by their superiors for not putting themselves in danger. It’s a corrosive thing. People believe they mustn’t do something they want to do.”
A welcome reform. What else will be on offer? I would guess one or two items will be trailed in the Sunday papers tomorow. Perhaps there will also be an old fashioned approach of leaving a few surprises for the Speech itself.
It will be an important test for whether the Government is maintaining momentum.