Every year I watch the Queen’s Speech as a deeply conflicted man.
I rejoice in the dozen tiny references to her government, the sight of that smirking eel standing at the back where he belongs, the reminder and affirmation that something of what holds this country together still remains.
Yet for a decade now I have had to watch the font of honour pour forth constitutional filth.
The article of the speech which made my blood pressure spike this year was the new Fraud Bill. Blair intends, as a final act of sacrilege, to do away with trial by jury in serious fraud cases.
As wedge ends go, this of a pretty blunt and medium-thin variety. Now I am not saying that you average prole could make a balanced judgement in a corporate case anymore than they are likely to be able to distinguish the judge from the barristers. But that is not the point.
The Bill removes, as an absolute right, our entitlement to trail by jury. What happens when we get a serious and complicated corporate manslaughter case? Or a highly involved murder?
Having already done away with habeas corpus in his ‘terror legislation’, there can be little doubt that Blair will get his way in this as well.
For a man with only weeks left in office, he has chosen a very telling legacy for himself; the ender of our most basic Magna Carta rights and most likely becoming the first Prime Minister to be questioned by Scotland Yard.
It is no secret Blair has always fancied himself as Thatcher’s successor, now he will truly follow in her steps; he is universally loathed by a country that elected him thrice and his name will soon become the Judas kiss of his party.