Mr Pineapples quakes me to the earth’s core…

I rose, like Lazarus, from my futon to check my emails / blog at 8.30 pm this troubled night… I was dehydrated…  after deciding to have an early night watching the Parliament Channel and various news channels… only to find that I had been called to account by the Ralph Nader of the Net, Mr Pineapples…

Mr Pineapples was appalled and outraged that I had not mentioned the Prince Harry Story in my ‘Earthquake” post… (infra).

***

I redress this, now, by providing a link to the official website of The Prince of Wales. I have never visited this website before. It is ‘work’ friendly / compliant.

Frankly… I agree with the proposition put by Mr Pineapples. I should have done…. but… the reason why I did not do so is revealed in my response to Mr Pineapples’ comment… (scroll down)

I am now pouring a glass of vino rosso… and preparing to repent of my sin(s)… and the wafers left a few weeks ago by my cousin Cardinale Charoni di Tempranillo, on his last visit, were delicious. I like a bit of transubstantiation on a Friday night.

***

Tomorrow is March… astonishing. Only the other day I was wondering when March would arrive… and here it is.

I am looking forward to the Ides of March I celebrate it every year… it reminds me that we have not come very far in terms of politics in 2000 odd years – and, this year, … I shall / will raise a glass to the last leader of the Lib-Dems, Sir Ming Campbell, to be struck down by thrusting newbies….

To the Fifteenth….

A very British earthquake…

The Telegraph reported today: “Earthquake Shakes Britain but damages very little”

By Nick Britten Paul Stokes and Richard Alleyne of The Telegraph:

“It was, ultimately, a very British earthquake: no collapsed buildings or bridges, no death or mayhem”

However… just in… a report sent to me by a friend of mine this morning…. you may have seen it. It has been doing the ’rounds’…

NUNEATON EARTHQUAKE APPEAL
A major Earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale hit in the early hours with its epicentre in Camp Hill. Victims were seen wandering around aimlessly, muttering ‘Foooockinel, where’s the buuuuuuzzzz’.

The quake decimated the area causing approximately £30 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from Majorca, the Costa Del Sol and Corfu were damaged beyond repair. Three areas of historic burnt out cars were disturbed. Many locals were woken well before their giros arrived. Mercia Sound reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered and were still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Nuneaton . One resident – Tracy Sharon Smith, a 15-year-old mother of 5 said, ‘It was such a shock, my little Chardonnay-Mercedes came running into my bedroom crying. My youngest two, Tyler-Morgan and Victoria-Storm slept through it all. I was still shaking when I was skinning up and watching Trisha the next morning.’

Apparently burglaries, muggings and car crime were unaffected and carried on as normal. The British Red Cross has so far managed to ship 4,000 crates of Frosty Jack Cider to the area to help the stricken locals. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings, including benefit books, jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos and Bone China from Poundland.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
This appeal is to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in this disaster. Clothing is most sought after – items most needed include:

Fila or Burberry baseball caps – Kappa tracksuit tops (his and hers) – Shell suits (female) – White socks – Rockport boots – Any other items usually sold in New Look.

Food parcels may be harder to come by, but are needed all the same: Microwave meals, Tins of baked beans, Ice cream, Cans of Colt 45 or Special Brew. 22p buys a biro for filling in the compensation forms. £2 buys chips, crisps and rola cola for a family of 9.

**Breaking news**

Rescue workers found a girl in the rubble smothered in raspberry alco-pop.

‘Where are you bleeding from?’ they asked.

‘Stockingford’ said the girl, ‘woss that gotta do wiv you?

Leap Year….

As I have an ASBO prohibiting me from entering Churches, for religious reasons, and Register Offices (for reasons of sanity) and I do not need to experience again the delights of matrimony – Leap Years hold no terror for me. It is unlikely, in any event, that anyone I know would be crazy enough to propose to me… on the morrow.

So…. tonight… I am going to leap off for a glass of Rioja at the Bollo after Masterchef – The Final. I seem to be addicted to this cookery programme – partly because I enjoy cooking, but I also suffer from the British disease of enjoying the pleasure of watching a cookery programme and then nipping out for a bite to eat.

Yes… tomorrow… I may well be leaping.

A year ago today…

I’ve just realised… that a year ago today I did my first ‘interview’ podcast with Justin Patten of Human law.  (My first podcast was a couple of weeks before – a monologue).

I’m coming up to my 50th podcast interview – excluding ‘Weekend Review’ podcasts.  I enjoy doing the podcasts – and I’d just like to thank all those who have done podcasts with me. So… I will – Thank you!

A bit difficult to do podcast interviews without an ‘interviewee / podcastee’.

Weekend Review: 23-24 February

Quite a busy week in the news… so, today, I have a mix of text, podcasts and even a bit of film.

First, I talk with Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog, about the need for a national DNA database. We then have a look at the political situation in Pakistan following the election last week and at the position of Speaker Michael Martin in the wake of recent press reports about his expense claims.

Listen to the newsreview podcast

Richard Ramsay, one of the Editors of Consilio,  has written a short commentary on the DNA database proposal.

***

Earlier in the week, I interviewed Ed Vaizey MP, Shadow Minister for Culture about the problem of illegal downloading and, this weekend I did a follow up interview on this and the duration of copyright with Dr Peter Groves. [Click links to listen to podcasts]

***

Charon the movie? Unlikely… but I did do a short film about The Bollo for readers who might like to see where I spend far too much of my leisure time – possibly. Watch the film.

And so to the second of the newsreview podcasts. I talk with Geeklawyer about file sharing – illegal downloading – HMRC paying £100,000 to buy ‘stolen’ information on tax exiles who bank secretly in Liechtenstein – middle class criminals who pay cash to avoid paying VAT – Shock horror from The News of The World today that Paul Burrell is gay and has to come back to give explain why he was recorded by the Sun telling someone on the phone that he had been ‘naughty’ by committing perjury at the Diana Inquest. Geeklawyer thinks children should be illegal. After my lunch at The Bollo today – the place was crawling with screaming children – I am coming round to his point of view. Listen to my podcast interview, ‘recorded in a clandestine manner’ of course, with Geeklawyer

During the podcast, Geeklawyer asked me to publish a website URL – a Pledge for file sharers:

Pledge “filesharing”

“I will not vote for any party supporting disconnection of ‘alleged’ filesharers but only if 750 other people will do the same.”

Here is the URL.

***

I may well add to this Weekend Review later – but I need to have a quick glass of rioja…. It is Sunday afternoon, after all.

And… the Training Partner for Muttley Dastardly LLP is much taken with the examination regulations, as reported on RollonFriday, at BPP Law School… Here

AND FROM THE CONSILIO BLOG

National Insurance numbers are important. Their security is important.So what should you do if you suspect or discover their fraudulent use?The Customs & Excise have created a useful webpage with much needed advice.Here it is… NIM39140

Muttley Dastardly LLP: Curious LPC examination procedures

From the Office of The Training & Recruitment partner

Subject: Curious LPC examination procedures

We at Muttley Dastardly LLP have, as you know, come to a most profitable arrangement with a purveyor of LPC course services to train our future trainees in the values and mores of our firm. This has worked to our advantage providing significant discount to the market rates for the training of students to get through the LPC in readiness for taking on the yoke and responsibilities of joining a modest cost labour force for our important work in The City… and, indeed, elsewhere now that we have developed expertise in handling high value family law cases.

I was advised earlier today by our IT department, whose responsibilities include the monitoring of Facebook, blawgs and Rollonfriday.com, that RollonFriday have a story about the curious examination procedures at BPP Law School.

I commend the news item on RoF to you, and summarise the salient points below. I do so, because this initiative on the part of BPP Law School may well cause us to look with favour on their methods when we come to review our contractual arrangements with our current LPC purveyor.

1. BPP appears to have issued a directive to all LPC students that they must erase vertical pen or biro marks on textbooks or other printed materials taken into the examination hall and must also remove, from printed materials, sticky bookmark tabs which were found to be the wrong shape.

2. That students found that Tippex leaves white marks on paper, and therefore previous blue or black vertical pen lines are now white tippex lines, is neither here nor there. The fact is that BPP, in directing students to undertake this completely pointless task, are preparing their students to accept orders and are conditioning them to the realities that paperwork has to be right.

3. In directing students to remove green rectangular tab bookmarks with pointed ends, yet accepting green rectangular tabs of the exact same size with blunted ends”… BPP is seeing if students are able to think out of the box. The dullards, it could be argued, would simply remove the tabs – and, in so doing, would pass the ‘obedience’ test – but would fail miserably the ‘initative’ and ‘thinking out of the box’ test. We want the type of student who would simply cut the pointed end of the tab off and leave the bookmark in position to allow themselves quick access to the relevant information in the textbook.

4. The RoF report also revealed the BPP Student Finance Office (SFO) sent an email to their LPC students wishing them every success in the examination – with the added note that those who had not paid their fees would have their examination results witheld. This reflects, very much, the values and mores of our own finance office here at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

We have no way of checking on the story published in RoF – but it is our experience that they tend to get the right end of the stick…

Charon goes to jazz at The Bollo…

As I seem to spend a fair bit of my leisure (and thinking) time at The Bollo, I decided to take my television camera along to give you an insight into what The Bollo looks like. It is a Sunday. The doors have just opened and, as usual, I fall through the door. I did a bit of location filming – the conditions were very bright sunlight and the punters had not arrived yet in their droves… but no matter. Kelly Dickson, a very talented jazz singer, was singing. Quite a few punters on Sundays bring their children. Children cry, scream, run about and make a nuisance of themselves. I had to replace the soundtrack from the film – but… with a much better soundtrack: Kelly Dickson singing ‘Close your eyes’ from her latest album Vocal Point. Kelly Dickson’s website is worth a visit

Watch “Charon goes to The Bollo – The Movie”
(It is a .mov format so should play in Quicktime and Windows.)

A bit of a departure from podcasts… and I may well do more roving reports with the camera. Coming up on Weekend Review this weekend – Peter Groves on copyright – Geeklawyer, Carl Gardner and I discuss events of momentous importance from the news of last week and… more… who knows? It has happened yet.

Podcast 48: Ed Vaizey MP, Shadow Minister for Culture on illegal downloader proposals

Today I am talking to Ed Vaizey MP, Conservative member of Parliament for Wantage, and Didcot about proposals to regulate the internet to prevent illegal downloading of media, including music, television and published works. Ed Vaizey is currently the Shadow Minister for Culture.

I am also talking to Peter Lewinton, a graduate in law from Oxford University. Peter founded and sold two small sports Internet companies and was recently assisting Virgin Media as Head of Sport. Peter is the managing director of Legal Training.TV, a leading provider of online CPD courses for lawyers. His expertise lies in the area of online rights, production and distribution.

Listen to Podcast 48: Ed Vaizey MP on the problem of illegal downloads.

Diana Inquest: Al Fayed speaks….

I do not go to Harrods, but I understand there is a memorial to Dodi and Diana at the shop and Al Fayed appears to have a statue of himself as a sphinx. Al Fayed’s website provides all you could wish to know about these matters…. well, apart from the evidence he is now providing to the inquest.

The BBC report on Al Fayed’s evidence is extraordinary…. I’ll give you a flavour:

“Harrods owner Mr Al Fayed claimed former prime minister Tony Blair, MI5, MI6 and the British ambassador to France were all part of the conspiracy.”

“Asked by Ian Burnett QC, counsel to the inquest, if he stood by his claim that Diana and Dodi were “murdered by the British security services on the orders of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”, Mr Al Fayed replied: “Yes.”

Al Fayed then appears to inform the coroner of his views on the repatriation of Prince Philip : “In his evidence, Mr Al Fayed branded Prince Philip a “Nazi” and a “racist” and said: “It’s time to send him back to Germany from where he comes.”

“You want to know his original name – it ends with Frankenstein,” he added.

AND… just to be absolutely sure that the inquest had a clear view, Al Fayed stated… ” Prince Charles was complicit, hoping to make way so he could marry his “crocodile wife” Camilla Parker Bowles.”

Will this story ever go away? Paul Burrell, former butler to Princes Diana, appears to have lied to the inquest according to press reports… by not revealing all.

***

The circus continues…

Podcast 47: Julie Brannan, OXILP on the LPC

Today I am talking to the director of the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, Julie Brannan. Julie practised law at Herbert Smith, where she was a litigation partner, before going on to OXILP. The Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, a joint venture between Oxford University and Oxford Brookes is one of the leading providers for the LPC, one of five providers for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer test and has built up a good reputation for the quality of provision.

Podcast 47: Julie Brannan, OXILP on the LPC

Weekend Review: 16/17 February…

Hat Tip to Reactionary Snob, for alerting his readers to the story below:

As Reactionary Snob puts it….

“And people wonder why red-faced buffers like myself don’t trust the government or the mandarins of the Civil Service… This shower couldn’t organise a blowjob in a brothel with a bag of diamonds. I don’t know what is worse – a) they mistake two places with similar names b) they don’t check who and how much they are paying c) that when they receive too much money the council don’t pay it back and d) there’s no chance we’ll get it fucking back! “

LONDON (AFP) – A Staffordshire town is refusing to pay back over a million pounds in grants on Thursday after embarrassed civil servants confused them with another English city. The Department for Communities and Local Government mistook the market town of Newcastle-Under-Lyme — with a population of just 74,000 people — with the industrial city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne — which is 186 miles away and has 260,000 residents — when calculating funding budgets, resulting in a 1.1 million pound overpayment.

And…. from another political blog… Guido has a story, under the headline “Blinky Ball’s Brainwave to fund the PSBR: Sharia Law” that H M Government is doing a feasibility study to see if it will be possible to borrow Islamic money under Sharia Finance Law principles… ‘Sukuk’. I’ve just read H M Treasury’s paper on the subject.

A parable for our times from the net…

A turkey was chatting with a bull.

‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy.’

‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story
Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

An Algerian living in Britain who was wrongly accused of being involved in the 9/11 terror attacks tells for the first time today of how his life has been ‘ruined’ by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Last week the Court of Appeal ruled that the High Court had been wrong to block him from suing the government for compensation, paving the way for a ground-breaking claim for damages.” Observer

A short Weekend Review this week – Podcast 47 with Julie Brannan of The Oxford Institute of Legal Practice goes up tomorow.

Bottled water and interfering busybodies…

The absurdity of paying ridiculous prices for bottled water at restaurants and the nonsense of transporting water from all over the world to a Britain awash with rain and a good quality water supply is finally attracting media attention…. I always drink tap water and so far I have not grown breasts nor do I seem to be off my head on a permanent high from oestrogen and cocaine residues in the Thames. Of course, when I am not drinking water, I drink espresso and red wine.

I was having my usual breakfast this morning at 6.45 am when I saw a jogger go by clutching a bottle of Evian water. The outside temperature was just touching zero… and I was reading in the press that it cost ten litres of water to make just one litre of bottled water. I lit a cigarette and reflected on this. It does a make a bit of a nonsense of carbon footprint and offsets to import water from as far away as Fiji or New Zealand.

But then I remembered a press clipping cut from the Daily Mirror yesterday. “Fancy a fag? Get a permit” screamed the headline. Prof Julian Le Grand of The London School of Economics has come up with a plan to get smokers to opt in and be required to fill in an exceptionally complex form to get a permit (and pay £10) to be permitted to smoke. Smokers should be forced to carry a licence to smoke…say health watchdogs. Clearly, Prof Le Grand Buffoon has way too much time on his hands and we have had quite enough from medical watchdogs in recent years as far as I am concerned. Ministers are looking for input ‘from a wide range of views’, apparently. Why not have a “Porker licence’… for the obese?, binge-drinking permits for topers?, talking licences, valid only at middle class dinner parties, for bores who want to drone on about the value of their houses and the future profitability of their tediously overtalented and e-numbered up children? The list is capable of no end.

I lit another cigarette and even contemplated getting a bottle of Rioja from the convenience store next door and do a bit of jogging, swigging out of the wine bottle, as I ran down the high street. It was just too early for that. I shall wait until sunset.

I found this very convenient wrist bottle on the net for the athletically minded young woman who likes a bit of Chardonnay while she jogs or works out. Weighs half a pound when fully loaded – so a bit of extra exercise as well.

Is it too late for me to apply to run in the London Marathon this year? I do hope so.

I must go now to meditate… to prepare myself to a state of zen in preparation for lunch and the composition and writing of my ‘Weekend Review’. Alternatively, I may contact the Archbishop of Canterbury to see if he needs any help with his next public speech. His last effort won “God Idol”. His next one may get him a hosting position on “Have I got Gods for You”.

News round up… and a thought for Valentine’s day…

Getting up early has many benefits. Putting the script together for the daily news podcast I do each morning at 6.30 also means that I am fairly on top of legal news. Whether this is a good thing or not is an entirely different question.

To borrow from and adapt the famous aphorism of F.E Smith …” I may not be wiser… but at least I am better informed.”

My daily news podcast lasts for about 4-5 minutes….

Of course… I wear a dinner jacket… or, as some would say, ‘black tie’… as I do for all my podcasts… and there is usually something in The Sun or The Mirror to allow me to end the podcast with something bizarre. Daily News podcast on Consilio: here

Have a good Valentine’s day…. whatever you decide to do. As I do not need the services of a specialist in family law, or a registrar (I have a life time ASBO prohibiting me from entering churches or Register Offices)… I shall be taking a glass or two with my mate Mr Rioja tonight. I’ll have to sit outside The Bollo… all the inside tables are taken by the loved-up or guilty. One does tend to meet unusual people outside pubs – smokers, over refreshed people… and sometimes the odd King (Below)

***

Odd thought for today: Do you worry about the use of ‘shall’ and ‘will’ to denote the future? The americans don’t. ‘Will’ is the norm in the States. I tend to use ‘will’ and ‘shall’ as I please…. do I need to ostracize myself.. banish myself ? .. cast myself out from social, political, or private favour / favor? (US readers only).

If this vexed question threatens to ruin your Valentine’s evening… as in “will I / shall I… etc” (or even… “should I?”) … The BBC, as ever, comes to your aid: here

On the eve of St Valentine’s day….

On the eve of St Valentine’s Day… the legal profession is able to contribute, albeit in a small way, by advising that caution may be the best way to go.

Robert Verkaik, legal editor of The Independent writes: “Tomorrow is the one day of the year when the head is given over to matters of the heart. But the thousands of couples who pledge their troth on St Valentine’s Day may find it would pay to spend a little time proposing the idea of a pre-nuptial agreement too.”

***

What will I be doing on the night? … I will probably have a glass or two with my long term inamorata … Mari a Rioja.

Mon dieu… that it should come to this at 4.55 am without even the excuse of being over refreshed ….. I am doomed. I have turned into Basil Brush.

Right… action this day… off to put my script together for my Daily News podcast on Consilio.tv

Sorry to beard you in your den…

To confront danger, to bite the bulllet, to face one’s fears – all meanings of the phrase ‘to beard the lion in his den’.

Bored, some weeks ago late on a Friday evening,  I decided to grow a beard. An interesting experiment; one leaving me two and a bit weeks later wondering around Chiswick High Street looking like an out of work explorer. A friend was kind enough to use the term ‘distinguished’, another to suggest that I looked like a film director or actor.  Kind people, my friends.

This morning I came face to face with King Lear on a very bad day when I cleaned my teeth upon rising at 2.00 am. I did not expect to be faced with King Lear at that or, indeed, any time of day. At 12.45 hours, I started playing with my shaver. I tried Edwardian mutton chops with moustache. Ridiculous.

A little bit more trimming with the shaver… Voila!… I did not feel that wondering over to The Bollo looking like a Kaiser would be helpful to anyone. Then I managed to look like Magnum PI… but 20 years on. The Hitler look was not great – so the beard has gone. Dogs come over to me again. Charity muggers rattle their cans at me again – all is restored… until I get bored on a Friday afternoon again.

Pigs in shit classification

Guido Fawkes has introduced a “Pigs in Shit” classification system on his political commentary blog. Who has two “Pigs in Shit” ?… who has three “Pigs in Shit” ? …. have a look. Always worth a look to keep a quick eye on what our political masters are up to – with links to other political blogs/content if you like that sort of thing (I do).

Edinburgh Advocate, Reactionary Snob, is always worth a read for political comment / rant / satire – not always Scots centric.

Weekend Review Part II – 10th February: A collection of matters….

Part II, as promised, follows Part 1, below. I have come to the conclusion that a 45 minute radio download with 4-5 short podcasts is not the best medium. I am settling on a pattern of a mix of text and separate short podcasts so readers may listen to / read what they wish to without having to listen to a full programme.

The Archbishop lit a blue touch paper last week with his thoughts on Sharia Law. He may well have been mis-quoted / misunderstood. The tabloids and broadsheets have feasted well and members of Synod, including a former Brigadier, have popped up in the newspapers saying that Dr Williams is not fit for purpose.

It was Henry II who uttered the immortal words (of Thomas a Beckett) “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four of Henry’s knights took his words literally, set forth for Canterbury and killed him. Thankfully, we have moved on from those days and while Dr Williams faces a degree of public exposure in the press and criticism, he will, most likely, keep his job when the fuss dies down. John Bolch, solicitor and author of Family Lore, talks to me this morning about the Archbishop’s thoughts on Sharia Law. Listen to the podcast interview.

As John Bolch noted: Jacqui Gilliatt on the Family Law Week blog puts the asinine spoutings of the Archbishop of Canterbury into perspective when she quotes an American commentator: “What do you expect from someone that believes in a giant invisible being that lives in the sky, knows everything, created everything, and talks to humans in their language. Give me a break.

Moving on to rhetoric of a different kind. Today, I talked to the author of the Nearly Legal blog about Housing Minister Caroline Flint’s plans to chuck people out of their houses if they don’t get back to work. Nearly Legal writes these proposals up well on his blog (link above) and explains to me why the plans are, perhaps, not fully thought out. In fact… he describes the plans as ‘silly’. Listen to the podcast interview

I found a suitable picture of a government workhouse treadmill on… www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

And…. even more forceful words. I talked to Nigel Savage, CEO, College of Law about his complaint in connection with the Solicitors Regulation Authority changes to the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test rules. Nigel Savage took legal advice from Rabinder Singh QC on whether the SRA changes breach, as the College claims, anti-discrimination legislation and The Competition Act. As ever, Nigel Savage has a robust view. Listen to the podcast interview.

***

And… we have the controversy over the bugging of an MP when he was talking to a prisoner in prison. It seems that the authorities have also been bugging lawyers talking to their clients in prison before trial. Ruthie’s Law has comment and a solution.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, if my memory of reading the News of The World this morning is correct, says that the bugging of lawyers could lead to the quashing of convictions and the release of some serious criminals. He is reported as stating that the courts may well react with fury ‘on principle’. I do not have NOTW to hand and I cannot find the story on the online version.

The Telegraph reports this story.

Part 1 of Weekend Review is below. I meet King Arthur for a drink at The Bollo. Scroll down or click here.

Weekend Review Part 1: 9 February – I meet King Arthur at The Bollo…

Tonight I went to The Bollo, as I often do on a Saturday night. I met King Arthur… but before you form the view that I may have taken too much juice… I actually met King Arthur before I had even sipped the first taste of Rioja.

Let me explain. King Arthur is a Druid and political activist. He lives nearby and I have seen him on several occasions at The Bollo. Tonight I had a few drinks with him and his partner, Liz.

Arthur’s story is fascinating – and there is a book – The Trials of Arthur. I am going to read it this weekend. I first came across the King Arthur I met tonight surfing on the net over Christmas. I was looking for information about druids, saw a picture that was remarkably familiar (It was of a man I had seen several times at The Bollo) and did some research. This was the website I visited first.

I would echo the sentiments expressed by a journalist who met Arthur Pendragon, druid, political activist and King some time ago… “It’s not every day that you get to sit in a pub garden with the King of England, supping pints of cider and smoking endless cigarettes. UK Online Senior Editor Chris Russell did just that and found King Arthur Uther Pendragon a thoroughly decent monarch.”

In my case… I was sitting outside The Bollo, wall heater on, bright yellow sailing jacket and navy polo neck – and a salt and pepper beard. King Arthur’s partner Liz came over and sat with me. I had met Liz earlier in the week while smoking outside. I told her that I had been surfing, came across Arthur’s story and would like to read the book. Liz told me that it was out of print but had a couple of copies at home. Liz had remembered our conversation… and, finding me at The Bollo, as she thought she might, she lent me a copy of the book. King Arthur turned up in black leather biker kit a few moments later with a pint of cider for himself and a glass of white wine for Liz.

As I plan to read the book… I will say no more for the moment. I have a feeling that I will be doing a podcast soon. I have not managed to do a podcast yet with a King. King Arthur did, however, show me his driving licence – a picture of him wearing his crown. British Law decrees that headgear must normally be removed for passport photographs. Not so for King Arthur… who is very laid back.

As he says: “‘The current Queen is forced down people’s throats. She’s the queen because the population of the country are told she’s the Queen. Me, I’m Arthur Pendragon and if people want to believe I’m some nutter who thinks he’s the reincarnation of King Arthur that’s their choice.”

Arthur is a serious political activist who went to prison several times for his beliefs – Newbury / Stonehenge et al – and this is all documented on the website (above) and in his book. I shall report further when I have read the book. Yes… I enjoyed meeting Arthur and Liz. They both smoke, enjoy a glass or two – and Arthur is also a fellow biker.

And, since Part I will be followed tomorrow by Part II … I move on to nutcrackers – The Hillary Clinton Nutcracker. I have been following the US Elections with some interest – in fact… I am addicted to the coverage. I am placing my order for these nutcrackers tonight.

Without, in any way, wishing to suggest that I am writing to a theme, I could not help but notice the coverage of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the news and every newspaper today. I asked King Arthur what he thought about the controversy – only to be told that Rowan Williams is also a Welsh Druid… obviously part-time, because of his other rather more establishment duties as the number one ordained representative of god in an increasingly secular Britain. I won’t, at this stage, add to the comment and analysis – for I plan to talk with John Bolch of Family Lore tomorrow for Part II and content myself with a graphic from today’s edition of The Sun.

I am grateful to Ed of Blawg Review for tipping me off to an item from Quizlaw. Nick Freeman has trade marked his nickname “Mr Loophole”. Quizlaw, in characteristic style, reported the matter: “…Anyway, the British tabloids apparently dubbed Freeman, who is famed for getting celebs out of various driving convictions, “Mr. Loophole.” And now he’s trademarked it, saying: “The media coined the term for me and, while some might not know the name Nick Freeman, they usually have heard of the name Mr Loophole.” And he’s all ready to sue anyone who tries to trade on his good name. So you British lawyers better watch the fuck out.” Pic from Quizlaw.

Well… an eventful day when all is said and done. Tomorrow… I have an interview with Nearly Legal on Housing Minister Caroline Flint MP and her plans to kick tenants out of their houses if they don’t get off their backsides and go to work, John Bolch on The Archbishop’s views on Sharia Law (and analysis of The Macca v Mucca divorce, possibly), and, no doubt, I’ll report some thoughts on what happened last week…

Enough for tonight… a glass of Rioja has just been poured for me, by me…

***

LATE NIGHT UPDATE

It transpires (such a useful word)… that Ed of Blawg Review (Supra) tipped Geeklawyer off on the Mr Loophole story as well. I have, for some time, been thinking about how I may occupy my time at weekends with a bit of enterprise. Geeklawyer opined, on his post, that patents are a complete waste of time.

I had to seek his advice and did so in the following terms:

GL… I’m worried… “I’ve been thinking about going on to “The Dragon’s Den” with an idea about turning Thames water (I have an endless supply of it where I live) into Rioja….and now you tell me that that patenting this is a waste of time.

I don’t think that Douglas, Peter, James, Theophilus Wildebeest and that blonde woman, whose name I can never remember, will be terribly impressed if I tell them that I haven’t patented it because a lawyer I know says that patents are a waste of time.

If this is true… then I shall just have to put a small paddling pool in the studio and see if I can manage to walk on the Thames water before I turn it into Rioja. I’ve been trying this out for the last half hour… tonight… I have very wet feet. Not going well.

Please advise… soonest… and I don’t want an invoice… you know what I mean?

Wotcha…

Podcast 44: Victoria Peckett, partner, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP

Today I am talking to Victoria Peckett, partner, CMS Cameron Mckenna about the Contracts (Third Party Rights) Act 1999 – “Sustainability” and the qualities needed to be a partner in a leading City law firm.

***

Listen to Podcast 44

http://www.consilio.tv/charonpodcast44.mp3

For some weird reason – when archived in “podcasts” the link doesn’t work – unless you click the title to access the original post. A WordPress temporary gremlin?


Podcast 43: Nigel Savage on why The College of Law is taking issue with the SRA

Today I am talking to Nigel Savage, Chief Executive of The College of Law to ask him why The College is instructing Matrix Chambers’ Rabinder Singh QC in response to changes made by the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) to the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) – changes the College claims could breach anti-discrimination legislation.

Listen to the podcast interview

Dan Hull on George Dubya…..

US lawyer, author and blogger Dan Hull of What About Clients? has a fascinating piece published in The Pittsburgh Tribune last Sunday about George W Bush…. well worth reading.

Dan’s conclusion should inspire you to read the article!

“If the American experiment was likely to produce leaders a bit rough around the edges, driven, informal, anti-intellectual and “un-European,” he couldn’t have dreamed up a more representative specimen than Bush 43.”

The Pittsburgh Tribune article

Blawg Review #145 is up…

What About Clients? penned by J Dan Hull and colleagues hosts the Blawg Review this week. WAC? takes a Roman theme Veni, Vidi, Vici – an amusing and detailed read. As always with Dan…. some very useful analysis and links to US blawgs.

I particularly liked this quote from the WAC? Blawg Review:

These days, “specialization”, while undeniably important, has given most lawyers brains that look like the inside of a Wal-Mart: everything seems to be there, but nothing you see is that important in the grand scheme of things.

Read Blawg Review #145

Podcast 42: Professor Gary Slapper of The Open University

Today I am talking to Professor Gary Slapper, author, columnist and academic. Professor Gary Slapper, is Professor of Law, and Director of the Centre for Law at The Open University.

Gary has written many law books, and has published a wide range of academic journal papers. His most recent book How the Law Works, a friendly guide to the law, was published by HarperCollins in May 2007. His particular research into corporate crime has been pioneering. In a forward to his book Blood in the Bank, the philosopher and writer Noam Chomsky describes the work as ‘pathbreaking’. Professor Slapper is a co-founder and editor of The Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education. He has written about Law for The Times for fifteen years, and has been a columnist for eight. He also writes The Law Explored column for Times Online.

***

Listen to Podcast 42: Professor Gary Slapper of The Open University

For a taste of Gary Slapper’s writing for The Times

And so… we have reached the month of February…

What a month January was.

I have, of course, chosen a depiction of Janus with a rather good beard. (Infra)

Today is 1st February – well… it was when I started writing this post:

London, despite the best endeavours of the media weather forecasters, bathed in sunshine – even if the the air this evening was brisk for smokers sitting outside pubs – while the North suffered blizzards, gales, and storms. We have television pictures of stranded motorists…lorries… and intrepid TV news crews preferring to film extreme weather conditions in Britain than the various wars we are currently involved in.

Why do people deliberately go out in their cars without blankets, thermos flasks full of cuppa soup and a mobile phone, when the local Police tell them not to travel? I suspect that many of these people are not working and may be bored with daytime television and, rather than watch it, prefer to be on it. Just a theory. Report from The Sun


***

We have had the Federal Reserve in the United States cutting interest rates… stock markets (particularly in Asia) rising and falling, credit card bills arriving in the post after the Christmas escape…and the great British January hangover. Mervyn King has been given another opportunity to be Governor of The Bank of England – and, will, no doubt, in the fullness of time, act in the interests of the British people in terms of dealing with our interest rate.

Fortunately… our elected representatives in Parliament have laid on entertainment and diversion for us to help us get us through our globally warmed January. We have had Labour and Tory MPs being investigated by the Police or being suspended from Parliament for ten days, but not resigning as MPs, and others wondering, possibly… allegedly….. and .. this is pure conjecture… because they have absolutely no idea how their lives are administered…. or because they cannot remember the detail of the laws they participated in designing and then promulgating… worrying how many relatives they have on the payroll. It has all gone a bit quiet, in the light of the Derek Conway incident, in terms of MPs writing to the Metropolitan Police calling for immediate investigation into the misdemeanours of MPs from other parties., I think it may have been Lib-Dem Chris Huhne who wrote to Plod about Labour Funding? Certainly, the Police wrote back to him. I could be wrong…

***

Guido Fawkes, however, writes in his blog: “On this day (31st January) in 1606, Guido Fawkes, following months of torture was convicted of treason for his part in the ”Gunpowder Plot” against an oppressive political class and the tyrant King James I, and executed. Now, some four centuries later, it is Guido’s turn to torture politicians…

[Pic: Prime Minister’s Questions: Guardian]

We have also had an Italian football coach, manager of the England Football team, who now speaks good English in private after a month, not selecting Beckham to play against a Swiss football team – and thus denying obsessive tattoo fancier and world icon, St Beckham, of an opportunity to join other footballing greats in the 100 caps for England Hall of Fame. I know little of ‘the beautiful game’ – but I am very familiar with those black and white clips of the 1966 World Cup. I do not need to put them on my iPod. I have wasted part of what is left of my memory because I cannot delete them from my brain after so many repetitions on British sports TV programmes over the last 40 years. The Sun has a debate on the Beckham non-selection if you would like to participate

It was, however, pleasing to note that Maradonna has finally admitted, to a Sun reporter, to using his godly hands to put the football into the goal and deprive England of World Cup glory shortly after we won The Falklands war in the early 1980s. The / An England goalkeeper of the time was not impressed… according to the tabloids… ‘too little… too late’. I rather like the idea of sportsmen using all their limbs and faculties to move a ball around a pitch (although I prefer the game that allows players to use a cricket bat) – I shall watch the start of the Six Nations Tournament tomorrow…..

I have lost my train of thought. This is no bad thing… but I have been diverted by Advocatus Diaboli, of Reductio ad Absurdum, almost certainly correctly, calling into question my reference to “The Laws of Tort” in the comments section of my earlier ‘Beards Growing Post’ – … rather than the more usual “Law of Torts”.

I suspect that I may not have been sufficiently persuasive in my response to Advocatus Diaboli (ibid) … BUT… as Harry Callaghan said in the famous “Dirty Harry” movie… “it takes a good man to admit his limitations”.

One thing I am fairly sure about this evening… now Saturday morning: (and this follows on from the Beard Growing comments section (Supra) …. I do not recall ever saying to a student I have taught in the last 25 years “Are you feeling lucky, Punk?” as they were about to go into the examination hall…. (however tempting it may have been in the case of a few rather amusing students who knew absolutely no law, despite the best endeavours of lecturers, librarians and authors of textbooks, after a year of perfecting their social lives.)

On that note… buona notte. It is time for me to go to my futon and watch the Parliament Channel on BBC. Nothing like a bit of coverage from The Houses of Commons and Lords at this time of night. Forget ‘Pop idol’, ‘Strictly Come Drinking” or any of the soaps… The Parliament Channel on BBC.. has it all: pathos… drama… corruption… intrigue… violence and, sometimes, a bit of new law being debated.

Finally… one of our great writers and humourists died yesterday. Miles Kington. He went to the school I attended. I did not know him – I am younger – a different generation – but we were told by our English teacher that Miles Kington was one to watch. My teacher was right. Kington was a brilliant writer. We are all ( I hope) influenced by the work of others. The Independent Obituary is excellent.

***

I’m looking forward to the weekend.