There are few who can say they were in Westminster Hall, let alone ‘High Up’ – but that, as Frances Gibb reported in the Times, is what Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor and political embodiment of Justice on British soil, is reported as saying.
Straw was,in fact, talking about how he was sitting high up in Westminster Hall, presiding over the last Silk ceremony, and looked down and saw that all was not good. The Times reported him as saying “The vast majority of the silks were… Like all five parliamentarians around this table, white, male, middle class……. There was no one of African or African-Caribbean origin or heritage…. That is not acceptable, and everybody accepts that.”
Yet… in another part of our realm, our United Kingdom, or what may be left of it if Scotland chooses to take the high road to independence, the political journalists wonder if Gordon Brown will survive. We have, of course, the entirely predictable backlash from the by-election blues of last week, the flurry of new policies, The BBC reporting this very day that ” The government is preparing to offer Labour MPs a major concession to avoid losing a vote on terror detentions” and to state that Cyclops may well be listening on the issue of the detention without charge proposal to extend the period from 28 to 42 days …
BUT… not to be distracted by this… I had to do.… a quick search on Google to see what Jack Straw was doing…
There are some who say that Jack Straw is waiting in the wings. It seems that he may not be clothing any naked villainy, let alone his, and may well just be getting on with the business of the law, justice and worrying about judicial diversity. Certainly, from what I could glean from Frances Gibb’s article…. Straw told the Justice Committee of MPs. “The expectation that the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission would lead to a more diverse judiciary have so far not been fulfilled. But,” he added, “it’s early days.”
I liked the “It’s early days.” This, at least, had a hint of Shakespearean plot and sub text. But Frances Gibb dashed my hopes by writing “What can be done? There is no going back, Straw made clear, to the old system — much as some might like to.”
As I could find nothing on Google to indicate that Jack Straw was doing anything other than worrying about judicial diversity and silk selection – It is a parliamentary recess period – I even popped over to the Ministry of Justice website. I live life on the edge these days, now that I have stopped being a nihilist (infra). No… Straw was not in. But … he must be up to something – because he doesn’t even seem to have been claiming anything by way of expenses, let alone ivory kitchens, Agas, Sky TV or Tudor cladding for his second home…
I was almost tempted, after reading this – and not finding any evidence of Jack Straw plotting, with persons unknown, to become First Lord of The Treasury, Prime Minister, and primus inter pares, – to see if ITV could amuse me with “Britain’s Got Talent”. I decided that what little time I have left on this earth, however long that may be, was not best served by watching this televisual offering – and, instead, turned my attention to other aspects of legal news as reported in the Press.
And so… I found myself reading a report in The Times that Clifford Chance, the world’s largest law firm, has just posted revenue figures in excess of £1.3 billion with profits per partner running at £1.15 million. It would, indeed, be ironic if the Chancellor started eyeing up the legal profession, or part of it, for a quick smash and grab windfall tax to stop those truckers blockading.
So… that is what I managed to find time to do after the day job today. I’m not sure if it has added to my life (or yours if you are reading this) to have read about these events, let alone reporting on them, but… I would not wish regular readers or visitors, typing in some pretty unusual things into Google and arriving at this blog, to find a law blawg with absolutely no law on it. By the way… have they found evidence of life on Mars yet with that new space probe that appears to have landed near Alice Springs in Australia and is beaming pictures back to NASA of absolutely nothing but red rocks – thus far?
And… just to round off a most unusual day… I have just received an email from an implausibly named spammer – moussorgskybrock0633@ ********.com – stating…. ” hey both stared at the age-weathered ruins, and Abulurd made a halfhearted and other League Worlds, Abulurd felt deep dread in his heart.
Atreides would be disappointed in him for letting such a potential disaster slip.”
I could identify with this prose. I have, on occasion, taken of the Rioja, written in this subtle stream of consciousness / interior monologue style…
Yes…. I have a feeling that West London Man may well… now… have a friend called Moussorgsky Brock… a barrister in a leading London set – who is worried about taking Silk….. a perfect end… to my day.
I have no idea if J K Rowling got emails from spammers, late at night, to inspire her in the naming of her characters … but… as I do not have her talent… I must rely on spammers for inspiration…
Legal Note: Frances Gibb reports: Of the 98 new silks (not judges but nonetheless an elite cadre within the profession), only 20 were women and four were not white, and all were of Asian origin.