Sunday night…. a great time to blog….

It has been a cold, wet and grey sky day on the boat – and, I assume, in many parts of the country.  I have read all the newspapers, considered the Jacqui Smith interview on Andrew Marr this morning – she did not seem comfortable – so…. and with no sensible work to do this evening… and  having wondered if the boat  should be swept for hidden listening devices,  I thought I would just write for a while and see if any civil servants happen to drop by with brown manilla envelopes. (Dawn on the boats the other morning – when the sun was about – towards Battersea Bridge and Central London)

There has been a bit of fun on Twitter with various US lawyers (and, I have to say that I have joined in) tweaking the tail of US lawyers who push… push… push the marketing value of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Digg – although none, as yet, have resorted to wandering around with sandwich boards to promote their practices… unless you know differently?  I am very pleased to say that I simply blog… I don’t justify it, I don’t have to do it, no-one has to read it and I shall continue to write about whatever comes into my head – I may even shoehorn in a bit of law from time to time.  (I am, of course,  delighted that a number of people… and who knows… MI5 and GCHQ?…  like to drop by and read and comment)

Let me introduce you to two very interesting US Blogs: Simple Justice, written by Scott H Greenfield and A Public Defender written by @gideonstrumpet – to use his Twitter ID.  I enjoy reading US blogs (and I am putting together a fairly extensive Pageflakes for US blogs I read and find interesting.)  Scott has written some pretty powerful stuff about (a) lawyers and marketing and (b) about his reasons for blogging – explore at your leisure and Gideon / Public Defender has produced, through a fellow blogger, a rather good badge for bloggers who do not feel the need to use their blogs as overt marketing tools. Since there is an invitation to take the badge… I do so with pleasure and link, naturally, back to Public Defender’s post and invitation!

Geeklawyer has turned his attention away from Twitter and the business of drafting complex pleadings again to review the BBC2 programme “The Barristers”. Reviewing episode 3 … I give you one choice quote… he says (considering the role of in-house salaried CPS lawyers) ” The down side of course, on the small matter of justice, was that while the Independent Bar was, mostly, treated with respect by prosecutors, their professionalism and skills at litigation management treated as unquestionable, the lot of the CPS Prosecution Monkey is very much a less happy one.” Enjoyed the review….

The BBC reports: Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman QC MP  has said she is “very concerned” by the arrest of Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green.

The Independent: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today defended the right of police to arrest a Tory MP over alleged Home Office leaks – suggesting the case was more serious than reported.

An assault on all our rights

Conservative Party leader David Cameron writes for News of the World
– not many big words… but… it is NOTW.. so big headline!

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If you wish to listen to Carl Gardner, Head of Legal talking with me in a podcast on The Damien Green arrest – you may do so here. (or scroll down)

If you wish to listen to Gordon Brown telling Frank Bough, some years ago, that he had leaked information from a civil servant – of great public interest – then Guido Fawkes has picked that wonderful film up… here.

Well… that probably wraps it up for this eventful weekend… back to sensible stuff on Insite Law tomorrow.  I should make it through the night… aided… by the rest of a rather absurd British Red fortified wine at 15%.

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UPDATE: Sunday 30 November 21.39 hrs…

“Has a tipping point arrived for Twitter”… have a look at what a UK Blogger thinks… Neville Hobson (not a lawyer)

Brown handles leaked information… you have to laugh!…

Guido Fawkes has a very amusing film on his blog…. a film of Brown, when in opposition, admitting that he used leaked information from a civil servant who was concerned that the government was trying to suppress information!

It is Sunday…. film won’t take long.  Definitely worth a visit!

As one of Guido’s ravening horde of commenters (always worth a look) says… “Arrest him!”…?

Please scroll down for Podcast with Carl Gardner on Damien Green MP affair / Other coverage.

29th November: Postcard from The Boat

So… it came to pass, after much deliberation, that St Peter Mandelson was brought back from the wilderness and… Lo… within but days… the Prince of Darkness had wreaked havoc and destruction in Tory  ranks with his gospels about George and Oleg the Oligarch.  St Peter, in his Revelations to the Media Pharisees,  then said… “There would come a man… the new Moses…. Gordon Brown… to lead us from financial hell to the promised land…. and so there was.”

I had to go out and buy a bottle of British fortified wine earlier after reading that.  I want to do my bit for Britain…. and when my eye saw the alcohol content at 15% …. I thought why not?  It does the business.  This may not explain what drugs Moses was on when he received the Ten Commandments… but it certainly enhanced my appreciation of the irony of calling Gordon Brown, son of the manse, Moses…

It also triggered my memory of a rather good quote from Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel… appropriate today… “Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”

And so… to BBC 2 The Barristers: Episode 3

After grinding through episodes 1 and 2 of The Barristers,  which I did not find that interesting, I did enjoy episode 3.  Much as I like the engaging students in the programme, I felt that the director spent too much time on ritual, baraphernalia and the students.  Episode 3 actually got down to the nitty gritty about the work of criminal barristers and was interesting television.  The focus was mainly on criminal work last night – but as I know little of that world, I found it interesting.  I’m afraid I have no idea if it was a true and fair portrayal of the life of a criminal barrister – but it did show us a snapshot of the relationship between the CPS and the independent Bar – not brilliant, it would appear! – and the work of Dickie Bond an experienced member of the independent Bar.  There were some amusing moments of banter between Bond and his opponent in the case in the robing room.

I can’t help feeling, given the sophistication and intellectual range of the work of the Bar,  that the producers have missed a trick by not looking more closely at the diverse and complex work and involving more experienced barristers across the range of work done by the Bar.  There is still episode 4 to come, so I may be jumping the gun.  I regret to say, I have rather lost interest in what happens to any of the students and my only observation is to say – I hope they make it – but for me the interest lies more with the experienced members of the Bar.

Much of the latter part the week was taken up with the horrific events in Mumbai, covered so well in the Indian and world media and by Tweeters on Twitter.  Twitter certainly provided so much good *live* content that they were often quicker than the television companies… so quick, the Indian government asked twitter to stem the flow in case the terrorists were on Twitter themselves.

But we did have our own *Breaking News*:  The arrest of Damien Green MP. AS with many other law and political bloggers I covered it in a post and, in fact, did a podcast with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog on Saturday morning.  Carl is always on the money with his observations on constitutional law and it was a pleasure to spend half an hour in discussion with him about this fascinating story.

I have a feeling that the story has a bit to run. The Speaker, certainly, has some explaining to do, given reports in the press today casting doubt on the consent to enter parliament issue.

My eye was caught by a story on Inner Temple’s excellent  Current Awareness RSS feed: “A High Court has upheld a tribunal’s findings that a West Yorkshire dentist urinated in his surgery sink before treating a patient.” It appears, from the BBC report, that the dentist did urinate into his surgery sink – but the High Court quashed the “findings Mr Hutchinson used dental instruments to clean his ears and fingernails.” BBC.

Twitter has many benefits and while I continue to abuse it and tease the enthusiastic marketer lawyers from the States… I did learn that an armless man has been caught driving in China through Twitter – so I’m a fan. If you want to wast some more time and follow the good, the bad and the nonsense (and Stephen Fry is an enthusiastic Twitter user) … follow me and reach @Geeklawyer, @Infobunny, @Scottgreenfield, @Colinsamuels, @Jaffne, @gideonstrumpet, @kevinokeefe and a whole raft of rather amusing and interesting people. I’m afraid that my *Tweets* drone on about the boat, ducks, Hans and his U-Boat surfacing in the Thames right outside my boat – but others are more ‘sensible’….. or are they?

An excellent post for smokers in The Devil’s Kitchen today by guest “The Filthy Smoker”: “One the best things about the smoking ban is that you no longer have to step over dead bodies to get to the bar. We all remember, don’t we, the familiar sight of nonsmokers clutching at their chest as that lethal secondhand smoke triggered one cardiac arrest after another. On any visit to the pub you could be certain to witness at least one heart attack. The life expectancy for barmaids was three weeks. Thank God those days are over.”

The Filthy Smoker notes that the media fell over themselves to applaud the smoking ban when it was revealed that heart attacks, particularly in Scotland, were falling – but now it seems that the heart attack rate has been falling for some years… mind you… pubs are going bankrupt and many pubs, some say,  are thoroughly miserable places nowfull of non-smokers nursing a pint or nipping outside to drink with the pissed smokers – and that the smoking ban has not been the medical “promised Land’ lazy hacks from the media hyped it up to be!

Rather more interesting, for me however as a man who enjoys ‘turns of phrase’,  was the language employed by Filthy Smoker. I give a few examples which made me laugh….

“Inevitably, one the hatchet-faced gurners from Action on Smoking and Health piped up to make the implied connection with passive smoking explicit…”

“Even in the swivel-eyed fantasy world of anti-smoking nutjobs….”

As they say… some of my best friends are non-smokers, but they seem pretty tolerant when they are standing outside in the cold wet rain drinking as we smokers puff away!

There is a lot of navel gazing, over-analysis and horseshit going on in *social media* at the moment. here is yet another article… this time not from the States but from Canada… It’s not just the housing bubble and the stock market that crashed, says Steve Rubel, the digital media guy at PR giant Edelman. People’s attention spans have also burst after a prolonged distension… The number of things coming at us has outstripped what we’re capable of managing,” he said, as blogs, Twitter, and information on demand continue to proliferate.”

I liked the word *distension*… must shoehorn that into my next Christmas lunch speech….  Mon dieu….. why  all the analysis… It is only a bloody blog….Facebook or Twitter…. analysis schamanlysis.. I fear.

I did, however, have some difficulty trying to decipher what the writer meant by this paragraph… ” But, Rubel claims, he’s fortunate to have found a vocation where his ADD is able to work in his favour. He says spending so much of his time in the overstimulated digital culture gave him a special appreciation for how to market to its attention-deficient natives.”

I am sending it to M15 and GCHQ.

And finally… at least for Part I…. RollonFriday.com continues with the search for unusual law firm names…

Irish firm Argue & Phibbs;

Knocker & Foskett Senior Partner, Mr R Don;

– Trainee Mark Reckless and partner and water industry specialist, Trevor Turtle, at Herbert Smith;

Chad P Ennis and Sanford (affectionately known as Sandy) Weiner, at Vinson & Elkins.

Scott Greenfield, US Attorney and author of the Simple Justice blog has an interesting post today – where mention of a Judge Lawless is made.

That is all for tonight… the British 15% fortified red has woven a spell…. I’m now going to lie down and think… of many things.  Back tomorrow…

Regards, as always…

Podcast 80: With Carl Gardner on The arrest of Damien Green MP

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, a barrister, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog about the extraordinary arrest  by Police of shadow frontbench spokesman on Immigration, Damien Green MP.

We break the discussion into five sections: (1) The power of arrest and the potential charge –  (2) The PM, Home Secretary and senior government ministers did not know about the arrest in advance, yet The Speaker, David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson did – why? – (3) The Speaker’s role – he authorised the search (4) Cross party anger and irritation and (5) Will there be a prosecution.

It was a wide ranging discussion, bringing in opinion from the traditional media and well known UK law blogs.

Listen to Podcast 80: With Carl Gardner on The arrest of Damien Green MP

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Related link from Charon blog: Arrest of Tory  MP Damien Green

Related link from Head of Legal blog: Justifying misconduct in public office

Arrest of Tory MP: Cameron comment

David Cameron, interviewed by the BBC early this morning, gave a strong statement of concern that a front bench opposition spokesman was arrested yesterday and asked the perfectly reasonable question why it was necessary for nine counter-terrorism police officers to search his house and others to search his office in Parliament.  Cameron said “If they wanted to talk to Damien Green… why didn’t they pick up the telephone.”

The BBC reports: ” Police say Mr Green was held on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office” and “aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office”. He was released on bail until a date in February….. The MP has denied any wrongdoing and said “opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account” and that he would “continue to do so”.

Cameron made the point that government ministers did not know anything bout the arrest – despite the fact that both he and the Speaker had been told shortly before – and that in itself raised further questions and that if they did not know “what do they think about the fact that an opposition politician has been arrested for making public information in the public interest and which may be uncomfortable for the government.”

We hear that leaking has been almost a tradition of government in this country – and, it would appear,  political journos are waiting to see if the famed “Treasury Mole” is soon to be outed – so what was exceptional in this situation..?

The BBC has a Q&A page on this:   One question is particularly interesting…

Has this happened before?

No. It is unprecedented for an MP to be arrested and his office searched by police in connection with a leak inquiry. The law Mr Green is suspected of breaking is an obscure, little-used piece of legislation.

The story unfolds….

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UPDATE: 13.30 Friday 28th November

1.  Edinburgh advocate Reactionary Snob has a robust view

From the comments section… “But I don’t believe that this was a breach of the official secrets act, or that doesn’t seem to be what the police are saying…….Furthermore, is Jacqui Smith not in operational control of Counter Terrorism?

I am struggling to believe that none of the Attorney General, the Home Secretary or the Justice Secretary knew about this knew about the intention to arrest a senior MP and search his offices (a la King Charles)?….. The speaker and the serjeant at arms knew about it… and are we to believe that Gorbals Mick did not think to ring the PM with the juicy goss?”

See also: Reactionary Snob:

The crunch of jackboots on the autumn leaves

This is a matter for the police…The Prime Minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest of Mr Green and was only informed after the event.

“Hmmm. I don’t believe this, I can’t believe this. The Police are either completely fucking stupid (admittedly not outwith the realms of possibility) but more likely they were either a) instructed to do this (unlikely) or b) made sure that their arses were gold-plated before they arrested an MP (i.e. getting direct authorisation to proceed from within Westminster). Dim as the Met can be there is no way on Earth they would have sent 6 armed anti-terror police into an elected representative’s house (and offices) without covering themselves from the inevitable shitstorm.”

UPDATE: 2.30 pm 28th November


1.  Douglas Carswell MP“Speaker sanctioned Police Raid.”

Carswell writes: ” Guido Fawkes is brilliant today – pointing out that no action was taken when public officials conspired to give the BBC’s Robert Peston sensitive information – allegedly.

2. Guido Fawkes: Arrest Osborne next – he seems to be in receipt of  secret Treasury information?

3.  I am doing a Podcast on this Farago with Carl Gardner, Head of Legal tomorrow morning.

Should be fun.

UPDATE: 6.45 pm 28th November

1.  Joshua Rozenburg in The Telegraph suggests that the arrest of Damien Green MP was not as perplexing as it would seem.  A worthy (and interesting)  article explaining the law – but doesn’t address the real issue of *Why* the PM, Home Secretary, other senior government ministers were not told in advanve whereas The Speaker, David Cameron  and Boris Johnson were told in advance

Rozenburg suggests that Green was arrested after Parliament was prorogued and to make it easier for the Police to search his office when he wasn’t there.  Surely the Police did not withold information about the imminent arrest from the PM, the Home Secretary and other Labour officials in case ‘the information leaked out’?   That would be ridiculous.

2. Bearwatch:  A warning from History

Charles I attempts to arrest five Members of Parliament, 6 January 1642

The story continues…..


28th November: Daily Legal News up on Insite Law

Daily Legal News and updated law blog news now up on Insite Law

Senior Tory, Damien Green MP, angered by his arrest

The BBC reports
that a senior Conservative MP has reacted angrily to his arrest by police investigating the alleged leaking of Home Office information.
“Police say Mr Green was held on Thursday on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office”. He was questioned, but has not been charged and was bailed until February.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Mr Green said: “I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong….“I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret – information that the public has a right to know….. In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account.”

The full story has yet to break but David Cameron has called a press conference for 8.00. Guido Fawkes and other political commentators are also pointing to the issue of the ‘famed Treasury mole’.

Guido Fawkes has a rather poignant graphic comparing Brown to Mugabe:
“Guido can’t remember anything like this happening in his lifetime. This was not a national security issue. Counter terrorist police arresting opposition politicians?”

Carl Gardner, author of The Head of Legal Blog, has a fairly detailed analysis

“I don’t for one moment think the government knew of, ordered or connived in the arrest – if they did, it would be a British mini-Watergate – and part of the reason I take that view is that this is extremely unhelpful to them politically. The apparent involvement of counter-terrorist police seems massively over the top and the whole affair throws the David Davis approach to civil liberties into sharp relief…..”… more from Head of Legal

More information will inevitably come through today. If the government was not aware of counter terrorism police activity (or any other unit of the Police Service) – as they maintain; arresting a senior frontbench opposition spokesman, searching his office in Parliament – surely they should have been?

We shall see what transpires as news comes out.

‘Summary justice’ soars as courts bypassed

The Times reports: ” Out-of-court punishments accounted for more than half of all offences dealt with by the criminal justice system last year, according to figures published today. The rise of summary justice at the expense of formal court hearings in courts is worrying both magistrates and judges who fear it is making a mockery of justice.”

While I plan to address this question rather more sensibly in Insite Law tomorrow morning – I thought I would cover the point as I see it rather less sensibly – but with a degree of raw honesty – here tonight. I am not surprised that magistrates and judges are worried about the rise of summary justice.  Summary justice can be a very dangerous tool in unskilled hands.

The Labour government over the past ten years has created more new laws than any government in British history.  That burning at the stake for littering  has not been brought in is, quite possibly, an oversight at the Ministry of Justice and Revenue Generation.

I am a fan of good, moderate, proportionate, sensible policing.  Most people are and properly trained police officers, policing with ‘consent’ do a pretty good job overall.  Yes… there are problems  with some Police officers but these tend to be high profile incidents and are investigated thoroughly. In the great scheme of things and daily operational life there are not that many serious breaches of law or procedure by police officers.

Unfortunately, we now have many more offences, a boatload of organisations with power to do this and that, to levy fixed penalties and regulate our lives and….  we have the Police Community Support Officers. I watch them shambling down the High Street each morning – resolutely searching for another caff to have another bun, knowing that they would not be able to deal with any serious crime or disaster should one arise. What is the point of them?  Would you want a relatively untrained PCSO assisting you in a bad car crash?  I wouldn’t.  I’d want a highly trained and experienced cop, even better a specialist traffic cop,  and a paramedic on scene.

We have fixed penalties for speeding, for parking infringements, for littering, for not putting our dustbins out on the approved day in the approved  way – and so on and so forth. We were even threatened with ‘Smoking Police’  when the smoking ban came in. There are cameras everywhere recording our transgressions – and these cameras provide the evidence for yet more minor offence infringement notices and fines.  Meanwhile the bankers and politicians have brought this country to its knees and crime will, as sure as night  follows day, rise in time of economic hardship, poverty and unemployment.  This time, of course, the crimes may well be rather more serious than  minor speeding, littering or failing to put the dustbin out on the approved day in the approved manner.

It is getting out of control and while it may be attractive to a government to have these highly efficient revenues and provide work for filing clerks and bailiffs – there will come a time when this type of justice will so irritate that it will become counter productive and lead to revolt – revolt through the ballot box in our case.

***

There are many pleasures to be had living on a boat. One is that I don’t have Fuckwits from the Police Community Support Service turning up on my door to tell me to cut my hedge because a criminal could hide behind it.

Right… I feel better.  Please feel free to have a RANT in my comments section. If you would like to get roaring drunk before you do post – bookmark this post and  come back.  I shall only edit comments if they are likely to result in me being issued with a fixed penalty notice!  Enjoy….

Editorial note:  I am quite aware that this is (a) a rant (b) irrational rambling and (c) fails to address the issue sensibly.

Twitter: When two tribes go to war

Appropriate for Twitter, so I will start with a line from the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song Two Tribes… ” Listen to the voice saying follow me”…  (Pic through Google from Ivanpope blog – a good pastiche)

Twitter, a tool for procrastinators or a useful marketing and communication tool?

Frankly, I don’t care that much how people define Twitter, what they use it for or whether they get hot under the collar about it when others don’t use it in a *suitable* manner.  For the professional curmudgeon ( I fall into this category very occasionally) … there is the *Unfollow* button and on a cold wet windy evening, a bottle of wine to hand, there are pleasures to be had in blocking spammers and in thinking… “I wonder what will happen if I *unfollow* this person?

Needless to say, I do not use Twitter for any sensible purpose whatsoever… at least… not *knowingly*…

I did find something useful recently, however, through Twitter. Last week, I did a podcast with Susan Cartier Liebel, founder of the Solo Practice University – an interesting idea.  Yesterday I read that Scott Greenfield, the first SPU ‘professor’ to be appointed to the SPU Faculty was also the first  to resign.  Scott Greenfield gives his reasons with precision and they are worth reading in full.  I am not a practitioner, but as entrepreneurs and self employed people know – one has to be in it to win it… so marketing is important.  The question is one of degree before marketing becomes so irritating to the viewer that it becomes a positive disincentive to engage with the provider of the service being marketed.

I’ll content myself in this debate by quoting from Scott Greenfield’s blog post and leave it at that…  I quote:

“Still, I can offer this one word of caution.  It’s a lie.  Everybody doesn’t do it.  Marketers make their living off you believing that it’s okay, that the law isn’t a profession but a business, and everybody in business sells, sells, sells.   Other lawyers who do it want you to do it too, so they won’t feel as dirty and ashamed about themselves.  But great lawyers don’t walk the streets in search of clients. Envision where you want to be ten years after you’ve gone solo, then consider whether the best way to get there is to take the high road or the low road.   Chose wisely. “

The Fool?…and a few other matters…

It is perhaps a little cruel to use Vogther’s Fool to illustrate this piece – but certain types of idiotic behaviour cross the subtle divide between folly and stupidity and a recent example of this involves a juror being kicked off a jury for consulting her Facebook friends in a jury trial.

The Sun takes up the story…

A JUROR was kicked off a trial after using Facebook to ask pals if they thought the defendants were guilty.

The woman posted details of the child abduction and sex assault case on the website. Then she told friends: “I don’t know which way to go, so I’m holding a poll.” Jurors are forbidden from discussing details of cases even with their closest family members…. Last night a legal source said the juror could have been charged with contempt of court — and the trial scrapped. The expert added: “It defies belief. She obviously has no grasp of how the judicial process works in this country. “She had been asking her mates what they thought — and some people came back with guilty verdicts”

I rather liked the bit at the end of the story.. “… and some people came back with guilty verdicts”

Not having a great deal to do at 8.00 this evening… my train of thought turned to the concept of ‘folly’ and ‘fools’.  A quick trip to Google revealed some useful quotations from the famous…

‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.’ – Abraham Lincoln

Plato, on a rather more serious note took the view… “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” but my favourite quote on this theme is from Will Rogers…

“If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”

Prescient words indeed in these difficult financial and fiscal times.

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UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS

Making it perfectly clear that there is no connection with the story below and the general theme of this post, despite George Osborne’s recent *From Rusia With Love* momentGuido Fawkes reports that ‘the boy dun good’ and hacked it in what appears to be an excellent speech rebutting Darling’s ‘Mortgage Britain PLC – Do not pass Go’ speech today.

24 November: News and changes to Insite Law

I am gradually developing the Insite Law online magazine to increase the coverage of daily legal news from the traditional media and, as important, the UK and other law blogs.

This process will continue over the next few weeks – but I have made a start – Daily News and the latest from the blogs is now up on Insite Law.

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Blawg Review 187: Lawyer Casting
It so happens that Monday is Evolution Day, which celebrates the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of The Origin of Species on November 24, 1859.

23 November: Postcard from The Boat

It was snowing at 8.00 this morning for a few brief moments before the sleet set in and making climbing the gangway from the boats to the Embankment a fairly challenging exercise;  holding wind blown umbrella in one hand and keeping myself upright with the other hand gripping the gangway rails. One benefit – plenty of room to sit outside the cafe this morning for my espresso, a bit of breakfast and a quick run through several Sundays.

Excellent news today about 10,000 Tasers being issued to 43 UK Police forces?
The Independent.  Ironic that this story comes but six weeks after an amusing report in The Register – that ‘Trigger happy Welsh cops have been tasering sheep’. Unfortunately, most reports about the police using firearams and tasers are rather more serious: Police accused of firing taser into head of innocent man | Now Police can usee tasers against children

Ed of Blawg Review is on Twitter.

blawgreview Charlie Green says, “blogs and communities and twitter feeds et al have not rewritten the rules of relationships.” Here is the link.  There is a lovely bit of irony in the final paragraph.  It is quite possible hat I found it o after a glass or two earlier.

It is, hopefully, unlikely that any blawger will need liability insurance – but if decide to run amok one night, hit the juice and then the *Publish* button…. this ‘may’ be for you.
Saw this on Guido Fawkes blog… Drinkers Alliance?… Yes, I thought to myself… this is a plan… a good one.  If you click the link you will also find an opportunity to have your voice heard if you believe the government is going to tax responsible  middle aged binge-drinkers and bring us into line with our younger generation of binge drinkers.
On that note…. a very brief postcard.  Have to hit the futon early….

Broome & Delancey a US diner in Battersea?…

My ‘career’ as a restaurant reviewer for LawandMore continues, and pleasurably so.  Last Tuesday evening  I left The Boat in Chelsea, crossed Battersea Bridge,  and found myself in Battersea Rise at Broome & Delancey at 8.00 on the dot ready to eat good food, drink a decent wine and be a restaurant reviewer once more.  I had been offered the opportunity to review a restaurant in London’s Mayfair – but Battersea, frankly, seemed to me a better bet and, quite possibly, more fun. No money was harmed during the production of this review.  The role of restaurant reviewer is pro bono and carries no ‘honorarium’ – not even a right to herd sheep across a London bridge.

So there I was, last Tuesday night, wearing my trusty Australian Driza–Bone®, being led to the cocktail bar on the right of the entrance by one of the highly efficient and very pleasant crew; accompanied by a very good friend of mine who hails from South Africa and who knows a thing or two about biltong and cooking.  His knowledge of wine, from personal and regular consumption, was also helpful.

Broome & Delancey describes itself as follows: “Named after two of Manhattan’s most vibrant and eclectic streets, Broome & Delancey combines Parisian glamour with New York vitality. Situated on Battersea Rise near Clapham Common, this classic yet contemporary restaurant features a striking open plan kitchen, two attractive dining spaces, an al fresco terrace and a dedicated cocktail and wine bar.”

I  shall return to the food and the wine later. Tania, from Lithuania,  who had done five years training as a cocktail barwoman,  asked us what we would like to have. Regular readers of my blog will know that apart from the odd shot of grappa (and the very occasional brandy / vodka / gin / double malt whisky / bourbon / naval rum) I do not tend to drink spirits.  I was, however, in an extremely well equipped cocktail bar, complete with stainless steel shakers – and it just had to be a cocktail from their extensive list.  I felt mildly piratical that evening so, passing on the traditional ‘Martini’, I asked Tania for something rum based. It was like being back at university in a geochemistry laboratory, which I studied as a part of a geophysics course before changing to Law.  I watched as Tania poured strawberry juice, rum, various other extracts, juices and potions into a glass, slotted the glass into the metal shaker, shook it about – a wonderful performance in itself –  and then delivered, with crushed ice,  a drink of fabulous flavours and a decent level of potency.  Mint was added and a straw… but… no umbrella.

I have absolutely no idea what Johnny Biltong, as I will call my South African friend, had – but it put a smile on his face. Mea culpa – I forgot to take a note and, as I write, he is entertaining himself somewhere in London, so I cannot consult him.The cocktail list is extensive.

We were then collected by a very amusing waiter and taken to our table by the window. I noted the heaters affixed to the walls on the outside of the restaurant – and a seating area.  This would prove most useful to both of us for a bit of serial smoking later in the evening.

The service was exceptional – and, most important, friendly and amusing.  Ben, the manager for our evening, a lively New Zealander, came over to chat and told us about the restaurant.  Even though the staff knew that *I* was doing a ‘review’ – I can assure you that everyone else in the restaurant (which was pretty busy in these credit-crunch times) got the same friendly and excellent service.

I have never eaten at a restaurant combining ‘Parisian glamour’ and ‘New York vitality’ – so I was looking forward to the experience of straddling two great continents in food terms. The food is good.  A sensibly restricted menu offers sufficient choice for carnivore, fish eater and vegetarian alike and was good.

I am a great fan of liver, bacon, onions and mash.  My problem is that I like the liver  to be cremated.  I asked our friendly waiter if Chef would be happy to do it ‘well done’.  I did not mention the *Cremation* word.  Chef was happy to cook to the customer’s requirements, I was assured.  I was very tempted.  On a cold winter’s night – liver and mash can do the business.  I decided, however, to go for something a bit more subtle – a chicken paillard – basically, a chicken breast pounded with a rolling pin until it is a lot thinner.  In this case, the chicken paillard was excellent; moist, infused with rational amounts of herbs,  and it tasted like good chicken.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Johnny Biltong did not surprise me in his choice.  Perhaps used to raw or air dried meat,  and not having consumed enough of the stuff since breakfast that morning, he went for the Broome & Delancey rib-eye steak and chips.  Very few chefs can mess up a steak – and he enjoyed his. A very generous portion.  It was, for me, quite amusing to see him struggle to eat it all.

Prices are pub gastro level ranging from £5-6 pounds for very good starters (We had tiger prawns and an exceptional smoked salmon) to £9-16.50 for the mains. The puddings, also rather good – particularly the chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce –  are priced at £5.50. I have to say that three courses was a bit of a challenge for me – I am maintaining a slim look this season – because the portions are generous.

So what did we have to drink? The wine list is sensible and fairy eclectic.  I make a point of always drinking the house wine when I do reviews, even if something more generous is offered. A decent restaurant will always offer a sensibly priced good house wine. Delancey & Broome followed this tradition.   I enjoyed the bottle of house red. I can’t show you the wine list – because they don’t seem to have it in pdf format.  Usual suspects well represented.

And so… to the pleasures of being in a restaurant and, more particularly, this restaurant

Unfortunately the Broome & Delancey website has gone for pictures of an empty restaurant.  This is usual with restaurants, but a pity – because the restaurant is far better looking in the flesh than it is in the stylish photographs on the website.

Johnny Biltong was surprised, as I was, to find that the restaurant was pretty busy on a cold Tuesday evening in credit-crunch Britain.  The atmosphere was good.  I have no idea if I felt particularly Parisian or whether I felt I could be in New York.  That didn’t matter – we were able to nip out for a cigarette in the heated seating area outside – the aluminium chairs were a bit cold – and return to find napkins folded and the table tidied by the stealthy staff.  The restaurant had a good feel to it – chatting friends, couples – an eclectic mix. The place felt relaxed and enjoyable to be in – and that, for me and many others, is important.

I end, to reflect the New York diner theme, by quoting a famous American – W C Fields who remarked: “A woman drove me to drink, and I’ll be a son-of-a-gun but I never even wrote to thank her.”

I would certanly go to Broome & Delancey again.  I can see why it is popular with locals – so, if you fancy a reasonably inexpensive night out – a good cocktail, some good food and excellent service – try Broome & Delancey.  Bring a bit of Paris and New York into your life? Not sure about that one – but it was a good place to spend an evening in – and the other diners seems to be enjoying themselves.

This review will also appear on the LawandMore website at some point next week.

Broome & Delancey: 35-37 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG  Phone: 020 7228 9400   Fax: 020 7990 9968

The head chef at Broome & Delancey is Wyatt Shevloff. Initially based on the West Coast of Canada in the Rocky Mountains, Wyatt has worked throughout Asia and Europe during his career. His most recent post in London was as Opening Chef for All Star Lanes. Wyatt’s passion for honest, classic food and his enthusiasm for launching new venues will deliver a premium dining experience at B&D.

Opening Hours
Mon: CLOSED | Tues-Fri: Noon-Midnight
Sat: 9am-midnight | Sun: 9am-10:30pm

You may find three courses too much – go for two and you must try the cocktails.  They are good.

Rating:


BBC2 “Barristers” Episode 2

I’m watching Barristers Episode 2 on iPlayer – simply because I don’t have a TV on the Boat at present.  There is a wonderful irony in the iPlayer listing for this programme.  “More Like This – The Real Hustle.”  Priceless!

I will review tomorrow.  So far… quite interesting but even more bizarre than I expected.

Someone at the BBC is having a laugh – and it ain’t Jonathan Ross or Russel Brand as they have been suspended / resigned (Brand)

***

Update:  Watched the episode. Much more interesting.  Getting into what barristers do – Much more engaging… Grand Night at Middle where the Benchers had lobster and crab soup and others had corn and potato soup notwithstanding!… but even that was fun to watch – great filming and part of our nation’s history.

Enjoyed this episode – and next week looks very promising from the trail. It can’t have been easy for the students to be under the microscope – Iqbal got his pupillage, pleasingly.

Wonderfully absurd quotes?….

Mumbo jumbo, management speak, meedja speak – all have contributed to the richness of our language.

Below is a quote from  DLA Piper Joint Chief Executive Frank Burch. DLA Piper are reducing their exposure to bank credit by suggesting that income partners contribute capital and get a slice of the pie.

“Everybody who is a partner in the firm will have some skin in the game, and as you evolve and progress you will contribute more capital and have more skin in the game.”

Can’t say fairer than that….

Worthy of Matt Muttley, managing partner Muttley Dastardly LLP.

***

PRESS RELEASE: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP ARRANGES REALITY CHECK TRAINING FOR ASSOCIATES

Matt Muttley, managing partner of niche boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP, said today that a number of associates within the firm were taking an ’employee attitude’ to their work rather than thinking of the long term prosperity of the partners.

Matt Muttley said today:

“I discussed this problem with my partner John Dastardly.  As a result of this discussion, over a glass or two of Chateau Talbot 1982, we now have a number of our associates going through some specialised training.  The idea is simple.  We have rented a small allotment.  We gave each associate a 2p coin and some vegetable seeds, asked them to plant the 2p and the seeds in the ground and see whether a money tree springs up in three to four weeks time.  We believe that this training will re-focus our associates to think in tune with the partners and understand the realities of life at the top of a law firm in these difficult times.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Matt Muttley is managing partner of leading boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP

2. Interviews with Mr Muttley can be arranged.  The fee for each interview will be variable depending on what you want him to say but prices start at £5000 for a short sound-byte.

News and… Fancy a bogus title Sir / Madam?…

The news / latest from the blawgs is up on Insitelaw (Podcast by 11.00)

The Times: “A solicitor was accused yesterday of being at the centre of a dishonest trade in bogus feudal titles sold to Americans and other foreigners.”Roger Pitts-Tucker practises in The City: Website. Interestingly he appears to have a coat of arms? (above)

An action group has been set up: Phoneynobletitles.com

Podcast 79: Susan Cartier Liebel on the Solo Practice University in the US

Today I am talking to Susan Cartier Liebel a US Attorney, author of the Build a Solo Practice LLC blog in the States, and founder of the Solo Practice University – a very innovative concept for US lawyers to continue their training under the guidance of experts where their law school left off.

Susan covers the idea behind Solo Practice University, the mission, the faculty, the response so far and the likely opening date.  It is a fascinating concept and Susan’s enthusiasm is very clear.  The interview was recorded over a telephone and sound is not as good as I would have liked.

Listen to Podcast 79: Susan Cartier Liebel on the Solo Practice University in the US

Two tribes go to war?…

Daily news and blawg watch up on Insitelaw: Two tribes go to War?
Click here for Insitelaw

They are both distinguished lawyers. They both hail from the same part of the profession… but they are now taking diametrically opposing views on the legality of the Iraq war and given the pedigree of the critic, former Lord Chief Justice and senior law lord, Lord Bingham – we have to listen. Or do we? The Justice secretary, Jack Straw does not seem to be inclined to do so.

The BBC reports: “Legal advice given to Tony Blair by the attorney general prior to the Iraq war was fundamentally “flawed,” a former law lord has claimed. Lord Bingham said Lord Goldsmith had given Mr Blair “no hard evidence” that Iraq had defied UN resolutions “in a manner justifying resort to force”. Therefore, the action by the UK and US was “a serious violation of international law,” Lord Bingham added.

It was Churchill who said that history is written by the victors and that may well have been true in the past but with the internet, global communication at the press of an email send button, blog or website *publish* button – it is not quite so easy to control the ‘public record’ and lay down ‘truth’.

The BBC reports states: Responding to Lord Bingham’s criticism, Lord Goldsmith insisted the invasion of Iraq was legal. “I would not have given that advice if it were not genuinely my view,” he said.

This is a damning condemnation of what was an unjustified invasion
Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader

Lord Chancellor Jack Straw backed Lord Goldsmith, arguing that his advice “was shared by many member states across the world… I do not accept Lord Bingham’s conclusions, which do not, I am afraid, take proper account of the text of Security Council Resolution 1441 nor its negotiating history,” Mr Straw said.

The Guardian: Top judge: US and UK acted as ‘vigilantes’ in Iraq invasion
Former senior law lord condemns ‘serious violation of international law.

The influences on our lives…

We are all influenced as we pass through our seven stages…. so I thought I would start (but not undertake to complete) a list of INFLUENCES – but with a slightly different view of them.

Influences: WINSTON CHURCHILL

“My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”

West London Man (23): Half baked Alaska?

Audio Podcast Version: West London Man (23): Half Baked Alaska?

The part of Caroline was played by Jo le Huquet, Hank by Colin Samuels of Infamy or Praise and Charon took the part of George.

Inspired by an email from Colin who suggested and wrote the plotline.

***

George has participated in or been just one step removed from numerous social atrocities, but he has always maintained a solid, if somewhat decadent, reputation amongst his friends, colleagues, and social acquaintances.  Soon, however, his darkest secret may be revealed.  Unknown to those friends, colleagues, and society acquaintances, George has distant American relations whom he refuses to acknowledge, much less to discuss.  His heretofore successful efforts to deny his colonial connections are jeopardized when he receives a call that one of these cousins has found herself with time on her hands and will be visiting soon.

George is stunned to hear from an assistant to Sarah Palin, who advises our hero that cousin Sarah will soon be visiting Europe (“to clear her head after a recent setback and to establish strong foreign policy credentials for a future endeavor”) and would like to drop in on him since she knows London is a country in Europe.
***

George is at home with his wife Caroline. George is stressed and has just poured himself a very large Vodka.

LONDON

George: Caroline…  You know I mentioned that I had a distant cousin in the United States?

Caroline: Yes…. you did say something about that  years ago…

George: Er…. I don’t quite know how to bring this up…. but the cousin wants to make a visit.

Caroline: Fantastic, George… wonderful… when?  How exciting.

George: Er…. I think I can find a better word than exciting… in fact I can find two words… fucking disastrous…

Caroline: George!  Language please, pas devant les enfants… what’s the problem?

George: My distant cousin is Sarah Palin… you know… the fruitcake who shoots mooses and runs Alaska, the would be President who can see Russia from her window…

Caroline: Your cousin is Sarah Palin?…. that’s marvellous…. how amusing….. I thought you would be pleased?

George: Well… Caroline….. look at it this way…I deal with US bankers every day… well… those that haven’t jumped off a building or been sacked post Lehman…  and if they find out that I am related to Sarah Palin… however distantly… I’ll be a laughing stock on Wall Street and in the City.

Caroline: I thought you were already a laughing stocking in the City, darling….. I think she’s hilarious….

George: Hilarious is not a word I would have used…. she hasn’t got a clue about politics, economics, banking, the global financial situation and her knowledge of foreign policy and geography is laughable.

Caroline: I don’t really think you and your banking mates can afford to be all high and mighty at the moment.  Your collective greed has wrecked the world…. and I do hope you have stopped short selling banking shares because it is illegal now…

George: Yeah yeah…. out of banking shares….  dumped the lot weeks ago… doing oil and energy stocks now… far more amusing. Look…. I’m going to have make a call to Perry Mason in California…. an attorney I know.

Caroline: Perry Mason is a fictional character, darling.  How much have you had to drink?  It’s only 6.15 and Mother is coming over later.  I don’t want a repeat of three weeks ago when you were roaring and told her that  she should wear shorter skirts, wear brighter lipstick and that you were going to buy her a bright yellow feather boa for Christmas.

George: The guy’s name is Hank P Mason…. we all call him Perry…. even his wife calls him Perry.  I’ll make the call in my study….. shouldn’t be long.

George goes downstairs to the lower ground floor and into his high tech equipped study.  He makes a call to Hank P Mason, Attorney at Law.

Ring… ring… ring….ring

***

PHONECALL LONDON TO CALIFORNIA,  USA

Hank: Hank Mason, Good morning…..

George: Hey… Perry It’s George….. thanks for taking the call… just getting up or have you pulled an allnighter?…. need some advice – a very delicate matter.

Hank: Allright… shoot.

George: Is there any chance you could apply to have Sarah Palin interned at Guantanamo?

Hank: Hmm, it would’ve been easier to intern her in DC, but we missed our chance a couple of weeks ago.  You might’ve heard?  What’s up, George…. do you want advice I can bill you for or are you just juiced up and looking to chat?

George:I couldn’t be more serious… and yes… you can bill on this one…. hit that clock Perry….  I need to stop Sarah Palin getting to London?

Hank: Ontario?

George: London… London…. you know the big City, Southern England near France…. world financial centre London… Big effing Ben London… that one… Christ…. what’s happened to your geography?…  you’ve been here many times… get to New York and straight on… that London.

Hank: (laughing):  OK…. but why…. I didn’t even know she knew where London England was….. is she allowed to leave North America?  How do you know she’s going to London?  Did she call you up?

George: Well yes… Perry… as a matter of fact she did call and tell me… or rather her assistant did.  She’s a distant cousin.. and wants to come to London and see me while she is over here.  She even wants to stay!”

Hank:(laughing):  A distant cousin…. fantastic….. hey… wait till I tell the guys that George is related to the pitbull in lipstick….

George: Perry.. that’s why I am calling… I don’t want anyone to know…. so Omerta…. you saw what happened to George Osborne when he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about Mandelson and Oleg the Oligarch….. I doubt Osborne will even be toasting crumpets in the Whips office soon… even The Telegraph are calling for Cameron to roast him over the fire a la Tom Brown’s Schooldays and then sack him…  I need to keep Palin in Alaska….  so can you get her extraordinarily rendited to Guantanamo or not?

Hank: ‘Fraid not, George.  Obamassiah is getting ready to close Gitmo.  Besides, it was only ever for terrorists and Iraqis without government connections.  If you want to keep her on ice, just sign her to write her memoirs.  Hell, just sounding out the big words might keep her out of your hair for years….. can’t your people do anything… Do you know anyone at the Home Office?  Immigration… your end?

George: The Home Office? Immigration?….look… if Bin Laden flew into Heathrow sitting astride a nuclear rocket like Dr Strangelove we’d probably let him in… The Home Office is hopeless….even if they identified him they’d probably leave him on the train en route to the detention centre. We’ve got hundreds of illegals in this country.  Do you know what the Police do if they find an illegal jumping out of the back of a lorry on the motorway?  They give them a cup of tea, a letter from the Home Office and a map and tell them to make their own way to the nearest Immigration Office… farcical.

Hank: Sorry….. nothing I can do.  Unless you can convince her that you’ve all got Mad Cow again, I’d say Uncle George is getting some quality time with little Trig…

George: OK… OK… I gather she has been offered $2 million to appear in a porn movie? and I read today that she’s going to guest in Desperate Housewives….

Hank: Really?  I heard she’s going to be the Eleventh Doctor.  Pip, pip, and cheerio, old chap.

***

Audio Podcast Version: West London Man (23): Half Baked Alaska?

15-16th November: Postcard from The Boat

Half way through November and Christmas is barely six weeks away. RollonFriday reports that one law firm has already cut the budget for the Christmas party to £5 a head: “Lawyers at DWF are heading for a not-so-festive season after the firm announced that it would be donating a measly £5 per head for Christmas parties. That’s at the same time as confirming a whopping 12.5% increase in turnover for the first half of the financial year…”

An interesting week: We had a Vicar going to hospital with a potato stuck up his arse, the four Silks of The Apocalypse thundering in to support Mr Justice Eady in Dacregate and India land a probe on the moon after thrashing a truly dismal England cricket team in the first one day international in India. We also had Geeklawyer in a seminal article on European legislation regarding the ‘Three strikes and you are out for illegal downloading” rule reporting in his inimitable style.  I quote: “Natch you have to buy-off a few corrupt politicians like the sleazy retarded clothes-horse French President Sardozy who is more concerned with arranging threesomes with his whore wife than worrying where the bribes are coming from, or if the legislation is just.”

John Bolch, Family Lore, has a story about a guy who is being divorced by his wife because he has been doing virtual shagging with another woman on Second Life.

And so to the BBC 2 programme: The Barristers

Four years in the making and heralded by The Bar Council “The Barristers is an intimate portrait which details life at the Bar from aspiring barristers through to senior silks.”

Tim Dutton QC, Chairman of The Bar, says: “It has been a pleasure to work with the BBC on this documentary.  Historically, the Bar has been somewhat misunderstood and cast as a profession to which only the privileged can aspire to join.  This documentary will sweep these stereotypes away.”

So I sat down at my desk to watch The Barristers in BBC iPlayer on a cold drizzly  Saturday afternoon – a glass of Burgundy to hand and a cheroot. Did I enjoy the programme?  Not really.  The first episode covers the trials and tribulations of a group of students qualifying for the Bar. A quick trip to central casting, or so it seemed, and hey presto, a Neuberger approved group of diverse barristers to be.  I leave to Geeklawyer who is a practising barrister, to deal with the minutiae in his robust review. To be quite honest, apart from serveral cameo appearances by a man in a black robe doing criminal damage to the floor of Middle Temple’s  Elizabethan Hall with a heavy staff and getting away with it, I found it a bit heavy going.  Perhaps too much time was spent filming the stained glass, the architecture, the close ups of wigs and robes, and a selection of semi Dickensian figures processing in and out of rooms in robes? It is early days.  I shall watch the remaining episodes before giving a view – but next Saturday I shall make sure I have drunk at least a glass of decent Burgundy before switching the programme on.

Geeklawyer writes: ” So, if there was anything slightly repellent in this series it was the students. There, Geeklawyer said it. He says sorry to his many student readers but you have to understand how bad you look to a) outsiders and b) insiders. Really. One feels sorry to say it but the sight of grasping unquenchable ambition and striving is utterly repellent. Why? hard to say. One supposes that they have to do this to get on in life.”

A fairly laid back weekend, a spot of writing (sensible) and a fair bit of , shall we say, less sensible writing.  Charon After dark occupied me for part of Friday evening and the latest episode of West London Man: Half baked Alaska? is due out tonight.

I have not done an episode of West London Man for some time.  A US reader, attorney and a leading US Blawger, emailed me to say that as I hadn’t done an episode of WLM for sometime – he had started writing his own!.  I rather liked that, emailed him, received an offer from him to do an ‘american voice’ so I settled down to write episode 23 based on the US Blawgers story line which follows….

George has participated in or been just one step removed from numerous social atrocities, but he has always maintained a solid, if somewhat decadent, reputation amongst his friends, colleagues, and social acquaintances.  Soon, however, his darkest secret may be revealed.  Unknown to those friends, colleagues, and society acquaintances, George has distant American relations whom he refuses to acknowledge, much less to discuss.  His heretofore successful efforts to deny his colonial connections are jeopardized when he receives a call that one of these cousins has found herself with time on her hands and will be visiting soon.

George is stunned to hear from an assistant to Sarah Palin, who advises our hero that cousin Sarah will soon be visiting Europe (“to clear her head after a recent setback and to establish strong foreign policy credentials for a future endeavor”) and would like to drop in on him.”…

Due out tonight after 6.00 pm…

Have to go…. lunch beckons… but I’ll be back later..

Best, as always

Friday 14th November: Charon After Dark

So.. it is late on a Friday night… time for a bit of piano… a bit of chat… see what the week has been doing…. a bit of law, Dacregate, Geeklawyer on European legislation is covered on my Postcard from the Boat due tomorrow… and my guitar just had to gently weep.  I also talk about the next episode of West London Man: A half baked Alaska? – due Sunday night.

***

Audio Podcast: Charon after Dark / 14th November.

No text… only audio….

Man being the measure of all things…

We are all, I suspect, familiar with the iconic Da Vinci drawing of the man spreadeagled in the circle – “Man the measure of all things”. Tonight I watched a film  about The Prince of Wales at 60.  It was a beautifully structured and filmed documentary revealing a very different side of the Prince to the view we have been served up in the past.  It was fascinating.  I am a ‘conceptual republican’ by which I mean that I believe in the state, but a state where all have equal opportunity and to some extent monarchy precludes this ideal.

I enjoyed watching the film.  As I watched I saw a man who is indeed passionate about his country, our country, a man with a considerable range of opportunity and interest which I feel sure he would be the first to admit he has been privileged to enjoy. But he puts a great deal back without making a song and dance about it, as do all those who work in his charities, and the coverage of The Prince’s Trust demonstrated that.  As the film unfolded I found myself enjoying listening to his thoughts, enjoying his diversity and humour. Yes…. at 60 he has made the role of The Prince of Wales his own and I hope that he will continue to do so and tweak a few tails.

The one phrase in the film I particularly enjoyed was when the Prince said, in the context of talking about Children in the Arts:  “We should concentrate on excellence and forget about elitism.” Seems a pretty good concept to me.

The film is on BBC iPlayer if you have the time or inclination to watch. A portrait of an interesting man.

I shall continue to believe in the ‘conceptual republic’ – He’d be quite a good ‘President’ I suspect.  I wonder what he’d be like if he was allowed to talk freely and openly without the restrictions of protocol and convention.  🙂

Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo guests….

You wouldn’t expect a Vicar to turn up at hospital with a potato stuck up his arse would you? – but truth is stranger than fiction and, indeed, The Telegraph reported only recently.. “…a  clergyman, in his 50s, told nurses he had been hanging curtains when he fell backwards on to his kitchen table. He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap, said the vicar, who insisted he had not been playing a sex game.”

Only this morning, as I administered a bit of communion wine to my cousin Charon QC as we had a full English breakfast at a Cafe on The King’s Road, I read in The Sun the truly shocking story about another Vicar, a Church of England Vicar, who rolled up pissed to conduct services and who had been on ‘swinger’s holidays’.

I don’t know what they put in the communion wine over here but only the last time I came over to London to do an exorcism,  The Bishop of Southwark was sporting a very fetching black eye. The Telegraph reported at the time that “he could not remember being “mugged” following a drinks reception at the Irish embassy.”

Witnesses were able to assist the Bishop with his temporary amnesia and are quote as saying ” They say he ended up in Crucifix Lane, a largely deserted street next to railway arches near his cathedral, at 9.30pm where he clambered into a stranger’s Mercedes and started throwing toys on to the road. Paul Sumpter, the car’s owner, was playing pool in Suchard Bar when he heard his vehicle alarm go off. He ran outside and saw Mr Butler, dressed in his robes and a smart black over coat, sitting in the back seat throwing out the toys.

Mr Sumpter said to him: “What are doing in my car?”

Mr Butler replied: “I’m the Bishop of Southwark, it’s what I do.”

I’m not in town for long – just doing a bit of Le Credit-Crunch shopping, speak to my stockbroker and see if there are any stocks going cheap and then back to Rome to flog a few relics to the faithful.

I shall leave you with this thought from W C Fields “I never drink water. I’m afraid it will become habit-forming.”

***

Charon QC is dining at a restaurant in Chelsea and will return later….

Dancing Queen?….

While I appreciate that ballet and ballroom dancing requires a great deal of athleticism and skill (and I used to enjoy a bit of Tango in my yoof) I am enjoying the fact that the judges on “Strictly Come Dancing” are ‘spitting feathers’ at John Sergeant’s improbable continuing presence in the show and say the public is making a mockery of the whole competition.  I confess that I haven’t seen the programme (but I’m not planning to complain to the BBC about anything tonight) – but I have read the comments in a Yahoo article.  Sergeant, a former heavyweight political commentator, seems to be a bit heavy on his feet – scoring only 1 out of 10 from one judge and Arlene Phillips told him ‘you are outstanding at dancing badly’.

The public seem to love him and keep voting him back in.  I have to say I find this rather pleasing.  I like irony and it is good to have a bit of black humour in these difficult times.  Jive John…. Jive! I’ll be voting for you… often and early.

Now to rather more grave matters…

It was reported earlier today that Tony Blair’s bodyguard discharged his gun accidentally while accompanying Tony Blair in Israel.  Blair seems to have a bit of difficulty with bodyguards.  Only recently a young woman firearms officer left her Glock 17 in the lavatory at a Starbucks, prompting yet another ‘security scare’.  It seems also that the Israeli airforce was scrambled to intercept an incoming aircraft ‘believed hostile’ only to find out that Tony Blair was on board making a visit to Israel as part of his duties as a peacekeeping envoy for the Quartet.

The Four Silks of The Apocalypse thundered into town earlier today to defend Mr Justice EadyThe Times reported:

“Four leading Queen’s Counsel have made an unprecedented defence of the judge accused by newspaper chiefs of singlehandedly creating a privacy law. In a letter to The Times, the four top defamation silks reject claims that Mr Justice Eady is on a one-man mission to introduce a privacy law by the backdoor. The attack, by Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail, and supported by The Sun, “cannot stand unanswered, not least because the judge is unable to respond publicly to such criticism”, they say.

This was covered ably by Carl Gardner, Head of Legal, and I referred to it yesterday.  The Judiciary of England & Wales website has also waded in to give Daily Mail Editor Mr Dacre a basic lesson in the law of England & Wales. Statement from the Judicial Communications Office – Speech by Mr Paul Dacre

“Judges determine privacy cases in accordance with the law and the particular evidence presented by both parties. Any High Court judgment can be appealed to the Court of Appeal”.

Right…  back in your box Dacre.... talk to those who read your paper – but don’t stray into areas where you don’t know your arse from your elbow seems to be the message from the Brothers in Law. Excellent nonsense!


“Unimaginable depravity and bollocks”….

The Editor of The Daily Mail, not a newspaper I would read, decided to defend press freedom by mounting a rather ludicrous attack on Eady J’s judgment in the Mosley case – and have a quick side swipe at Mosley as well.  I could not give a damn what people as consenting adults do in private, and I suspect most people are of that view, but I do object when an editor of a national newspaper – who should be engaging in responsible journalism (if you will forgive the legal pun here – See Eady J’s judgment) – doesn’t get it right.

I was going to dissect Mr Dacre’s speech / peroration / rant (choose to your taste) myself tonight, over a glass or four of Rioja and write about it.  Fortunately, my friend Carl Gardner of The Head of legal blog has been able to put the boot in – and he did it extremely well.  Lord Falconer also did a good job on putting matters straight by defending Mr Justice Eady’s position. Very clear and well worth a listen.

Please read Carl Gardner’s piece on this if you are interested in press freedom and a sane and clear analysis of the true position in law.  I have simply contented myself by doing a “Charon after a glass” above.  On the bright side… I am free to spend more time with my bottle of wine and write about other things.

10th November: Daily legal news and podcast

Daily legal news and podcast + full update to Blawger  posts now on Insitelaw.

If you are a barrister (or a solicitor who is a bit late in completing the annual CPD requirement) and want a FREE one hour CPD Course – Insitelaw has arranged for you to have one with CPD Channel.  Check out the right hand side panel on the front page of Insitelaw.

This offer expires on 15th November – so if you want your FREE course – I’m afraid you are going to have act this week.

Sunday… Sunday…..

So… here we are.  It is Sunday evening. The rains are on the way again and the wind is picking up.  My day has been improved by the knowledge that H M The Queen Mother was a “Ghastly bigot” according to Edward Stourton in an article in The Sunday  Times.  Stourton… ‘the urbane presenter of the BBCs flagship radio programme Today’ has admitted thinking that.  I have done a quick pic in Photoshop to add an element of theatre to H M The Queen Mother’s reply to Stourton upon hearing that he had just returned from Europe some years ago.

In another form of racism…. the media, with the election of Barack Obama, is currently obsessed with black-white stories.  Hopefully they will soon tire of it.  Frankly… I couldn’t give a damn about religion, race, colour or any other irrational reason for despising other people…. although, I have to say, not too keen on Bankers at the moment – but that, I hope, is an acceptable lapse in taste in these difficult times…. and, if I did have a daughter l, I’d certainly approve of her marrying one.  Oh… hang on… perhaps I can even squeeze in…. “some of my best friends are Bankers… but you’d never know.”

Apparently, according to the News of The World,
Peaches Geldof has tired of drummer boy after 96 days and wants a divorce. (Story) However, the BBC has stepped in with a bit of late spin to suggest that this story is not true and that, ‘like any other couple… they have had their differences… but are not getting divorced.’  I do hope that Gordon Brown does not feel the need to step away from the problems of saving the world to wade in and ask for an *investigation*.

Let’s get down and dirty with a bit of wonderful British Pseudery… The Tate Gallery Rothko story

The Sunday Times aroused the pleasure zones in what is left of my cerebral cortex with a wonderful story about The Tate Gallery hanging pictures the wrong way up in the recent Rothko exhibition.  I have been told by quite a few friends recently… “you must go and see the Rothko exhibition, Charon… you simply must.”

Before I quote from the story – I’d just like to draw your attention to a review of the recent Rothko exhibition from The Sunday Times but a few weeks ago.  It is buy When news emerged that a Mark Rothko exhibition was planned for Tate Modern this autumn, my heart soared. Rothko is one of the Brobdignagians of modern art, a gripping painter of big moments of transcendental abstraction. When it turned out that the Rothko show was going to concentrate on his late work, my heart slumped. The late work is so notoriously sombre and depressing that a show consisting of nothing else would surely make a perfect venue for a suicide convention. When I finally visited the exhibition, however, my heart soared again. What an intelligent and important attempt to see and understand Rothko differently. We really have been getting him wrong…. etc etc etc….” The article goes on an on…

It may be that recent art lovers seeing Rothko at the Tate  have got him wrong because it would appear that The Tate hung the bloody paintings the wrong way up – vertically instead of horizontally as Rothko, apparently, decreed some years ago.  There was a bit of guff in the article about The Tate having a degree of discretion in the hanging of pictures for various reasons…. BUT… as I drank my coffee and ate two fried eggs, beans, bacon and two slices of toast at the caff… I’m afraid it just seemed to my jaundiced eye that the Tate got it wrong and  the pseuds have been shown up again…. Bravo!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find the article by Art Editor, Richard Brooks, in the online version of The Sunday Times today. The Emperor shall have some new clothes tomorrow.

The more perspicacious among you will, of course, have noted that I have hung the famous painting pictured above in the perfectly correct and approved modern manner. You will also have noted that I have used an inappropriate word… for if you are perspicacious you do not, of course, need to have something pointed out.  perhaps, in such a case, ‘perceptive’ would have been a better word ?  🙂

Ah… the joys of pseudery… See?  It is easy.  Have a go yourself… everyone’s at it… become a pundit… an expert….. we can all wear new clothes now and be Emperors of Bollocks.

***

Dan Hull of What About Clients writes about Dr Johnson….

Dr. Johnson on drinking

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”

I thought it appropriate to quote from one of the great American drinkers….

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.
W. C. Fields

Bankers fall into line…

The unedifying spectacle of bankers scrambling to withdraw tracker mortgages in the wake of The Bank of England rate cut from 4.5% to 3% and ‘reluctance’ to pass the interest rate cuts on to businesses and individuals was followed by the threat of government action.  Chancellor of The Exchequer, Alistair Darling, told bank bosses who argued that “they desperately needed to rebuild their finances” (some banks on taxpayer money) that they had no choice. This is a most satisfactory result for us – and a dreadful result for bankers.  As Bob Dylan said…. “The times they are a changin’…..”. Excellent.

Guardian article

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Postcard from The Boat 1 was early this weekend – so I may well do another postcard on Sunday… Below.. or here if you want to read it without scrolling down 🙂

And… as Lou Reed once said … “Just… a perfect day…”

Charon after Dark: Obama special edition

I haven’t done a “Charon after Dark” prog for a while… so I thought I’d do one tonight.  No text… audio only I’m afraid.. with music and some sound effects.  I look at George W Bush’s legacy, his use of the language common to the peoples of Great Britain and The United States of America – a bit of music from John Mayall and Bob Dylan – as “The times they are a changing….”

Listen to the podcast.  Office safe.

8th November: Postcard from the Boat

What a fascinating week. In the wake of Barack Obama being elected the 44th President of The United States we have Prime Minister Berlusconi talking about ‘suntans’ and Sarah Palin not realising that Africa was a continent.

Had an email from the editor of LawandMore, despite my post on foodery and restaurantery of earlier in the week, inviting me to do another review.  It seems that I’ll be getting my knife and fork and hip flask full of grappa out once again to brave it across the river to Battersea.

A very big hat tip to the LawandMore Editor for sending me the link to this truly exceptional series of emails where a guy tried to pay a debt owed with a drawing.  I had not seen it before – most amusing.  Tempted to try something like this in reverse myself to persuade a client to part with some shekels for my coin operated Rioja dispenser.  Have a look (look for the emails / spider on right hand side of screen – it is worth your time if you have not see this.)

RECESSION…DOOM… GLOOM… it is a good time to be a professional vulture…

Friends in certain sectors of the law – property, conveyancing, family, M&A, general commercial report hard times ahead and redundancies in the law are increasing.  BUT… the lawyers who sit watching, waiting for death to pick over the bones – Insolvency, banking fall out, litigation, some employment are raking it in… and even housing specialists with house repos according to LEGAL SPY.  There is even some suggestion that people are getting injured and then nipping off to personal injury specialists to see if they can top up their Christmas spending – no… I am making this last bit up.

I have just read on the BBC that Banks have finally got the message to pass on Bank of England rate cuts. MPs were threatening to get tough on recalcitrant banks…. I rather liked the idea of a “Greedy F**ks Exploitation Tax” rather than the dull sounding “Windfall tax”. I suspect if parliament had had to intervene and put legislative pressure on – it would have been a truly historic bipartisan majority. Again… good news for lawyers.  Bankers are even more reviled in polite and not so polite society.

So let me slip in a bit of good news and good cheer.

The BBC reports a truly amazing story: A pilot who suddenly went blind while flying his plane at 15,000ft (4,572m) was guided in to land by an RAF plane: A plane was scrambled from the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire to help stricken pilot Jim O’Neill, 65 He was flying a two-seater Cessna aircraft from Prestwick airport in Scotland to Colchester, Essex, when he suffered a stroke and lost his sight. The RAF plane flew alongside Mr O’Neill and the pilot shepherded him to the base with instructions over the radio.

Anyway… that’s enough good good news… now let’s have some good bad news. RollonFriday reports: Camerons in trouble for electrocuting students Law fairs are normally a time when firms try their best to attract the best students. However, it seems CMS Cameron McKenna has adopted a different approach by trying to maim them. The firm gave away electrical adaptors branded with their logo at a recent Cambridge University law fair. A few days later, attendees were surprised to receive the following email: Visit RollonFriday for the email (The adapter was dangerous and had to be recalled).

So Harriet Harman QC, MP wades in yet again with a load of nonsense… One assumes, not unreasonably,  given that Ms Harman is a QC ( a real one… I hasten to add)… she is not ‘stupid’ – although stupidity appears to be no bar to election to parliament or, indeed, the achieving of high ministerial office. Ms Harman has decided that men are getting away with murder and wishes to do away with the defence of provocation.  This, not surprisingly, has attracted the attention of our most senior Law Lord, Lord Phillips of Matravers, who is uneasy. Lord Phillips statedMinisters had not persuaded him of the merits of the change.”  He also said that said that “there were other defects in ministers’ proposals.”  Lord Phillips views, for those who wish to pursue, are reported in this Times article.

Fellow Blogger The Fat Bigot, who I had the pleasure of working with many years ago in the pre-Cambrian period of legal history – an experienced member of the bar himself – has some very robust and thoughtful views.  His post is worth reading in full.  I merely quote a few words for my own amusement… Sometimes I wonder what planet Harriet Harman comes from. No, let’s be realistic, it’s not sometimes, it’s almost every time she opens her mouth. Her latest piece of braindead lunacy concerns provocation as a defence to a charge of murder.”

I am not being lazy, quite the opposite.  I happen to agree with The Fat Bigot’s analysis – and he does know a thing or two about the criminal law.  Also – he says everything that really needs to be said in a blog post about it… so over to him: “What provoked Harriet to be so stupid?”

Well that is probably enough  for my first postcard from the Boat this weekend. I have to meet with a bottle of wine and see if it is open to discussion about me drinking it.  I will do another over the weekend… and may write other things as well…

As ever… have a good weekend.

Bush going… But Berlusconi is still out there in the water…

With the departure of George W Bush it may appear that we mere mortals have no major international politicians to ridicule for their behaviour…. but… Italy is taking over the baton with Prime Minister Berlusconi.  SKY News reports: “The Italian Prime Minister has been blasted for his blundering welcome of the US president-elect after he praised Barack Obama’s “suntan”.

I quote: “Silvio Berlusconi made the comment at a joint press conference with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev. “I will try to help relations between Russia and the United States where a new generation has come to power, and I don’t see problems for Medvedev to establish good relations with Obama who is handsome, young and suntanned,” he said.

Italy’s left-wing opposition parties have demanded Mr Berlusconi apologise for the gaffe – which they say is at worst racist and at best a diplomatic blunder. “Berlusconi cannot control himself in the best of circumstances,” said Dario Franceschini of Italy’s centre-left opposition Democratic Party.

7th November: New improved daily news and podcast

Daily news and podcast up on Insitelaw… NEW and IMPROVED!

As promised, I have started a very much more detailed coverage of legal, financial and important political news of interest to lawyers on Insitelaw.  I have also increased, significantly, the coverage given to the UK and other bloggers.  There is a great deal of very useful and serious analysis by UK bloggers – who write for FREE – and much of it is as good as or  rather better than the material you pay for in newspapers.

The Insitelaw magazine page – is posted to the Insitelaw blog each day as an archive (searchable).

Would Sir/Madam… like just one more mint ?

My career as a restaurant reviewer, enjoyable but shortlived, was ultimately doomed – because I cannot take some foodery or restaurantery seriously. For years we have had chefs running amok over our television screens, writing books, appearing on Chef ‘reality’ programmes – in the case of Gordon Ramsay, demonstrating his appreciation  for the English language by swearing in a curiously ineffective manner…. BUT… it is time for Chef to get back into the kitchen below stairs, cook and keep quiet. A quick walk along the King’s Road last night revealed a remarkable lack of diners and swathes of empty tables – save for cheaper establishments serving good food at sane prices and no Maitre D’ or Chefs de Rang  polishing the bloody glasses in a supercilious (possibly)  manner.

I happened to be on Gumtree tonight researching restaurant activity for an article looking at the other side of life in the restaurant world – the world of staff, the low pay, the jobs available and the possible effect ‘Le Credit-crunch’ (as some of the more expensive restaurants in London would, inevitably, call it)…. was having on the restaurant trade.  This advert and accompanying picture caught my eye… for a ‘destination restaurant’… whatever that is…. Launceston Place.

I quote the advert in full… “We are currently recruiting for an enthusiastic and talented bartender at Launceston Place, in the heart of Kensington. Our restaurant has undergone a sophisticated and contemporary refurbishment and has re-opened as an intimate and refined destination restaurant, managed by the best in the industry.  Launceston Place’s cuisine is truly unique and is created by Head Chef Tristan Welch, formerly from 2 Michelin star restaurant Petrus. Our innovative and delicious menu features classic dishes infused with unique modern techniques, showcasing flambé at the table, smoking dishes, a fine cheese trolley and speciality chocolate trolley. Michelin service is presented with elegance and finesse, and we focus on tailoring our service to each table.”

(a) How can something be  ‘truly’ unique?  It is either unique or it is not. (b) I am not entirely sure I want food infused with ‘unique modern techniques’… whatever they are…(c) I don’t know if Launceston Place has 2 Michelin stars and I can’t be bothered to find out – but…. they get the subtle plug because Cook had two at Petrus. (d) I quite enjoyed it, at old style Italian restaurants in the days of red table cloths and Chianti bottles in wicker baskets,  when a waiter with an implausibly sized pepper grinder would cremate a bit of meat in front of me by setting fire to it in a copper pan – flambe is not what I want in a restaurant.  Christ… I can do that at home when I return pissed after a night out if I need to. (e) I have no idea what ‘smoking dishes’ are – but I approve of smoking in all forms so I’m definitely up for smoking dishes – presumably outside? (f) Michelin is hinted at again even if they do or don’t have a Michelin Star(s) yet…  with the phrase…”Michelin service is presented with elegance and finesse, and we focus on tailoring our service to each table.”

I’ve always thought it wonderfully ironic that a manufacturer of rubber tyres has managed to diversify to be the definitive source of wisdom on food… good on ’em.  The AA does not have quite the same cachet. Perhaps because they spent too much time saluting motorists in the good old days. 

F**k it.. to quote Gordon Ramsay.  I won’t ever be asked to review a restaurant again… but… that is life… I’m orf to a caff to eat some spagbol and drink a lot of house red… Sorry there is no law.. been overdoing the law a bit lately…  Ciao.

***

To be fair – thoroughly enjoyed doing a few reviews for LawandMore – and the restaurants I visited were great.  A message to the Editor who set my chest hair on fire accidentally at a long lunch… “If you wan’t me to do more reviews… you know my number.  I suspect I may only be doing “Caffs” after this! We shall, no doubt, speak!”

UPDATE on Michelin Stars. I felt guilty saying that I couldn’t be bothered to check if Launceston Place had a Michelin Star(s)… so I called them on 0871 962 0636, spoke to a young lady called Julia, explained that I was doing an article for a blog on restaurants and asked how many Michelin Stars they had.  “None at the moment.. but we are hoping for one” was the straight reply. Fair enough. Sorted.  Have to be thorough in research.

Before Mr Justice X: Solicitor-advocates.

The case for the prosecution is made by Peter Lodder QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association.

Mr Lodder says this… “There is a huge increase in the use of higher-court advocates [solicitors who are qualified to act as defence advocates in serious trials]. …. The Bar does not say that such an advocate is bad by definition. Some are good, but there are many who are truly appalling – defence solicitors who have never before conducted a crown court trial and have very limited experience in the magistrates’ trials now appear as junior advocates to defend in murder trials.”

I noted, as did many, the subtle barb, the sharp lance of barristerial disdain, when Mr Lodder put the point.. that some CPS lawyers were less than top drawer and had left the bar “because they had never risen above a modest practice.”

Be that as it may, a phrase beloved of some members of the Bar, as they look out of the window while talking to you, but today I read in Legal Week that Michael Caplan QC (I looked him up in that Wikipedia thing) is a solicitor who took Silk in 2002, one of only a small band of solicitor QCs and is a well regarded partner at law firm Kingsley Knapley.  Caplan wades in from the Red corner to defend solicitor-advocates.  This is not surprising but he says this… ” It will be extremely sad if the recent public comments (see below) openly criticising solicitor-advocates, made on behalf of the criminal Bar, are allowed to cause hostility and divisiveness between the two sides of the profession.  There is a need for calm and reconciliation – and for all of us in the criminal justice system to work together to retain and promote its reputation around the world.”

I’m not entirely sure that I gained anything from reading this article other than the pleasing information that some of Mr Caplan’s best friends are criminal barristersbut it is not just barristers who can make barbed comments.  I particularly enjoyed this quote from the Legal Week post: ” I am sure that the criminal Bar, on mature reflection, will appreciate the importance of working together with solicitors, and to refrain from descending further into what many will see as divisive comments. It is better that we all work together from all sides to maintain respect and to seek to move forward.”

Absolutely, Mr Caplan…. good point.  The Criminal Bar, and indeed most barristers,  depend on solicitors for work… best they get on. We can’t have brothers-in-law falling out… that would not do at all.

I doubt that my observations are of any value to you… but as I am a relic from the Triassic… I have no obligation to get it right, provided…  as The Fat Bigot, a man of considerable eruditon and distinction who shares my taste for non-governmentallly approved drinking, opines….  I keep my comments within the law.



Remember, remember… the Fifth of November.

I could hardly let Bonfire Night go by this year without some reference to Guy Fawkes and the burning of effigies.  I’ve decided on this ‘momentous’ day to write a themed post along the lines … “Bonfires, vanity and idiocy” the latter headed by none other than departing US President George ‘Dubya’ Bush.

Yahoo has a most amusing article citing 20 of the most idiotic things George Dubya Bush has said during his presidency of eight year. I have selected my Top Five from that list in reverse order:

No 5: “I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.” – May 25, 2004.”

No 4: “The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off.” – Oct. 8, 2004.”

No 3: “We don’t believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans.” – Sept. 6, 2000.”

No 2: “I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will.” – Oct. 5, 2002.”

And… at No 1: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” – Aug. 5, 2004.”

Sorry… can’t resist: “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.” – Jan. 3, 2000

And.. on the subject of bonfires…

It seems that Jonathan Ross and Russly Brand are going burnt in effigy. Members of the Edenbridge Bonfire Society in Edenbridge, Kent, thought the shamed celebrities would be the ideal choice for their annual guy so made one out of a combination of the two personalities.

There is some hope for the world. After a recent period of being governed by a numbskull – or at least one who gives that impression, the americans have elected someone who appears to have a pretty sharp brain.  He may not have any experience of government or mainstream governmental adminsistration  and be be as Gordon Brown would put it – a ‘novice’ – but as Guido Fawkes points out on his blog, it is unlikely that Gordon Brown will be referring to his famous “no time for a novice” line when being scathing about Cameron and Osborne recently, when he talks to President-elect Obama.

***

And it is bonfire night…. so political activists decided to go for a walk wearing Guy fawkes masks. Our intrepid rapid reaction force of doughnut and pie eating PCSOs waded in to ‘have a word’ and give them a ticket.  These completely useless licensed vigilantes rounded up all the Guy Fawkes until a real policeman turned up. Guido Fawkes, not surprisingly has the story – the film  footage is also there… WTF are these amateur faux-cops doing guarding Downing Street and Parliament area anyway?  Surely this part of London must be of some interest to potential terrorists?

It is a bit wet for fireworks in rain soaked London… but at least Gordon Brown and David Cameron managed a few fireworks in the Commons today… At least Cameron managed to taunt Brown… “over his recent claim that with the economic crisis “this was no time for a novice”.

And continuing on the theme – covering both vanity and idiocy – this wonderful quote picked up by the latest edition of Private Eye No 1222…

“The Scottish Banks are among the the most stable financial institutions in the world.”

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, February 2008

And finally for this post… and the connection with this and the wonderful picture by James Fraser of Alex Salmond (left) is pure coincidence… and a bit of whim..

The Fat Bigot opines:

Got a drink problem? You need a manager.

This morning I have read of yet another fine initiative to turn Britain into the health capital of the world. The government is to spend £6million on areas worst hit by alcohol related problems. It is not yet clear what is meant by this, but I presume it means areas of the country with large numbers of alcoholics or large numbers of drink-fueled crimes.

Having read his post with some care, I concur with the the wise words of m’learned friend…


Daily Legal News and podcast

Daily Legal news and podcast up on Insitelaw

Took a few days out to deal with some business – back with a more in depth look at news from media and the law bloggers.

The plan is to expand, significantly, daily coverage from the blogs and increase the level of analysis and comment.  The coverage on Insitelaw each day (and the daily podcast) is an attempt to provide a quick reference on one page to the stories of the day in the media and in the blogs.

Have a look?

UPDATE / THANKS

Thanks to the eagle eyed reader who pointed out a typo on Insitelaw this morning… “there is a wealth of excellent material in the bogs..”  It should, of course, have read blogs.  Corrected.  Mea culpa.

2nd November: Postcard from The Boat

So… Hamilton did it in the final seconds and is World Champion.  I used to enjoy Formula One, but have not really taken any interest in it for years.  Good on him. It seems that the Curse of Jonah Brown has finally been broken.

I am on Twitter but I do not use it for marketing, networking or flogging my wares – not that I actually have any wares to flog.  UK law bloggers don’t tend to use Twitter and those who do….  abuse it with some quite surreal stuff. I am delighted, however, having been involved in a lengthy Twitter debate but a week ago about STEAK PIE,  that John Bolch, author of Family Lore, in an otherwise good and perfectly sensible review of Family law in his Week in View – did manage to get a STEAK PIE onto the vidcast.  This may well have come as a bit of a surprise to family lawyers watching the vidcast for perfectly legitimate reasons of Family Law.

So… the week has gone by and the rains draw in and grey wind and rain laden skies dominate the London skyline. I see a fair bit of the London skyline from the Boat.   But here are a couple of pics showing the skyline in recent weeks from the boat – taken on a Nokia mobile at dawn the other morning towards Battersea Bridge and towards the West.

***

The Annual Bar Conference was held this Saturday – and appears to have generated a bit of steam.

The Times headline for Frances Gibb’s report screamed…

Law could become the preserve of privileged few once more, says Bar

Given the current financial crisis this may well be true… but, of course, as with any commodity – it is a question of price… at least in private use of law.  In terms of Criminal law and other areas of law where there is a very real need to protect those in need, with a government ever more reluctant to fund the legal system adequately, the problems are likely to become more acute.

I’m not exactly crying into my wine at the prospect of extremely wealthy lawyers from the corporate-commercial sector of legal practice undergoing a bit of very temporary inconvenience in their billings and annual income.  They are coining it in and while some firms are cutting back on the biscuits and other trappings of law firm success out of necessity, others, it would appear, are doing so out of a sense of self preserving propriety.

RollonFriday.com reports: World economy collapses – Eversheds cuts back on steamed pudding: “In a clear sign of the increasingly desperate state of the World economy, urgent consultations have been held within the Eversheds partnership on the future of their free Friday lunch. RollonFriday story….

Geeklawyer, ever on the ball when it comes to technology, has cast his last love aside for the new Googlephone.  He is reporting increased business in his sector of legal work, but I have my suspicion that he hankers after a career as a secret shopper – just for the sheer amusement of it, rather than necessity.  I quote from a section of his review: ” The Googlephone by contrast is a coked up PhD student who is looking to ball you till your c**k drops off, tell you how crap you are in bed, and then rip the intellectual heart out of your life’s ouvre; just as it was about to be published.” The review is not for the faint hearted. I understand that these Googlephones can also be used for making telephone calls – perhaps even pissed up phonecalls to national treasures to relate the evening’s amusements with their grand daughter.

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross have got away with it – and the News of The World has revealed all about Georgina Baillie, a member of the satanic Sluts dance troupe.  It would appear that she may not be altogether unhappy with the furore in terms of exposure and earnin capacity going forward.  There have been reports about her wishing to sell her story for £50,000 – and why not? – as Barry Norman used to say.

It is, of course, unlikely that any readers of this blog will have seen the News of The World. This is why, as a public service, I read it every Sunday.  It is quite possible, also, that readers of this blog will not want to read the extremely lurid and detailed expose or view the graphic videos.  Should you wish to – and editorial policy here is chacun a son gout, libertarian and non existent – here is the link.

***

Well… there we are… another week has gone by. The financial climate continues to be VOLATILE…. The Bar is worried about the downturn – and so is The Law Society – and I am enjoying a glass of Fleurie this evening as a change from the wines of Northern Spain.

Mr Justice X won’t be posting tonight. He left the boat an hour ago after making various seizure orders against the few remaining bottles of Rioja in my wine rack – hence the Fleurie. Back next week… the week ahead looks good according to the crystal ball I bought from an Oxfam shop the other day.

Regards as always…

World economy collapses – Eversheds cuts back on steamed pudding