Sunday 25th January
Lord and Commons in the shit and talking it?….
Another interesting week in the law, quite apart from the Inauguration of President Obama, with a few constitutional issues thrown in. Gordon Brown has yet to be invited to visit the new President but may already have had an opportunity to tell Obama about his plans to save the world and enjoy a post-Obamagasm coffee after the call. Who knows? Charon interviewed the Prime Mentalist?
Gordon Brown was taken by surprise this week, believing he had secured Tory support for suppressing information on MP expenses, only to discover that this was not so during prime minister’s questions. Now we shall be able to enjoy looking at 1.2 million receipts from greedy MPs who have lined their pockets and furnished their homes courtesy of the taxpayer. I have little doubt that the newspapers will be providing us with their analysis in due course.
Petulance is always amusing to watch and I have to admit to laughing out loud as I enjoyed coffee and a woodbine this morning when I read this from The Telegraph:
Supreme Court judges complain about the name of their website.
“Judges at the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom have already voiced their displeasure at their postal address, Little George Street, which they complained was “diminutive” and not befitting “the creature being created”. They are now complaining about the name of their website.”
The Telegraph goes on to enjoy this moment of schadenfreude by noting… “We wanted supremecourt.uk, but we were told we couldn’t have it,” says Lord Hope, who will be the deputy president of the court when it opens in October. “It is now supremecourt.gsi.gov.uk, which is not particularly attractive.”
I am baffled by this petulance. The building their lordships are moving into seems to be a rather good one, designed to let the public see justice being done and, quite separate from Parliament… something, one would have thought, which would have appealed to their lordships’ sense of independence. Hopefully, their lordships will have better things to occupy their brilliant legal minds soon. The prospect of a senior member of the judiciary coming out with some other nonsense to slavering journalists, while amusing, would not be in the interests of credibility and the dignity of the new supreme court.
See also: John Bolch, Family Lore – who has a different take on the same story
It would seem that our political and legal masters are going for three YES votes on X Factor this week… or, if you prefer an Olympian metaphor.. they are going for GOLD!
The BBC reports: ‘Concern’ over peers cash claims
“The leader of the House of Lords says she is “deeply concerned” over allegations four peers were prepared to accept money to put down amendments.
The Sunday Times claims they offered to help make amendments to legislation in return for up to £120,000. Lady Royall told the BBC she had spoken to the four Labour peers concerned and would be “pursuing the matter with utmost vigour”.
The BBC reports: ” The former energy minister Lord Truscott did admit to having had “discussions” with the reporter, but told the BBC that “to suggest I would offer to put down amendments for money is a lie”.
The second ‘Lord a leaping’ is Lord Moonie, a former defence minister. He is reported as saying.. “… that he had been suspicious of the people who had approached him”. The BBC notes…. “He acknowledged discussing a fee of £30,000 with the undercover reporters but said: “I am not aware of having offered to do anything for these people that was outside the rules.”
Stepping up to the plate to represent his country is Lord Taylor of Blackburn, who said “two people approached him claiming to work for a lobbying firm and looking for help with a bill they wanted amending. He said they suggested paying him £5,000 to £10,000 a month as an adviser but he never said he would accept, no contract was signed and no money changed hands. Asked about his alleged suggestion that the rules could be “bent”, he said: “‘Bent’ to me means you will try to persuade the bureaucracy of the House to change them.”
Lady Royall went on to say that if it emerged the peers had broken the rules, they would be “named and shamed” but they could not be thrown out of the House of Lords.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg told Andrew Marr that people would be very angry reading about the “allegations of total corruption”… If anyone needed any reminder of how threadbare and weak the creditability of the way we do politics has become, they just need to look at today’s headlines,” he said.
So… there we are. Not a bad haul for a wet, grey, rainy morning. Perhaps, next week, we shall see an MP, a peer, or even a senior member of the judiciary auditioning for ‘X’ Factor or “Britain’s Got Talent’ with a dancing dog. I do hope not.