On the eve of G20 Britain leads the world in bizarre politics…

The Ranting Penguin sums it up rather well… “What a tragedy for My Lord Myners, to fall so spectacularly from grace so fucking quickly after his elevation to the peerage so he could serve in Gordon’s Government of the Talent Free” .It would seem that Lord Myners may  not be fit for purpose and according to Sir Tom McKillop, former RBS Chairman, he did know about Fred The Shred”s massive pension. Conservative MP Michael Fallon, a member of the committee, said that Lord Myners had misled Parliament and should resign.

President Obama has arrived in our sceptred isle on Airforce One and two women prattled on for what seemed hours about absolutely nothing as far as I could hear on the BBC’s pointless live coverage. Obama shook hands with Alistair Darling and then jumped on a US helicopter to be transported to the US Ambassador’s residence.  There is no record of whether he asked Chancellor Darling if he knew if  Jacqui Smith’s husband had an orange penis. BBC hyperventilators, it is believed, think not.

Chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry reports: Fritzl’s Approval Ratings Fall Below Brown’s

“The approval ratings of Austrian rapist Josef Fritzl have fallen below Gordon Brown’s according to a Daily Mirror YouGov poll published today which suggests that Brown would win a 20-seat majority at the next election if the Conservative Party were led by Fritzl. Just over 7% of those polled said they were satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, compared to 3% for Fritzl, and 11% for burglars. Brown must hold an election by June 2010 or declare himself Lord Protector.”

Douglas Carswell MP does his best to keep the flag fl;ying by writing on his blog:

Another reason MPs are resented
There’d be much less resentment over MP perks if they were all brilliant at representing the country.

Gordon Brown, out of the blue,said: “Stop cash for MP’s second homes’… finally aware, unsually for our prime minister, of mounting public irritation with troughing MPs.   It would seem that we can’t even hold a party at the House without police having to be involved. The Independent reports : “Police used CS spray to break up a scuffle in the Houses of Parliament last night, arresting a man who was a guest at a drinks reception hosted by Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles.”  The hunt is on from the bloggers and the journos for the ‘miscreants’.

And, just to show that we are really on top of things in Britain we are even letting that absurd posturing miniature Frenchman, President Sarkozy,  into the country – even after he said that that ‘Anglo-saxons’ are to blame for Le Crunch-Credit. This may well be true but we don’t need to take any lessons from The Frenchies about anything – well, apart from rugby, perhaps wine making, cooking, film making, literature – and all the good things in life.

In the preceding paragraph I am simply following in a fine tradition perfected by Goebbels (See comment on Boris article)  and now used by Boris Johnson to great effect…  of appearing to say one thing, yet saying another….. although Boris does it with rather more style and elan.

And finally…before I nip off to see if the Police have started spraying CS gas about or if any protesters have started arriving in tanks – do visit Obnoxio The Clown in the morning with your coffee… today he is direct and to the point with his Send Your MP a couple of photos campaign: Print them off, stick them in an envelope and send them to your MP. Maybe the fuckers will get the hint this time.”

Oh… and, rather bizarrely, my brother Charon QC has taken to doing imaginary podcasts with Gordon Brown.

BabyBarista comes out of the shadows!

BabyBarista comes out of the shadows!

The Times Online has today revealed Tim Kevan, barrister and author of The Barrister blog, as the writer of their blog BabyBarista . To read the article, click here . It also reports that Bloomsbury will be publishing the first book in the series entitled ‘BabyBarista and the Art of War’ (pictured). To buy an advance copy of the book, click here .

Tim Kevan’s Barrister Blog

Good stuff, Tim – keep on surfing and writing.  We’ll have to do another podcast soon.

Lawcast 124: Jacqui Gilliat, Barrister, on the problems arising out of the reduction of legal aid in family cases.

Lawcast 124: Jacqui Gilliat, Barrister, on the problems arising out of the reduction of legal aid in family cases.

Today I am talking to Jacqui Gilliat, Barrister, 4 Brick Court and author of the Bloody Relations and Family Law Week blogs about the proposed reduction in legal aid in family law cases.

Listen to the podcast

Public have their say on how criminals payback

Public have their say on how criminals payback
Ministry of Justice: A new campaign that explains how the public can have their say on the work offenders carry out on Community Payback was launched today by Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

This latest idea from the government has the whiff of being half baked. Now, in addition to the branded Hi-Viz yellow jackets to be worn by criminals doing ‘community payback’, The Ministry of Justice has plans for the public to be able to vote through DirectGov on the type of punishment criminals should receive. I have a feeling this ‘new initiative’ will descend into a TV style farce with nutters suggesting hanging, the pillory, keelhauling and couch potatoes from across the land  and the more moronic will probably want to ‘phone a friend’ to get advice before voting.

In a mature society – which we used to be – elected politicians, not hell bent on securing votes, taking advice from judges, probation officers, experts in penal theory etc etc  seems a far better way of meting out justice than this possibly and potentially ludicrous “Criminal X Factor” Style proposal. We shall see.

Nice one Jack… looking forward to your retirement after the next election?

Cry God for Harry, St George and England (not forgetting Wales)….

While we do not  yet live in a dystopic society, the dysfunctional nature of modern life; forged on an anvil of oppressive religion and laws devised to suit the needs of the ruling elite of times past, leave us in 21st century Britain with more laws than the  apparatus of the state can remember, let alone operate effectively.  Britain leads the world in the covert and overt surveillance of its people with more CCTV cameras than any other country on earth, a raft of anti-terror laws and criminal and quasi-criminal laws pumped out  of Westminster almost daily as politicians regulate a society that is moving dangerously close to being one of the most over-regulated  in Europe and, possibly, the world…  a society which has seen civil liberties eroded significantly over the past ten years of Labour rule.

I am no Tory but I marvel with no pleasure at how a Labour government, elected on the back of a promise to represent the less fortunate in our society, should enact laws which are being misused by councils and petty officials and which are being used to slowly take away the rights and freedoms we once enjoyed.

We talk blithely about British justice being the best in the world – it does have many good qualities – but our legal profession is in danger of being reduced to the role of undertaker and embalmer to a once more free country.

So what of lawyers and our role in this world?
Lawyers are under no more of a duty than plumbers, dentists and taxidermists, to act for society as a whole, to act as a bulwark against oppressive government rule, to take an active and professional interest in freedom and civil rights  and the truth of the matter is that most don’t.

We don’t have one legal profession, we have many. We have two branches to the ‘profession’: solicitors and barristers,  each  with different duties and responsibilities.   ‘Magic Circle’  and other corporate-commercial lawyers – as is their right – rarely, if ever come across civil liberty issues – save when a client faces the prospect of prosecution for a white collar crime.  These lawyers represent the interests of business, individuals or corporate entities and government. Private client lawyers generally represent the interests of those who wish to create trusts, optimise their income or avoid tax or purchase property, commodities or goods and they too are, generally, not involved in individual issues of civil liberties.  That is their chosen field of law. That is the work they are trained to do.

Listening to those who represent the profession talking about independence, about professionalism, about leading the world in the provision of legal services is enjoyable, but is it any more than ‘hype’ or  ‘blether’ as we say North of the border?  If lawyers in the business and wealthy private client sector don’t render a high quality service, there are plenty who do and who will, gladly, relieve those who don’t of the responsibility for doing so.

So, what are we left with in terms of lawyers who take upon themselves the duty and responsibility for representing the less fortunate, those who face prosecution for a crime they didn’t commit, those who need advice in a contentious divorce, those who need the help that our government should provide?

What are we left with of a legal profession of 140,000 and more lawyers who have the skills, the knowledge, the desire to ensure that our civil liberties are maintained, that law is applied according to law, that the police act properly, that other officials do not abuse their powers? I don’t know the precise answer, but I doubt that it would amount to much more than 15-20 per cent of the profession, if that.

And then what do we do to enable these remaining lawyers to act effectively? What does the government do to help these remaining lawyers?  The government has reduced legal aid in criminal law, family and other civil law fields where there is a demonstrable need for the skills of a highly trained lawyer to represent the vulnerable.  Law Centres can barely function without charitable support and civil liberty organisations, often staffed by lawyers, have also to rely on charity to operate, to protest in a reasoned manner when government acts unfairly or acts to reduce our freedoms.

It is a disgrace to our nation that we are in danger of returning to the days when ‘Justice’ was open only, like the doors of The Ritz Hotel,  to those of means, power and influence.  It is a disgrace that legal aid in criminal, family and some civil areas where the vulnerable need protection is being reduced to a point where experienced lawyers are just not able to work for the money provided.

Not all lawyers are the ‘fat cats’ beloved of the tabloid press. If a barrister or solicitor, after years of expensive training and now faced with the prospect of huge education debt,  is not able to afford to do this much needed work – the vulnerable will ultimately go unadvised and unrepesented in civil matters, the innocent will not receive proper representation when prosecuted for serious and complex crime and, I venture to suggest,  the police and public officials will feel more confident about using the extensive powers they enjoy in the knowledge that their use is unlikely to be contested by an experienced lawyer -  leaving the burden on judges to redress the balance of strong against weak in court.

This may sound extreme – and to some extent I have chosen language carefully to paint a bleak picture -  but those in the profession I have talked to in recent months paint a very bleak picture of our future if we lose the talents of experienced lawyers simply because they cannot afford to do this much needed work.

What is ‘justice’ when the strong are well represented and the weak not? Over to you……?

Finally… I leave you with this rather chilling piece by Ian Parker-Joseph of The Libertarian Party UK:

Just who is planning the violence in London next week? update

“When Police Commanders are reported to have said of the over hyped expected violence at the G20 marches that they are ‘up for it’, I seriously begin to wonder whether our prediction that the Government, and the Police, are actually looking to provoke the expected clashes.

An article in the Guardian Friday evening tells us:

Yesterday, the Metropolitan police was understood to have contacted a number of protest groups warning that the main day of protest, Wednesday, 1 April would be “very violent”, and senior commanders have insisted that they are “up for it, and up to it”, should there be any trouble.

Is this what you would call responsible policing?”

Postcard from *East of London*: 29th March

Dear Reader,

I write this week, reflecting that we live in a potentially dystopic society where the legal profession act as undertakers and embalmers, attending upon the apparatus of state and government,  with news reported this very morning that our Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is caught up in yet another expenses row.  Sky reports that ‘ a claim was put through for two adult films ordered at her home’.  Which of her two homes, we are not told.

The row centres on a £67 bill for television services claimed under her Commons expenses last June. The report continues: “According to the Sunday Express, the fee included charges for two pay-per-view films labelled “Additional Features”. The label is a euphemism for adult films used on bills “to avoid embarrassment”, the paper claimed. Films were allegedly ordered on April 1 and April 6 last year, when Ms Smith was not at her family home. Ms Smith said through her spokesman: “I am sorry that in claiming for my internet connection, I mistakenly claimed for a television package alongside it…. As soon as the matter was brought to my attention, I took immediate steps to contact the relevant parliamentary authorities and rectify the situation. All money claimed for the television package will be paid back in full.”

It would appear that her husband may have purchased these additional features, according to ‘Sky sources’. Ah well… an easy mistake to make.

Home alone?

That’s the trouble with being in the house alone.  Crack open the Beaujolais, get pissed and before one knows it…  one is rogering a naked woman in an office at the House of Commons and then being so drunk one can’t remember taking pics of this cavorting and  downloading them onto a computer.  A High Court judge, Mr Justice King, was involved this week in just such a case – in a judicial capacity.  He was not, of course, doing the drunken cavorting.

The News of The World takes up the story first reported last week:

DISGRACED sex romp MP Nigel Griffiths was covered in yet more shame last night-after a High Court Judge REJECTED his bid to SILENCE the News of the World’s TRUE revelations of his antics inside the House of Commons.

The News of the world continues… “The married former Labour minister attempted to get a legal injunction to gag us. But he failed and was SLAMMED by the judge.”

I am not entirely sure what is involved in being slammed by a high court judge  but Mr Justice King “damned Griffiths as he declared: “At the very least, he was being economical with the truth. It could be said to be a lie but I don’t have to go that far.”

Ah well… good to see that the affairs of state are proceeding in the usual ‘Carry on Shagging’ British way.

Well… I’ll be back later in the day… ineluctably….

regards as always

Charon

PS…

Does Jacqui Smith’s hubby have an orange penis?

Saturday, security, saddoes and hyperventilating journos…

As fellow blogger and former colleague from a past life The Fat Bigot would say – there is a goat over there, let’s scape it. The Police are to investigate  The Security Service MI5 “about allegations that it was complicit in the interrogation and torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee” (The Times) . It is believed that this is the first time Police, who work closely with MI5 on counter-terrorism matters, have been asked to formally investigate a branch of our intelligence services.

Presumably there is sufficient concern to justify such unprecedented action and, indeed,  The Times reveals that Attorney-General,  Baroness Scotland of Asthal, QC,  said that there were “grounds to open a criminal investigation, adding that it should be conducted “as expeditiously as possible given the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved”. She stopped short of agreeing to a full judicial inquiry as sought by some, including Sir Ken Macdonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions”

If a former DPP, Sir Ken McDonald QC, suggests a full judicial inquiry, the immediate question which springs to mind is why the Attorney is so reluctant to hold one.  Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Milliband have both stressed that Britain does not condone torure – although there is also reluctance to hold an inquiry into the Iraq War in public, perhaps for different reasons – so I feel some unease  with the present compromise and fudge.  Putting one branch of a counter-terrorism, policing and internal security  service to investigate another may prove to be difficult in practice, however impartial the investigating officers may be.

Let’s hope, as David Davis MP (a former shadown home secretary)  has suggested,  that we don’t find a low level M15 ‘goat’ and scape it.

The Independent reports: G20 protests: Cry havoc – and let slip a rainbow alliance of summit protesters. Anarchists and climate campaigners have joined forces to carry a message to world leaders meeting in London.  Protest is good, debate is to be encouraged,  but it seems that the Police will have more to contend with when the G20 leaders turn up in London for Gordon’s address to them about how he plans to save the world.  Instead of reasoned debate, intelligent analysis and interaction, some will pick up sticks, stones and kick their way into the financial heart of London and ‘attack anyone wearing a suit and tie’ according to press speculation.  I have little interest in these people and none for their methods. Frankly, at a time of serious crisis, not just for the Britain but for the world, climate change, while important, is nowhere near as important as getting medicine (and possibly surgery) to the present financially sick world.

It is quite possible, of course, that the press is whipping up a bit of froth here and even The Independent used the well worn technique beloved of tabloid hacks - ‘the one story claimed’ ploy and wrote… “One story claimed protesters would use “discarded lumps of concrete, bricks and wooden stakes”.  Another said an anarchist cell was arriving in a tank.”

A tank?  Protesters are going to arrive in a tank! Excellent nonsense. Get a traffic warden to slap a ticket on it immediately they stop where they shouldn’t stop.  That should sort it.  Get a  herd of Police Community Support Officers to give the protesters some of their  iced buns and doughnuts.

We shall see what transpires….

Charon After Dark: An interview with Gordon Brown?

Few people get a chance to interview an unelected serving Prime Minister and I am no different. So… I made an  interview up.  Here is an imaginary podcast with the Prime Minister.  I may have to get my coat – but it is Friday night and I was at a loose end with, possibly, too much Argentinian Malbec at my disposal.

Listen to the imaginary interview with Gordon Brown

27th March: I bring news of many things…

Rome fiddles while Nero burns?
The country is going through the deepest recession since the Second World War, the G20 countries are to meet shortly but it would appear that some people have other things on their minds.

Objection! Judges reject new robes
The Independent: High Court judiciary say Betty Jackson designs make them look like characters from ‘Star Trek’

The Queen also appears to have matters of State on her mind. Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of The Libertarian Party UK asks if The Queen is thinking of dissolving Parliament following recent trips to The Palace by The Governor of The Bank of England and The Chief of The Defence Staff.  Are we to have a ‘Very British Junta?” Charon QC considers the matter.

More fiddling while Rome burns occurred yesterday when a matter of national and pressing importance resulted in Parliament having to discuss this today – The Independent reports: “Royal succession rules may be reformed. Royal succession rules may be reformed. Buckingham Palace and PM in talks to give women equal rights to throne”

I cannot really understand why this matter, hardly one of the great issues of our day, has to be resolved now given that The Queen is likely to live for another 20 years and celebrate her 100th birthday and there is no immediate sign of the wayward Princes wishing to marry nice catholic girls…. or is there? The issue has been tabled by Lib-Dem MP Evan Harris, to end the “uniquely discriminatory” rules laid down by the 1701 Act of Settlement. Res ipsa loquitur.

Too young to retire at 70? We should work our judges until they are at least 75…
In 1916 the Earl of Halsbury heard a case on the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords at 92. The Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 now provides that judges must retire at 70. The Times: is pre-occupied this morning with the thought that Supreme Court judges should work until they are 75.

The news, law reports, an update to blogs and the daily news podcast is now up on Insite Law

Stick it up your Junta Mr Brown?

Is it time to call in the Generals? Yesterday, Ian Parker-Joseph joked, following Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King’s audience with The Queen (an event without precedent?),  that it would only be a matter of time before The Queen invited the Generals in.

Well… she has done just that.. or rather, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup (Chief of the Defence Staff) has popped over to The Palace for a cuppa… or was it more?  Perhaps to advise about ‘readiness’?  Who knows? Perhaps Her Majesty just wanted an update on The Queen’s Flight or to know if her son ‘Airmiles Andy’ was using any of the aircraft for his important work near foreign golf courses? ?

Today – Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of the Libertarian Party UK, reports:

“Brown and Mandelson are both out of the country, and the signals are coming thick and fast, they are even re running ‘To play the King’ and ‘House of Cards’ on Sky… The madness that is NuLabour and the European project must be brought to and end, quickly. Could Her Majesty be seriously looking to sack Brown and force an election?”

You may think that, Ian – I couldn’t possibly comment…. to borrow a much loved phrase from a particularly venal, albeit fictional, exemplar of the political species.

So, with Dan Hannan MEP ripping into Brown, with Brown being pilloried in political blogs and the dead sea (sic) press, with The City distinctly unimpressed by the offer to purchase £1.75 billion of government IOUs yesterday – is it time for change? Is it time for an election?

Can The Queen do it? YES, SHE CAN?

26th March: Insite Law – news, editorial and podcast now up

Roasted on a spit?
While Gordon Brown is roasted by Dan Hannan MEP on his visit to The European Parliament in one of the most articulate and powerful poltiical speeches I have ever listened to – excoriating – Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, has been unveiling tougher corruption laws. Hannan seems a bit bemused at the furore his speech has caused. Guido Fawkes takes up the story with…

Rushies, Co-Conspirators: “Hannan is Our Leader”

INSITE LAW MAGAZINE

Following the extensive re-design of Insite Law yesterday with nex sections – Editorial, Law News, Law Reports, From The Blogs, Profession, Students and Discussion Board – I am doing a short editorial each morning in addition to the daily news podcast and update.  These will all be archived on the Insite Law blog so you can catch up should you wish to do so.

Daily Legal News, editorial and news podcast now up on Insite Law

Charon Reports: Cheating or taking professional advice?

Listen to the Podcast: Charon Reports: Cheating or taking professional advice?

There has been a fair bit of coverage in the blogosphere and the dead tree press about the services offered by Oxbridge Training Contracts,

Legal Week reports: “A controversial company which provides model essays to university students has broadened its services to help prospective lawyers complete training contract and pupillage applications…… The move has provoked anger from some lawyers since the blog Android’s Reminiscences brought it to the wider attention of the legal profession last week when Simon Myerson QC of St Paul’s Chambers claimed in his blog, ‘Pupillage and How to Get it’, that it equated to “cheating”.

Today I talked to John Foster, spokesman for Oxbridge Training Contracts about the legality of his service, his view of the ethics and exactly what Oxbridge Training Contracts is actually offering to students who wish to use their services.  We also talk about the provision of model answers, tailored to specific questions put by the student client, and the problems that could arise if a student submits these model answers as their own work for coursework assessment.

I am a firm believer in the old adage that there are two sides to every story. I asked John Foster some difficult and direct questions and told him in advance of the podcast about the warning placed on the Bar Council OLPAS site this afternoon. Listen to his answers, make your own mind up, and if you wish to comment – please do so in the comments section below.

The Bar Council warning on the Olpas site

Bar Council Warning
The Bar Council is aware of companies operating via the internet who offer to write pupillage applications and provide other services to assist with applications and interviews. We strongly advise applicants that it is likely to be detrimental to their applications to use any service containing customised model entries or answers on application forms or for interview. We have warned chambers about their existence and to be alert to their use.
***

22nd March: Postcard from *East of London*

Jade – you have been evicted, would you please leave The World

From “fat chav racist slag” (Sun, News of The World etc etc in times not so far past)  to the “People’s Princess”  probably sums up the career of Big Brother housemate Jade Goody who passed into television and media folklore in the early hours of this morning.  It is inelegant to speak ill of the dead, so I won’t – but if I can work out how to make as much money out of my *upcoming* death, I will die a happy man.

I do hope that we shall not see the outpouring of national grief and sanctimonious hypocrisy from the media and the people of Britain who run around like headless chickens chucking flowers about and weeping in public as happened when that other People’s Princess died some years back.  The good news is (a) The Duke of Edinburgh will not be accused by conspiracy and other assorted nutters of being implicated in this death and (b) Sir Elton won’t have to turn up, rework an old song again,  and sing Candle in the Wind.

I will say this, though…. Jade was absolutely right to milk as much money out of the tabloids and other elements of the popular press to provide for her children.

Moving on.. to other matters, but staying with the News of The World.

A SENIOR Labour MP cheated on his wife in a midnight sex romp INSIDE the House of Commons.

The News of The World solemnly reports… “Former minister Nigel Griffiths, a close friend of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, cavorted with a naked brunette in his Parliamentary office on Remembrance Day. Then the shamed MP, 53, LIED about the shock breach of Commons Rules of Conduct, branding our story “outrageous.” Now he stands accused of bringing the House into disrepute.”

As I drank my tea and ate my excellent scrambled eggs with smoked salmon strips – cooked by my own fair and sober hand – I relished the world class hypocrisy of the NOTW journo who then went on to roar… “Griffiths could not have chosen a more shameful date for his sordid House of Commons sex romp— Remembrance Day. On the very day Britain was honouring its fallen heroes, Griffiths—a former Deputy Leader of the House—dishonoured the Mother of Parliaments and disgraced his privileged position.” I was amazed Neville Thurlbeck could not have shoehorned even more hyperbolating cliches into his short piece.  Must try harder next week Mr T… but good effort…. enjoyed the piece.

As a hack writer myself, I sometimes wonder what goes through the minds of Sun, Mirror and NOTW journos when they write.  Tabloid journalism in this country is, as it happens, extremely well written.  It is difficult to reduce complex political and other issues to simple terms, to come up with the classic headlines and puns, and still manage to keep a straight face while writing complete and utter hypocritical bollocks.  I refuse to believe that tabloid journos are god fearing men and women who abhor the seamy side of life, who are outraged by the peccadillos of life etc etc…   But you have to admire the mania that can come up with the headline “Louse of Commons”  Good stuff.

Yesterday I had a few comments to make about The Pope and then my cousin, Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo, helped out by doing a guest post allowing me to talk on skype to a friend about life, the universe and Scrabble ( a game I am being slaughtered in currently) Cousin Charoni wrote about the diminishing influence of the Church in advanced societies.  I contented myself by commenting on the Pope’s helpful advice to Africa.

And so… over to my mate Jimmy Bastard’s inimitable blog: Never Mind The Bollix for the first green shoots of Spring: “At lang last, the winter skies appear to brighten of a night, and the dark hibernation once more draws to an ungracious end. Nae mare will the humble drunk have to stagger hame in the first half light of a cald winters gloom. Nae mare will he run the risk of disfiguring his shoes, by way of an incongruously placed swell of a dying man. Spring has sprung its overdue fingers upon the festering cities of Ecosse. The vestige’s of culture have at last begun to screw in their only remaining 30 watt bulb.”

Rabbie Burns?  No… this is poetry!  If you have a taste for the bizarre, the surreal and the plain dirty… this blog is for you.  the Photoshoppery is also superb [Not always office safe... it has to be said] . Visit Never Mind The Bollix.

Oh.. and do try to nick one of Jimmy Bastard’s  images – just for the pop up message.  I’ll probably get a visit from The Boys… but because I am a Scot I shall assume they have come to deliver  some rather fine wine…

As to Mother’s Day… I’d be arrested if I tried to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mother – she’s been dead for 15 years.  But for those of you who do celebrate this day – have a good one.

Well the sun is shining… this means it must be time for me to open a bottle, have a glass and watch the world go by… a piu tarde

Charon

In the name of the father… the son….

I see that my cousin Charon QC  has been busy having a go at His Holiness (infra). While I would not wish to provoke yet another schism in the church, especially after that rather embarrassing business over the British holocaust denying bishop,  it is not particularly helpful to the wider interests of those of us on…shall we say… the financial wing of the church… to have His Holiness calling on our wonderful friends who lead countries in Africa to stop engaging in well established principles of administration and  ‘best practice’ by asking them to stamp out corruption. Selling relics is so 15th century… now we offer a range of services, including Premier Platimum Absolution which covers pretty well every sin from corruption to mass genocide… for a fee, of course.

For many years the Church enjoyed power, prestige, influence, great wealth and the private pleasures of the flesh by preying on the superstition and lack of education of the people it sought to have power over.  King Henry VIII started the rot by getting rid of the Pope and grabbing the land and wealth owned by the Church under the wonderful euphemism of ‘Reformation’ and set up a model more convenient to his politico-legal needs to establish a dynasty. Now we share with our brethren in other faiths a world of converts much diminished by education and seek to convert the remaining ill educated peoples of the world to our ways.

We have had some success but the internet, the spread of television and people like Hitchens and Dawkins flogging their God Delusion books through Amazon and all good bookshops has made it much more difficult to pass the collection plate around on Sundays – although we are doing good trade in ‘Weddings in Church for the modern godless couple’, particularly in our more ‘historic’ churches and…. we have upped the stakes by doing wine tastings on Sunday mornings and slipping in a bit of absolution and a complimentary wafer  as our congregation sips the wine.

I am often asked if I believe in God.  I smile beningnly, raise my arms to the heavens and say ‘God is within us all’… which usually does the business.   Now, if you forgive me, I have matters to attend to… we are developing a package for governments that are running out of money to pay their police and armed forces.  We have a working title for it… ‘Operation Put the Fear of God back into your people’.

In the name of the  Father… the son….

Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo

Infallibility and a trip to London…

I was talking to John Bolch of Family Lore earlier today and in the course of the conversation, apropos of nothing in particular, he  asked me if I had heard the latest utterances of the man in Rome with the pointed white hat, God’s Banker, the Pope. I told him that I rarely, if ever, listen to or read the musings of the mumbo jumbo men.  John, who is a fellow rationalist and non-believer, told me that The Pope was telling Africa to stop using condoms and observed, drily, that the Pope seemed to be saying that while it is a pity 22 million africans are suffering from AIDS, catholic dogma was more important.  This prompted me to google *Pope* and see what happened.

Peter Brookes cartoon from The Times

Apparently his holiness, after being criticised for suggesting that the use of condoms could endanger public health and increase the spread of AIDS (which appears to go against the usual medical advice), decided that being Pope wasn’t quite enough to keep him busy and that he would go on Stars in your Eyes and be King Canute for the day by calling for Africa to stop being corrupt – an equally pointless call to arms for those of a dictatorial and presidential disposition in this beautiful but troubled continent.

It is just as well the Pope can plead infallibility because if he was a doctor and gave such advice to a developing nation he would, I suspect, be open to litigation for professional negligence.  But there we are… moving swiftly on…

Yesterday I escaped from websites, blogs, podcasts and the like to make a State visit to London. I had planned to go up to meet a friend at 6.30 but…  The Prince of Darkness, Geeklawyer, called me from oop North where he had been giving of his expertise, to ask me if I fancied a quick drink or two at 2.00 pm. The Pope being  a catholic I accepted, showered, shaved (but leaving the tache intact), and made my way to The Lamb in Lamb’s Conduit Street.  We stood outside in the warm spring sunshine and drank wine.  Geeklawyer had cider, in fact…. about seven large glasses of the stuff at which point he decided we should do a podcast.  He produced his Google phone and hey presto… instant pile of recorded nonsense.  I shall post link when he gets round to posting it on his blog.

Being of the view that it would be inelegant to meet my friend at 6.30 pm ‘roaring on arrival’, my lunchtime consumption was moderate.  After a very enjoyable couple of hours nattering about law, philosophy and life I made my way back to ‘East of London’. A chav on the train was shouting a converstaion at his mates on his mobile.  His command of English was limited by he certainly gave the old anglo-saxon a bit of an outing.  He did not appear to grasp the concept that microphones on mobiles are capable of transmitting sound most effectively to people at the other end even if they are 50 miles away or more.

However… it appears that temporal lords may not be infallible

The Times reports that “Lord Myners knew about massive pension payout for disgraced banker.”   The Times notes… “Sir Tom MCKillop (Chairman RBS)  is understood to dispute what Lord Myners told the committee when he said that he was not informed about the size of Sir Fred’s pension pot during negotiations last October over the Government’s rescue package for the bank….In fact, according to Sir Tom, Lord Myners was told exactly how much the pension was worth”

Perhaps Lord Myners needs to put a condom over his head to protect himself from his own mouth and what comes out of it?

But the world of showbiz shows us how fallibility can be fun… The Sun reports:

KATE MOSS’s epic week on the thrash has finally caught up with her.

“The supermodel lost it when she was forced to queue for the loos at London hotspot Volstead and ended up arguing with staff. A source said: “She barged into the ladies and when she realised there were no cubicles free she starting kicking one of the doors, shouting: ‘Hurry up or I’ll kick the f***ing door down.”

Political infallibility

Ian Parker-Jospeh, leader of the Libertarian Party UK has a post today illustrating the infallibility of politicans.. or rather how infallibility can be achieved by not giving people an opportunity to take part in the decision making process.  Ian P-J reports… “The ex-mayor of London who lost his position largely through his support for the congestion charge in the capital has said the people of Bristol should not be given a say on their cities bid to introduce a charge. Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone says it would be pointless to have a referendum on congestion charging in Bristol.”

I enjoyed the bit in Ian’s  blog post… “Commenting on the position of being a directly elected Mayor he said: “I could do exactly what I wanted to do.”

I did a podcast with Ian Parker-Joseph fairly recently.  f you wish to listen to his thoughts on Liberty – listen here

And on that note… the sun is shining and I have some liquid sunshine to get stuck into… a piu tarde.

Just a few things…

And so here we are… coming up to the end of the week – has it been a good week for you?

Twitter continues to amuse (or abused in my case) and here is an excellent short film for those who share my taste for parody.

Tom Harris MP on his blog provides the following illustration of a professional busybody performing at world class levels.  I despair for our country sometimes. Here is a railway official who hasn’t quite got over Thomas The Tank Engine being officious.  I would have thought a train spotter the least likely disguise for a terrorist to adopt… but no, to this railway official this man presented  an ‘ever present danger’.

Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of the Libertarian UK Party, writes in his blog: Craig Murray to accuse Jack Straw on torture before HR committee: “The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to hear evidence from Craig Murray on torture on Tuesday 28 April at 1.45pm, where he will accuse Jack Straw of instituting and approving policy to accept intelligence from torture abroad.

Craig tells us on his blog:

I am delighted, as I have been trying for over four years to lay the truth about British torture policy before Parliament. I will testify that as British Ambassador I was told there is a very definite policy to accept intelligence from torture abroad, and that the policy was instituted and approved by Jack Straw when Foreign Secretary. I will tell them that as Ambassador I protested formally three times in writing to Jack Straw, and that the Foreign Office told me in reply to my protests that this was perfectly legal.

I will prove my evidence with documentation.”

Hi Adobe… thank you very much for writing to me

Hi Adobe… thank you very much for writing to me

… but in these difficult days why do you you think, when I have paid a lot of money for your excellent products over the years, I should want to give you my thoughts for FREE?  I am an academic lawyer, blogger and a writer…. I pay you for your software in full – have the courtesy to pay me for my opinion?

I intend to publish this on my blog and send it to my reader (depending on which Stats package you use – and that does not include @StephenFry’s Followers on Twitter, who I shall inform immediately)  – because, frankly, you make a lot of money already, which I don’t begrudge, and I really do not see why you can’t pay those you ask for advice for the time involved in completing your development surveys or give them something in return, like a free brush tool add-on for Photoshop or perhaps a turbo charged pdf add on for Acrobat Reader?

Maybe I should go off to Pirate Bay and just rip you off and get your stuff for free like everyone else does? ….  but I won’t because I am one of the last of The Mohicans and I don’t rip software off.

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh – but you guys already try to rule the world… I’m OK with that, provided you pay us to live in your world.

On that note… goodnight.

Charon QC
Blawger
http://charonqc.wordpress.com

PS… my Bank Account is a bit lonely at the moment… if you ask it nicely it will receive your consultancy fee with grace, elegance and passion …. email Tartsareus@charoninc.orgasm for details.

On 18 Mar 2009, at 00:05, The Adobe Research Team wrote:

Dear XXXXXXX

Adobe is conducting a survey to better understand the teaching and professional development needs of customers like you. Please take this opportunity to tell Adobe about your experiences so that we can continue to improve in a way that serves you best.  Please note that this survey will be running for a limited period of time; therefore, please complete the survey as soon as possible. This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

[It drones on for ages... so I cut the rest....]

Thank you in advance for your participation. We look forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely,
The Adobe Research Team

Relative sanity returns to Blawg Review with #204 hosted by Above The Law?

Good evening.  I talk to you from The Boat. Before Geeklawyer, the Prince of Darkness, returns to his coffin in the cellar, with or without a stake through the heart from those who may have been outraged by Blawg Review 203, I  am talking to him about Blawg Review 204 which is about to be hosted by the well known Above The Law tabloid in The States as Blawg Review returns to a degree of relative sanity. I say ‘Relative’ because Above The Law is well known for the dark side, humour and going off piste but, apparently without images of Victorians rogering wenches.  Good evening, Geeklawyer.  Pleased with yourself?

Watch the movie?


Read Blawg Review #203

If you would like to make your own Tory banner then click here