Rive Gauche: Blunders edition

I have no idea why the Tories thought it was a good idea to put Caroline ‘Nannygate’ Spelman on to BBC’s Question Time last night - because she didn’t do a very good job.  In fact, Spelman reminded me of my old days when I taught law students who turned up to tutorials hungover and unprepared  after a night on the lash and who, when I inevitably zeroed in on them to kick proceedings off, put on a slightly hunted look, eyes swivelling frantically,  as if to get inspiration from the ceiling. I remember looking up at the ceiling with them just to see if it was their lucky day and the answer to my question was, in fact,  on some celestial autocue. It never was.

Spelman, qua representative of the Tory party (and she is a front bench spokesperson after all), managed to convey the impression of a party which isn’t yet prepared and hasn’t quite thought things through.  She was particularly bad when discussing the Munir Hussain ‘have a go hero’ case and seemed unable to get the distinction between self defence and revenge. I half expected the spectre of Chris ‘Kill a burglar’ Grayling to loom in the background, arms outstretched. I’ve mocked a pic up to show you how I saw Question Time last night when this topic was being discussed.  It has to be said… I do enjoy a few glasses of rioja while watching QT.

The Tory policy on families, I suspect, is doomed to fail – another attempt by politicians to socially engineer people into a bizarre troupe of ‘Stepford’ couples.  I’m afraid I can’t be bothered to comment further on these policies and this was my mildly over refreshed take on it as I added to the nonsense tweets about #bbcqt last night.

First up from the left field this morning is another example of government brilliance and competence at controlling highly personal data.

The Independent reports: ” The personal details of hundreds of magistrates were placed in the hands of convicted criminals in a data loss blunder, it was revealed today. A directory containing names, telephone numbers and email addresses of magistrates and court legal advisors in Norfolk was sent for printing in a prison workshop manned by inmates. The document, containing details of 400 magistrates and 26 legal advisors, was sent to HMP Standford Hill in Sheerness, Kent, at the beginning of the month. Printing, which is carried out by inmates supervised by prison officers, had begun when the mistake was uncovered. The incident prompted an apology from senior courts service staff. A spokesman said all copies of the document have now been destroyed.”

Cue…the Information Commissioner banging his head on the table and some hapless minister being shunted out to do the Lessons have been learned speech from Richard III ( Copyright G.Brown 1997-2010 )

Fear (of something)  dominates the headlines for most newspapers and tv stations. Charlie Brooker’s latest Newswipe on iPlayer (available for seven days, apparently) devoted an entire edition to the way TV and mainstream news media terrorises people with scare stories… and a very amusing edition it was. I was particularly amused at the footage of a hysterical and angry US female news reporter expressing outrage at the failed attempt by Mustapha Al-Blowmyballsoff, the guy trained by Al Qaeda-on-Sea in The Yemen who tried to blow a plane up at Christmas by setting fire to his explosive underpants.  Brooker’s  response to all the shouted questions from the journalist was wonderfully laconic… “I don’t know… you are the fucking journalist.. go and find out and tell us.” (or words to that effect.  I can recommend that edition of Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe! In fact, I can recommend all Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe programmes!

The Telegraph tells us that….

Muslim police say Islam not to blame for terror attacks

“Muslim police officers have rebelled openly against the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, warning that it is an “affront to British values” which threatens to trigger ethnic unrest.” Telegraph

Good to see that the government has got a firm grip on current thinking in a section of the police force.

Over to The Sun, the thinking Tory’s favourite newspaper…… for the latest issues of the day..

The headlines today were particularly good…Blake has been at it again… (left) but the other headlines included… “Cross me and you’re dead…Fergie warns his United stars…” and

“Is this the worst Mum in Britain?…She sniffs 12 cans of lighter fuel a DAY in front of kids and down 10 cans of Stella”

And I discovered, under the headline Simon’s a very cheeky fella that SIMON Cowell patted Cheryl Cole on the bottom as they arrived at the glittering NTAs

The Sun does, eventually, find some news that people who live on earth read… and reports that Gordon Brown will be flamegrilled by the Iraq Inquiry before the election. After Jack Straw’s elegant appearance before the Inquisitioners yesterday (reported more fully in The Independent) we now have the prospect of Tony Blair next week (29th January) and Gordon Brown.  I suspect that Blair will be smooth and effective and “McDoom” will make a complete balls of it.  He is not a great public speaker… but I could be wrong.

And finally… for this week’s edition of Rive Gauche…

Apple turns lawyers loose to keep its big secret

The Times reports: “Apple has turned to its lawyers in an attempt to keep the lid on the company’s biggest product launch in three years. Its lawyers have sent a warning letter to a website that offered cash for photos of its touchscreen tablet personal computer before the product is unveiled, probably next week. The tablet will be Apple’s biggest new product category since it launched the iPhone in 2007. The company, which has turned secrecy into a marketing phenomenon, has declined to confirm even if its event a week today will reveal the much-anticipated device.”

Have a good one… there is some sensible law related stuff in the posts below and I shall, of course, continue with posts over the weekend with my Postcard from the Staterooms-on-Sea, returning to the daily Law reviews on Monday… have a good weekend..

3 thoughts on “Rive Gauche: Blunders edition

  1. On “Fear (of something) dominates the headlines for most newspapers and tv stations.” – Security expert Bruce Schneier says in his essay: “Virginia Tech Lesson: Rare Risks Breed Irrational Responses” at http://www.schneier.com/essay-171.html

    “I tell people that if it’s in the news, don’t worry about it. The very definition of “news” is “something that hardly ever happens.” It’s when something isn’t in the news, when it’s so common that it’s no longer news — car crashes, domestic violence — that you should start worrying. “

  2. Loved the description of law students seeking inspiration! Spelman was a disaster with no grip on whatever “policy” they have on families, marriage and all that. If they perform like her then the Labour Party need not worry too much about the election and that is despite the Iraq Inquiry. [In any event, the British people had the 2005 election to "punish" Blair et al. had they so wished].

    I am not so sure that Straw gave an “elegant” performance yesterday. However, in the absence of a true interrogator, he was allowed to get away with rather a lot of convoluted answers which people will think about for some time to come as they try to work out just what he meant. Maybe that shows he is cunning but I don’t know about elegant.

    Blair will be appearing before the inquiry on 29th January. Surely, by then he will know all the questions and should have his answers “off pat”. Somehow, I don’t think he is quite like some of the law students who attended your tutorials!

    Whenever Brown appears before Chilcot – (and the timing will be interesting) – I don’t see him being “flame grilled”. Personally, I don’t like my meat cooked rare and this lot don’t have a proper cooker. In fact, I would prefer to see Brown being “flame grilled” by some inquiry into the banking crisis and the regulatory system which he was instrumental in setting up.

    Which has done the most harm to Britain: Iraq or the banks. Discuss! Now that could be an interesting tutorial but do your homework first.

  3. Obiter J – Ha! Excellent observations.

    Your question would make a marvellous tutorial question.

    I described Straw’s appearance as ‘elegant’ because I like a bit of irony… which, of course, you picked up on.

    Blair’s appearance will be interesting. McDoom’s even more so… I have just written my own version of his ‘testimony’.. It is Friday, after all… see post above.

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