Law Review: The ‘Slackoisie’, double dip, Bulger case, and mysterious goings on in connection with the appointment of the new President of the Family Division.

Harman calls for Tory heads to roll over Ashcroft tax row

The Times reports: “The Ashcroft non-dom tax saga exploded on the floor of the House of Commons today as Harriet Harman called for Tory heads to roll. The Leader of the House, deputising for Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Questions, said William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, had “not a shred of credibility” on the issue. During a stormy 30-minute session, Ms Harman said the country had been misled into believing that the Tory peer was paying full tax in Britain.”

I watched PMQs yesterday.  It was like watching Dr Who as a child…I would have been better hiding behind the sofa. Hague may well have a few questions to answer about the Ashcroft affair but he is a better orator.  Meanwhile, Unite boss Jack Dromey, Harman’s house husband  is taking time out from bringing British Airways to its knees and is being parachuted in to a safe seat.  Apparently he achieved this remarkable feat by winning on an all wimmin shortlist according to Hague….. but it may be that I was hallucinating and dreamed this up while taking some restorative Rioja. I have very little sympathy for the proposed British Airways strike but if Mr Dromey and his cabin crew cohorts want to wreck British Airways and bring British Airways down even further in these hard times they will… but BA supremo Willie Walsh is fighting back with some corporate Viagra to stiffen his resolve if Unite harden their position.

William Hague hid Lord Ashcroft’s tax status for months

The Guardian reports: Former leader’s disclosure reveals peer kept financial affairs secret from senior Conservatives for a decade.

Time to shoehorn a bit of law in… I shall do it gently with this wonderful piece from our American friends…

Are You a Member of the Gen-Y ‘Slackoisie’? Find Out Here

The Wall Street Journal blog reports: “A word’s inclusion in the Urban Dictionary isn’t exactly the same as it being added to the OED. Anyone, it seems, can add pretty much any word to the UD at any time. Exclusive it ain’t.

Still, the UD goes where others don’t dare go. And along the way picks up some funny, if not g-rated or politically correct, definitions.

But the one to which we’ll introduce you today has nothing to do with drugs, sex, or rock & roll. It’s funny, though, and will probably strike many out there as either spot-on or downright offensive. It goes like this:


Prounounced “Slack-wah-zee”. This term was coined by J. Daniel Hull, Esq., author of the “What About Clients?” blawg (Pictured right …looking relaxed – CQC), and popularized by Scott H. Greenfield, Esq., author of the “Simple Justice” blawg. It refers to:

(1) a class of narcissistic young professionals, particularly attorneys (usually Gen Y/millennials), who believe that having a job is an entitlement, rather than a privilege. They often complain about the work they have (if working), opine the lack of “real lawyer” jobs available in the market, and are critical of the long hours and inadequate pay found at most small firms. They believe they are entitled to work/life balance, that their opinions on any subject are inherently important and that whatever benefits they enjoy are inadequate. The Slackoisie are more interested in having a place to go in the morning and some spending money than committing themselves to their clients and the profession; or

(2) a slacker with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement.

I like this word… I’ve come across a few of this breed in my time in the law over here…. gawd bless ‘em… some of them live in West London, the land of milk and honey where they know how to pronounce ‘grande latte’ and do so with imperious style at various coffee filling stations on Chiswick High Street while they try to make the best of house price values in a country heading towards a double dip recession.  It may be time for me to resurrect my ‘West London Man’ parody series.

On that issue… Guido Fawkes has an interesting observation this morning about Britain’s debt (less safe than Chile even after the Earthquake) and it would appear that our American friends (taking a break from sitting on the fence on the Falkland’s issue) now bracket our economy with that of Greece and are saying that we are the next basket case.

Guido notes: Chile has just had an 8.8 on the richter scale earthquake, looting and rioting are commonplace.  Even so, U.S. investors still prefer Chilean government debt to UK government debt as measured by CDS rates. Do you get how bad things are?”

Jack Straw refuses to reveal why Bulger killer has returned to jail

The Times reports: “Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, was under pressure last night to lift the veil of secrecy over the decision to return one of James Bulger’s killers to custody for breaking the terms of his parole……..Mr Straw insisted that it was not in the public interest to disclose the reason for the recall, but he was contradicted by Mr Johnson, who said: “I believe the public do have a right to know and I believe they will know all the facts in due course but I must in no way prejudice the future criminal justice proceedings.”His comment was later clarified by the Ministry of Justice, which said that Mr Johnson had been referring to a review by the Parole Board of the decision to recall Venables. The ministry said: “The Home Secretary was talking in general terms about criminal justice proceedings. He is referring to forthcoming proceedings by the Parole Board.”

Jack Straw has been very busy recently.  It appears that he may not be too keen on the appointment of Lord Justice Wall as President of the Family Division…

Top family law post vacant after challenge to government critic

Jack Straw has challenged the appointment of a new head of the family justice system who castigated the Government over its policies, including opening family courts, The Times has learnt.

An appointments panel staffed by senior judges put forward Sir Nicholas Wall to fill the post of President of the Family Division, but only one month before the post is vacated no announcement has been made. Mr Straw, the Justice Secretary, is understood to have exercised his right under the new appointments system to ask the panel to reconsider.

One senior judge said: “It is an appalling state of affairs, not to know who is taking over.” Another said: “An appointment like this is usually announced several months ahead. There is no explanation as to what is going on.”

The Times noted…. wrly?….“but the belief in legal circles is that Lord Justice Wall’s comments in a lecture last November will not have helped his cause. He told the Association of Lawyers for Children that it was the duty of judges to speak out over changes that were damaging the service to children and families.”

I have little interest in Family Law, but John Bolch of Family Lore and Pink Tape will, no doubt, be commenting on this?

Prison service ‘cannot cope with indefinite sentences’

The Independent reports: “Controversial open-ended prison sentences introduced to protect the public may have to be scrapped after inspectors warned that their cost to the penal system outweighed any benefits.Just 75 of almost 6,000 convicts held under the indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) have won their liberty since the measure was brought in by Labour four years ago.The result, said Chief Inspector of Probation, Andrew Bridges, and the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, is that prisons have become swamped with inmates whom the probation service did not have the resources to deal with. They warned that the situation has become “unsustainable” and called on ministers to begin a major review of the policy.”

A quick look at what the law bloggers are up to….

Obiter J reviews the thorny issue of… Mobile phones and driving: just what is “using”

and begins his analysis with …”Regrettably, a lot of legislation is not always entirely straightforward to interpret (or “construe”).  The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 Rule 110 seems to give rise to such problems.  Reg. 110(1) states – “No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is using (a) a hand-held mobile telephone; or (b)…”

The Fat Bigot…says…Goodbye Michael Foot

So, Michael Foot is no more, gone at the age of 96. Proof that the old saying “the good die young” gives only half the story. Reports of his death contain gushing tributes to a “man of principle” who was “true to his beliefs” and a “magnificent orator”. I can’t read stuff like that without wanting to bring up my dinner. Nick Griffin is a man of principle, David Koresh was true to his beliefs and Mussolini was great at stirring up a crowd, yet they are or were despicable pieces of filth who deserve nothing but condemnation for the dire effects of their principles, beliefs and oratory on other people….”
The Stilettoed Socialist has a fulsome tribute…“The Labour Party, today, has lost a true hero. Michael Foot was a parliamentarian held in Gordon Brown, Tony Benn and a fitting tribute was made in the House of Commons by Jack Straw after a frankly embarrassing Prime Ministers Questions, the depressing nature of which was put into sharp focus by the news of Foot’s passing. But more on that in a moment. the highest regard. One of the most outstanding orators this country has ever known and a man who defined the notion of principled politics. Tributes have been pouring in today, from Foot was the mind of the Labour Party. A remarkably intelligent writer who went from Fleet Street to Westminster with the same principles and values underpinning all his endeavours, values which were unashamedly, unapologetically socialist. Without a doubt Foot was a visionary politician, to some extent an idealist, but was one who admired, if not idolised perhaps the greatest pragmatist British Politics has ever known.”

For my part – Michael Foot was a superb orator, an intelligent and thoughtful radical and probably the worst (in terms of effectiveness) leader of the Labour Party… but one of the best in terms of principle. His manifesto may have been described as the longest suicide note in history… but he did bring to politics a sense of fairness and critical thinking which is not always to the forefront of modern political agendas.

Finally…Bystander JP of the Magistrate’s blog asks…

How Would You Deal With This?

Two middle-aged men are side by side in the dock. Each has a care worker with him as both have learning difficulties. They have committed sexual offences against girls of 12 (I have to be careful here, but suffice it to say that no physical contact was involved, but rather crude and inapproriate sexual talk) that has obviously caused great fear and upset to the young victims. The defendants are quickly identified, and brought to court.

They are charged under Section 12(1)a and other sections of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

17 thoughts on “Law Review: The ‘Slackoisie’, double dip, Bulger case, and mysterious goings on in connection with the appointment of the new President of the Family Division.

  1. I have a theory about the Venables case – Straw insisted that it was not ‘in the public interest to disclose the reason *at the moment*; I believe the key words are ‘at the moment’. If Venables HAS committed an offence, and the nature of the offence was disclosed’, people would be all over court listings looking for an appearance for that offence, given that he would, presumably, appear under his new name. His defence could then claim (reasonably??) that it was impossible for him to get a fair trial.

    I am sure that I am not the only person to be pretty certain of the geographical location where he has been living, so finding the court listing would be simple.

    Is Jack Straw right, for once?

  2. If I may, I will repeat here what I said on a previous post re Michael Foot.

    “Don’t know about you but I had an admiration for Michael Foot and what appears today to be an “old-fashioned” brand of socialism. I have little to no admiration for any of the present bunch of champagne socialists.

    Interestingly, “Wedgie Benn” also appeared. I thought that he made a fair point in saying that the socialism of Foot still ought to have a role in modern politics. Perhaps the ideas which drove Foot are still as relevant as ever. There was a kind of timeless Britishness about Foot and above all a basic decency and honesty which is sadly all too lacking today.”

    Harperson was certainly one of the champagne socialists I had in mind! The Tories should now go on the attack and bring out every embarrassing link which New Labour has to the rich and powerful.

    Also, is it not strange how the expenses (“they were all at it”) scandal has virtually disappeared. It recedes from the public mind like some distant galaxy in an ever-expanding universe.

    The media frenzy over Venables (to use his original name) shows the absolute necessity of protecting him and keeping his identity secret. To reveal what he has done might lead to people discovering his new identity. On this Straw must be right though the use of the words “at the moment” were rather worrying.

    By the way, who are the Slackoisies of British politics just now – if that is the correct plural. Love the word which could be precised to certain much shorter words but they are unfit for mention on a decent blog.

  3. revealing, i thought, on listening to pmq (what you could hear for tossers from both sides shouting the odds – we really do have to stop the idiotic behaviour or what little time people still have for mps will be further eroded) that hague should go for an attack on harperson’s husband on the basis that he represents a union that is in a legitimate dispute with an employer. at least if unite’s actions are illegal, i have yet to hear about it.
    1) we are back to the tired tory union-bashing of the 80s. leopards and spots…
    2) politicians are to be judged on the actions of their nearest and dearest and i await the resignation of osbore because of the (utterly irrelevant) actions of his brother.

    stupid stupid stupid. how can either party expect people to want to vote for them?

    and both of them need to do some vocal work. what appalling use of the voice.

  4. @simplywondered

    Just because something may not be illegal does not mean that it it necessarily right or proper. The actions of Unite in its dealings with British Airways goes beyond merely a dispute between employer and employee but harkens back to the bad old days of big bully Unions trying to impose unrealistic working practices on businesses trying to suffer through a difficult period.

    This short sighted and idiotic behaviour by Unite is irresponsible to say the least and is more damaging to their members interests than anything else. Unless BA is able to modernise it will continue to lose money, eventually resulting in far greater job losses and wage cuts than are currently being suggested.

    As to the point about politicians being judged by their family members the comparison between Harman and Osborne is completely spurious. The point about Harman being challeneged over her husband is that the reason he has been selected for that safe seat is because he is Harman’s husband. This is pure nepotism and cronyism, something which is entirely lacking from the Osborne situation. Nepotism is a problem which affects all parties, however this is not a reason for not caling someone out on it.

  5. SW / BarorBust

    1. Not all BA staff wish to see British Airways strike. It is highly likely that a strike will cause further difficulties for an already beleaguered airline. Competitors must be laughing all the way to the bank.

    2. Would Jack Dromey have secured a safe seat without the connection of Unite / his wife? If so – then… not a problem.

    3. Osbore’s brothe is utterly irrelevant in terms of Osbore’s performance as an MP and prospective Chancellor.

  6. jack dromey has been a big noise in the party for years ffs!

    of course he would have secured a nice safe seat without his being harperson’s other person.
    more questionable is whether he would have got a seat if he hadn’t been on the national executive for ages. he’s been bloody party treasurer and needs no assistance from harriet.
    i make no comment on the propriety of his becoming a candidate, but you can’t think it’s because of his wife unless you live in the surreal baseball cap fantasy world of william hague. you’d have thought hague would have more time for dromey as they both seem to have party funding scandals in common. in short it was a clumsy and misjudged attack and (i repeat) as irrelevant as osbore’s brother.

    on the logic of a ba strike – of course not all staff will want to strike but if there is a majority for strike action (or against) it’s surely a bit fucking rich of us to sit here and decide our own view should take precedence.

    yes yes, bob ‘legal does not equal right/proper’ – i had managed that bit of logic for myself. but again how the hell does this have any relevance to harperson??? if hague wants to roll out the ‘labour party in the pockets of the unions’ cliche as usual then he just needs to do it. cheap and pointless to throw it at harperson in particular.

    and a quick check of what i wrote above doesn’t appear to suggest i was saying anything different.

  7. SW – agree re Dromey – fair point.

    On BA – I look at it simply from the point of view of a business… which is ailing, which has to compete in very difficult times. Sometimes businesses are killed by the greed of the owners …and the staff!

  8. ‘Sometimes businesses are killed by the greed of the owners …and the staff!’

    yes i know. but ba isn’t being killed by harriet harman (unless someone sticks it in front of her car, in which case it may be in big trouble)

  9. Thanks for the ‘Slackoisie’ mention–which I am sure that Scott Greenfield appreciate as well. The accommodation of mediocrity in the name of W-L balance is a problem globally. Let’s confine it to workaday France, bowling alleys, and my demented Uncle Seamus in Belfast. Dan

  10. “but you can’t think it’s because of his wife unless you live in the surreal baseball cap fantasy world of william hague.”

    Mr Dromey was a candidate parachuted in by the Central office against the wishes of the local party. The strong arm tactic of linking his selection to Union funding (which Labour is becoming more and more dependent on), is enough to halt any thoughts of rebellion. I would suggest that to suggest Harman had no hand in this with the role played by the Central Office is living in a fantasy world.

    From your colourful language in the above post it would seem that a not entirely objective approach has been applied to this subject.

    As to the second point you seemed to imply that because this was not illegal it was a legitimate dispute. You therefore have, in my opinion, failed to grasp the distinction between what is technically legal and what is legitimate. The facts in this dispute are that BA are trying to reduce numbers of cabin crew to align with the standard industry practice of other airlines. They are not placing passengers at risk as is amply illustrated by the other airlines who are just as safe with the lower number. This points to there being no legitimate basis to the dispute other than the Union trying to hold the company to ransom. It is more akin to the situation where Unions were demanding that although the work took two people there should be two observing to maintain job numbers.

    As a final point, linked with the above, Unite is the largest single donor to the Labour Party coffers. It therefore is in a powerful position, one which is aided by the access which Dromey has to the upper echelons of the government through his wife. It is a legitimate concern that the government may support a large business and employer in time of recession against the actions of a Union led by the deputy leader’s husband.

    There are indeed similarities between this and the Ashcroft saga, and neither are appropriate in modern politics. This amply illustrates why the two situations are so different as to make a comparison betwen Dromey/Harman and Osborne/Osborne spurious and nonsensical.

  11. bob – try reading what i wrote, not what’s tattooed under your own eyelids…

    ‘Mr Dromey was a candidate parachuted in by the Central office against the wishes of the local party.’ – quite likely; but my case is it’s nothing to do with his wife.

    ‘As to the second point you seemed to imply that because this was not illegal it was a legitimate dispute. You therefore have, in my opinion, failed to grasp the distinction between what is technically legal and what is legitimate.’

    - nope – i said it was legal; no idea whether it is ‘legitimate’ (‘fine word legitimate’); but that’s not really my call or yours, it’s about those involved. but it still has nothing to do with his wife.

    ‘Unite is the largest single donor to the Labour Party coffers. It therefore is in a powerful position, one which is aided by the access which Dromey has to the upper echelons of the government through his wife.’

    - make yer mind up! is it down to unite and their allegedly growing influence on the labour party (i haven’t heard anyone suggest for a while that trade union influence on the labour party is actually growing, but hey…) or his wife? his access to the upper echelons is hardly going to be enhanced by his becoming a back-bencher (remember the bit about being treasurer of the party?). and, if it’s correct that his wife is pushing his agenda for him (what a beautifully tory concept!) couldn’t he just whisper sweet nothings in her fluffy little brain as she lies sleeping and save himself the fuss of getting elected? ironically (and perhaps irrelevantly), she isn’t ‘sponsored’ (another charming little conceit) by any union that i know of.

    ‘It is a legitimate concern that the government may support a large business and employer in time of recession against the actions of a Union led by the deputy leader’s husband.’

    - i’m not quite sure whether your legitimate concern is that the govt may support ba or fail to support it, but are you saying that because party treasurer and newly-elected backbench mp dromey is both intimately connected with unite and married to a cabinet minister, the government will lean more towards unite’s position than if he wasn’t connected to that cabinet minister? try saying that out loud and seeing whether it sounds even vaguely sane.

    now a bit of new stuff for you – dromey seems to have been trying to get a seat since 1997; harriet has been a shadow minister (and then minister) since the early nineties. if she’s been pushing him she’s done a pretty poor job of it.

    and at the risk of being even more boring than usual, i could point out that this is still the gist of what i wrote above.

  12. Pingback: Tear Down The Wall… « Pink Tape

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