The Olympics, enjoyed by many, are now cast to the ethereal memory to reveal the malignant presence of dystopian reality.
The prime minister has left Downing Street to go on a holiday (not annual leave: Politicians need holidays too, says David Cameron), leaving UK PLC in the capable hands of Theresa May and our foreign secretary, hitherto, arguably, the most sensible member of the axis of incompetence governing our country. Mr Hague decided yesterday to force the Assange issue by digging up a law from 1987 few knew about, let alone recalled, to suggest that Ecuador may be stripped of their diplomatic status and the rozzers could ‘storm’ the Embassy.
Ecuador has duly participated in Mr Hague’s cunning plan to shift moralo-global responsibility for the mess to Ecuador – Ecuador granted Assange asylum - and there is much speculation on how Assange is to get into a diplomatic car without setting foot on British soil and avoid the attention of the Police who wait with their handcuffs to haul him off for breach of his bail conditions. The BBC has the story. Solicitor David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent blogger and legal correspondent of the New Statesman) valiantly tried to stem the march of the trolls and tin foil hat wearers by tweeting about the complexities of the law – to no avail – and my mate Carl Gardner appeared on BBC Radio 4 to inform Mr Naughtie and listeners, including me, about the law this morning. Carl Gardner has written a sensible analysis of the problem faced by the UK Government: Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?
I don’t think I added to the jurisprudence on this issue with my sardonic tweet of late last night: “Breaking: Ecuador Embassy buy teleporter from makers of Star Trek to transport Assange to Ecuador.”
David Allen Green has considered the twitter issue with: On being hated by tweeters.
And… a late ‘analysis from @Loveandgarbage – a must follow (at your own risk) on twitter – @loveandgarbage: Duchy of Grand Fenwick turns down Asylum Application from Ecuadorian Ambassador
Apropos of Mr Assange escaping to Ecuador – a country not noted for free speech – without being arrested by police when he steps onto British soil to make a dash for the diplomatic car – I had the pleasure of teaching Mr Umaru Dikko years ago.
Wikipedia notes: “On July 5, 1984, he played the central role in the Dikko Affair; he was found drugged in a crate labeled Diplomatic Baggage at Stansted Airport, an apparent victim of a government (Israeli) sanctioned, but aborted kidnapping. The crate’s destination was Lagos.”
Dikko came to see me in my office to talk about doing a law degree. I believe in the principle ‘innocent until proved guilty’. As he had not been convicted of any criminal offence at the time, I was quite happy for him to enrol on the University of London LLB programme. I did warn him that should he be convicted at a future time – of corruption or any other criminal offence – this would impact on his suitability for call to the Bar. During one of my contract lectures, I happened to talk about a case involving a consignment of goods to Nigeria. Several Nigerians at the back of the lecture hall – burst out laughing and started shouting “Dikko, Dikko, Dikko”. To his credit, and to my amusement, Mr Dikko, immaculately dressed in expensive suiting, stood up, turned to face the Nigerian students and did a bow. Class!
The ‘silly season’ is upon us; traditionally a time for the surreal and daft to appear in our newspapers in the absence of more serious news. So, in that spirit… and I head this section with an image of the Olympics which I particularly liked…althought there were so many marvellous photographs.
Random wanderings about London
The long vacation for lawyers begins at the end of July. I decided to take a short break away from law, which I enjoyed. I spent a few amusing days getting on buses without having a clue where the bus ended up. I like a bit of ‘random’ in my life these days. London is, truly, a marvellous place to wander around, even for a law blogger who has lived in London for 30+ years. I won’t trouble you with the boring details of where I ended up – but I can reveal that I purchased a very bright green Casio wrist watch (£20) and a very loud pair of electric blue suede desert desert style boots on my travels. I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own sometimes. It is perhaps a good thing that I don’t escape that often? I did my bit for Britain during the Olympic fortnight, on my mystery travels, by talking to tourists about our great City – Big Society in action? The tourists were most grateful for the information I imparted…possibly. I wasn’t even tempted to say that Nelson’s Column was, in fact, in Chancery Lane and that the guy in Trafalgar Square was an imposter statue. No…sireee…
The English language is endlessly fascinating to me. I don’t share the facility possessed by linguists with languages (Although I speak acceptably bad French. OK – really bad French - c’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le français and ‘tourist italian’). . My real brother – not Professor RD Charon – speaks quite a few languages including Hindi. In fact, he teaches young British Asians to speak and write Hindi)
A number of unusual words have amused me in recent months – a selection:
philosophunculist: One who pretends to know more than they do to impress others
tibialoconcupiscent: Having a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings (I don’t, in fact, have this hobby – but one never knows when a new hobby will come along. I was much taken with the idea of becoming a sword swallower last night after seeing an item about sword swallowing on BBC London News. The thought has, thankfully, passed.)
And the other day I was fascinated by the idea of having a concilliabule – A secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot
But my favourite for this week – given twitter’s proclivity for stampeding madly about, wilfully, mendaciously and with a full on ‘mens rea’ - at times - ignorant of law, facts or sanity was: exsibilation – The collective hisses of a disapproving audience
And, finally… on the subject of words… Hat tip to good friend, Professor Gary Slapper (Always worth following on twitter @garyslapper)
I tweeted – Word du Jour: Afflatus (n) inspiration; an impelling mental force acting from within
Many complain about the modern habit of turning nouns into words. ‘Medalling’ was popular during the Olympics. And…before I get accused of explaterating – To talk continuosly without stop…
Best, as always
PS… I am coming to the conclusion that academic lawyers may know more law than the practitioners. Whether this is useful – I hope to consider this phenomenon and wind up some of my practitioner friends when I get back to serious blogging. In the meantime, you might enjoy this speech from Lord Neuberger MR – who is soon to be President of The United Kingdom Supreme Court: JUDGES AND PROFESSORS – SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT
Wonderful stuff with much talk about citing academic lawyers – but only if they are dead!