A very charming Fiddler.
Managed a 10 mile walk at 8.00 am this morning. It was cold. An evening of writing and cigar smoking, with a bit of Radio 4 with Eddie Mair at 5.00 pm.
A very charming Fiddler.
Managed a 10 mile walk at 8.00 am this morning. It was cold. An evening of writing and cigar smoking, with a bit of Radio 4 with Eddie Mair at 5.00 pm.
LONDON (The Borowitz Report)—In an unexpected televised address on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II offered to restore British rule over the United States of America.
Addressing the American people from her office in Buckingham Palace, the Queen said that she was making the offer “in recognition of the desperate situation you now find yourselves in.”
“This two-hundred-and-forty-year experiment in self-rule began with the best of intentions, but I think we can all agree that it didn’t end well,” she said.
The Queen urged Americans to write in her name on Election Day, after which the transition to British rule could begin “with a minimum of bother.”
Elizabeth acknowledged that, in the wake of Brexit, Americans might justifiably be alarmed about being governed by the British parliamentary system, but she reassured them, “Parliament would play no role in this deal. This would be an old-school monarchy. Just me, and then, assuming you’d rather not have Charles, we could go straight to William and those children of his who have mesmerized you so.”
Using the closing moments of her speech to tout her credentials, the Queen made it clear that she has never used e-mail and has only had sex with one person “very occasionally.”
We have frequently looked at cases of ‘dodgy lawyers’ – those that find themselves on the wrong side of the dock (start here for a QC who found himself in prison).
On 27th October 2016 we had another addition to that particular ‘rogues gallery’ – newly qualified (but probably soon to be ex-) solicitor Steven Barker.
Steven Barker lived near Southampton but was working for insurance company Ageas on the Isle of Wight. He would drive to Southsea and, leaving his car there, get a hovercraft to his office.
This area requires a parking permit. Mr Barker had one last summer but it seems that that when that ran out, due to health and financial difficulties (as he told the Court), he decided to fraudulently change the old one.
You can see the amended permit above – it’s not particularly sophisticated, being done with a felt tip pen to change the ‘5’ in the ‘2015’ expiry date to a 6.
He was caught parking with the altered permit on the 7th and 15th October and the 3rd and 4th November, which gave rise to four charges of fraud.
It seems that at some point Mr Barker got a penalty charge notice, which he appealed. It is not clear if that was one of the above dates or not, but it is perhaps surprisingly didn’t seem to deter Mr Barker.
When he was caught, it seems that he told the Council that the permit was water damaged, which is why he altered it (it isn’t quite clear why this means he would have changed it to a different date however).
He then said that he had parked in other roads (where presumably a permit was not required), but pleaded guilty earlier this year.
On 26th October 2016 he was sentenced in the Crown Court to 6 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years on the condition of undertaking 150 hours unpaid work. There was also an order for £986 costs, as well as a victim’s surcharge.
What to make of the sentence? The Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud are the starting point – see page 6. It does not quite fall neatly into a category there, but on the face of it is Culpability B, and presumably Category 5 as the cost of a parking permit (which is the amount of the value of the fraud) must be under £5,000.
This would give a starting point, and a range, of a noncustodial sentence. Why did Mr Barker get so much more?
It’s not clear. The Judge said, in sentencing, “Effectively you are ruined as far as being a solicitor is concerned. It’s highly unlikely you will retain that position.’
‘The public expect a higher standard of honesty and integrity from members of the profession and this matter means that you plainly fail to achieve the high standard expected“.
All that is true, and is the reason why Mr Barker will almost certainly get struck off – the legal regulators are not very forgiving of dishonesty. But it doesn’t explain the sentence here.
The fact that Mr Barker was a trainee solicitor does not impact on his culpability – it wasn’t a breach of trust in any real sense. The breach of trust that the public has in solicitors in general does not apply – that’s what the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is for.
If anything, the fact that he is probably finished in his chosen career (for which he may well have tens of thousands of pounds of debt with no means of repaying) is, if anything, a mitigating feature. We would have thought a Community Order would have been the most that would have been needed in a case such as this.
If it is culpability B, this would equate to defrauding another of about £25,000. Even it is culpability A, it is still the sort of sentence that one would expect for a fraud of £3-4,000.
It is likely that Mr Barker may just leave it and not try to appeal, as he didn’t go to prison (which was presumably the main concern at that point), but we will keep an eye on it.
It may be, of course, that there was more to it than is reported and the sentence was well deserved, or at least in the range of what on would expect.
Remarkable. And he could be President of the USA? Polls suggest that Clinton is ahead.
Nick Cohen writes in The Guardian: Theresa May appeals to a stereotype that has a deep grip on the English psyche. Sober and commonsensical, she behaves with the moral seriousness we expect from a vicar’s daughter. She may be a little clunky, but what a relief it is to have a straightforward leader from the heart of the country after the flash, poll-driven phonies of the past.
I am not saying her public image is all a pretence. No focus group told her to campaign against the modern slave trade when she was home secretary. There were few Tory votes in stopping the police targeting young black men, either. But the dominant side of Theresa May is more superficial than David Cameron and more dishonest than Tony Blair. It is a tribute to the power of cliches to stop us seeing what is in front of our noses, that so few have noticed that the only reason she’s prime minister is that she put ambition before principle.
Last week, Downing Street spin doctors were trying and failing to downplay the importance of a secret speech she gave to Goldman Sachs on 26 May, which was leaked to Nick Hopkins and Rowena Mason of the Guardian. In private, May was unequivocal. “The economic arguments are clear,” she told the bankers. Companies would leave the UK if the UK left the EU. In public, however, she made just one speech during the referendum campaign. You forgot it the moment you heard it. May never mentioned the danger of companies fleeing. Her economic case, such as it was, came down to a flaccid, pseudo-impartial argument that “there are risks in staying as well as leaving”.
As an orator, May was hopeless. As a politician on the make, she was close to perfect. When Craig Oliver, Cameron’s former chief of communications, wondered if she was secretly an “enemy agent” for the Leave side, he was being too Machiavellian. May was just making the smart move. She kept her views about the economic consequences of Brexit quiet, so that the Conservative right would accept her as leader if Cameron lost.
Failing to state your honest opinion on the most important decision Britain has taken in decades may seem cowardly enough. But the consequences of May’s pretence do not stop with one referendum.
The Maid of Perth bronze in Perth High Street – a beautiful bronze. The detail in the work is extraordinary.
The cows were taking breakfast as I walked past as dawn broke this morning on the first few miles of my 25 mile walk today. I had cigars and I had a bacon roll in Perth from a good cafe (£1.25p). I particularly enjoy walking. It keeps me fit and mobile and it is always a pleasure to stop and natter to people en route or up early and sitting on the wooden benches in the High Street. I do think that Perth Council has made the right decision to ban cars, vans etc from the High Street. Providing benches in the street for people to sit on is a clever idea. People do sit on the them and chat to people passing by who stop for a natter. I’ve met some marvellous people – many, fellow smokers. So much more civilised. Plenty of parking in nearby streets for shoppers and visitors.
And here is a photograph of Perth High Street looking towards the river.
WARNING: Do not try this at home without first consulting a specialist like me. This is only for professionals or for those who have been given the secret scrolls of Smokedo
I can tell you this though, when I have completed the drills, I shall be a lot fitter and slimmer. It is working…. ripping that flab as I type.
Well on that note… as I clearly appear to have lost the plot… I have to go into a trance like state now, drink a few glasses of Rioja and spend some time with my paint brushes and watercolour pad.
Have an excellent week.
Regards as always
I saw these wonderful creations at a hat shop called “Cat in The Hat” in Perth this morning. They are beautiful. If I had the money – no idea what they cost – I’d buy one just to put on the wall as art.
The combination of local feathers and the skull of a small animal – inspired.
And this cartoon I did some years ago is still relevant today, I’m afraid…
And then this wonderful nonsense. I’d quite like to see ‘Farago’ in The Lords – a meaningless institution these days. Titles, like all honours – ‘Geegaws and Baubles’ as we say up here…
The Independent reports: “A 19-year-old student who crashed her car into a police vehicle told the officer she was snapchatting a topless selfie.
Miranda Kay Rader, listed as a freshman at Texas A & M University, was charged with drunken driving and possessing alcohol as a minor following the incident in Bryan, Texas.
According to the police report, the officer was responding to a reported disturbance when he heard brakes squealing and a 4 x4 slam into the patrol car behind him.
While approaching the vehicle, he noticed Rader with her bra unfastened trying to put her top back on, The Eaglereports.
An opened bottle of wine was found in the vehicle.
She told the officer she was driving back to her dorm and had decided to send a Snapchat photo to her boyfriend while stopping at a red light…..”
One can only marvel….
The Independent reports: “A council letter sent to residents to encourage them to check their eligibility to vote directed them instead to a hardcore porn website.
Mid Suffolk District Council sent approximately 80 reminder letters to residents in the Claydon and Barham wards, which included a link to pornographic content.
The error was discovered when one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, typed the address into his web browser.
“Quite humorous from my perspective but might give some of your older listeners a bit of a shock,” he told BBC Radio Suffolk.”
One can only marvel… I do a lot of ‘marvelling’ these days.
I am going to re-cycle myself as an artist in my next life.
I enjoy walking. Do 10 miles each day rain or shine. I have seven hats – my latest, used when it is dry, is a Tweed deerstalker hat. The walking sticking I bought from the Salvation Army shop in perth for £7. It has sheep’s horn handle. A fine stick fashioned from a very straight piece of a tree.
Equipped thus, with a tartan covered hip flask containing whisky or rum and with my trusty camera slung around my neck and a good waterproof jacket I walk each day. Today, I have managed twenty miles. It keeps me fit and it is interesting to natter to people en route – cyclists, runners, other walkers, In perth itself I talk to many people – young and old. Many of them are smokers, so always pleasant to sit on one of the benches and have a natter.
In the rain, I wear a fine Green Barbour hat – a gift my my cousin Ronald who used to run two very good hotels on The Isle of Arran on the West Coast. Ronald refused to sell his hunting lodge hotel to Madonna because he didn’t want the island crawling with popular music stars. he was supported by most of the island population in that decision!
I know Arran well. I lived in Fairlie, Ayrshire near Largs just 14 miles from Arran on the mainland. I’ve climbed Goatfell 3000ft about ten times – an easy walk up – could even do it at 63 with a stick to aid me.
And here is a shot of Goatfell from Lamlash
And here is a shot of Fairlie, where I lived when my parents came over on leave from Malaysia where my father was a director of Dunlop. I have used a stock photo as theirs was much better than mine angle wise.
And, finally – a shot of Largs, two miles up the coast from Fairlie – a seaside town with much beauty and the famous Nardini Cafe which sells, coffee, cakes, and excellent ice cream and fish and chips. I was down in Largs for a while about 8 months ago. Wonderful place. Going to take a trip back there for a few days in a fortnight.
Pictures of Nardini’s
And the interior – Art Deco?
Managing Global Mobility Risks
As the British Standards Institute issues new guidance for employers on managing the health, safety and security of travelling employees, it serves as a timely reminder for companies to ensure their global mobility programmes as a whole remain compliant and fit for purpose.
Employers have to manage a wide range of risks to meet their duty of care toward travelling employees; from medical, political, personal safety and security, through to immigration compliance.
And as companies deploy more and more personnel abroad, particularly to emerging markets, risk factors are set to grow and become even more complex.
The challenge for employers remains managing the risks of business travel while ensuring the flexibility and agility to maximise the commercial opportunities that a mobile workforce brings. Which is where an effective global mobility programme becomes critical.
The Value of an Effective Global Mobility Programme
A well-developed global mobility programme will deliver value by:
Business Travel Risks
Anything which has the potential to impact, delay or prevent employees from carrying out the intended purpose of their business trip constitutes a risk – from the relatively minor (e.g. delays at border control, petty crime), to the more serious (e.g. illness) and the major (e.g. natural disasters or terrorist attacks).
Your global mobility programme needs to deal with it all, and everything in between.
Your programme needs to incorporate working plans of action that are both operationally clear, and enable strategic aims of protecting your workforce, ensuring legal compliance, minimising costs and losses, avoiding the threat of reputational harm, and loss of market share and confidence.
How Effective is your Global Mobility Programme?
To deliver value, global mobility policies and protocols must be continuously reviewed and improved upon in the context of current and emerging risks.
Areas of focus include:
How Employers can Manage the Risks of Travelling Employees
In addition to the areas of focus, the following can help employers ensure their approach to global mobility risk management remains effective:
Be Clear on Responsibilities
For employees, being aware of and understanding the policies and procedures that apply when traveling overseas on business should encompass both what they can expect from you as well as what expectations are on them.
Everybody has a part to play in managing travelling risks, being safe and compliant. Make clear what should happen before, during and after a trip.
As companies expand their reach and venture into new emerging markets, new areas of risk present themselves. Your global mobility programme needs to take account of these, not least to maintain consistency in company standards and approach.
You need to have a handle on the complexities of different countries and jurisdictions, and be aware of the legal requirements and systems of the countries your employees are travelling to.
Again, this knowledge should be used to keep your policies and processes up to date, and should be shared with employees through training and communication programmes.
With the best of intentions and preparation, incidents can and do happen, particularly for multinationals with highly mobile workforces.
In all instances, the objective has to be minimising disruption to business while keeping your traveling workforce safe.
Continuously review and update travel risks to take account of changes in legislative duties, emerging risks, new standards, and ensure your employees are informed along the way.
Some forms of minor incident are avoidable with adequate preparation and collaboration between the travelling employee and the global mobility/HR function. An employee being refused entry can be averted with pre-travel immigration advice on relevant work permits and visas.
Other risks however will remain unpredictable yet inevitable, and your plan should clearly address what happens in those events.
The most effective approach to business travel risk management is to treat it as an ongoing concern. Undertaking regular reviews of your global mobility programme will enable you to be in a position to protect, advise and support your travelling employees, in the interests of safety, compliance and commercial advantage.
DavidsonMorris is a specialist firm of business immigration solicitors experienced in advising multinational organisations on global mobility strategy and immigration compliance.
I marvel each day at Trumpenstein’s antics. Let us just hope that he does not mistake Britain for an ISIS rogue state and nuke us.