A quick look back through some cartoons I drew

c

 

And finally…

Would you like to advertise on my blog? Image advert + link. £100 p.a. to include 2 guest posts where you may write about your firm, law, or anything that takes your fancy.

Send me an email

 

And really finally…

Would you like to buy this excellent steel dolphin bottle opener? Someone at the Auld Hoose pub in Perth said it was 1930s…no idea – but it opens bottles and looks great!  £10 + postage

 

 

Chef Charon (Neuf Stars Chef) talks from Maison Charon en Glasgow

When I start ze restaurant Maison Charon, I specify that ze entrance must have ze big glass doors, pas de valeur architecturale… zut alors!… non!…. mais… so my maître d‘ can see ze punters coming in more ways than one.

You English have ze saying… less is more… I take zis to my heart….so in Maison Charon…. we are, how you say…. minimaliste…. minimal decoration, minimal service and ze minimal portions pour la haute gastronomie.  You English have been watching too much of ze Masterchef avec Chef Michel Roux, so I am more than happy to, how you say, fart about with your food and construct ze tours absurde on ze plate and smear ze sauce avec merit artistique. Zis allows me to give you less and charge more…. you see?… I am anglophile!

It is also important… pour ze clientele who frequente Maison Charon zat I ensure there is bollocks complète on ze menu, so I hire l’expert en marketing to write zebollocks complète to describe ze dishes I prepare.  Zis is one exception to ze ‘less is more’ rule.. here… more description means we can serve less…..

I give un exemple of how less is a lot more.  Zere is a chef in Denmark… Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma…. amusingly ze best restaurant in ze world… mon dieu!…… and he collects ze seaweed, berries, grasses and other delectations du nature, serves zem up on a plate and… Voila!….. ze hyperventilation of ze clientele est superbe!.

I do zis at Maison Charon..only se ozzer day. I send a sous chef to Wandsworth Roundabout and Hyde Park  avec a book on  foraging and say I want grass, berries, anything edible…..   I get anuzzer sous chef to go to B&Q to buy some Welsh slate roof tiles et Voila!…. ze Cuisine naturelle a La Suède. I wanted to put ze description a La Pseuede… mais…. maître d‘ he says to me…. “Chef Charon… you have eighteen Michelin stars to your name…. even though you give them to yourself… this is a step too far….. to mock ze punter is Le Sport… to ridicule ze punter is not good business.”  So… with free ingredients from Wandsworth Roundabout, a few absurd smears of sauces, berries arranged at each corner of ze welsh slate from B& Q and much pantomime from maître d‘… we serve three tiles of grass, and edible leaves and berries and charge £38.50 per portion…. who needs an amuse-bouche when one can do zat?!

Ze best part?…. when I come from le cuisine...to le salon de la gastronomie….avec mon chapeau de chef on my head to take ze adulation of ze punters…. and tell zem how much they have enjoyed l’experience du Maison Charon.….. and tell zem we take ze  AMEX.   Aussi… I try very hard not to drop my fake  accent français

I wish you all a Joyeux New Year

Chef Charon

A bit of the old ‘Rive Gauche’

It is a bit early in the new year for any law firm, or lawyer for that matter, to have managed to get themselves into the Darwin Awards or appear as a feature on RollonFriday or Legal Cheek, so I shall have to content myself with other matters…

This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy

Brussels has kept quiet about a treaty that would let rapacious companies subvert our laws, rights and national sovereignty

“The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

A most interesting article in The Guardian from George Monbiot.

Reflecting on the death of the wonderful John Fortune and his satirical creations, with John Bird,  led me to Google.  There is a big difference between ‘satirical’ and satyrical.  An error of typing led me into a very strange world of Google pics.  At least some lawyers only wear the hair of a horse on their heads.  The amateur Satyrs go for a half man half horse look. It isn’t a good look, judging by the pictures on offer on Google.

RIP one of the creators of Sir George Parr – the clips always worth a second or third look. 

Well..there we are.  The new year is underway and a bit of real work beckons.

Postcard from the Staterooms: Iolanthe – Nightmare Song by The Lord Chancellor edition

Words are not needed for what follows…

sinister (comparative more sinistersuperlative most sinister)

  1. Inauspicious, ominous, unlucky, illegitimate (as in ‘political barsteward’).
  2. Evil or seemingly evil; indicating lurking danger or harm.
    sinister influences
    the sinister atmosphere of the crypt

I have to say that Mr Osbore does seem a bit sinister in that photograph.  ‘Something of the night’ about him?

I recall Ann Widdecombe’s famous statement about another Tory wannabe… Michael Howard:  “There is something of the night about him”. The remark was considered to be extremely damaging to Howard.

I can only assume that this trait is a requirement for high office in the Tory party… or a talent for Gilbert & Sullivanesque comedy, in the case of our present ‘Lord Chancellor’, Chris Grayling, who I very much hope will raid the dressing up box again soon to reincarnate as an Archbishop.

Before I turn to other sinistral matters – a most interesting piece from Paul Gilbert..

Innovation – of course, it’s what we all do, isn’t it?

It won’t be long and once again our thoughts will turn to what will be new in the next twelve months; what innovation will we see, what new gadgets and ideas will come forward, who will make a break-through with something that will astonish us all?

In legal services we have had a decade or more of predictions about innovation (or Armageddon depending on your personal glass half full/empty barometer). We may be rather unsure about what the future will bring, but we are certain that we must all be innovative, we must all be ready for change and we must all be revolutionaries.

Yet, what has actually changed so far?

The rest of this article is well worth a read…

I find it difficult to leave the topic of Lord Chancellor Grayling – here he is again, divesting himself of his wisdom on the  European Court of Human Rights:

Grayling says European court of human rights has lost legitimacy

Justice secretary finalising plans to curtail Strasbourg court after 2015 to ‘ensure UK court judgments are final’
And here he is again singing a bit of Gilbert & Sullivan – which he does rather well – Iolanthe – Nightmare Song by The Lord Chancellor
That’s quite enough for now…back later when I have taken of supper…

A bit of the old ‘Rive-Gauche’…

I was in a cafe in Kennington over lunch talking with my real brother (as opposed to Professor R.D. Charon) and saw the poster above on the wall.  I rather liked it. I have had the pleasure of meeting people who do daft things after a good shot of coffee. Mind you the stuff they put up their noses after taking a sip of coffee  probably didn’t help the clarity of their thinking…. but they were certainly ‘animated’….veritable Duracell bunnies they were.

And now, to kick off proceedings…. The death of the blog : Long live the law blog

Silence is not always golden

I came across an interesting article on The In-House Lawyer from MacFarlanes LLP – Silence is not always golden:

In PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Ltd [2013], the Court of Appeal considered, for the first time, whether a failure by a party to respond to an invitation to mediate should be treated as an unreasonable refusal to mediate – previous cases having focused on situations where there had been an express refusal to do so.

The Court of Appeal held that silence in the face of an offer to mediate is of itself unreasonable – even if circumstances exist which would justify an express refusal to mediate.

I may have overdone the ‘Law’ content (above) for the festive season… so… onwards with little in the way of ‘The law’ getting in the way…

Beaubodor is a very talented artist and humourist who has a good record of ‘hitting the nail on the head’.  I always enjoy his pictures.  Visit the Beaubodor website 

One website where I can be certain of avoiding ‘the Law’ – but still about ‘Law’  – is Legal Cheek, a website I particularly enjoy. 

Here – the 10 most-read Legal Cheek Stories of 2013 : From Ward LJ “This case involves a number of – and here I must not fall into Dr Spooner’s error – warring bankers.”

Never in the field of human conflict has so little been done by so few for so many….?

It would appear that the Prime Minister may well have been mildly ‘over-refreshed’. Did he come up with the ‘bright idea’ of appointing Chris Grayling as Lord Chancellor after his evening out?

John Bolch over at Family Lore has an amusing Review of the Year…

***

I am a fan of Clare Rodway’s The Conversation bloghere she interviews Jo Warby

Jo Worby is one of those rare people in business who is more interested in talking about other people’s success. She is also rare in being a female managing partner. She has developed ambitious plans for her law firm, Maidstone-based Brachers, since taking on the role and a lot of them are focussed on engaging the people in her business…..

I am also a fan of Charles Pugsley Fincher and his art…

Carl Gardner is a ‘precision law blogger’ and a good friend and accomplice in our Without Prejudice podcasts – which will return soon. This recent blog post is well worth a read:  Alan Turing: a strain’d quality of irrational and arbitrary mercy

I must not overdo the ‘legal thinking’ or ‘thinking legal’ … back on the morrow with more.

Happy Christmas…

This Christmas many will listen to the Queen and her annual message.

I thought some years ago that it would be amusing if the Duke of Edinburgh had a go at the annual Christmas message… perhaps along these lines…?

It seems only appropriate, given the Duke’s ability to come out with astonishing statements, to quote my favourite of his observations on our friends in other lands…

When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union

“The bastards murdered half my family”

Have a good Christmas – however you spend it…

The Lord Chancellor taketh away and taketh away again for good measure….

“One of Britain’s leading civil rights barristers’ chambers, which led inquiries into the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Princess Diana and the Hillsborough disaster, is closing due to Government cuts to legal aid.

Tooks Chambers, whose leading barrister Michael Mansfield QC was in court yesterday representing the family of police shooting victim Mark Duggan, said its dissolution was “a direct result of government policies on legal aid”. Its lawyers also said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s policies were “cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law”….

The Independent

So, Lord Chancellor…everything going to Plan A or Plan B… or Plan C…?  Do you actually have a plan?

Perhaps you might fancy a change and be Archbishop of Canterbury?  “Real demons to cast out” action there…

Sorry…. but I just could not resist digging this old “Charon After A Glass” pic up again….

#SAVEUKJUSTICE – A few observations…some sardonic

The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday was well attended.  Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs

A few observations….

The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign.  Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject.  Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community. 

Unfortunately, the extensive use of the #SAVEUKJUSTICE hashtag on Twitter served to irritate some, including lawyers, and the PR was almost certainly not sufficiently directed to the issue of fairness – at times, the message seemed to focus on how little the lawyers were being paid which is not a message likely to receive sympathy from some members of the public.

The petition, as of today, stands at a remarkable 79,000. But there are many thousands more lawyers – so it should have been relatively straightforward to get the 100,000 signatures needed to persuade Parliament to debate The Lord Chancellor’s plans? On the assumption that many thousands of signatories to the petition would have come from non-lawyer members of the public through publicity being generated by lawyers on Twitter – and, importantly, Stephen Fry, Bianca Jagger and other ‘celebrities’ who punted the petition actively, pleasingly – it must follow that a good 40,000+ lawyers did not sign the petition.

I have spoken to  quite a few commercial and City lawyers recently.   Some said, predictably, that they were not really aware of the issues and did not use twitter. A couple took a more hostile line and felt that the message of the criminal lawyers was wrong and too oriented to their own jobs and not the interests of the public.  Others have said – and I agree with this latter stance – the message could have been addressed more to the needs of the people and the importance of preserving the Rule of Law rather than ‘profession oriented’.  The message was not clear enough, they argued:  There was a ‘whiff of’ loss of law jobs with the reduction from 1600 to 400 firms which may have  given the impression that this reduction was more important than justice itself.

Certainly, I saw quite a few tweets along the lines of ‘Lawyers have been keeping access to justice exclusive with high fees for years’ 

I am not a practitioner.  I am a mildy reclusive observer.  But I do believe that the criminal barristers and solicitors are right.  The Rule of Law will be compromised by Grayling’s reforms and I do believe that these criminal lawyers, the majority of whom do not get that well paid – less than £50k a year I have seen quoted – are regarding the profession as vocational rather than commercial.

The City and large commercial law firms turn over billions.  Their lawyers are well paid – very well paid.  A newly qualified lawyer at a ‘Magic Circle’ firm starts at £63,000+. So what?  They run commercial businesses.  Their clients are men and women of commerce, large corporations, banks, in a global legal market.  A cynic might observe – and I am a cynic at times – that commercial and City lawyers are more interested in the ‘Certainty of Law’ rather than the Rule of Law.  I once heard a senior commercial lawyer say that “Contract law is not about ‘Justice’.  We want certainty so that we can advise clients to avoid  well established  legal pitfalls and operate at the lawful edge of the legal envelope.”

I also heard  words to the effect “Any bloody idiot can tell a client what they cannot do . We don’t want bloody idiots.  We want good lawyers who can tell the client what they can do within the law as it is set down by Parliament. “

The City / Commercial firm practice is a different world – but it is not a world paid for by taxpayers. Of course, the City and commercial firms benefit from the reputation of our legal system and ‘Rule of Law’.  As a friend of mine @taxbod observed bluntly on twitter only t’other night  – “But yet, any of those civil/commercial flog the British justice system when whoring to Russian chavs etc.” Sometimes… blunt… is good.

Legal Aid is paid for by tax payers, most legal aid lawyers are not well paid.  A legal system where people are not given a fair hearing – because they cannot afford lawyers, civil and criminal – is not a fair legal system

That being said – congratulations to all – lawyers and non-lawyers alike – for a good campaign.  The Ministry of Justice seems to have won the mainstream media PR war with their coverage in The Daily Mail yesterday:

£15m for just one firm on legal aid gravy train Scale of taxpayers’ bill revealed as Coalition vows to save £200m

  •  Ministry of Justice released a breakdown of payments to lawyers

  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says system is ‘not sustainable’

  • Demonstrators waved placards reading ‘justice is not for sale’

But the campaign is not over.  Surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to get over 100,000 signatures?  Even if lawyers have to get on the phone to non-criminal law lawyers?

And lawyer or non-lawyer, if you would like to sign the petition – you may do so here

And… you can keep up to date with developments by following @TheCriminalBar on twitter

A selection of links:

The Criminal Bar Association:  Do read the Monday Message 03.06.13 – some real gems in there.

Obiter J : Some responses to MoJ consultation on Transforming legal aid

Legal Cheek: LAWYERS PROVE THEY CAN PULL OFF A DEMO – AS BRITAIN DISCUSSES #PUBLICW*NKINGONYOUTUBE
The Legal Cheek post includes some marvellous pictures and recordings of speeches by Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog.

Head of Legal:  Geoffrey Robertson QC: there is a hidden agenda

Head of Legal:  Michael Fordham QC: the avocado of justice

Michael Fordham QC was I think the star of today’s “Saving Justice” demo outside the Ministry of Justice. His speech was both angry and funny – he called the Ministry of Justice “wankers”. And his avocado of justice, odd as it sounds, went down a storm with his audience.

The Bar Council: Bar Council responds to Legal Aid consultation

Circuit Judges: Critique of the proposals from the Judiciary

 The Law Society: Law Society responds to legal aid consultation

Storify of the SaveUKJustice demonstration 4th June 2013

And…as Legal Cheek noted:  AS MOJ CONSULTATION ON LEGAL AID CLOSES, THE UK CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS PLACED ON EBAY

A view of and from the law blogs…. (4)

Quote du Jour

“I’ll deny having said this, but it’s a bribe … the sort of thing I can say to these guys … you put that question down now, I thought you were interested in Fiji, would you like to come down to it, you know, I believe it’s quite nice … I can whisper that.”

Lord Laird as reported in The Telegraph story: Lord suggests best way to ‘bribe’ colleagues

It seems only right to start this review with a visit to thebungblog – A LIGHT HEARTEDLY SERIOUS LOOK AT THE BRIBERY ACT 2010.  Here is an enjoyable read:  “A QUESTION OF INTERPRETATION”

In the wake of the astonishing ‘Cash for Questions’ saga – more to come on that, inevitably – let me draw your attention to an excellent blog post done last year by A dragon’s best friend:  Cash for applications?

For my part – I would be quite happy to see the abolition of the House of Lords, a unicameral system (or at the least an elected second chamber) and the abolition of all honours.  It won’t happen of course – but holding these views allows me to keep vaguely sane in the current dystopian landscape.

But there we go… now to the law blogs…

I know nothing about crofting but I know a man who does.  Brian Inkster of Inksters is the man to go to for crofting law action. And there is a lot of it about with the recent Crofting Law Bill.

Crofting Law Blog: 6 out of 10 to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee
Brian Inkster manages to give a Strictly Come Dancing / Eurovision feel to an otherwise serious analysis.  That is classy blogging!

For those who are not operating in the Crofting Law field, Brian also blogs at The Time Blawg – the latest post, a very comprehensive review:  LawTech Futures 2013 Reviewed: The one with the neocortex

“Now let me point a finger, not at the Lord Chancellor, but at the legal profession. How the hell did we let this happen?”

Legal 2.0 is the man pointing the finger and I agree with him on the premise that the campaign should not be focused on preaching to the converted.  I raised this with Michael Turner QC , Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, when I did my podcast with him.  In fact, the CBA and others were successful in raising public interest – in the mainstream media, on twitter and also managed to get Stephen Fry , with his millions of followers, interested – and over 70,000 people signed the petition. The campaign should have been directed more to the general public?  Some, rightly, have voiced the opinion that the campaign leaders may have benefited from hiring in experienced PR campaign specialists. John Busby’s addition to a blog post written by Paul Wise of WiseCounsel is well worth a read. 

The Magistrates’ Blog considers the speculation about Ministry of Justice plans to ‘privatise the courts’: A Straw In The Wind – “Until last Autumn my court had a nice little snack bar, looked after by a lady who supplied reasonably priced refreshments to court users, staff and magistrates. It was a meeting point for lawyers and others, and was run at no cost to HMCTS. Last Autumn the lady decided to move on, and the bar closed. We were assured that a replacement was being sought, but had to go through the full ponderous civil service procurement process. Then silence……”

While the Government continues to ‘wrestle’ with compliance policy in relation to European Court of Human Rights judgments – the Scots are having issues of their own in relation to prisoner voting rights in the forthcoming independence referendum. Lalland’s Peat Worrier is on the case: Fulsome prison blues…

Ipso Jure by Dr Peter Groves, Solicitor, continues to provide analysis and commentary on intellectual property law and has a free textbook for law students.

I found this blog post by Paul Bernal most interesting:  Google Glass: just because you can…

Paul writes…”As a bit of a geek, and a some-time game player, it’s hard not to like the look of Google Glass. Sure, it makes you look a little dorky in its current incarnation (even if you’re Sergey Brin, as in the picture below) but people like me are used to looking dorky, and don’t really care that much about it. What it does, however, is cool, and cool in a big way. We get heads-up displays that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago, a chance to feel like Arnie in the Terminator, with the information about everything we can see immediately available. It’s cool – in a dorky, sci-fi kind of way, and for those of us brought up on a diet of SF it’s close to irresistible.”
Read more…

***

Time to go for a long walk while the late afternoon Sunday sun continues to shine.  I am sorry if I have not managed to cover all the familiar blogs in this series of four reviews of and from the law blogs.  I plan to look at some more, including US, Canadian and Australian blogs, soon and will, of course, cover interesting blog posts in my normal review of the ‘wonders of law’ in my regular postings.

I leave you with an old letter from Lord Shagger – who sends his best wishes from Monaco.  He is much amused by the greed and stupidity of parliamentarians caught up in the recent ‘lobby’ scandal.

A view of and from the law blogs…. (3)
A view of and from the law blogs… (2)
A view of and from the law blogs….. (1)

Caption du Jour: Mastermind

Well…at least some people know a bit….

The Telegraph reports: Leading barristers warn over legal aid cuts – Dozens of Britain’s leading barristers have warned that reforms of the legal aid system by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, will “seriously undermine the rule of law”

AND… Anna Raccoon has a say: Judicial Chicanery

(Back later with a podcast with Charles Christian, editor of Legal IT Insider, on developments in information technology for lawyers)

State Opening of Parliament…. #FailingGrayling sings!

My apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan for ‘modifying’ the lyrics to the Lord Chancellor’s song in Iolanthe

I am sure you will be able to locate a true and real analysis of The Queen’s Speech on Google.

I shall leave you with this modification…back soon…adios for now

When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I)
.

Lord Chancellor:
When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney won’t be getting a brief,
(Said I to myself–said I!).

Ere I go into the House I won’t read my brief through
(Said I to myself–said I),
And I’ll always take work the Bar is able to do
(Said I to myself-said I),
My learned profession I’ll do my best to disgrace
By taking their fees with a grin on my face,
When I haven’t been there to attend to the case
(Said I to myself–said I!).

For something serious – have a listen to my podcast with Michael Turner QC?

Tour Report #21: Podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, on the legal aid reforms

Morning Guv… new delivery of Stobars for you…where do you want ’em?

If you had any doubts about ‘external investment’ in the legal system in England & Wales…. Neil Rose’s article on Eddie Stobart will inform / amuse / irritate you!

Stobart Barristers sets sights on criminal legal aid contract

Stobart Barristers – the direct access service run by the famous logistics company – has given a strong indication that it will bid for the new criminal legal aid contracts the government is set to offer under price competitive tendering…..

He said the current model – with large numbers of firms doing identical work while fees are falling – was “unsustainable”. Even if they start to merge, that will not wipe out “the legacy of debt” most carry. He described criminal law practices as “very wounded animals ready to die”.

It would appear that Group Legal Director and founder, Trevor Howarth, has ‘form’… experience of the law as practice manager for the firm of celebrity solicitor Nick ‘Mr Loophole (TM)’ Freeman.Will the Stobart trucks used to ferry their lawyers to court be named as the trucks are for shipping goods?  Could keep us amused ‘spotting them’…

You may be interested in listening to my podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar, on legal aid reforms and the rise of ‘external investment and involvement’ in the legal profession?

Scroll down or click here

 

***

The Guardian : Stobart lorry chief faces contempt trial

“High court judge rules Andrew Tinkler and legal director Trevor Howarth may have lied to secure gagging order on whistleblower”

Not an ideal start for a company wishing to provide legal services – if true?

Kippers like to imitate pot plants says Nigel Führer, Kipper in Chief

I have marvelled, as many others have, at the antics of the Kippers in the run up to the local elections. After the extraordinary report of a Kipper – the article headline says it all… Physical exercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate… John Sullivan, a UKIP party candidate, up for election next week, has made a series of anti-gay Facebook comments, including congratulating Russia for banning gay Pride, and comparing gays to termites” – I didn’t think it could become any more farcical.

But… today, the Kipper in Chief excelled himself by revealing that one of his candidates was not giving a ‘Nazi’ salute…he was imitating a pot plant.

Nigel Farage claims ‘Nazi’ salute Ukip Candidate was actually ‘imitating a pot plant’

NIGEL Farage has defended a Ukip candidate who was pictured seemingly giving a Nazi salute, offering the bizarre explanation that he was actually “imitating a pot plant”.

Nigel Unter Den Linden was quoted in the articles…” “I’ve looked carefully into this and spoken to Alex, and I believe him when he says that he was angrily trying to take a camera off his girlfriend who was annoyingly taking pictures of him in the pub imitating a pot plant,” he told the Huffington Post.

“These things happen – I should know!”

I am not at all sure that we need politicians – local or national – who want to imitate pot plants.  The Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling is quite enough to contend with for the present.

Well…there we are… ain’t UK politics a larf….. ?

Back soon….

Breaking from The Ministry of Justice – Trial by Ordeal to unclog the Courts

The problem of costly and spurious  cases clogging up the courts will be tackled by new plans for Trial by Ordeal announced by Justice Secretary  Killaburglar Grayling LC.

The proposals would reduce the number of ill-founded defences so that guilty people can be dealt with more swiftly and effectively.

The changes will not alter the important role the CPS plays in holding the guilty to account   but will instead deal with the unnecessary defence lawyers in the system. The number of not guilty verdicts has rocketed in the past three decades.

Lord KillaBurglar Grayling LC said:

‘The Government is concerned about the burdens that proving guilt in criminal cases are placing on stretched public services as well as the unnecessary costs and lengthy delays which are stifling innovation and economic growth – particularly in the prisons construction sector headed by our friends in the prisons biz, now they have recovered from the Olympics fiasco.

‘We plan to renew the system so that Prosecutions will continue their important role but the courts and economy are no longer hampered by having to deal with defences being put forward and ensure  the defendant knows they have no chance of success. We will publish our proposals shortly.’

The measures which will be considered include:

  • Shortening the length of time following arrest of guilty people so that they can be put to Trial by Ordeal within 24 hours  and stopping people from using tactical delays including the employment of counsel to defend them.
  • Halving the number of opportunities currently available to guilty people to demonstrate their skills by taking forward planned action to bang them up in advance of their actions
  • Reforming the current fees paid to lawyers to such a level to dissuade them from even thinking about acting pro bono

A public engagement exercise on the plans will be carried out shortly and kicked into the long grass for implementation after 2015.

***

Mea culpa – for the nonsense above – but I marvel at times… I really do.

The actual statement made by Mr Chris Grayling LC  – is quite similar to the nonsense above.

Adam Wagner of the excellent UK Human Rights blog – thankfully – had time to deal with this issue of the MoJ plans on Judicial Review – more seriously – an excellent read: A war on Judicial Review? [updated]

#Gidiot gives new meaning to ‘Primus inter pares’….

Back later or on the morrow with a very detailed Report on The Jag Rouge UK Tour…. and news of a Mk7 kevlar rouge painted helmet and flak jacket so I am fully protected when I meet the great British public for voxpops on what they think of our legal system!

The Spectator has a version of the story – it would appear that Virgin (who one is sure were not in any way influenced by future Government decisions on the West Coast Railway line) have another version

Spectator:  Class War: George Osborne caught in first class with the wrong train ticket

BBC: George Osborne in ‘first class ticket row’

#GreatTrainsnobbery anyone? 

 

A family weekend……of interest to lawyers?

Planning a move to Kent for six months for the end of next week and then the beginning of my Van Rouge / Cuppa tour (Details below).  Being sensible, I have decided to find a base to return to at weekends. If I can pull off the tour (I am getting good sponsor interest and many from twitter offering a bed for the night – which is most kind!), I can cover much of England & Wales over six months 4-5 days a week -. I may be a bit blogging light over the next week as I organise this.

However, I hope to do a Postcard From the Staterooms at Battersea-on-Thames – my last from Battersea, tomorrow.

Back later or tomorrow…

Bonfire of The Vanities II – a story of glory on twitter?! ¡Ay, caramba!

Bonfire of The Vanities II (2012)
A Cecil B De Charon film

Cecil B de Charon’s Battersea-on-Thames ‘homage’  to Tom Wolfe’s original satire stars Julian Assange as  the “master of the universe,” a fearless exposer of secrets and truthtalkstopowerista, who leaks millions of documents while enjoying the good life in the Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge, London. Glenn Greenwald, Guardianistacomlately, and Assange are living the dream on twitter when they take a wrong turn and find themselves facing the omnipotence of ……the David Allen Green, Mythbuster.

What could possibly go wrong?…

And.. on that note… have a most excellent bank holiday weekend…I’ll be back with a Postcard over the weekend… if I am not rendited or denounced.  Adios, for now..as we say in Quito…¡Ay, caramba!

***

UPDATE

The New Statesman must correct its error over Assange and extradition
Mr Greenwald has written – in The Guardian: “The claim that Swedish courts, not government, have final say on extradition is a crucial mistake that distorts the Assange case”

David Allen Green will respond, he tweeted, after the Bank holiday.  David Allen Green’s analysis in The NS.

The story continues…..as I observed above.. what could possibly go wrong?

And then… there was this tweet from a Swedish academic:

Mark Klamberg@Klamberg

@ggreenwald is only qouting half of my statement and distorts my conclusion http://gu.com/p/3ax4a/tw  @davidallengreen

and…

@ggreenwald

@Klamberg @DavidAllenGreen You wrote the ***opposite of what he wrote ON THAT TOPIC – you need to admit that, or retract it

***

Followed by…

@DavidAllenGreen

And @ggreenwald is now ordering the actual source on which he relied to retract his dissent. Priceless.

@Klamberg

@sunny_hundal yes, in parts both DAG and GG are right, but also that both are wrong, at least in some parts of their texts

Greenwald paints himself into a corner (?)

***

I marvel….

And.. a useful piece: How do you write about foreign legal systems – The Guardian style guide

And… truly.. my final tweet to all of the above on this:

@Charonqc

. @ggreenwald @DavidAllenGreen @Klamberg You all have useful things to say… keep it friendly ? Won’t hurt 😀

I hesitate, in the present climate on twitter,  to mention this – but Carl Gardner did a podcast with me some days before David Allen Green did his New Statesman piece and we drew on a number of sources in the discussion. We even talked about ‘myth busting’.  I also thought an article by Owen Jones in The Independent  was rather good – and referred to it in the podcast.

Carl Gardner  has written extensively about the Assange issue for some time – which is why I wanted to do a podcast with him.

***

Postscript…

Mr Greenwald did suggest on twitter that I was being homophobic.  That is not the case, nor was it my intention  – I merely took the original film poster as a base – intending that a mild ‘parody’ might lighten the dark mood on twitter which the Assange issue has aroused.  The arguments are important – the unpleasantness between ‘factions’ is unfortunate.

***

Update: LAN2LAN is a British company that comprehensively specialises a plethora of useful and necessary services, including: wireless network solutions, data recovery, wireless security systems and a whole host of IT support services. We can help anyone in need.

Romeo Correo & Julian now out! – O Assange, O Assange wherefore art thou #Assange?

Romeo Correo and Julian  (2012)
Director: Julian Assange

A story of friendship between a South American president with an impeccable human rights record and a man of principle who wouldn’t even consider being discourteous to women…let alone…

The two men were destined never to meet in person – thwarted by PC Capulet and Secretary of State Montague.

Charon meets Nit Romney at The Staterooms… briefly… mercifully

Mr Nit Romney doesn’t really ‘get’ Britain…which is just fine and dandy with me…. Yeee…Ha!!

And… in other news… Britain’s LOCOG cracks it and goes for GOLD!

Thank gawd for the British Army – who, it has to be said, have pitched in when some of them could have been on well earned leave after very recent Afghan deployment

I don’t want my son James coming out of that toilet with just his dick in his hands #Leveson #Godfather

I lay in t’pit watching Leveson yesterday and marvelled as “Sue Akers, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, told the Leveson inquiry into press standards there had been “multiple payments” by the Sun to public officials of thousands of pounds….”

The Guardian has the story.  David Allen Green asked if Tom Watson MP had gone too far some months ago by using the ‘Mafia’ metaphor in relation to News International when he questioned James Murdoch.

 

The Yanks are none too impressed either, it would seem: New York Times — A Fresh Blot on Murdoch’s Sun

A lawyer setting spies on another lawyer? Mon dieu… whatever next?

In the wake of allegations on Newsnight tonight about  Farrer & Co’s involvement in #Hackgate and the setting of the surveillance dogs on solicitor Mark Lewis – picked up by RollonFriday.com today…..

Sources have told us that the behaviour of Julian Pike, a prominent Farrers’ partner, is to be the subject of a report about News International and the on-going hacking cases. And the allegations against him are explosive. It’s alleged that Pike suggested that News International instruct private investigators to look into the backgrounds of lawyers representing phone hacking victims. Sources say that the private investigators were told to obtain birth certificates of the one of the partner’s children…..

It is just as well Julian Pike has a reputation for reputation management.  He will be able to phone himself up and take some advice to deal with this explosive issue?  I suspect, if these allegations are true (one assumes that Mr Lewis and the BBC know what they are doing in reporting the issue?), that Her Majesty will not be amused – given that H M the Queen is Farrer & Co’s most important client.

The Guardian considered the issue this morning…. News of the World hired investigators to spy on hacking victims’ lawyers

***

BUT.. it isn’t all doom and gloom down at Farrer & Co…

Farrer & Co named London Legal Team of the Year at the STEP Private Client Awards held last week

Date Posted: 20/09/2011

Farrer & Co were named London Legal Team of the Year at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Private Client Awards last week with the following words from the judges: ‘Our winners  have skilfully fused a famous history of effective advice giving, with a thoroughly up-to-date and open approach to their clients’ issues. This is not an easy balance to achieve, and their youthful, wise and energetic leadership sets a suitable tone.’ Jim Edmondson (Joint Senior Partner) and Mark Bridges (Partner) collected the award from Alistair McGowan.

(HT @PegasusCorpInfo)

The BBC reports:

The Metropolitan Police gave Mr Lewis documents, including emails from March 2010, which indicate a partner at News Group’s lawyers, Farrer, raised the idea of surveillance.

Newsnight’s Richard Watson says Derek Webb has spoken out because he says he is owed money by News International

But there is no evidence surveillance was commissioned by Farrer as a result and the firm told Newsnight it could not comment without permission from its employers, which it did not have.

Mr Lewis told Newsnight that he was “devastated” to hear the revelations.

“To follow my teenage daughter, my youngest daughter and video her is nothing short of sick,” Mr Lewis said, urging that the matter be investigated.

AND FINALLY… here is a transcript of evidence given by Julian Pike to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in relation to #Hackgate – worth a detailed read.

And… it is, of course, not a criminal offence to engage in surveillance – assuming that no burglary or other criminality involved!

Law Review on #Catflapgate: As the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said…”We’re all mad here”.

I’m with Ken Clarke on the ludicrous statement of The Home Secretary the other day on the #HumanCatRights issue. 

Theresa May got the law wrong on the cat example she used at the Tory Conference – as this statement from Wesley Gryk LLP, the lawyers involved in the case, makes clear.

While Ken Clarke  described Theresa May’s comments on the Human Rights Act as ‘laughable and childlike’ – I suspect that many others would have been less complimentary. Law and Order is a serious matter and we don’t really need a Home Secretary who gets her law wrong, nor do we need a Home Secretary to think she is a panellist on Mock the Week or Have I Got News For YouFortunately, the Judiciary put the record right.

I do hope that PM Camcorderdirect is not daft enough to re-shuffle Ken Clarke away from The Ministry of Justice.  I have no problem with Mr Djanogly, Justice Minister,  being re-shuffled to be our Ambassador in Mongolia after his lamentable performance at the MoJ and his recent ‘unfortunate’ failure to disclose business interests.

For a sensible analysis of the issue – pop over to Adam Wagner on the UK Human Rights blog.  He gets it right….as one would expect.

***

I just have to update this post with this bit of twitter genius…

RT+10 Love it @x_v_o [name withheld] @Charonqc I saw this lady outside my house this morning… any idea who she is? http://twitpic.com/6v7vby

Libya report: A case of *premature congratulation* for Camcorderdirect?

Back later in the day.. when I recover from the natural  nitrous oxide provided by our ‘political masters’…

Libya: Saif al-Islam and Mohammed Gaddafi, the dictator’s sons, escape capture

Telegraph: Saif al-Islam, Colonel Gaddafi’s heir apparent, emerged defiant at his father’s Tripoli compound hours after reports of his arrest by rebel forces.

As the old saying goes.. you could not make it up.  And… what was a prosecutor at the ICC doing CONFIRMING reports of Saif al-Islam’s arrest?

Breaking News: A Doctor’s view on PM Camcorderdirect’s attack of Kneejerkitis StreptoDailyMailocockus

AND then.. our revered leader comes up with yet another stunt….

Independent article: Exclusive: PM’s plan to import US adviser angers police chiefs

But my favourite commentary on the astonishing behaviour of our Prime Minister is this EXCELLENT…. *Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents* about the riots…  please do read… well worth your time…

And…finally… I do hope this latest strain of the kneejerkitis StreptoDailyMailocockus virus  doesn’t go viral… but with people like Nadine Dorries and other assorted Coalition MPs ruining running our lives…. I suspect we could be in for a pandemic… 

Our Prime Minister….. A definition of public office

I’ve always enjoyed words and I do like a bit of Shakespeare… this from The Scottish play… appears to be inappropriately appropriate.

Macbeth:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow”—along with the other phrases culled from this lode of Bardisms—conveys the mechanical beat of time as it carries this poor player-king from scene to scene. “The last syllable of recorded time”—what Macbeth earlier called “the crack of doom” [see p. 25]—casts time as a sequence of words, as in a script; history becomes a dramatic record. If life is like a bad play, it is thus an illusion, a mere shadow cast by a “brief candle.” The candle is perhaps the soul, and the prospects for Macbeth’s are grim.”

Source

The broom is more powerful than the vandal

We have all seen the footage.  Those who live in London are fully aware of the extent of the rioting and I do not need to comment on or add to the extensive coverage in blogs and the media.  David Allen Green, on his Jack of Kent blog, has covered  the issues and Laurie Penny on her blog, also.

What I will say… This widely circulated  picture of  Clapham Junction this morning – not far from where I live in Battersea – from @Lawcol888 is excellent.….. *Applauds*

Tea Trolleys clattering through Inner Temple Library? The Sack of Rome? Sacre Bleu !

li·brar·y/ˈlīˌbrerē/Noun

1. A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to.

2. A collection of books and periodicals held in such a building or room.

To that, one would not err to suggest that a library is a quiet place for work, research and thinking?

It was, therefore, surprising to read of the plans on the Inner Temple website this morning to partition part of the library to allow space to be ‘maximised’ for education and sundry other events from 5.00.  As the Librarian’s report pointed out… ‘the lifters and shifters’ will, of course, have to do their ‘lifting and shifting’ some time before events scheduled in the partitioned library spaces well before 5.00.

I bet that goes down well with barristers who rely on the excellent ambience, collections and services provided by the Inner Temple Library team.  If you are a regular user of the Inner Temple library – Jack Beatson, Master of the Library, Inner Temple is most keen to hear from you – and you may read the various reports on the proposal from this Inner Temple page.

Meanwhile, on a less serious note……. if you are a bit light on the way Rome was sacked by the vandals and visigoths…

The Times we live in…. bring back hanging? Dear gawd….. whatever next?

#Hackgate continues with coverage of possible computer hacking in the papers this morning Yesterday Christopher Jefferies, the man ‘monstered’ in some tabloids as the suspect in the Yates murder, has won substantial damages from eight newspapers and The Lord Chief Justice has handed down a very critical judgment holding The Mirror and The Sun in contempt of court

The Guardian reports:

Earlier on Friday, Jefferies accepted substantial libel damages from eight newspapers – including the Daily Mirror and the Sun – over stories relating to his arrest.

In the contempt ruling handed down at the high court on Friday, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Owen described the Daily Mirror articles as “extreme” and “substantial risks to the course of justice”.

The judges said the Sun’s coverage of Jefferies created a “very serious risk” that any future court defence would be damaged.

“These articles [in the Sun] would have certainly justified an abuse of process argument, and although their effect is not as grave as that of two series of articles contained in the Mirror, the vilification of Mr Jefferies created a very serious risk that the preparation of his defence would be damaged,” the judges said. “At the time when this edition of the Sun was published it created substantial risks to the course of justice. It therefore constituted a contempt under the strict liability rule.”

Attorney-General Dominic Grieve led the prosecution himself, unusually, and appears, rightly, to be taking a very hard line on the issue of contempt of court in relation to press and media reporting.

And then, this morning, the political blogger Guido Fawkes has started a petition to bring back the death penalty in the United Kingdom Apart from the irony of a blogger using the name  Guido Fawkes as a nom de plume to suggest such a petition, many have observed that this will do his blog stats no end of good, given the desire of many to bring back the death penalty.  I suspect that PM Camcorderdirect, relaxing in his Tuscan lair, having spent some time de-toxifying the Tory party, will be groaning as various (and sundry) Tory MPs have come out in favour.  The Sun has taken up the story.  Is Guido re-toxifying the Tory party for his own ends to bait them, to trap Tory and other MPs into declaring their position for subsequent vilification in media and social media?

I am against the death penalty on three grounds: (a) It is a barbaric penalty, suitable only for countries living under medieval concepts of justice (b) judges and juries are not infallible and (c) it goes against the foundations of  modern humanitarian and moral precepts of justice.  Quite apart from the fact that Britain would have difficulties remaining a member of the European Union if we bring back the death penalty (Members are required to sign up to the European Convention. Protocol 6  – restriction of death penalty. Requires parties to restrict the application of the death penalty to times of war or “imminent threat of war” –  Edit: and Protocol 13 – Complete abolition of death penalty in Council of Europe states) one just needs to remember the reason why the death penalty was abolished in Britain in  1965the case of Timothy Evans being but one important reason.

They say that 70% of the population in Britain would welcome a return of the death penalty – the argument of the ‘executioneers’ is that Parliament must impose the will of the majority.  To that, I have to repeat a statement I have used before – “5 million flies eat shit, but it does not follow that shit is good for us to eat” .

I suspect (I have no empirical evidence) that few High Court judges would seek return of the death penalty and, I suspect, that few barristers, defence barristers in particular, would welcome the return.

To use a ‘populist’ argument – as a fair few twitter users did this morning… “You don’t trust MPs on taxation, expenses, governance…so why do you want to hand power to them to hang people?” Res Ipsa Loquitur?

Well… there we are.  We shall see what happens with this latest ‘wheeze’ on the part of the right wing to bring our ‘green and pleasant land’ into their vision of control.   If the death penalty does come back… I suspect that Norway with  their mature, humane and inspiring  way of handling serious issues would be a good place to live in?

I did like this sensible tweet from a labour MP… he has a point!

And this is the level of debate that those who want to hang people rely on?  Absurd…. (Me, elitist?  I think not!)

Mr Gaunt is, apparently, a columnist…

I look forward to more ‘gems of reason’ from ‘Gaunty’…. I may have a long wait?

A human rights nazi?  Now that is a concept that may give Mr Gaunt something to chew on?

My fellow blogger, friend and podcaster – David Allen Green – takes up the theme, sensibly,  in a very well reasoned blog post…… I quote his ending…“The devil may well have the best tunes; but the liberals will usually turn out to have the better arguments.”  Well worth reading.

UPDATE Sunday 31 July 2011

Unfortunately… with public opinion… law gets in the way. Guido suggested that Article 2 permitted executions.  As @ObiterJ pointed out in the comments…. Protocol 13 ECHR makes a rather important legal point which public opinion should consider

Yes.. this is right…

PLEASE READ THIS…  excellent… beautifully written with some wonderful imagery… 

Hanging’s Too Good For ‘Em

Jerry Hayes is not a fan of the new e-Petitions. Not at all.

Rive Gauche: Cameron appoints judge to head inquiry with ‘links’ to Murdochs? How bizarre is that?

Two stories have caught my eye overnight…both from The Telegraph…

George Osborne had dinner with Rupert Murdoch two weeks before BSkyB bid decision

The Telegraph: The Chancellor, George Osborne, flew to New York and had dinner with Rupert Murdoch two weeks before the media regulator was due to decide on whether to approve his takeover of BSkyB.

AND… this.. rather more important one…

Phone hacking inquiry judge attended parties at home of Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law

The Telegraph: The judge in charge of the phone hacking inquiry has attended parties at the home of Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law.

Lord Leveson’s office insisted that David Cameron had been informed of the judge’s attendance at the parties and had not raised any objections.

Lord Leveson’s office continued: “Lord Justice Leveson was not involved in that meeting and he has neither met nor spoken to anyone from Freud Communications since January 2011.

“There is, in any event, no continuing relationship. Prior to his appointment to the inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson ensured that these matters were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister.”

Twenty years ago I was involved in a contract dispute.  I won.  The first High Court judge to try the issue had to recuse himself (stand down).  The plaintiffs objected on the grounds that I had had a drink with the judge when he was a QC.  The judge had no problem with this.  Nor did I.

In the present climate – I am surprised that the Prime Minister, aware of the minor connection between Lord Justice Leveson and the Murdochs as reported in The Telegraph – thought it fitting that Leveson LJ should head the inquiry.  I am sure that Leveson LJ would be impartial.  He is highly regarded.  But on this very complex and emotive issue of #Hackgate – it is surprising (a) that this story was not announced at the time Leveson LJ was appointed and, frankly, (b) that Leveson LJ was appointed, and (c) accepted the appointment.

My view on this may not find favour in some circles…. but I do feel, strongly, that Leveson LJ – assuming The Telegraph story is accurate in all respects – should stand down.  There must be other judges with no connections to the Murdochs or their empire, who could do just as good a job?

Chris Bryant MP has objected. I think we should also object...strongly.

And we lead the world…as the revelations / revulsion(s) continue on #NoTW etc etc

It would appear that the latest (of many more to come?) revelation involves Royal Protection Squad offciers flogging info to #NoTW

Pesto has the story: Police officer ‘sold royal family contact details’

Meanwhile…. despite DPM Clegg’s desire for Murdoch to ‘be a good chap’ and ‘do the decent’ thing by withdrawing his bid for BSkYB…

But… all is well… PM Camcorderdirect… in a master stroke of timing…. is re-launching BIG SOCIETY… 

I may as well go back to the caff and eat cheese and tomato sandwiches (toasted) and have a decent glass of wine… laters…. I do hope that nothing awful is happening in the the economy, Europe, Italian collapse and other important matters while the meedja gorge themselves on Rebekah and the desire of many tweeters (RT’s many times)  … to set up a Rebekah’s Law…

***

BREAKING…  The Evening Standard has THIS>>>>

Hacking exclusive: Queen’s police sold her details to News of the World

***

With thanks to Latimer Lee LLP Solicitors Manchester solicitors for sponsoring the Insite Law free student materials

Breaking NewsInternational: Murdoch flies to Britain to appear on Mastermind

Rather more sensible analysis of Mr Murdoch’s difficulties in the #WithoutPrejudice podcast below……

It seems only appropriate…. in the light of the closure of The News of The Screws for Pete n Dud to say goodbye…

Dudley Moore and Peter Cook Sing “Goodbye”

Although.. this… from Pete n Dud... may be more appropriate.. : (Derek and Clive – You Stupid C**t)

BUT… this is even better…  (HT to @ceee_j)

Derek & Clive – Jump you fucker jump!

***

Postcard from The Staterooms: ********** Edition

Dear Reader,

While the publication of Lord Neuberger’s report gave us an insight into current judicial thinking on the use of injunctions and ‘superinjunctions’ – and prompted this (lawful) tweet…. from @DavidJonesMP : “Unimpressed by sight of Ld Chief Justice & Master of Rolls sitting under banner “Judiciary of England & Wales”. Bit like Match of the Day.” – and inspired Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, to say that the use of modern technology was out of control – and it is certainly, for the moment, out of his control as far as overseas jurisdictions are concerned… the show on twitter goes on….

The latest twist in the tale from lawyers representing the footballer we cannot name in England & Wales  (but who appears now to be known urbi et orbi despite the best endeavours of judges ruling contra mundum etc ) is.. CTB -v- Twitter, Inc. and Persons Unknown (Case No. HQ11XO1814) – well covered by the Charles Russell CRITique blog. See also: Footballer CTB is suing Twitter

I am, because I read a lot of tweets, aware of another twist in the tale… this time from Scotland. But… I can’t tell you what it is about. (Although the BBC is happy that you should know about these events)

And you will find this post by @loveandgarbage of value in terms of protecting a position in Scotland? : Don’t say I didn’t tell you so – superinjunctions, anonymised injunctions and Scotland

Twitter and WikiLeaks have made a mockery of the courts

One of the best analyses I have seen was in The Observer this morning “A showdown between the law and common sense is brewing as a footballer takes legal action over Twitter’s injunction breach”

Most people know – or should by now – that in the absence of any ‘privacy law’,  the judges have to balance the rights of privacy and freedom of speech in The European Convention, enshrined in our law by The Human Rights Act.

Some may well argue that the private sex lives of footballers and others is ‘private’.  Others argue that these celebrities make a great deal of money through sponsorship, they are role models and if their hobbies or extra-curricular activities are inconsistent with the image they ‘sell’, the press should report on such matters.  Others have argued that it should not just be left to the judges to balance these interests of privacy and freedom of speech.  A debate in parliament, they say, is to be held soon – not before time.  I have a feeling that whether you mock the ‘apparent right of tweeters to know everything’ or not, that injunctions may well not feature as a practical remedy in future.  The cat is out of the bag – and The Spycatcher affair of many years ago is a lesson that would be well worth learning.

Meanwhile… contempt proceedings may be considered by the Attorney-General if this report in The Mail on Sunday is accurateone assumes that it is.  Robert Verkaik writes: “TV star is first to face jail over tweets after England footballer claims they breach injunction: Judge reports top journalist to Attorney-General.”

The other saga of the week… among many… must be The Ken Clarke Affair.  I don’t propose to cover this again, but I would like to draw your attention to a very good, considered, piece by Suzanne Moore in The Guardian…

Like many women, I’ve been raped, but I still agree with Ken Clarke

Rape is not a party-political issue and I am disgusted that it has been treated that way this week

I’ll be back later with another ‘postcard’ if I have time later.

Best, as always

Charon

PS…. and I really enjoyed this…. Lord Neuberger – Superinjunctions and other orders from Obiter J 



Breaking Osama Bin Laden News: Cameron says questions have to be asked and lessons have to be learned yada yada yada….

I commented on The Heresiarch blog…. as always, a very interesting and thoughtful blog…..

When is an execution not an execution?

My comment is repeated here…

Given interdiction and killing on foreign sovereign territory, the territory of an ally, and the apparent nature of the ‘shoot to kill’ instruction – although this was later tempered by the White House –  and the fact of apparent resistance, it was an assassination, at worst –  or necessary self defence at the improbable best.

We do not know – but I suspect that US and UK special forces have engaged in assassination in Afghanistan. I seem to recall Margaret Thatcher’s surprise to find that one Iranian terrorist escaped death at the hands of the SAS (Iran Embassy siege). Perhaps if the TV cameras had not been so present, there would have been no survivors?

In the court of public opinion – these actions are often justified. One only needs to read the endless (and many rather unpleasing) tweets on twitter to realise that most delight in the death of Bin Laden

If we are to have a rule of law and not law by rule then it is not justified. Due process calls for (lawful) extraction, fair trial and punishment. In many countries, as everyone knows, the death penalty is not applied.

I was asked by a tweeter  if The US had any choice but to kill given resistance by OBL….

Then… I asked what seemed to be a vaguely reasonable question….

Justice is done?  Interesting idea…. certainly… in the Court of Public Opinion.. and I do understand a need for the court of public opinion to get the ‘pound of flesh’.. but is it the right way? I’m asking… not telling…

I am not that keen on primitive medieval systems of ‘retributive’ law… where the biggest bullet wins.  I really do prefer the *concept* that world affairs are dealt with by law. War doesn’t work.  Even Churchill got that one right…. with “Jaw Jaw… not war..war”.  That is all I will say on the matter.

I am, obviously, out of touch with modern legal thinking…. Pity… I shall find something more beneficial to the human condition to do if we are to applaud *The Law of Rule*

What… in the cold light of day.. do you really think about this?

***

UPDATE… I was asked a question on twitter…. with a touch of irony…. I suspect.  My response is ironic (ish)

***

Another UPDATE… I have just seen this Indie report at 00:51  3rd May 2011


I am more than happy to agree with what a well known silk says on this issue…. Geoffrey Robertson QC in The Independent… – a good read…

Geoffrey Robertson: Why it’s absurd to claim that justice has been done

[ Unfortunately… yet again.. we have a British prime minister… rushing in to comment that the world is a better place….. without really engaging the *British Government Brain* on this issue.  I find that rather tragic.  I was not impressed with the prime minister’s statement this morning – presumably from Chequers – even if he was wearing a suit with a purple tie.  Shocking….truly. BBC: “Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the death as “a great success” but said it was not the end of terror threats”.]


Breaking Wedding News: PM Dave *The U-Turn* Camerondirect to wear tails after all.. who’d have thunk it?!

The Daily Telegraph reports… with appropriate solemnity….

David Cameron will wear tails to royal wedding after all

Daily Telegraph: David Cameron is to wear a morning suit – and not a lounge suit – to the royal wedding, it was disclosed today.

The issue of the Prime Minister’s attire had become one of the most hotly-debated subjects in the build-up to the big day after Downing Street said he would be wearing a work-style suit.

He was said to be sensitive to opponents trying to portray him as “a toff”, following the publication of pictures of him wearing a white tie and tails when he was a member of the Bullingdon Club dining society at Oxford.

But after criticism on radio phone-in shows and in newspapers of his decision to dress down, The Telegraph has learnt that he will now wear a morning suit after all.

Insiders claim Mr Cameron was not consulted about what he would be wearing and that his advisers made the decision for him – a decision they have now come to regret.

A source close to Mr Cameron said: “Of course he’s got to wear tails. He knows that. He’s the Prime Minister, it’s the Royal family, there will be foreign dignitaries present and it is only proper that he dresses for the importance of the occasion.”

I shall, of course, be wearing tails… I’m making several now for the happy day…. one will look like a donkey’s tail… the other?  Any ideas?

On another note… this amused me.. from The Shropshire Star!

Blog: No win, no fee? No chance

You have to admire their impertinence. Almost three years after a council vehicle tapped a lorry belonging to S&S Scaffolding Ltd, its three occupants took the local authority to court to request compensation for whiplash injuries they claimed that they had received in the incident.

The Twlawyer has landed! – A superhero for our times!

Coming soon… the adventures of a superhero for our times…… a man who thinks only for and of himself…. selflessly out there…. a story in 140 characters!

 

AND this…from a fellow tweeter…. one of the many reasons why I enjoy twitter!

I may have had too much time on my hands today.  I shall return to more sensible posts about law, later in the day.


 

Prime Minister Cameron reassures Egyptians that he is not in Cairo to wreck their health service

David Cameron faces criticism for ‘arms trade’ trip to Middle East

Metro: David Cameron is facing criticism for going on a trade mission to the Middle East with six arms manufacturers.

My Tweet of the Week… so far… has to go to US lawyer Brian Tannebaum and fellow tweeter… He writes a good Blawg Review as well….

 

And then US criminal defense lawyer  and blogger Mark W Bennett came up with this sardonic tweet….

 

 

Followed by…this RT on Twitter from Canadian lawyer and blogger Antonin Pribetic…

RT @mirriam71: RT @avinunu: The last leader to order such barbaric air attacks killing civilians in Libya was Ronald Reagan.

The Lib-Dematem Magna Carta is OUT!!! (It is NOT one of those Paper.Li dailies)

Having a bit of time on my hands, I am wading through the Great Reform Bill.  I shall comment in due course.  I rather liked this take on matters from Dr Cian Murphy of King’s College London – re-published in the UK Human Rights Blog… I quote….

It’s no Magna Carta. Those of us who teach public law in British universities will certainly  have to grapple with the Protection of Freedoms Bill. But will it, like the that earlier constitutional text, echo through the centuries into the classrooms of 2311? I doubt it. Although the Bill’s 107 sections will give Messrs Cameron and Clegg a long list of reforms to rattle off at party conferences it does little to coherently explain the coalition’s view of the appropriate relationship between the state and the citizen. The Government does not know what freedom is, but it knows freedom isn’t having your car immobilised without lawful authority (see section 54).

Protection of Freedoms Bill ‘disappointing’, says Law Society

The Law Society Gazette...thunders….

The new Protection of Freedoms Bill fails to live up to government promises and instead hints at a ‘growth of the surveillance society’, the Law Society has warned.

The Society said the legislation, which the coalition claims will scale back on Labour’s ‘intrusive’ policies, will take power away from the public.

Law Society president Linda Lee said that while attempts to reduce the apparent erosion of civil liberties are commendable, it does not tackle the way CCTV is regulated.

‘The Bill as a whole fails to measure up to the government’s grand rhetoric. Proposals for CCTV regulation are limited to local authorities and the police,’ she said.

Postcard from The Staterooms (2) – The Writer with Bits Dropping Orf and other matters….

Dear Reader,

I got up at 3.30 am this morning and enjoyed a few hours watching two fascinating films on iPlayer:  Human Planet – Jungles – People of The trees and A History of Ancient Britain.

I went to breakfast at my cafe of choice in Battersea Square as usual this morning – black coffee, bacon, two eggs, baked beans and toast.  The plate, as ever, I turned to ensure that the eggs are in the right place to satisfy my aesthetic and practical needs.  A gentleman, late fifties, walked in to the outside covered area. He had a walking stick. As I have a nasty foot injury at present, I found myself coveting his walking stick.  “Do they come out, or should I pop in to order?” a voice boomed.

I raised my head from the remarkably dull story in the News of The Screws about Jordan and her cross-dressing cagefighter ex-husband holed up in a hotel.  I advised,  on a pro bono basis,  that he should make his presence known to management, who were exercising their human rights under self imposed ‘control orders’  inside…. if he was even vaguely interested in having something to eat or drink.

The gentleman came back out to take a table two distant from my own.  I returned to Jordan and the aforementioned cross-dressing cagefighter.    “Are you a writer?” the gentleman asked.  It is true that I looked, this morn, like an extra from King Lear…hair slightly wild, tache thick and absurd and a week’s growth of salt and pepper beardage… because I can’t make up my mind as to the issue of tache only or go for a full Scott of The Antarctic on a bad day look. [ A quick F**kArt representation is to the left….. I am calling it ‘The Writer with Bits Dropping Orf’. ]

I rather liked the idea that my unusual appearance this morning put me down in his mind as a writer. I told him that I was a writer…..of sorts.  We chatted for a while about the various bits that were falling off our bodies as the chickens came home to roost – in a way, I have found, that only some people seem able to do sardonically without the need to get out their medical records.  He won.  He had more chickens coming home to roost…. but we both sat there smoking Marlboros (he was, I noted with approval, on the fully leaded Red Marlboros), enjoying a few moments of conversation and talked of village London.  He lives in the village of Chelsea.  I told him that I had done my time on the houseboats next to Battersea Bridge.  I enjoyed the meet…random… slightly surreal…

I bought two newspapers this morning.  I like to know what those who live in a  different Britain to mine think. I had The Observer and The News of Screws. The Sunday Mail, however, had been left by a previous occupant of the table next to mine…and I saw this…… horrendous story……

Cash for internships: Tory backers pay party £2,000 a time to buy their children work experience at top City banks and hedge funds

I found this rather unpleasing…. but entirely typical of some who live in our country and who are enjoying the pleasures of living under a Tory led coalition.  They will, no doubt, satisfy their need to show solidarity with Dave’s new Egyptian friends by holidaying soon in Shark el-Sheikh to assist the peoples of Egypt… or…some of them at least…. well.. those who own the resort.
Back to sensible stuff tomorrow….. but if you scroll down…you will find some sensible stuff
Have a good week….
Best, as always
Charon

Prime Minister Cameron recycles Egypt speech for Britain…

David Cameron welcomes Egypt’s ‘precious moment’ after Hosni Mubarak’s exit

Metro reports…where else?: David Cameron has welcomed President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to step down and told Egypt that the UK is ready to help its transition to democracy.  (Pic photoshopped by me…. Cameron would never flick a V sign at the people of Britain)

And on this momentous day for Egypt… Lord Sugar tweets away…. you..really…could not make it up…

I haven’t even got the will to use Lord Sugar’s catchphrase in a post mubarka-ironic way….

Tory back bench MPs on their way to Parliament…. did anyone remember to bring a lighter?

 

and…. the unsurprising result of the day…. voted in Parliament at 18:02 tonight…

And… my last observation on the matter for tonight…. because I quite fancy a glass of vino after all this… responding to a tweet by @garydunion but running out of space on twitter to accredit original tweeter…..


 

 

Rosalind English: Withdrawal from the European court of human rights is not a legal problem

Withdrawal from the European court of human rights is not a legal problem

Rosalind English in The Guardian: Criticisms of the Policy Exchange report distracts from legitimate points made in a political debate masquerading as a legal one

An analysis of the The European Convention and the ECHR from an experienced lawyer…well worth reading.

And this piece from Carl Gardner, author of The Head of Legal blog is also worth reading…

MPs vote on prisoners’ votes: how to square the circle

Carl Gardner writes….

An interesting afternoon ahead to see what our MPs do….. some, Lord Prescott chips in on Daily Politics, want to abolish the Human Rights Act?

Will Tory MPs be revolting tomorrow… or just on the prisoner votes issue?

David Cameron hopes MPs will oppose court ruling on prisoners’ votes

Guardian: MPs to vote on motion which says ‘democratically elected lawmakers’ should have final say on who gets vote

David Cameron has invited Conservative MPs to deliver a clear signal on Thursday of their opposition to a ruling from the European court of human rights that Britain should lift a blanket ban that prevents prisoners from voting.

Parliament is supreme… in the sense that it can do as it pleases. If we wish to refuse to comply with a treaty, in this case The European Convention and a judgment of the ECHR, we may do so… but…. and it is a big but.. is it not….?  We can’t really claim to be upholders of the international rule of law then…can we?  What will be the worth of Britain’s word in other international treaties  when we enter into them or when, in future, we don’t like the adjudication or judgments in relation to treaties we have already signed?

Of course… this is/may be just too simple minded a viewpoint, easily dismissed  by the real politikerrati of Westminster…there, they take a broad, geo-politico-economic view…and then they read The Sun and The Daily Mail to see what their readers think and do what they think…. democracy…DONTCHA LUV IT?

Meanwhile…. so long as the ravening horde of backbenchers are happy and British Bankers are mollified by having a modest tax levy of £800 million added, bringing the tax take, they say, to £2.5 billion…. we’re all happy and bankers can close in for the kill on the £7 billion pot (higher in some newspapers) available for bonuses.

 

Archbishop backs axe killer: Dr Rowan Williams says prisoners should get the right to vote after campaigner John Hirst’s boasts

The Daily Mail… if you really feel the need to…… bone up further on anger and let Mr Hirst’s more unusual pronouncements cloud the issue….. and judgement….. as opposed to the judgment.

Ministry of Justice: Applications now open for the post of Judicial Community Commissioners

001jcc/01/5/11 – Judicial Community Commissioner

Closing date: 08 February 2011

Location: Big Society

Salary: Starting at £1,935 with the potential to rise to £2,529 in time.  Successful Judicial Community Commissoners will be rewarded in the New Year Honours List…possibly.

Reference: oo1jcc/2011/bigsociety

The new Judicial Community Commissioners are an integral part of the new Big Society drive to bring policing and justice direct to the community. Judicial Community Commisioners will be  assigned to dispense a variety of good old fashioned “British Values” Justice  in their community.  Whilst the post holder will be allocated to a specific office base, there may be a need for flexibility to work on an ad hoc basis at other local community spots.
Duties may include:

1. Ducking yobbos and other sundry undesirables
2. Encouraging the local community to throw fruit and vegetables at aforementioned yobbos and undesirables
3. Trial by Ordeal for more serious offences
4. Dispatching post.
5. Ordering stationery.
6. General ad hoc office duties, including preparation of MP expense forms for IPSA
Candidates must possess a minimum of 1 GCSE and this must include English Language to comply, after a fashion, with European Convention and Human Rights Act  laws on guilt, should it transpire that offenders are actually not guilty.  Following the Prime Minister’s seminal speech on Saturday 5th February on Multiculturalism;  jihadis, extremists and others who do not wish to subscribe to the new British Big Society way of life will not be considered.  This is a full time/fixed term position until May 2015 when we win the next election on the new AV electoral voting system. Liberal-Democrats are, of course, welcome to apply, should there be any left to so apply.

NOTE: You should note that all successful applicants will be subject to a  criminal record check (because we certainly won’t be letting you vote, let alone do this important job, if you are a prisoner)  if we still have the capability to do these checks after the Chancellor has implemented his prudent and considered policy to cut the deficit which we inherited from the last government led by the recidivist and economic revisionist Gordon Brown.

Please note that we do not accept any applications by CV or External application forms returned via e-mail.  The reason for this is that we are a government department and we appear not to have the ability to implement any sensible or workable computer based systems.

Cameron promotes British values of bigotry, bellicosity, greed for which we are revered the world over

I am, I suspect,  one of many who are completely baffled by the increasing tendency for prime minister David Cameron to talk through a hole in the top of his head in a  stream of polspeak platitudes.  It is difficult enough trying to fathom out what he means by ‘Big Society’. We can forgive ourselves for being unable to work out what he means – most of his conservative MPs and policy advisers don’t seem to understand it either.

Cameron: My war on multiculturalism

Independent: No funding for Muslim groups that fail to back women’s rights

Today’s foray into multi-culturalism, prompted no doubt by Angela Merkal’s decision that multi-cultural Germany is a disaster, was equally bemusing;  not so much for the content of the speech (one understands the basic idea but it does appear to be one of his more simplistic expositions) but in the implications. Has he really thought things through or is this just another instant bit of kneejerkitis to pacify the ravening horde of backbench MPs and the more extreme wing of the The Sun and Daily Mail readership? Before we know it, someone will rise from the Tory backbenches and say that the Mexicans are all flatulent and lazy…and then where will we be?

I’m orf for a large glass of wine to refresh my interest in living in Britain under this lot… or, indeed, any lot of professional politicians who seem to have lost touch with who we British really are…as it happens, a remarkable mix of people and ideas…probably incapable of sensible definition…as it should be in an intelligent and interesting and largely ungovernable society.

Anyway… who cares what I think (or what anyone on twitter thinks) on a windy Saturday morning…? We’d all be better off tilting at windmills…preferably after a good dose of binge drinking. What do I know…?   I am not a professional politician…. thankfully.

Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?

I wrote this ‘restaurant review’ pastiche three years ago and remembered it while I  was tweeting about bloggers being sued for doing dodgy reviews with @BillfromBendigo in the wake of Duncan Bannatyne’s complaints about one of his hotels getting a poor review ( which I wrote about yesterday).

I thought I’d dig it out again…. I remember the restaurant which inspired it…. to this day! As it happens, I did three real restaurant reviews for LawandMore some years back.  Enjoyed doing them.

 

A Bar & Dining Room
Somewhere in London
Meal for two with wine: £90
Nil points

 


“Have you booked?” asked the black silk shirted Maitre D’ guarding the entrance. The abruptness of the greeting took me by surprise.

“I have not booked. Do you have a table?” Blackshirt’s eyes narrowed as he flicked open the diary. The page had one entry. Blackshirt looked up, eyes darting. “How many of you are there?” It may seem to the casual observer that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but I was alone. I heard Sir Alec Guinness in the recess of my mind: “Charon” he said, “Use the Force….”

“I am one.”

The Maitre D’ surveyed the dining room. It was that sort of place… Not a restaurant, but a Bar and Dining Room. It was 12.30. Only two tables were occupied. “Do you smoke?” Blackshirt snapped.

“For England.” I replied.

I was escorted to a table in the corner of the room – a table for two. An East European border guard, dressed as a waitress, appeared with a menu. I selected a bottle of Claret and asked for two espressos and a glass of tap water, no ice. “You want espresso?” the waitress asked, unsmiling. “Now?”

“Yes please.” I watched her walk towards the bar. Well it was more of a march… more Red Square than Sandhurst. I was not invited to taste the wine when it arrived.

The menu was fairly typical of many gastros – a mix of “Confu**tion cooking” with a bit of thai/vietnamese nonsense thrown in. I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain… but his books, do on occasion, get into the wrong hands… and so it was, today. Couscous and polenta featured heavily. One day I am sure that I will find a gastro pub with a dish called “Irish tagine”.

A couple were seated at a table nearby – both late twenties, both City professionals. I know this because they managed to tell me, indirectly, by relating events to each other of their successes during the week. They talked at each other; he admiring himself repeatedly in the mirrors lining the walls on our side of the restaurant. They obviously knew each other well – at least one assumes so, because, later, declining the offer of pudding, they started eating each other.

I have no idea why nutters on trains, tubes, buses and restaurants gravitate towards me – but it happend again today. The East European border guard escorted another customer to the adjacent table – a man in his early sixties, blazered, highly polished Oxford shoes, grey trousers, Turnbull & Asser shirt, silk tie and a traditional ‘British’ haircut. One could almost smell the George Trumper cologne.

“Good day to you.”

“And to you.” I replied.

“Writer?” the man asked, pointing at my laptop. I learned long ago not to answer that question.

“Just doing a bit of surfing.”

“Surfing Eh?…. yes… I used to surf when I was a junior partner with X&Y in Hong Kong…. on trips to Australia…. tied up a few M&A deals, I can tell you… out there…. those were the days…”

God in heaven. I know I drank a bottle of cider in Church once when I was at Prep school… but I had no idea, then, that I would continue to be punished for that sin nearly 40 odd years later on Easter Sunday 2007… in the form of a retired City lawyer, from the days of Tai Pan, sitting at the next table.

“Really…? good stuff.. ” I replied, affably, but with what I hoped was the correct tone to indicate that I wished ‘to be alone’. It was too late to pretend I was Bulgarian and could not speak English.

So there I was… a couple of young professionals, but a few tables away, talking at each other and Mr Drone, to my right.

“Been to Church?”

I was looking intently at my laptop screen. The words appeared to come from above. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at my bottle of Claret. I had only had one glass.

“The Vicar had a few of us back for a glass of sherry after the service”

“Really…?”

“Yes… quite a few actually. Have to splice the mainbrace after sitting through all that without being able to charge fees at the end of it! ” a statement which provoked so much laughter from the speaker that I was concerned I may have to do a Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Oh Yes… Vicar did us a good sermon today…”

Mr Drone told me at length that he would have been in New York to advise on a merger but the US firm had ‘cocked up’ on timing… adding that he liked to take on important cases on a consultancy basis from time to time…

“Ah….”

I drained my glass, re-filled and lit a cigarette.

“Smoker Eh?…yes… used to smoke until the Doc said to me ‘My dear chap, unless you pack in the gaspers now you won’t be able to get it up when you are 65′.” Another burst of self satisfied laughter, gave me the opportunity to wave at the waitress and explain to the gentleman seated at the next table that I needed to concentrate on my work. He made a curious signal, tapping his finger against his nose and said “Got it…Roger… mustn’t stop a chap from his work “

“You are ready with your orders?”

I smiled at the waitress, trying not to look as if I had something to declare, and ordered a main course. I justified my lack of a first course, when questioned, by explaining that I may have a pudding. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and marched off.

It takes a rare talent to cook roast lamb badly, but only inhalation of super strength cannabis would suggest beetroot risotto and chilli jam is a sensible, or even suitable, accompaniment to lamb. The waitress looked at my plate, barely touched. The lemon meringue pie had the merit of being bought in. The wine was more than drinkable and, after negotiating my release without the aid of the Foreign Office, I returned to familiar surroundings.

Alarm Cock Britain

As I rose from my deathbed today after suffering from a bout of Blawgerflu Complexiter, I read an article in The Sun written by Nick Clegg calling for the heroes who get up and go to work every day to make Britain great again…. I have no idea how Mr Clegg manages to make a complete mess of everything he touches… Midas in Reverse?

The Guardian asks….

Will ‘alarm clock Britain’ catch on?

Nick Clegg, the deputy PM, is speaking up for ‘alarm clock Britain‘ – people on middle and low incomes who work long hours and are anxious about their standard of living. Do you think his counterpart to Ed Miliband’s ‘squeezed middle’ will catch on as a phrase?

Our Political Masters Define (1): Apostasy

First in a series I plan to do in 2011 on definitions in the English language from the World of Politics – From the man who PLEDGED not to increase student fees before the election and who did not even have the political virility to vote for or against….but now an Education Tsar / Czar/ Kaizer / Caesar…take your pic……

Editorial Note: Mr Simon Hughes is now the deputy leader of The Liberal-Democratic Party – enjoying a…what is the opposite of *Resurgence*?.. in the polls.  [YouGov et al show Lib-Dem support at 7-11%]

Universities must cut private schools intake, says Simon Hughes

Guardian: Colleges are ‘failing miserably’ to reflect society, according to the Liberal Democrat deputy leader

The Guardian notes… and I find this neo-ironic… “His unpaid role will involve challenging “misinformation” which might deter young people from poorer backgrounds from applying to university.”

I think education is best left to the professionals and not politicians…… but hey… what do our views count for in these dark days?

Onanism in the Blawgosphere

While some like honours and awards, I do not care for them. I like even less, organisations riding off the back of the work of others with their idiotic ranking systems. I came across Wikio tonight.    I despise ranking systems for blogs and I will have no part of it.  I will, however, do all I can to encourage blog writing… but not blog *anking.  (Many excellent serious Law blogs are NOT on Wikio…thankfully)  I do not include fun awards from fellow bloggers in my criticism….

I value those who take time to read and comment, whether they agree with my thoughts  and views or not.  I have learned much from reader comments and from other bloggers. The only award I have on my blog is one I gave to myself – and even then, modestly, only awarded myself second place…. The Totally Pissed Blog award – a homage to Total Politics!

There we are….this blog is and always will be… a Wikio free zone…..

I am looking forward to seeing Vince Cable’s *Command* performance on Strictly Come Dancing on iPlayer. @Loveandgarbage on twitter tells me that he jumped out of a box in a tuxedo and observed… “A curious thing for a Minister of The Crown to do”.  Can’t argue with that.

Not to be outdone… Gordon Brown came into my mind….