Archive for April, 2010
This is my emailed reply to David Cameron’s Contract email to me (Exhibit A below)
Thank you for the contract. Thought you did OK on telly last night.
I write to ask if you would prefer to settle my claim for breach of contract now, and save court action (thereby reducing the deficit) ?
Do let me know what sort of figure you have in mind and I’ll mull it over.
Good luck in the election…. I say that to all the ‘Boys’ !
Best, as always
I append the Contract (Exhibit A) below. I am looking forward to receiving a useful sum which I shall spend on a libation and, possibly other earthly pleasures. It is only a pity the email did not call into question my parentage or refer to bigotry. I was, however, delighted that he said I could have access to ‘all the drugs I need’. I’m not, however, that keen on feeding myself plant food or horse tranquilisers. I shall write to David and see what other drugs he has which might be of interest. I quite fancy a spot as Home Secretary… and as he has a vacancy because Basil Grayling-Fawlty is, clearly, not up to the mark, I’ll offer myself – given that I am now accepting his invitation to join the government. (See below) But there we are… one can’t have everything in life.
Email from David Cameron to Charon QC
Dear Charon QC,
At the start of this election campaign I invited you to join the government of Britain. My message was that we’re all in this together, and we’ve got to stop pretending that government is the answer to every problem.
So during this campaign I’ve been talking about the new, active part I hope people will play in making the country better and building the Big Society.
Now, as we get into the final week of the campaign, I want to set out our side of the bargain in a contract with you. This contract – as you can see below – is a no-frills, no-nonsense commitment to do some very specific things if you vote for us.
With trust in politics at an all time low and people tired of politicians breaking their promises, this contract couldn’t be clearer. If we don’t do the things it sets out, if we don’t deliver our side of the bargain: vote us out in five years time.
P.S. This is a contract between the Conservative Party and every person in the country – please do make sure your family and friends see it by sharing this email with them.
A contract between the Conservative Party
and N Charon QC
We go into the general election on 6 May with trust in politics and politicians at an all-time low. And I can understand why: the years of broken promises, the expenses scandal, the feeling that politicians have become too remote from the people – they’ve all taken their toll. That’s why I’m making this contract with you.
For too long, you’ve been lied to by politicians saying they can sort out all your problems. But it doesn’t work like that. Real change is not just about what the government does. Real change only comes when we understand that we are all in this together; that we all have a responsibility to help make our country better.
This contract sets out my side of the bargain: the things I want to do to change Britain. But it also makes clear that I cannot do it on my own. We will only get our economy moving, mend our broken society and reform our rotten political system if we all get involved, take responsibility, and work together.
So this is our contract with you. I want you to read it and – if we win the election – use it to hold us to account. If we don’t deliver our side of the bargain, vote us out in five years’ time.
We will change politics
Our political system needs to change. Politicians must be made more accountable, and we must take power away from Westminster and put it in the hands of people – individuals, families and neighbourhoods.
If you elect a Conservative government on 6 May, we will:
1. Give you the right to sack your MP, so you don’t have to wait for an election to get rid of politicians who are guilty of misconduct.
2. Cut the number of MPs by ten per cent, and cut the subsidies and perks for politicians.
3. Cut ministers’ pay by five per cent and freeze it for five years.
4. Give local communities the power to take charge of the local planning system and vote on excessive council tax rises.
5. Make government transparent, publishing every item of government spending over £25,000, all government contracts, and all local council spending over £500.
We will change the economy
Gordon Brown’s economic incompetence has doubled the national debt, given us record youth unemployment, and widened the gap between rich and poor. Unemployment is still rising, and this year we will spend more on debt interest than on schools. We need to get our economy moving.
If you elect a Conservative government on 6 May, we will:
1. Cut wasteful government spending so we can stop Labour’s jobs tax, which would kill the recovery.
2. Act now on the national debt, so we can keep mortgage rates lower for longer.
3. Reduce emissions and build a greener economy, with thousands of new jobs in green industries and advanced manufacturing.
4. Get Britain working by giving unemployed people support to get work, creating 400,000 new apprenticeships and training places over two years, and cutting benefits for those who refuse work.
5. Control immigration, reducing it to the levels of the 1990s – meaning tens of thousands a year, instead of the hundreds of thousands a year under Labour.
We will change society
We face big social problems in this country: family breakdown, educational failure, crime and deep poverty. Labour’s big government has failed; we will help build a Big Society where everyone plays their part in mending our broken society.
If you elect a Conservative government on 6 May, we will:
1. Increase spending on health every year, while cutting waste in the NHS, so that more goes to nurses and doctors on the frontline, and make sure you get access to the cancer drugs you need.
2. Support families, by giving married couples and civil partners a tax break, giving more people the right to request flexible working and helping young families with extra Sure Start health visitors.
3. Raise standards in schools, by giving teachers the power to restore discipline and by giving parents, charities and voluntary groups the power to start new smaller schools.
4. Increase the basic state pension, by relinking it to earnings, and protect the winter fuel allowance, free TV licences, free bus travel and other key benefits for older people.
5. Fight back against crime, cut paperwork to get police officers on the street, and make sure criminals serve the sentence given to them in court.
6. Create National Citizen Service for every 16 year old, to help bring the country together.
After Gordon Rochdaled himself the other day and watching his lamentable performance in the final leadership debate last night – a truly appalling closing speech – I think the words (modified) to the famous song by The Doors might be in order….
People are strange
Voters are strange when you’re a plonker
Reporters look ugly when you’re alone
Advisers seem wicked when you’re unwanted
Debates are uneven when you’re down
When you’re strange
Bloggers come out of the rain
When you’re strange
No-one remembers you’re sane
When you’re deranged
When you’re deranged
When you’re deranged
13 years ago, on a sunny May morning Tony Blair walked into Downing Street and, with many others, it felt good to be a Labour supporter, it felt good to have change, it felt good to have a young prime minister who promised so much. For the first few years Tony could do no wrong. He was even called Teflon Tony – nothing stuck. But the Iraq war came along and it all went pear shaped. We were fighting a war on terror and then our civil liberties started to be eroded, countless new laws were passed, ID cards were mooted, CCTV cameras exploded into bloom like cherry blossom on every street and the Labour government, which promised so much, started to become repressive, authoritarian, divisive and disorganised. In Number II, rather as the Minotaur of Knossos did in mythology, the Chancellor lurked, scheming, plotting , burning with ambition, to take over the mantle of prime minister which, rightfully, in his mind, was his and his alone. Gordon Brown has been a disaster for the country and for voters like me who were prepared to back a vision of a fairer Britain. I need not, of course, rehearse the many disasters with the economy in recent years, for everyone has a view on that.
I have supported Labour consistently for years. I am not, however, a fan of Gordon Brown. I have made that clear for years in my blog. The other day, Brown revealed what many have known for some time that he is a bully, intolerant, unable to communicate with voters on a personal level and, frankly, should never have been prime minister – he lacks the skills for the top job. What I think is, of course, entirely irrelevant, but it is my blog and it is Rive Gauche Friday… my view is that Labour had the opportunity to get rid of Brown on several occasions over the years and they bottled it each time. They are now reaping what they sowed. I won’t support a Brown led Labour Party. I won’t do it, because this is the most important election I have voted in to date and I have changed my mind.
I won’t vote Tory because I don’t agree with many of their policies. I won’t vote Lib-Dem, despite liking Clegg, Cable, Kennedy and Ming, because I don’t agree with their policies on Trident, the armed forces, the amnesty on immigration or their wish to join the Euro zone. So, I shall have a look at the Independent candidate and if I don’t like what I see, I shall vote by spoiling my ballot paper. I shall draw a pirate flag over the ballot paper. I have bought a nice fat black marker pen for the purpose this morning. It is sitting on my desk as I type. I shall practice drawing it quickly over the next few days.
Back later with some law… now that the lawyers and the courts have got back to work after the Easter break, there is, actually, some rather interesting law to write about.
Tonight, I go to Nick Clegg’s stamping ground… T’North of England and report on the extraordinary events of today and, indeed, this last week ….. in a special edition of Charon After Dark. I was embedded in Gillian Duffy’s front drive with a horde of hyperventilating media people. I can tell you… it was hard!
I can take no more…. I have phoned the doctor. The doctor is coming with an injection for me. Gordon Brown today may well have lost Labour the core vote after calling a Labour voter a bigot (A suggestion being made by commentators on Twitter!). Twitter was ablaze with mockery, derision and ridicule.
While It is rumoured that a number of German politicians are keen for Greece to hand over the Acropolis and several islands in return for help from Germany, there are no immediate plans for Germans to start governing Crete or any other Greek island again – although it is likely that the Germans and others who assist in the Greek bail out will have a hand in running the Greek basket case economy for some time to come if help is given.
The Guardian, helpfully, are providing a LIVE blog for those of you who want to watch a country collapse as alternative entertainment to the antics of t’parkin eating Clegg and the other politicians who are scrambling for office to avoid handing our own country over to the IMF shortly after the 6th May.
My favourite image of the election campaign so far is the picture below from BBC Newsnight last night. Gordon Brown was out campaigning, talking to children. As he did this, a young boy steps in front of the cameras with a ‘Mad as a Box of Frogs’ T-Shirt on. I could not have wished for a better image to sum up the whole election campaign. Wonderful. I wish the young lad well and I have every confidence that he will do well in future if he can pull a stunt like that off at his young age. Bravo!
The young lad didn’t say this…. but I just can’t help myself sometimes.
I do plan to do a Law Review shortly – the Blair Peach issue and other serious matters… until then…
Today I am talking to The Great Ignored about the political events of our times. It is, it is fair to say, a rather bizarre conversation – but TGI had every right to be heard and I enjoyed talking with him. He has set up his own police force, plans to stand for election as police chief and is opening a school – a Madrasa, all consistent with Tory aspiration. I wish him well. We talked about Clegg, Cameron and McDoom and hung parliaments….and…Michael Gove, who was, apparently, on television years ago with David Badiel? Then I went out for a large drink. Perhaps I should have done the podcast after the large drink?
Fortunately, there are other serious podcasts in the series:
There is a new iLegal app for iPhone. It is not free – and I would advise you to read this excellent post by Nearly Legal before you get anywhere near downloading it.
The legal press seems to be enthusiastic – but they may not have had the time and dedication to investigate as Nearly Legal did. Make your own mind up, as always, but do read Nearly Legal’s post. It may not be as up to date as you want it to be.
Interesting and encouraging comments
I am delighted to be invited by my brother Charon QC to put a few points about the absurd and mildly bewildering rise of Nick Clegg as a mainstream political force. Charon QC is busying himself surfing the internet for interesting places to live on the West Coast of Scotland and is not at all convinced by Clegg and cannot be bothered to spend time on the Lib-Dem surge doing anything other than ridiculing Mr Clegg’s claims to be the only Northerner standing for PM.
I have both the time and the inclination.
Main Entry: Clegg·al·o·maniac
1 : a person who suffers from a misguided sense of his or her own importance in election campaigns: cleggalomaniac
2 : national hysteria suffered by a group during elections, often associated with belief that what they say is important: cleggalomania
3: a state of advanced dementia where an individual diagnosed as suffering from cleggalomania becomes unhappy when subjected to objective critical scrutiny: cleggalomaniacal
I do find it somewhat astonishing that a political party stating as one of their aims a ‘clean up in politics’ should be financing their campaign upon the proceeds of crime – but there we are. Eric Pickles, hyperventilating spinmeister in chief for the Tories came up with a wonderful tweet this morning….
I am grateful, also, to Eric Pickles for pointing out that the Lib-Dems, after putting out photos with fake nurses, have now taken to impersonating police officers. Mr Pickles asked on Twitter only a few hours ago if the Lib-Dems actually know anyone in uniform. Given their desire to strip our country of a nuclear deterrent (or in the alternative find a way of stuffing cruise missiles into a submarine) I rather suspect they don’t.
Moving on: The Lib-Dems, silent on the issue as to whether 16 year olds should get the vote, are, seemingly, quite happy for 16 year olds to star in porno films and, indeed, watch them. Curious – prompting Outraged of Mumsnet to be… well, outraged.
I never thought I would ever write or utter these words…. but to coin a phrase… I agree with Kavanagh in The Sun.
Clegg recently suggested that we are far too obsessed with our past glories, winning the World Cup in 1966 and behaving like a group of lager louts – unlike the French who had ‘ineffable style’. Kavanagh reminds us, quite rightly, that the French surrendered to the Germans in WWII despite having more troops, built the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate a few battles they won in wars they lost and are probably the most perfidious people in Europe. Clegg suggested that we need to be put back in our place. Well, Mr Clegg, you may well be put back in your place, but I would not want you at the helm of our armed forces if you have these sentiments about our country being put back in its place. (I find it quite extraordinary, after reading The Sun for only 30 minutes this morning, that I am turning into a ranting nutter and speaking out in support of Mr Kavanagh…. and well done, The Sun, for coming up with CLEGGALOMANIA as a screaming headline!)
Right… let us reflect on the other policies being put forward by Mr Clegg and his happy band of cardigan wearing tree huggers. Mr Clegg wants to give an amnesty for 1 million illegal immigrants and allow immigration to parts of Britain that can absorb more immigrants. Not even the refugee agencies agree with him on this idea. Mr Clegg did admit that his plans would not, of course, stop immigrants moving once they had been deployed to the remote regions of our nation and that he did not have any plans to put checkpoints along Hadrian’s Wall.
I do not, of course, need to turn my attention to the economy because St Vince has already been revealed as a carpetbagger by Andrew Neil who asked him… “Isn’t the biggest myth about the election your reputation?”
On that note, I am off to a meeting of like minded people and press the ‘Post’ button while my brother, Charon QC, is otherwise engaged buying a new kilt so he doesn’t feel out of place when he deports himself back to Scotland.
Anyway… Mr Clegg… as you would say up North… ya tarkin sh*te, man!
My brother has extreme views. This is why he is orf to a meeting with his Tory mates. I am, of course, ‘liberal’ with a small ‘l’ and I shall, therefore, in this spirit, not remove his preposterous rantings above
It is World Intellectual Property Day today – not that I am interested in it being so other than to ask who decides these things. Is it our friends from across the pond who can have a world series in sport with no other countries involved?
Politicians’ legal fight in private to avoid trial over expenses
Frances Gibb, legal editor of The Times, has picked up on the interesting issue of the politicians who are being hauled before the courts for ‘fiddling their expenses’. Gibb reports: “The hearing next month, in which the men will claim that they are protected by parliamentary privilege, will be covered by blanket reporting restrictions. “Essentially, you can’t report anything,” one lawyer said. “It is a pre-trial application and, like any other, subject to normal prohibitions on reporting. The two-day hearing is an attempt to block criminal proceedings, under which they could face hefty jail terms if found guilty. The four will invoke the protection for parliamentary proceedings enshrined in the Bill of Rights to argue that the House of Commons rule book on expenses is “privileged” because it is part of parliamentary proceedings, and so protected from scrutiny by the courts.”
Whatever the merits of their parliamentary privilege argument – and many politicians have come out against parliamentary privilege being used in this way (largely because they don’t want to be mocked and derided by potential voters and the press) – the whole business is shoddy. I can well understand that people who have been caught out on their specialist subject wishing to evade penalty – in this case, potentially, quite a long time in prison if found guilty – but Gibb reports that media organisations and the DPP may apply to have reporting restrictions lifted. The trial judge has a discretion to do so if it is in the public interest.
I’m not so sure I want reporting restrictions lifted – for the very simple reason that I want this trial to be ‘squeaky clean’ procedurally so that those charged cannot later claim their trial was not ‘within the rules’ and, of course, because I would like to see our rather battered Rule of Law returned to good health. All are entitled to that. Of course, it would help if politicians would actually understand and realise that you can’t have a Rule of Law of any real worth unless we have high quality lawyers to prosecute and defend and we resource process properly – but it would appear that the last crew of political pirates and quite possibly the next crew do not really know a lot about the law and none of the political parties, as far as I can see from their manifestos, have plans to ensure that the Rule of Law is maintained at an adequate standard. Political waffle about ‘British Justice being the best in the World’ just doesn’t cut it… only a properly resourced justice system can do that. Our politicians seem to have lost sight of that. This is unfortunate and ironic. Enacting rafts of new laws is relatively easy – even a third world dictatorship can do that. Running a proper justice system takes a bit more effort and cash. Trial without a jury, anyone? Let’s go back to the Police bringing charges, anyone? Dispense with trials altogether, anyone? Fixed penalty tickets, anyone? Fast-track everything through Magistrates, anyone…? nice and cheap – and we’ll have more money to enable you to pass on all your property to your children when you die, when you’ll probably be as concerned about justice as you were when you were alive! Ah… sounds a bit like a Ministry of Truth & Justice proposal.
For those keen to see MP heads on spikes on London Bridge…. this last from The Times may cool your enthusiasm. “Any ruling by the judge on parliamentary privilege and whether it extends to give the men protection in this case from the criminal courts will be appealed to the Court of Appeal and from there to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. A criminal trial is therefore unlikely to take place before the end of the year.”
It has been quite a week… and until Wednesday, I think it was, when I bought a case of Rioja Collapso 2007, my view of the world was relatively straightforward and, quite possibly, similar to yours. I don’t know what the vinyard has done, but ever since I opened that first bottle (and I have been doing my duty and working assiduously through them) things have become quite surreal. First, Nick Clegg announced that he was the only Northerner standing for PM – @CherylKerl might say “Ah’ve aalweys leiked Clegg’s suporb woak; it’s just a shame thar he ler hizself doon wi tha shockin Geordee accent.” (With apologies to @CherlKerl for ‘adapting’! )
And today, as I opened another bottle at lunchtime, I began to wonder if I am living in the same reality of Tuesday last. Just a selection of stories in the papers today, I present as evidence of the problem.
Lord Sir Digby Jones, who has form for unusual statements, has come up with a wonderful plan to ‘starve the young benefit scroungers into accepting jobs’. Apparently he was introduced to two young prats in Swindon who were being interviewed for BBC’s Panorama which goes out this week. One of the pair, from a middle class family, told Sir Digby Jones-Lord that he and his girlfriend were paid about £12,000 a year in job seeker’s allowance and housing benefit and ‘there was no reason for them to look for work’. Lord Digby Sir-Jones, was clearly not amused by this – and I’m with him on this – and suggested that these parasites should be starved back to work, or, in the alternative, should go and do some random cleaning of lavatories, graffiti removal – or study at College. Lord Sir Digby Jones, who finally left the Labour government, did end the piece in the Sunday Times by saying…. that he had put his ‘Starve the scroungers back to work’ idea to a meeting of senior ministers and officials when he was in government.
“I told them. ‘We are creating a victim society of people who think they have no responsibility’.
“They all just said ‘What, what are you talking about? You can’t say that’. I might as well have admitted I mugged my granny.”
I agree… I’m writing to Sir Lord Digby-Jones, as I drink this fine Rioja Crianza that if he would be prepared to mug his granny on Britain’s Got Talent... he’ll get a YES from me.
I continued my reading in The Sunday Times and discovered that we have 1 million illegal immigrants who have gone awol. It is quite possible that some of them are working for the government. The government has form on this. Quite a few illegals have popped up working, of all places, at the Home Office. Then I discovered that the ‘Fortunes of the super-rich have risen by a third’. This, when the country is reduced to penury is the supreme irony. Those investment bankers and ‘hedgies’ certainly know how to spot a turkey, promote it to the public and then bet against it succeeding.
Nick Clegg makes another appearance in my alternate reality with a statement that he wants to have a ‘Putsch’ (assuming he actually manages to win his own seat in the election’), and demand half the seats in the Cabinet….. oh… and get rid of Gordon Brown. Well… I’m certainly with him on the latter proposition. I suspect that the Lib-Dem surge is going to burst… but I could be wrong. Most of the political pundits disagree with each other, so why should a Rioja drinking law blogger be able to shed light where there is darkness.
Stephen Hawking, I read in the Sunday Times’ is warning us that we should not communicate with any aliens who may visit us. I’m with him on that and can re-assure him and you, that I shall certainly not be sharing any of my Rioja with the yellow flying Lizard from another world who popped into The Staterooms just before before lunch.
This is the most important election I have been interested in and this from Old Holborn is worth a look!
I decided not to run the London Marathon yet again this year – the organisers weren’t too keen on me competing with my water bottles filled with Rioja anyway… but I can report that as a ‘homage’ to all the runners, I did run 124 yards to a nearby bar to have an excellent roast beef lunch.
Best as ever