Archive for July 8th, 2006

Two jobs MSP vows to give up law

Two jobsGlasgow Govan Labour Party has forced Gordon ‘Crackerjack’ Jackson MSP to give up his work as a highly paid QC according to the BBC so that he can ‘concentrate fully on his role in the Scottish Parliament – and in his constituency. Jackson states that there were never any problems with his constituency work but timetabling Parliament and Court appearances was difficult. The BBC reports that he tops up his £50,000 MSP salary with £240,000 worth of legal fees.

Clearly mindful that he won’t be able to go back on his promise by doing a spot of legals on the side, slyly, Jackson is reported as remarking : “My work’s in the public domain so it will become obvious what I’m doing.”

Regular readers of my blawg may recall that I bought a peerage some time ago but resiled when I found out that others were getting them cheaper. (I was shocked to read the report in the Evening Standard this last week that (unspecified) barristers had been buying them for £250,000 – no doubt the Attorney General will recognise who these barristers are when they pop up wearing the ermine and bring to bear the bright light of illumination?)

I have little to do this afternoon. Wimbledon bores me. The only tennis player I have ever enjoyed watching is McEnroe – although Boris was pretty good at the antics and a great player.

There is only so much fresh air one can take and I went for a 100 mile blast on my motorbike before lunch to test the observational skills of pedestrians, car drivers and traffic police. 3-0 to me, today and a sock over the number plate solves the Gatso problem (Only joking, officer).

So I am sitting in The Bollo, taking advantage of their wireless internet connection, sipping an espresso, Silk Cut in my left hand as I type – wandering in thought. I am wondering how many barrister and solicitor MPs in Parliament (The National one – chock full of Scots labour MPs who can meddle in English affairs) are also doing valuable legal work alongside their duties as an MP.

I googled “Lawyer MPs” and came up with a Guardian story which told me that there are 31 lawyers on the Labour benches – 13 barristers, four of whom sit in the Cabinet. This is not a large number – the lowest for some time. There are, according to the Guardian, as many lawyers on the Tory benches despite the Labour majority – and no doubt the Ming-Dems have a few lawyers knocking about. So let us say about 60-70 people to look at?

I then went to The Parliament website. Most interesting. There is an alphabetical list of MPs, classified by ‘Party’ and ‘Gender’ – but not by occupation. There is a limit, even for me on a Saturday, as to how much futility I can indulge in, and flogging through the alphabetical list of MPs to look at their websites or biographies defeated me.

I then had a brain wave. I am a subject of The United Kingdom. I can phone Parliament. So I did. I spoke to an official – a polite woman with a cut-glass accent who sighed slightly when I told her that I was writing about lawyer MPs and wished to know if there was a list of MPs who are lawyers. I was advised that it might be best to telephone back on Monday as the government of the country was closed for the weekend. I did not hear any suspicious clicking on my telephone line, so felt safe in thanking her for looking after Parliament over the weekend and said that I would call back on Monday.

I then had a rare moment of insight. The Lord Chancellor would know the answer. While I went to school with Charlie Falconer ( I don’t actually remember him from those days) I don’t happen to have his mobile number, so rang Selborne House – the ‘headquarters of the Department for Constitutional Affairs.’ Their office hours are 9.00 – 5.00, Monday to Friday.

M15 would, of course, know – and, probably also, if any lawyer MPs are also doing legals on the side. However, I am fairly sure that they don’t need another file marked ‘Charon’ and decided, since it is highly unlikely they would be closed, that I would not ring them.

So.. I am afraid, after a happy hour of research, I am no further forward. And all this because of an ambitious Scots QC MSP who is selflessly foregoing 240,000 quids worth of legals to serve the interests of his constituents.

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horseheadHorsehead pillow suit you?

It is Saturday afternoon and it is time to search the net for weird stuff.  It didn’t take me long – here is a gift which may not improve your credibility with partners, common law or legal, or even lawful, but it will certainly surprise your current partner if you are discreet about placing it. Before the last Mrs C gave herself to a life in the law she may have approved – but now, aware of the hindrances placed on our lives as human beings by law, the law and the new wave of anti-libertarian law makers led by the Lord Protector and Dr John Witchfinder of the Home Office, I suspect she would have to advise me that I owe a duty of care under Donoghue et al not to cause nervous shock to visitors who happen to enter my bedroom – including burglars. That I reserve the right to have a Samurai sword, a Victorian Police truncheon ( a bizarre Christmas gift from my former Mother in Law – 2nd marriage))  and handcuffs ( for those arresting moments) under my futon is a civil right, I suspect, that I may already have lost.

Anyway..there we are.  If you want to buy a Godfather style horse’s head pillow – you may do so here.  

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Hawking“What’s with this sudden spate of famous people asking questions on Yahoo Answers? Especially Stephen Hawking, of all people … surely you must have better things to do than talk to all us dumb schmucks?” said Qchan05.

Qchan05, whoever he is, is referring to an initiative by Yahoo who invited Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Stephen Hawing, to post a question on the internet. Hawking posed the question: “How can the human race survive the next 100 years?”

Within two days Hawking received 16,000 responses. The Guardian picked up the story and if you want to read the original story – click here

On the assumption that we don’t global warm, nuclear bomb or bore ourselves to death with anti-smoking, anti-drinking and other assorted anti-libertarian laws, I remain confident enough about the future of the human race, as I perceive it, not to book a ticket on the first shuttle out of town – although the prospect of seeing a few world leaders, celebrities and the more odious rich being blasted off into space to live in a ‘new brave world’ does have some appeal.

Bereft of vision, wisdom or imagination this morning, after an amusing night on the Rioja – I am able only to come up with one question:  “How can the Ingerland football team win a world cup in the next 100 years?”

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