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Archive for July 19th, 2006

The Lord Protector..and other ephemera

Private Eye reports in the latest edition (21st July) that The Lord Protector is resurrected and doing his bit for democracy and collective responsibility. The Private Eye story is fascinating and I would hope that PE will not be offended if I quote in full..

” At his recent appearance before the Commons liaison committee, Tony Blair admitted that he had never bothered to hold a vote in cabinet on any issue. It now seems the lack of dissent among his senior ministers may be even worse than we feared.

A story reaches us that Des Browne, who is currently Defence Secretary, was bold enough in his first cabinet meeting to voice disagreement with the prime minister on some matter. His remarks were heard in stony silence.

Then, while the meeting was still going on, Browne found little messages being passed to him discreetly by colleagues. They asked him what on earth he was playing at. Questioning Tony’s judgement, apparently, simply was not acceptable behaviour for a Rt Hon Member of Cabinet.”

Well if that doesn’t chill you down on the hottest day of the year – maybe this will…

Worst sound in the world? There is, in fact, a website established to try and find this out – I tried it but became bored very qucikly, so I won’t inflict it on you. Some people don’t like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard. I can’t stand the sound of babies crying – especially if they are in The Swan. (Thankfully, The Swan is enlightened and all babies, children and their parents are ejected to drive off in their 4 x 4s at 7.00 pm) There is another noise which is happening right outside my office now – a circular saw drilling wood and bricks. I have been told they may do this from 8.00 pm – 6.00 pm (11.00 am on saturdays) and not at all on Sundays. As I like the builders and my neighbours I will just shout the ‘F’ word when the noise comes up as a way of releasing irritation – a sound masked, of course, by the noise of the saw. But.. it makes me feel better to practice my Tourettes

It is too hot to work further (I have a thermometer in my office recording 108 degrees F). I do not have air conditioning, obviously, and the light breeze oustide does not seem to come down the alley way to my office.I tried a fan but it blew all my cigarette ash and paperwork around and I am clearly not sensible enough to stop smoking. But I have been at it since 3.30 am for precisely the reason that it would be hot, so I have done enough for the moment. I offer something which you may already be using – but if you are not, which you might like to check out.

Intute: Law provides guidance and access to global legal information resources on the Internet. The service aims to identify and evaluate legal resource sites offering primary and secondary materials and other items of legal interest. Descriptive records and links are created for legal service sites and specific documents. Intute website

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The Judge strikes back

“We do not live on rundown estates, but we do travel on buses and tubes and bicycles, we push trolleys around supermarkets, we have normal family concerns and commitments and neither are judges immune from the impact of crime.” Lord Philips at the annual dinner for judges.

Clare Dyer in The Guardian reports Lord Philips irritation with the media when the LCJ spoke at the annual gathering for judges at the Mansion House. Lord Philips described media criticism of judges as “intemperate, offensive and unfair”. Lord Falconer has finally surfaced like a nuclear submarine after a long patrol to add his weight to the debate. He described the journo criticism of The Recorder of Cardiff, John Griffith Williams, as delivered with “venom”

All good stuff and it is good to see the judge’s defending themselves at a private dinner to which, possibly, journalists had been invited to witness…or, as this is not recorded in Dyer’s article, perhaps they sent a press release!
Maybe Lord Philips had a particular type of tabloid journo in mind, one who chooses to believe the sterotype of a judge. I doubt whether many broadsheet journos would even think that judges, today, are out of touch… well..there we are. Far more problematic for the judges and the legal process generally (let alone ‘justice’) – politicians whipping up support by using their media power to make unfortunate remarks about judges, cases or even in some cases, possibly pressurising the Attorney General indirectly into taking or not taking action on a particular appeal.

Anyway it is good to know that judges are among us in society – although it has to be said, thankfully, there aren’t too many down at The Swan in Chiswick where I seem to spend much of my leisure time in their wonderful courtyard garden. Apropos of The Swan’s garden – it received a write up in The Times at the weekend. Result ? Full of Times readers last night – few of whom, pleasingly, could get a table because the regulars aren’t stupid. They know what time to arrive. There was a certain pleasure in seeing a few ‘Times reading aliens’ look appalled that a table could not be provided for them – and one supercilious couple asked me haughtily if they could ‘have part of the table’ – it seated eight – where five of us were seated. I had to tell them that there was a prospect that the Editor of Tribune (another Swan regular) and his partner may be joining us, as they do on occasion. A film producer friend, who seems to be living at the Swan these days, simply glowered like Hitchcock – they left. Curious how territorial one can be when there are ‘strangers’ about. The truth is – had they been friendly and personable OR, for some of our number – beautiful women who were miraculously single and who enjoyed the company of single men – I suspect that they would have been welcome. Such is life.

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Yo Merkel?

After the ludicrous ‘Yo Blair” episode where Bush and Blair talk about world problems in a very bizarre way – not realising the microphone was ‘live’ – it seems (from the picture) that Bush tried to put his point of view to Chancellor Merkel of Germany in a more forceful way. This, however, is not the case. I was browsing around BoingBoing, which I do most days, and found this extraordinary picture and story. Apparently, Bush walked into the conference room, walked up to Merkel and started to give her an ‘unsolicited’ massage. It is good to know that the World is still in capable hands. Yo Putin, next? Mind you, President Putin of Russia, is an expert in Judo from the good old KGB days and has even written a book about it…. so sidling up to Putin from behind would be really dumb. You may buy Putin’s book on Amazon.

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