Archive for February, 2007

Barrister ‘A’: Ad alta

The Diary of Barrister A: Saturday 24th February 07

I am not in the giving vein to-day.
Richard III. 4. 2

The hangover this morning could have been worse. Danielle took me to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate my selection as a candidate for the northern constituency. I share only one ‘policy’ with WebCameron: My private life is my private life until I do, or get caught doing, something really daft – if and when I am elected to Parliament.

I spent the morning trying to understand New/Old Labour policies. Hazel Blears was not available. Probably putting in her papers for an outsider shot at the Deputy PM role which will fall due soon.

So… Google seemed as good a starting point as any: This was my first search:


Blair has but a few months to go. He is running about trying to re-create the early days of his premiership/presidency by littering the place with initiatives. He may as well, now, go to a Church of England church, stand in the pulpit and address the depleted congregation. He will reach a wider audience.

I am relieved, given that ‘the original coalition of USA/UK’ appears, now, not to have had any (or immediately effective)  plans to administer Iraq after invading it, that we are not planning to invade yet another country. But… just because information on UK politics (at the present time) is on Google, it does not mean that it is necessarily reliable. As far as I am able to recall – we went into the present Iraq war because we were 45 minutes from attack by weapons of mass destruction owned by Iraq – supplied, developed or sourced, originally, allegedly, by the US and, possibly, the UK. I had no political aspirations back in those days – so I may be a bit hazy on the detail. Did we ever find those weapons? I shall ask ‘R’, my research assistant.

To the summit… ‘ad alta’ is, of course, the quest..the journey, of all aspiring politicans. I accept, should Labour voters in the North fear/despise/ be indifferent to the Tory more than Labour (To be quite honest – I approve of hereditary voting. The last thing we need in the Labour party is voters who have always voted Labour, for family reasons, voting elsewhere) that I will find myself in The House of Commons. I am unlikely to find the time to take high office, let alone any office. I will make it clear to my constituents that I shall be available to THEM, for I seek no other reward.

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Saturday brings respite…

There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that I have been approached to advise HRH Prince Airmiles (aka: ‘The Junket of York) on his public image – that is a distinction which must go to Sir Digby Jones, former head honcho at the Confederation of British Industry (fee, reportedly: £1000 a month for one day each month) – as reported in The Independent today.

The reason it is unlikely that I will be approached to advise Airmiles is because I feel quite strongly that if he spent less time working from 7.00 am – 11.00 pm in Davos and got out on the piste and, thereafter, went on the ‘piste’, Britain plc would be perceived in a warmer light by our foreign neighbours. I feel quite strongly, given that Harry is off to Iraq, Wills has to behave himself and the future King George VII* is just not a crowd puller, ‘The Firm’ has a duty to deploy at least one senior royal to ‘party’ from dusk to dawn, divert RAF jets from centres of business to the playgrounds of the World, and demonstrate that Britain plc is not all about warmongering, cosying up to Bush, financial markets, Hovis, chip butties and Dick Van Dyke portraying a cockney in Mary Poppins. I want It’s a Royal Knockout back on TV.

* (Charles III is unlikely – a Stuart name, not Hanoverian)

The Independent is ‘cooking’ today! There is a shortage of sperm donors in the UK. Apparently British couples are prepared to pay up to $525 (£275) for a US donor with a Ph.D ($445 without) and may choose hair colour, and physique. In these days of legal aid cut backs, less litigation and competition from claims farmers….. ?

Good news for smokers! It is an abuse of a smoker’s human rights to prohibit him / her from smoking in prison. Get nicked for smoking in a public place, get banged up for not paying the fine and smoke away! Wonderful nonsense – amusingly dealt with by Deborah Orr in her column (The Independent)

Happy Birthday Old Bailey : “Defend the Children of the Poor & Punish the Wrongdoer.” The Old Bailey is 100 : Independent story

Ban alcohol adverts: Dr Beaujolais, a leading expert on fractures and author of “You break ’em, I mend ’em”, speaking from Harry’s Bar in Venice yesterday, called on the UK government to ban all alcohol advertising in the UK. “People are drinking themselves to death” said Dr Amaretto Beaujolais (52), as he lit a havana cigar and downed a shot of grappa. “It is thoroughly irresponsible of supermarkets to sell alcopops to under aged boys and girls. It is a disgrace that people can get absolutely roaring for £1.49 on a bottle of cheap cider” He said, signalling frantically to a passing waiter for a re-fill. Full story

“A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said ministers had “no plans” to ban alcohol adverts or alcohol firms sponsoring events.Does this indicate or signal the end of the nanny state? Is The Highwayman going to let us lead good lives when he becomes PM?

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Around the world in 80….

It has been some years since I was last at The Reform Club in Pall Mall. From memory, I am pretty sure I was over refreshed after an extended lunch with a CEO of a leading law school. Be that as it may – the memory of it came into my mind and prompted me to think of balloons and journeys.

Geeklawyer is off piste skiing in Europe. Justin Patten of Human Law is coming over for lunch on Monday to be interviewed for my second podcast. I plan to ask him perfectly sensible questions and then throw in a curve ball at the end. Anonymous Lawyer departs from his usual villainy to reflect, sensibly, on the tragic death of the Freshfields associate, Matthew Courtney. BabyBarista seems to have discovered that another barrister is running a sweatshop; using the services of pupils and underemployed barristers to do his work. Excellent.

Martin (Editor of Conflict of Laws) also has his own blog – Legal Scribbles et al. He also teaches Land Law at Birmingham. May god have mercy upon his soul. This week he considers property rights in space. I have seen this phenomenon with other land lawyers. They become addicted and property rights on earth cannot assuage their needs. I suspect it will not be long before F*xtons estate agents are on the Moon – hopefully not in my lifetime. It is bad enough seeing their badly driven Minis in West London. Chop-chop. I have a long memory. Here is Whistleblower again – on F*xtons.

Pupilblogger is not well. This does not trouble ‘The Master’ who still phones him to talk at length. NearlyLegal reflects on the uses of vanity and expresses some admiration for the stealth campaign mounted by BabyBarista in promoting his blog by posting comments on other people’s blogs. – excellent stuff. Might have to try this technique myself! (Nearly Legal: Agree…hate/amused by the term ‘blawg’ – which is why I use it. Post ironic?…neo-ironic…or just bollocks?)

Which brings me to the question: are any lawyers actually blogging about LAW?

Surprisingly – yes. John Bolch over at Family Lore informs us that marriage as an institution is on the decline – 10% reduction. Who cares? I have troubled the Superintendent of Births, Deaths and Marriages too many times. I have imposed an ASBO on myself. There will only be one further visit – to record my passing to Hades… a member of my family will ferry me across the Styx. Corporate BlawgUK considers ‘Pseudo-modernism, financial markets and Shariah Law.’ With the aid of a glass of Rioja – I enjoyed the post. Dan Hull, from the States, has a blog I visit and enjoy for the more serious stuff. This week he informs us about: “The Sacred, Immovable, No-Excuses Weekly Phone Call.” Legal Beagle asks their Lorships to give her a moment and Bystander JP at The Magistrate’s Blog, as ever, provides an entertaining insight into the world of criminal law: This week dealing with a proerty issues in criminal cases. Tim Kevan, at Barrister Blog, has an interesting piece on Fraud.

So…what is Charon up to?

Today I’ll be watching the rugby with a good friend of mine. He is Irish. Although I am a Scot – I support England (except when Scotland are playing). History will be made at Croke Park this afternoon. Wikipedia has a detailed view of the events of Bloody Sunday 21 November 1920 in Dublin. I suspect that I’ll be up for a few posts later… perhaps on other blogs?

I have introduced ‘Barrister A’ as a vehicle for my interest in the more bizarre activities of politicians. It may continue… but, it may not. Tomorrow I am at the King’s Head in Islington with a young money laundering lawyer to watch a show involving Sir John Mortimer QC. It will be strange to return to Islington. I lived there many years ago (1982) – shared a flat with a friend who is now an eminent Family Silk – good days. It did not look like Blackpool then. Inevitably, I spent far too much time at the King’s Head. Became very friendly with Bob and Charlie (Ex Roy Wood, Wizard – pianist and drummer – who always filled the place when they were playing.)

We shall meet again…on the field of battle. Cry God for Harry, St George and England…etc …

PS… have a go at my latest caption competiton (Infra – or scroll down if you don’t like a bit of latin in your life.) You could win a bottle of Vino – courtesy of Corney & Barrow.

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Barrister ‘A’: Vi et armis

The Diary of Barrister A: Friday 23 February 07
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil.
Richard III. 1. 3

The day began with drizzle and was not improved by the arrival of a letter to inform me that I had not been selected to represent a group of Northerners in Parliament. Pity… I rather liked the nightclubs in the town; the girls in short skirts, stilettos and midriff revealing tops – almost a uniform up there – even in winter. I began to wonder how ‘Old Labour/New Labour’ I needed to be. It is all in the balance – a resurgent Tory party under WebCameron, with a fair prospect of seizing marginal labour seats, balanced against the rising menace of Gordon Brown  [No blog / no personal website – ? I did find ‘Gordon Brown roofing’] and support returning to Labour when Blair finally goes.

More senior members of the Bar are attracting a fair bit of Press attention for their extra-curricular affairs. The antics of the barrister ‘gigolaw’ seems to have given the fourth estate a taste for scrutinising the, shall we say, ‘social life’ of members of the Bar. Circumspection and discretion must be the way forward.

All to play for. The work streams in at an acceptable rate. The clerks at RedLex Chambers do the business but I need to plan. I send an email to my research assistant, ‘R’, who used to work for a well known tabloid; asking her to find out if there are any seriously ill or old MPs who may not make the next two years. I suggest a few names. As an afterthought I asked her to see if anything was ‘known’ about MPs in marginal seats.

I received an email back within minutes with three names. Name 1: “Believed to enjoy dogging – surprisingly” Name 2: “Having affair with his Ukrainian cleaner – visa issues?” and Name 3: “Clean living but dim and rarely turns up for constituency surgeries.” Not that interesting. No serious scandals and not a ‘rent boy’ scandal or public school spliffing episode even hinted at. Christ… how have we been in power for nearly ten years?

Phone Danielle to tell her about constituency rejection. She laughs, which improves my mood. Jim rings up to ask if I would ‘care to attend a Chambers Committee meeting about the new logo’. Easy decision: No.

Lunch with J/Groucho

An hour later, I receive a call from Dick Matlock, constituency party chairman, to tell me that a mistake had been made – the letters sent out yesterday went to the wrong people (the other candidate has the same first name) and that I had, in fact, been selected. Dick is a man of few words, fortunately. No apology – just the raw information. That is the way he likes it and it suits me just fine.

I am on my way.

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About Charon QC

See ‘The About’ page if you wish to… those of a nervous disposition etc etc. I may well add to the bio as I grow older and wiser…

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Friday… caption competition time…

The Sun has the story – but Tim Kevan of Barrister Blog has the video: “Judge Larry Seidlin wept THREE times as he gave custody of the beauty’s body to Richard Milstein.”

What do you think? Could this catch on? What about the opposite extreme of emotion? Will we be seeing judges laughing, perhaps setting off fire crackers and playing a bugle or trumpet as they sentence someone to life (or in the US – death) for a particularly horrific crime? Hardly….

Moving on…. to why Richard Madely is f*****g furious

Quite a few people ring in every day to The Richard and Judy show in the hope of being selected to answer relatively straightforward questions and pocket £5-7000. The hosts even help them on ocassion. The problem is that quite a few people ring in when there is absolutely no chance of them being selected as the contestant because the quiz operator, apparently, selects the contestant fairly early on in the programme. People ring throughout the programme because they are encouraged to do so by the hosts. Channel 4 and Cactus TV (Production company) share the profits from the phonecall revenue. The hosts have apologised. They were not aware that this practice was going on. Richard Madeley said: “I feel f***ing furious about this and so does Judy. We’re livid about it. But I think it’s a cock up, not a conspiracy. Everybody who has been affected will get their money back.” The Sun

The Independent also reports: C4 facing huge phone bill (£448,000)

So…on that note it is time for a carbon footprint certified, Birdflu free, safe, honourable Caption Competition

The picture (Left!) for this caption competition comes from the leader in The Sun today. The link to the story did not work – so I am linking to The Sun

The Prize? A bottle of Vino from the caption competition sponsor Corney & Barrow – who have been very sporting about my wish for this blog to be supported by a wine merchant!

Rules are straightforward: Write a caption in the comments section. 2. If I decide that your caption is the best, you win! 3. There is no appeal. 4. Relatives of Charon may not enter – Charon is also excluded. 5. Absolutely no phonecalls.

The winner of the last caption competition sponsored by The Carbolic Smokeball is….

“It’s OK, John, you don’t look Brazilian”

Comment by Rob Falconer — Thursday, February 8, 2007

Rob… I have emailed you – please let me have details of address etc. You will soon be the proud owner of…..this wonderful statue donated by The Carbolic SmokeBall Company

Honourable mention

“Listen Jimmy, ah dinna care whit yoo say aboot asylum and immigration,prison overcrowding and dangerous ‘head the balls’ being let oot o Jail too early! I’m telling yoo that when I was Defence Secretary, these SA 80 Assault Rifles were the bloody ‘Bees Knees’ now bugger off and talk to Des Brown before I give ye a Glasgow Kiss ya Bastard!”

Comment by James Lawson

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The PI Brief Update February edition is published online today. I am pleased to say that I am still a contributor… in the marginal sense of writing peripherally on topic. The journal has a great deal of content – articles on personal injury, clinical negligence, medico-legal issues and coronial law. You may read the online journal here. If you wish to see my contribution it is here.

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