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Archive for February, 2007

“More than an occupational blog, charonqc.wordpress.com shows admirable distaste for writing about the workaday nuts and bolts of life as a lawyer. This rioja-loving “blawger” provides crisply commentary and dry wit about life and pressing news in general. Whether declaiming on liver and mash, Asbos or David Cameron, he is never less than compelling.”

Many thanks… TimesOnline.

I’ll be watching my typos (and content?) on my late Friday night Rioja inspired blogs!

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Friday review…

While ‘Master’ criminals may well be blessed with brains and a high IQ: others at the bottom of the criminal food chain are not so blessed. This from The Mirror today :

“TWO suspected burglars were caught – after police tracked their footprints in a fresh fall of snow. Officers arrived promptly when a couple found their home being burgled and followed the footprints leading to a nearby house in Chippenham, Wilts. The prints became two cycle tracks which the police trailed until they found one of the bikes dumped – and two men hiding.”

A BRITISH man is to crawl on his hands and knees round New York wearing a George Bush mask and a sign saying “kick my ass” on his bottom. Mark McGowan is protesting against the US president and wants Americans to kick him. Apparently he will have a pillow stuffed down his trousers. [He has also pushed a monkey nut to Downing Street with his nose and has eaten a roasted swan.]

So what is going on in the world of law blogs?

Geeklawyer : Prolific ranter, Geeklawyer, covers a multitude of sins this week: Trials, Valentine’s Day … easier for you to go and have a look. The comments are also worth looking at. Ignore my claims to have played for ‘Real Madrid’ 30 years ago – preposterous; but enirely in keeping with Geeklawyer’s comments area.

Legal Scribbles and Quibbles: Has an interesting view on The Verdict (BBC2) and an interesting analysis of the legality of having sex on a plane a mile high above the ground.

Human Law: Justin Patten is always worth reading for more serious analysis (This week: Mediation) – and he has some useful material on sensible blogging.

Binary Law: Nick Holmes tends to focus on serious topical issues – the post of ‘Illegal Google’ was particularly interesting.

The Barrister Blog: Tim Kevan’s blog is always worth a look for more serious content – but he is also a surfing fanatic (Surfing on the sea)

Nearly Legal: Has a go at the re-design of The Times website and looks at the way things are falling apart in legal aid and court administration…
Pupil blog: Continues to grind away at the coal face…. “Oh no! No, no, no! Jesus Christ, f**k! F**k!’ will give you a taste of his latest posts.

Lo-fi Librarian: Lo-fi is becoming more prolific…. some very useful stuff here! Enjoyed the ‘sock-puppet’ post.

The Magistrate’s Blog: Although I know little about Criminal law and have no plans to become a criminal, I tend to visit this website most days – interesting analysis on the state of the law at the sharp end.

Family Lore: John Bolch has picked up on a tale of bad temper costing a great deal of money!

What about clients: Dan seems to have a look at Charon on Saturdays. I take that as a compliment!. This week Dan has a look at law firm differentiation, the weather report in Paris and what he plans to do when he goes to Paris in March (which I did pick up earlier in the week – infra.) You will also find Dan lurking in Geeklawyer’s comments sections. He likes hats.

Forgive me if I have not picked up on your own blog this week – I will do – but, I have run out of time this day.

I have decided to have another go at a Podcast…. listen to my first one? Ideas for topics gratefully received. I am interviewing Justin Patten on Monday 26/2 for inclusion in a future (slightly longer) podcast.

BTW… in case you doubt (after listening to the podcast) that I have a newsreader brother: Here he is – reading the news in full colour

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This England…

On 1st July the ban on smoking in public places will begin and thousands of council employed ‘smoking wardens’ will be unleashed onto the streets of England to hunt down miscreants. The BBC reports that Councils are set to spend £29.5 million to employ staff to enforce the ban. These wardens will be able to go into pubs, offices and other public places and will have power to photograph or film unlawful behaviour and issue £50 on-the-spot fines .

I smoke. I have no problem with the ban coming in. I shall simply go outside when I feel like having a fag. I have a feeling, given the experience in Scotland where there have been just 11 fixed penalty notices issued to premises in the last 10 months, with many councils having issued none at all, that smokers in England will comply with the ban. Why does the government bother with this? There are thousands of zealous anti-smokers in this country who probably can’t wait to go into a pub and enforce the ban themselves.

POLICE were branded “bonkers” by Britain’s chief law officer yesterday for putting the human rights of criminals above those of victims.

“The Lord Chancellor slated the Derbyshire force for not issuing photos of two escaped killers because it would infringe their human rights.” The Mirror

We have not heard much from Charlie Falconer in recent months. Good to see that he is keeping his hand in.

MPs look set to face a sleaze probe after claiming £4.5million in travel expenses.

Not really much of a story here, I fear. News must be a bit thin on the ground. I read the Times report yesterday. The Mirror follows today. Yes… Scots MPs have higher bills for rail and air travel. This is a fact of geography. MPs, were, apparently, shown the figures some time ago and were given an opporunity to correct any inaccuracies, the Mirror reports.

Leading news in The Sun today – Viagra is a Valentine’s Day flop.

“VALENTINE’S Day lovers hoping Viagra would add a boost to their celebrations felt let down yesterday. Boots announced an over-the-counter trial of the sex drug at three Manchester stores.
But men found it was not as simple to get as they thought.

Pharmacist James Longden, 28, said: “We absolutely won’t be handing it to people who want to give their girlfriend a good time on Valentine’s Day. There is a protocol that involves taking the medical history.”

Ah well… back to trawling through all those Viagra and Cialis spam emails then.

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This US lawyer has the right idea…

Dan Hull [What about clients?] is a man after my own heart…. have a look at his description of what he plans to do in Paris for three days: I give you but a taste from his post!

“It’s perfectly okay in the City of Light to look admiringly at a woman’s form, her legs, gait (that’s “git-along”, if you’re from southern Missouri or Tennessee), sway and the subtle changes in the curve of her back as she moves along the avenues or over the ancient bridges. You can even stalk her a bit. You can do this whether or not she’s with her boyfriend (amused and flattered, she will always smile anyway…”


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Young lawyer dies….

The Times had an extraordinary story about the death of a talented associate at Freshfields: I quote simply from the opening – because the full story is important and I provide you with the link above (It is also below in Talkback from Legal Week)

Quoted from The Times: “Stressed out lawyer, 27, dies in late night fall at Tate Modern

“As a lawyer at one of the “magic circle” of leading corporate legal firms, Matthew Courtney was expected to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

He hoped that his efforts would eventually be rewarded with a partnership – and a £1 million salary.

But weeks after Mr Courtney, 27, and other associate lawyers at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer spoke to senior partners about their long hours and stress, he was found dead at Tate Modern, The Times has learnt.”

The full report is worth reading.

Interestingly – Legal Week asks the question in their Talkback section:

Talkback: Is the national press being too quick to judge Freshfields? Click here to have your say.

****

POSTSCRIPT

An interesting comment on this by Liadnan – well worth reading

The inference that Matthew Courtney may have committed suicide is supported by the vagueness of the article and the link to stress the stress of what is, undoubtedly, a demanding work environment. This quote from The Times article does not really help either: “Police studied security camera footage from Tate Modern but told Mr Courtney’s family that it is inconclusive. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said that the death was being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious.”

I find it strange that the story is not more clear. The Police, certainly, do not seem to have a firm view – save that they are not treating the death as suspicious.

Legal Week has an interesting follow up: here

It is certainly possible to construe, from the Times article, a suggestion of suicide – but it seems to me, that if one is making such a point, then one should do so clearly. A number of other bloggers, seasoned and experienced lawyers, have drawn this inference from press reports.

Lawyers work long hours. It goes with the territory – but it seems, to me, that press reports may not be giving an entirely fair view of the workloads or the circumstances surrounding the tragedy of this young lawyer’s death.

The posts on Legal Week’s Talkback are fairly robust:  One commentator expressing the view that no lawyer should have to work after 6.00 pm for free and that it is time the public ‘ finds out what working as a lawyer is like’. Another comment takes a more measured view (and I have no hesitation in quoting in full) :

“There is no question some grossly irresponsible pieces have been written about the possible cause and tragedy of this young man’s death. It is much too soon to point an accusing finger, the sort of thing we almost (but still reluctantly) come to expect from the gutter tabloids…but not respected newspapers, surely?”
Posted by: Associate, Burges Salmon

The truth of the matter is, given the Police view that the death is ‘unexplained but not suspicious’ (as reported in The Times article of 13/2/07), that no-one knows (a) whether it was an accident or suicide or (b) and, if it was suicide, whether it could be attributed to stress from work.

Unless I am missing something – is this a fair way to report a tragic death?

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St Valentine’s Day massacre…

No… I’m not going to be writing about gangsters…just wanted a suitable title to mark this awful day in the calendar. I woke to discover that £38 million pounds worth of flowers had ben sold and discovered later in the morning that a friend had been quoted £80 for 8 roses… (He had let the day slip his mind)

Not interested…never have been. Nor am I interested in the activities of prominent lawyers who may or may not be having affairs. Private matter – The Bar seems to have rallied around Sir Ken Macdonald who is being hounded by The Mirror. Times has the story

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A fascinating blog…

You might like to look at a new blog by Martin. He has two – a serious academic one ( an excellent resource for those interested in Conflict of Laws) and a new personal blog – Legal Scribbles and Quibbles. Both are in my blogroll

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Charon enters podcast world….

I’ve decided – inspired by Geeklawyer’s podcasts – to try one of my own. I have created the podcast in mp3 format so it should play on your computer and iPod – should you wish to listen to it.

Please bear in mind that this is a first (possibly last) attempt – I talk to you about wearing an England flag on my glasses during the World Cup 2006 last summer on a rare visit to the Inns of Court…. Here is the first podcast

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I inhaled….

You cannot possibly have missed the feeding frenzy going on in the Press about David Cameron’s cannabis smoking exploits at school. Frankly, whether he continued this hobby when he was at university or even thereafter, before he went into politics, doesn’t interest me or bother me at all. I do think that politicians, like everyone else, are entitled to keep private the indiscretions of youth.

I have absolutely no problem with questions being asked of politicians about activities which are likely to impact on their ability to make decisions once they are elected as MPs. After all, one is entitled to take the view that politicians should not be spliffed up, raving on ecstasy or even pissed while carrying out the job of governing/opposing government. Drugs are, of course, illegal – but surely there have been instances of politicians being over refreshed while working?

Home Secretary John Reid said: “I think it was Andy Warhol who said most statements could be answered with the question ‘So what? I think this is one of those ‘So what?’ moments. Do we really care if David Cameron some years ago was involved in doing something wrong? “I think the public will probably say ‘So what, let’s move on and find out what he stands for’.

Charon had a few spliffs in his youth (late sixties in Africa visiting parents.  Illicit booze was the only thing we could get hold of in the wilds of Perthshire at Glenalmond when I was an inmate there) and developed an extraordinary penchant for eating tomato omelettes and laughing soon after inhaling… but the most interesting ‘experiment’ was a shrub root which an african friend of mine said was ‘for women’. I tried it. I have not tried Viagra [but delighted that should I wish to do so I will be able to nip down to Boots] but I am able to tell you that this root, which my friend called ‘munga’, had similar properties to Viagra – not that it was terribly useful to me on that occasion; given that I was stuck in the middle of the african bush, 200 miles from the nearest town. Amused my Zambian friends though.

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A spoof or poor taste or both?…

John Bolch at Family Lore has picked up on an item about Chris Tarrant’s divorce.  ‘The ‘news report’ is here – unusual

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The white ball…

“England won their first major overseas one-day tournament since 1997 as they beat Australia by 34 runs in the second match of the finals series in Sydney.” The BBC have the story

Which is another way of saying that we won the one day series against the Aussies.  [ A 2-0 ‘whitewash’?  – I post this only in honour one of the great Australian bowlers – McGrath – who could be relied on to predict whitewashes against England.  It was good to see him get a wicket on his final ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground – the last ball he will bowl in Australia in first class cricket.]

It was a good match – although it was just as interesting to listen to commentators trying to work out the Duckworth-Lewis rules and commentating on the rain reports on Australian radar!

I will say no more. The Cricket Wold Cup starts soon…

Dan: Thanks for the mention. “Charon is for Saturdays” I liked that.

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Let me introduce you to Barrister ‘A’…

I can’t reveal his name – yet, but Barrister A will shortly be writing on a regular basis. Barrister A was educated at Harrow, The LSE (LLB), Oxford (BCL) and hacked his way through the old style Bar exams (Now the ‘BVC’) at The Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to the Bar in 1980 and dare not apply for Silk in case it reduces his income. He is married to an actress (resting) and has not had time, nor income, for children. [A friend of his, in another set, was made a Silk recently. Apparently, the new Silk has had the time, since elevation, to appear as a participant on Flog it and Cash in the Attic – telling the presenters of these popular daytime television shows that it ‘is time for someone else to enjoy his collection of Georgian Silver and Chippendale chairs.’]

We met, somewhat implausibly, at Spearmint Rhino – where we were taken to listen to a lecture (3 CPD points) by Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Barrister A has political aspirations and is likely to be selected to a safe Labour seat. He tells me that it is a constituency near Doncaster, which he felt sure was somewhere near Birmingham. He accepts that he may not be in ‘government’ after the next election, but takes the entirely sensible view that this will give him time to learn the skills of being a backbench MP and develop his knowledge and skill as a ‘player.’ I am able to say that Barrister A has many of the venal qualities required of political players and I feel certain that it will only be a matter of time before he makes his mark as a future ‘Whip’. He reads The Tribune – or so he says.

Barrister A has few convictions, no scruples – but nor does he feel the need to mess around with ‘rent boys’, indulge in unusual sexual acts involving nooses and satsumas or have secret fantasies about female Tory MPs. He, most definitely, does not wear his shirt tucked into his underpants. I have no direct knowledge of this – but a lap dancer, who we met at ‘Nobu’, recently, assured me that he did not have this unusual habit.

Barrister A has promised me that he will be ready to file his first report here…..shortly…

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Drinking it pretty…and the magic bus…

Anyone who enjoys a few drinks knows about the ‘Magic Bus’ – a phenomenon which arises after the consumption of approximately 5 beers or the better part of a bottle of wine. The drinker is sitting in a bar. The room is full of people – some good looking, others – not so blessed. The drinker goes to the lavatory. While he is in the lavatory the magic bus arrives and disembarks astonishingly good looking women and takes everyone else, who had been in the bar, home. (The phenomenon also affects women – please construe the above according to taste and orientation)

It is sometimes known as the ‘Beer goggles’ effect. I am delighted to be able to report that scientists are now able to explain the ‘beer goggles’ effect with a formula (pictured). The BBC have the story.

Scientists believe they have worked out a formula to calculate how “beer goggles” affect a drinker’s vision.

Formula explained:

An = number of units of alcohol consumed
S = smokiness of the room (graded from 0-10, where 0 clear air; 10 extremely smoky)
L = luminance of ‘person of interest’ (candelas per square metre; typically 1 pitch black; 150 as seen in normal room lighting)
Vo = Snellen visual acuity (6/6 normal; 6/12 just meets driving standard)
d = distance from ‘person of interest’ (metres; 0.5 to 3 metres)

The magic taxi

I have benefited from this phenomenon, I am sure, in my time – but it is surprising how powerful the effect is. Thankfully, the magic taxi arrives the next morning and either one can take it or have one’s vision of beauty of the night before, delivered back to their home.

It is pleasing that scientists have time to work this out – hopefully they can now get on with solving other medical problems…

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Good to be proved wrong…

Having expressed the view (below) that England may struggle in the Final one day series against the Aussies – I watched the last half hour of play this morning. England beat the Aussies – deservedly so. 2007 is improving.

On a sporting theme – with some legal interest:

9th February The Guardian
“Legal action is being brought against high street clothing giant JJB Sports to try to recoup millions of pounds for thousands of football fans who were overcharged for replica football shirts. The national consumers’ organisation Which? is urging people who bought more than 1m England and Manchester United football shirts between April 2000 and August 2001 to support its test case claim for damages.”

Afraid of the dentist?

No need to be! Colgate has sent out special masks to dentists. Almost as good a marketing idea as law firms getting their trainees to write blogs about how good the firm is.

Here are some more Colgate dental masks.

Indebted to Geeklawyer for posting this on his blog:

I think you may be an arsehole …

February 7th, 2007 This is possibly an uncomfortable test for many lawyers to take: the ‘are you an arsehole?‘ test.

The Verdict BBC 2 Sunday 9.00

Lord “Jailbird” Archer heads a list of celebrities in a new BBC production where the jurors will deliberate and decide a fictional court case. Archer who did ‘porridge’ for perjury will, no doubt, bring his special expertise to bear.  Is that Mr McKay sitting on the back row behind Archer?  Good god!!…It is Michael Portillo. Haven’t a clue who the rest of the jurors are.

2.05 pm: Lord Archer is in the Jury Room.  At least no Davina in this reality show…. but it would have been good to have the Big Brother narrator with the excellent accent doing the commentary.

If I am not out doing some wine tasting I may well watch….. It may well be quite a good programme. We shall see. A bit of a busman’s holiday for some of you, I suspect.  But should be interesting for law students.  CPD points would have been useful here.

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This morning, life in Britain changed. The Met Office issued ‘severe weather’ warnings, the news agencies warned that snow was coming. Officials from a number of government agencies told us that we were ready, that Britain would cope.

I spent much of this morning with a TV screen on while I was working. Airports were closed, side roads blocked, the main roads which were clear, because the gritters had been out, were now at a standstill because of crashes… cars upside down, lorries slewed across the road and motorists sitting in their cars, bemused, wearing rugs over their knees, drinking hot coffee from thermos flasks and eating ‘rations’. Trains couldn’t use the rails because of snow and ice and buses were diverted to avoid hilly areas. Excellent… the usual, classic, British performance when a bit of snow hits us. I always enjoy the news when snow falls.

We even had pictures of a hardy BBC newshound reporting from rural England. The snow wasn’t that thick – kids were sliding, as best they could, on sledges down a hillside patchily covered by snow. I thought the newshound was about to say that he ‘may be gone for some time.’

I even had a moment of madness; believing that I could ride my motorbike through an inch of snow on the roads to have breakfast in Chiswick. I found that it was very slippery on two wheels, and mindful that I have managed to break bones in both of my legs in recent months, and having no ambition to win a Darwin Award, I retired from the venture.

I made twenty odd telephone calls this morning – only two of the people who I phoned were able to make it to work. I am fortunate. I only need to walk eight yards – I have the luxury of working from a fully equipped house.

England did not fail… we hacked it… unlike the overpaid footballers last night… ‘Spainfull” was how one tabloid described the performance. We now face the prospect of England cricketers struggling through three consecutive defeats against the Aussies in the final of the One Day tournament.

I leave you in ‘Ice Age’ Britain with a few jokes from an Aussie friend of mine who feels that I need to read Australian jokes about English cricket:

Q. What do Geraint Jones and Michael Jackson have in common?
A. They both wear gloves for no apparent reason.

Q. What is the height of optimism?
A. An English batsman applying sunscreen.

Q. What does Ashley Giles put in his hands to make sure the next ball
almost always takes a wicket?
A. A bat.

Q. What is the English version of a hat-trick?
A. Three runs in three balls.

Q. What do you call an Englishman with 100 runs against his name?
A. A bowler.

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0800 Hours : Matt Muttley’s office

Eva Braun walked into the managing partner’s office at 0800 hrs this morning with a single sheaf of A4 paper. Typed on the paper – the details of a new trainee blog launched by Winkworth Sherwood, Solicitors and Parliamentary Agents.

Matt Muttley was riding an exercise bicycle and talking to a US lawyer on the telephone. He looked up and, turning back to his call, said “Dude… I’m going to have to call you back. Eva has just come into my office. It must be important. Ciao…”

“Important?”

“I’ve been on Binary Law. Another law firm has launched a trainee blog.” Eva replied… helping herself to some grapes which were arranged in a Claris Cliff bowl which Matt Muttley had bought at auction after watching “Flog it” at 3.45, on BBC 2, the previous week.

“Jesus… no kidding.” Matt always spoke like an american lawyer after taking a call from the States. “A Turkey?”

Eva smiled. “I read it…usual stuff…how pleased the trainees are to be working for the law firm…blah blah blah.”

“Vetted?” Muttley snapped, his eyes narrowing.

“Probably… ” Eva replied

“Any info on the firm we can use…mention of clients?…type of work?..any bright trainees we can have a look at?….What does Nick Holmes think?”

Eva glanced at the piece of paper in her right hand.

“I have a quote from Binary Law: “It is, frankly, embarrassing that well-paid marketing people should suggest to the firm that such a page be called a blog; it is even more embarrassing that the firm should go along with this.” – Nothing else of any value to us, Matt.”

Eva laughed and said that LawCareers.net  had described the blog as ‘Voguish”

“Good stuff…OK…keep me briefed… Now… have you circulated our policy position paper to partners on the new rules on paying barrister fees on time or at all? We have to get this right…. detailed contracts, quality control, right of access to chambers to inspect work in progress, full background vetting on contracted counsel etc etc…. and have you found out anything about that enterprising Indian company which is providing research and paperwork drafting at low prices?”

“All done..Matt.”

“LawCareers?…who they? Do we need to know them?”

***

Voguish: vogu·ish [voh-gish]
1. being in vogue; fashionable; chic.
2. briefly popular or fashionable; faddish

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Rioja is good for you…

Rioja has done well for me… in fact, most reds have done me a bit of good and I am pleased to report that Corney & Barrow are going to be sponsoring the blawg for a while – in the sense that they will provide winners of my caption competitions with the odd bottle of red or white. I rather liked the idea of Corney & Barrow doing this – so I rang up their marketing team, spoke to a delightful woman who came back to me very quickly with a ‘Yes.’ If you like wine and fancy buying a few bottles from Corney & Barrow, they have a wide and interesting selection – and… you won’t find their wines at your local supermarket. I used to go to their shop in Notting Hill when I lived there in in 2000/01 – always given good advice – always had good wine available.

Their website is well laid out and informative. They even have wine Bars in the City (Fleet Street denizens may like a quick trip to 3 Fleet Place

I am actually delighted that they want to provide the odd bottle for our occasional competitions and it  is entirely in keeping with the ethos of this blawg that wine should be a prize.

Talking of England: They won a rugby match and a cricket match. This – despite my Scots ancestry – is good news!

Update: I have just had a good look at the Corney & Barrow info on Bars… and I find that they have a very innovative service. It is possible to buy drinks vouchers by text and send a wine / drinks voucher to a friend to their mobile phone. I rather liked that! : Have a look

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I appear…

I appear to have made 386 posts since 1st July 2006 on my blawg… using this software.  I did not count them up – WordPress  stats record this.

I may be spending too much time on the web. While Tony Blair may soon be leaving us as PM… whether he ends up doing it at a time of his own choosing, remains to be seen.

I am, however,  in the pleasing position, at least on this blog, of not having to leave office ever… and…. I have discovered a way of continuing to blog even after I am carried across the river Styx by Charon Removals Ltd . I will be speaking to a well known IP lawyer soon to patent my discovery.

Geeklawyer... would you be kind enough to give me a call. This new patent is hot!.

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Friday has arrived again…

The news that Shilpa is to meet The Queen continues to interest me. Does Shilpa know how direct The Duke of Edinburgh can be?

A quick trip around Google brought up a few choice remarks from the Duke… a well known dontopedologist (*):

“It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.” (in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)

“Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.” (in 1999, to young deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school’s steel band)

“You managed not to get eaten, then?” (in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)

He also asked a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?” 

and finally… “If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?” (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting) 

(*) “Dontopedology is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it”

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What the papers say…

A quick trawl to find out what the press is saying about lawyers today:

The Attorney-General
Matthew Norman of The Independent has a fairly robust approach:

“It is a testament to the Attorney General’s status as the most transcendently faceless public figure in a generation that the most interesting fact about him is that he went to the same school in Liverpool as John Lennon. The studious Peter Goldsmith arrived at Quarry Bank Grammar School just as the non-comformist Lennon was about to leave, and from that intersection their lives diverged. One went on to devote himself to ridiculing the British establishment, shining the halogen lamp of public scorn on its inherent hypocrisies. The other founded the Beatles.

That Lord Goldsmith has done such harm to the system he serves with no trace of rebellious intent (not once, so far as we know, has he smoked dope in the Buckingham Palace loos preparatory to receiving an honour from the Queen) is not the point. No more than ignorance is unwittingness a defence in the law of the land which the Attorney General has three times been invited to safeguard; and which, even as another Peter did to Christ at the crowing of the cock, he has thrice betrayed.”

Lord Goldsmith may soon be called upon to determine matters in relation to the “cash for honours scandal’ if the Police do come up with anything worth prosecuting. While The A-G has not, yet, commented on this matter, it seems that Lord Falconer, the “Lord Chancellor felt obliged publicly to state what Goldsmith will not: that under no circumstances would the Attorney General be involved in deciding whether anyone in or close to No 10 is charged over the sale of peerages.”

Peter Goldsmith was reported somewhere in the press yesterday – unless I had taken too much Rioja on and imagined it – as saying that while he was flattered to be described as a friend of Tony Blair, he was not a ‘close friend’.

Last night I watched the end of Question Time and there was Harriet Harman QC MP revealing political solidarity by stating that the cash for honours episode “…has eroded trust and it’s been an unfortunate, to say the least, situation.” I am certain that she was not, in any way, positioning herself for promotion in the new government soon to be headed by Gordon Turpin.

Ms Harman then went on to reveal her green credentials and that she was doing her bit (as I am) for the environment by reducing her ‘carbon footprint’. She expressed the wish that her husband had turned the lights off in their home. Presumably he was watching Question Time in the dark like a good ‘Greenie’.

Unless I was overtired, I am fairly certain I saw Mark Oaten MP on Question Time as well. The camera kept cutting to a number of women in the audience when he was speaking – all of whom seemed to be rather ‘tight lipped’. Clearly, Oaten believes that his extra-curricular problem of a while back has vanished into the mists of memory and he can nip back for another go at being a public figure. Doesn’t bother me what people get up to in their spare time. So good luck to him. By the way…taling of Lib-Dems… What is ‘Scrabbleman’ up to… has his cheeky girl disappeared…. ?

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