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Archive for September 7th, 2007

The world this week…


After a week of eating antibiotics,
battling with overstretched doctors, and the usual activities of a working day, it is time to write about the world as I viewed it this week…

John “One Jag” Prescott
, composed again after flicking ‘V’ signs at tabloid photographers who caught him driving his own Jaguar, is now available for hire at £10-25k as a speaker. His agent, according to Hugo Rifkind in the Times, made it very clear that Prescott will not be punching anyone or doing end of the pier routines. This is a fairly significant departure from his days in government.

But it is not just Prescott who has the ability to use the English language in unusual ways. Outraged of Mayfair types have been writing in to complain about Paxo’s pronunciation on University Challenge. I did read an account only yesterday that Paxo did not pronounce one of the periodic elements correctly.

This did not trouble me greatly… but when I discovered, from The Times today, that he could not pronounce the name of the noble family Medici properly I was concerned.

Well.. actually, I didn’t become concerned…
but I do remember being taken to task by a very good friend of mine, now a leading family silk, for pronouncing ‘respite’ as many do. He told me that it should be pronounced ‘respit’. He was correct. Now when I use ‘respite’ in conversation, pronouncing it as ‘respit’, people have no idea what I am talking about. For example: I worked without ‘respit’. [“You what?”… as friends say to me down at The Bollo]

Onwards and upwards through the English language to the great Bard himself. Apparently, Brian, winner of Big Brother, who did not know who Shakespeare was, but thought ‘Romeo’ may have some connection with the So Solid Crew, has been hired by bookselers, Border, to do a series of podcasts: ‘Shakespeare made Simple’. I’m sure he will do a good job, with a bit of cider inside him, in bringing Shakespeare to a wider audience. I am surpised that WebCameron has not enlisted Brian to assist with his new idea of ‘National service’ for 16 year olds.

And now… to the question of nomenclature: Alex Salmond, Saviour and First Minister of Scotland, has decided to rename ‘The Scottish Executive’ as the ‘Scottish Government’. He has also dispensed with the Royal Coat of Arms on official documents and brochures; replacing it with a Saltire. (Moreover… he has achieved all of this for a mere £100,000… the thrifty Scot.)

The ‘Hammering Scot’, Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of The United Kingdom of Great Britain, is not at all happy, has refused to recognise the name change, and has instructed civil servants to continue to use ‘Scottish Executive’. The BBC and other television companies appear to be using ‘Scottish Government’.

Victorian Maiden, running riot while Ruthie of Ruthie’s Law is on holiday
, is much exercised’ (with a modest attack of the vapours) by the acquittal of Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on a speeding charge. Clarkson got off this charge on the basis that, while he had borrowed the Alfa Romeo involved from Alfa Romeo, he did not know who the driver was on the occasion of the speeding incident. I often had no idea who was driving my various cars over the years, lent liberally to friends, and I find it entirely plausible that Clarkson did not know who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence charged. In any event I am not entirely sure that one should be under a duty to report friends for criminal offences of a minor nature when no injury to others arises.

Victorian Maiden raises the spectre of duty: “The suggestion that Jem should have sneaked on the person who was driving the car is equally preposterous. Why should he name a criminal? Obviously it is not a question of the right to silence because Jem was not guilty. It is a question of the public-school code.”

An interesting hypothetical question:
What would you do (as a lawyer, law student or potential client of lawyers) if you witnessed a close friend, perhaps even a very senior member of the bar, or a senior partner in a major law firm, consuming drugs, carrying a 9mm pistol in a holster, driving while drunk, speeding, or using a Windsor knot for his tie?

I have only this to say in answer to my own hypothetical question and, naturally, reserving a view on the other matters, I would probably have to report the Windsor knot tie wearer. There are limits.

Geeklawyer is ‘horribly distraught’ to discover that the tie knot he invented appears to have been invented before… delightfully ironic given his undoubted and very real skill with intellectual property law – quite apparent from his blog.

Because I am not working for the Chinese government, alleged to be cyber-hacking into Britain’s secrets and those of the United States, I have absolutely no idea whether Russia plans to invade or bomb Britain, or do other nefarious activities in our air space, by flying their Tupolev bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, near to European, British and United States airspace. The RAF, it is reported, ‘scrambled’ four Tornados to head off an armada of Eight Russian bombers yesterday (at a reported cost of £40,000 per aircraft flying hour. The Russian bombers turned back from British airspace; The Sun taking great pleasure in this act of defiance on our part. Presumably, we patrol our skies and further afield to train our pilots?

I have been keeping a close watch on the Russians for several weeks now, late at night, by using Google maps. I like to do my bit. The Kremlin website is, to say the least, a bit odd.

I am also keeping a very close watch on the French. God knows what they will do if they win the World Cup Rugby as well as the football World Cup. Les Insufferables? (Did the French lose the football World Cup last year? …. I can’t recall. I do remember their captain, Zidane, doing a bit of head butting.) Thank ‘Dieu’ they do not play Le Cricket…

And finally… the curious case of an Alabama judge being ‘disciplined’ for spanking jailed prisoners in his private office. Bizarre.

Off to watch a bit of Rugby… until we meet again…. don’t know where, don’t know when… but I am sure…..

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