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Archive for December 9th, 2007

Jazz at The Bollo

After a busy and enjoyable morning doing a podcast with Carl Gardner (Infra)… lunch at The Bollo. A friend of mine walked in. Forget binge-drinking. This guy does it on an industrial level and he is one of the fittest 60 year olds I have ever met… I can’t quite believe he is back at 1.00 today, after he staggered out last night at 10.00 following a marathon started at another watering hole in West London at lunch on Saturday. I am pleased to say that I know some unusual people.

Today is Jazz lunch – a great singer, a brilliant pianist and a group of people who enjoy jazz. As the rain pours down outside…. life is good inside.

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Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, former government lawyer and now a freelance author, lecturer and author of the Head of Legal Blog.

Carl Gardner had a varied career in the government legal service but I focus in on two stints of note; first, at the Cabinet Officer legal advisers, and then his time at The Attorney’s Office. Inevitably, I have to ask him what working with Lord Goldsmith was like.

We discuss a number of topical issues: The EU Treaty, constitutional reform, the proposed extension of detention without trial from 28 to 42 days, and Carl’s theory of ‘Human Rightsism’ which gives us an oppportunity to discuss the House of Lords decision in the Countryside Alliance v Attorney General case.

I even discovered that Carl dances the Tango!

Listen to Podcast 34: Podcast on Human Rights with Carl Gardner.

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Carl Gardner’s Head of Legal website

The Head of Legal analysis of the Countryside alliance case.

We had very heavy rain during the podcast and there is some interference to the internet telephone connection. I have been able to edit most of the interference out

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Archbishop Sentamu against Mugabe…

I have just watched an extraordinary and powerful demonstration of real concern for the victims of Mugabe’s regime on The Andrew Marr Show. It will, I am sure (and I hope), be given wide coverage in the press.

Andrew Marr and John Sentamu, Archbishop of York were discussing the issue of Gordon Brown’s refusal to attend the EU/Africa summit as a protest against the presence of Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s morally bankrupt president. Sentamu took the view that Brown was right not to attend, having signalled his refusal to do so three months ago if Mugabe was invited. More importantly, Sentamu stated that it was imperative that African leaders, particularly the president of South Africa, express their revulsion at what is happening in Zimbabwe, once Africa’s bread basket and now, as Sentamu stated ‘Africa’s basket case’.

Dr Sentamu pointed out that when Zimbabwe and South Africa were under white colonial rule the world united against these states. The failure of Africa to condemn Mugabe, he stated, (I paraphrase) was a form of institutional racism in reverse.

The Archbishop told Marr that he wore a dog collar to identify himself to others as a priest. He removed his white dog collar from his purple shirt, took a pair of scissors and cut the dog collar into bits as a metaphor for the destruction by Mugabe of Zimbabwe and its people. He then declared that he would not wear a dog collar again until Mugabe is removed.

I am not a believer – but Sentamu’s statement this morning was powerful and one of the most practical, reasoned and intelligent statements I have heard about the reality of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe and Darfur. Andrew Marr asked Dr Sentamu what ‘we’ could do to help. Sentamu simply asked us to spare a £1 to help support the people of these states.

Platitudes and sermons are easy. Dr Sentamu has made a very powerful statement this morning. I shall certainly be able to spare a ‘£1’. If you wish to help…The Archbishop has a website where, hopefully, information will be posted.

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