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Archive for March 13th, 2008

Balls up?….

Guido Fawkes has a most amusing post on David Cameron’s put down of Ed Ball’s heckling at the Budget Day session in the Commons… the film is worth a look if you have not seen it….

Cameron made the point that we have the highest tax burden in our history – at which point Ed Balls chips in with the helpful comment “So What”… allowing Cameron, who is raising his game in terms or oratory, to have a go… all good stuff… in fact… very amusing. Worth a look if you want to be an advocate or a debater.

As Guido Fawkes’ says… look at the expression on Ed Balls’ face…

The comments on Guido’s post are almost as amusing. The first one amused me at 3.13 am this morning on my great march through the night: “(Anonymous) Disgusting, disrespectful, shifty Gordon Brown. Talking to his chums, grinning and gurning throughout Cameron’s reply. Get some manners you disgrace to the nation!”

Watch the film on Guido Fawkes’ blog?

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Apropos of absolutely nothing… save to introduce my latest post… I had the pleasure a few years ago (in another guise) of meeting Lord Goldsmith at The House of Lords when he was Attorney-General and being shown around a fantastically over decorated series of rooms with thrones and bizarre Victorian wallpaper. I think it may even have been blue wallpaper. The interior design and architecture of the Houses of Parliament is not to my taste – but, there again, I am not an architect or designer. I know that many leading Victorians had a fondness for what are now Class A drugs…. perhaps these ‘potions’ may have played a part? Who knows? A personal view… I am a citizen of our country and entitled, still, at least for the present, to express a personal opinion. I may be going against the grain of Land of Hope and Glory here…. but…. to me… over the top it is. I do, however, like Big Ben at New Year… but that is because, like many, I am over refreshed on that one night of the year.

I will not be making any oaths of allegiance – as mooted by the present government, to the ire of Scots, Welsh and the Northern Irish – to The Queen or country. Curiously, the English, if the absence of press reports is any indicator, don’t seem to have even bothered to read the announcement on this oath of allegiance business. But that is why I rather like the English…. it just isn’t an issue of any interest or concern to most people – except the spivniks in the present government who wish to shape our destiny for ever.

Anyway… back to the post….I enjoyed the meeting – it was about legal education generally. [Peter Goldsmith QC, when Chairman of The Bar, took a great deal of interest in legal education] He was an excellent and affable host for that meeting and made those attending most welcome.

Lord Goldsmith has not been idle since leaving office as A-G. He has produced a report on British Citizenship. I have been up since 1.00 am… and I have skimmed through most of it. Here it is. Read and be informed. Find out who we are and what belonging to Great Britain PLC means… in the eyes of the present administration.

For my part… I prefer to think of a Britain shaped by Shakespeare and other writers and commentators from a more spirtual, artistic, historical, philosophical or humanitarian bent, than the present government. We must, by definition, live in a Britain hammered out by politicians, many of whom happen to be lawyers, but I prefer to think, overregulation aside, that we live in a Britain of a more sophisticated hue in our minds when we are not busy complying with the thousands of laws we have and when we are trying not to be caught on the ever present and intruding CCTV.

I will leave the pleasures of digesting Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship Review to you without comment. Adulteration of wine, spirits and ideas by the intervention of others is not always useful 🙂

PS… there is even a section on Treason on page 40 of this 134 page peroration on a theme. The review must have been quite expensive to conduct. A lot of people contributed to it. One wonders what the government is actually going to do with it. New laws, of course, but will all our lawmakers actually read this report assiduously? Will anyone apart from journos, political and legal correspondents, academic commentators and those who contibuted to the report, read it?

This is why I am urging you to do so. I am a Citizen… England… and the rest of our sceptred isle expects… but I suspect that the review will not feature heavily in the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish Press. I haven’t seen a lot of commentary on it in the English press come to that.

Tell your friends… form a Facebook Group?

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I fell asleep shortly after 9.00 last night only to wake four hours later. After summoning every ounce of courage I possessed at 1.26 am (taking a break from reading Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship report (above) … I visited the BBC Sport Cricket section to find doom and gloom. I just could not resist this…. on the BBC match report page.

“On the subject of dissertations, I have 6000 words due in less than a week on the human right’s implications of mortgage law. And now England are three down after lunch. Could life possibly get any worse?”
Yash Zaveri, Euston via 81111

***

Well… there we are. I am off to hunt down news items for my daily legal news podcast.

I don’t usually start work at 1.00 am…. there are advantages… no telephone calls to interrupt a train of thought. No emails to answer….. yes…. many advantages to starting work early.

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Britain… a land of hope and glory?

Robert Verkaik, Legal Editor of The Independent, reported yesterday that “A gay teenager who claims he faces the death penalty in Iran after his boyfriend was executed there two years ago has spoken of his anger and disappointment at losing his legal battle against deportation.”

Today, Verkaik reports that “More than 60 peers have signed a letter to the Home Secretary urging the Government to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian teenager who faces execution if he is returned to his homeland.”

The Independent article stated:

“Among those pressing the Government to help Mr Kazemi are Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice; Betty Boothroyd, the former speaker of the House of Commons; and Shirley Williams, Julia Neuberger, Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, Lord Lester QC and the Bishop of Liverpool, as well as a number of senior Labour peers. In the letter, the peers say: “We members of the House of Lords are deeply concerned at the possible execution of Mehdi Kazemi if he is refused asylum in the UK and is deported to Iran. His former partner has been executed there. We urge Her Majesty’s Government to show compassion and allow Mr Kazemi to have a safe haven in the UK.”

Mehdi Kazemi sought asylum in Holland. The Dutch courts are sending him back to Britain within 72 hours. The Iranian Police have a warrant for his arrest (who has lived in Britain for 31 years, according to The Independent). The Iranians hang homosexuals. Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend was executed.

Kazemi sought sanctuary in Britain. Whatever the technicalities of this case are, surely we can live up to the rousing anthem “Land of Hope and Glory” by giving this young man hope and give ourselves, as a nation, a bit of glory for showing compassion?

The Home Office, according to The Independent, has promised to review the case.

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