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Archive for May 4th, 2008

De-contamination…?

Having joined WebCameron in my guise as “Charon QC” many moons ago (I saw his first vidcast) I was amused to receive a ‘temperate’ email from David. The subject line read ” Boris wins – exclusive David reaction video”

What was fascinating – post council / mayoral elections, reading The Observer editorial today (and Andrew Rawnsley), was the emphasis on qualifying comment; hedging about with ‘It is mid-term’, ‘Labour lost it, The Tories did not win it’ and the inevitable caveat that there are still two years to go before Brown faces the electorate – that is, if the Labour Men in Togas don’t decide to put on an impromptu production of Julius Caesar first.

The other amusing comment – by Alexander Deane, former Chief of Staff to David Cameron – was that David Cameron has succeeded in de-contaminating The Conservative ‘brand’ ( in the mind of the fickle, largely uninformed and apathetic British electorate – my addition). A turnout of 45% is hailed as a triumph. Christ on a bicycle… even Zimbabwe can manage a 120% turnout. A quick trip to Google revealed a number of entries about ‘de-contaminating the Tory brand’. I do wander how many people in Britain actually know what the political parties (a) are doing (b) what they say they will do in their manifestos and (c) care. I get the feeling down at The Bollo and other watering holes that quite a few people don’t give a damn about politics. Mind you… some of the people I tend to meet ‘of an evening’ are often so over-refreshed they can’t even remember (at that time, and only at that time) where their houses are, let alone if they have fallen into a ‘negative equity’ situation – and long may that continue. All is, after all, restored come the dawn.

Andrew Rawnsley’s article was interesting: He was honest enough to admit that the press will now take the Tories more seriously…. but then exuberance and enthusiasm took hold and readers were treated to a number of subtle gems in one beautifully executed sentence: “There will be bigger and more eager audiences for the speeches of the shadow cabinet. When David Cameron calls, people will come running. When he asks for a favour, it will be swiftly given. When he has a photo call, everyone will want to be in it. Keep an eye on Richard Branson. The more that David Cameron is regarded as a winner, the more likely he is to become one.

I, for one, cannot wait to see Richard Branson upending David Cameron and then squirting him with champagne or, being pictured on a foreign trip with David Cameron to advise on British business interests abroad

I do hope that Mayor Karloff will not become too sensible now that he is the most powerful Tory in the country. We have a hint that Boris may well revert to type with the immortal words, as reported by Rawnsley today … ” I was elected as New Boris and I will govern as New Boris,’ … he joked in the early hours of Saturday morning, trying to reassure voters and his colleagues that the chaotic and brick-dropping side of his character will be permanently suppressed.”


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My duck confit definitely was a thing of beauty, a big alpha-duck leg, its skin crisp as Cellophane, the flesh poking out tiny, steaming fibrous fingers, the whole thing dotted with fat puy lentils and served on a creamy mash that curled round the leg like a persistent seducer.”

No… this is not an excerpt from my latest restaurant review. As I sat outside a Chiswick pavement cafe, watching the world go by and eating a plate of pasta that did not try to roger my leg or seduce me, I decided to see how real restaurant reviewers tackle their subject. I read a selection from various Sunday papers. The one above, written by John Walsh in The Independent yesterday – engaged me more than the others I read. I must ask for an alpha-duck breast or leg when I am next in a Chiswick bistro or gastrocaff. I may never eat mash again without thinking about seduction. This could be a handicap.

DOES THIS PHOTO OFFEND…. COULD THIS PHOTO BE OFFENSIVE FROM NEXT WEEK?

Well of course a picture of former Home Secretary David Blunkett is not offensive – but he is the man behind a law that comes into operation next week; a law which is not one of our proudest moments in legislative drafting and one certainly likely to be offensive to the many in this country who enjoy consensual kinky sex, Le Vice Anglais or a bit of rum, sodomy and the lash. I don’t actually care that much what people get up to in bed or in private provided their activities are consensual – but this government does and is about to intrude into your thoughts, rather than physical actions, in a particularly worrying way if you happen to be in possession of certain types of image. Shoddy drafting, misconcieved protectionism and a potential nightmare of interpretation for the courts. Par for the course?

My attention was drawn to the debate on a casual visit to Geeklawyer’s blog t’other night when one of the posters, in response to Geeklawyer’s intentionally provocative remarks posted as follows – rather well written, I thought!: “Also, if I were not so busy rubbing my firm young body (presently covered in oil) and nubile titties (also obviously covered in oil) against those of my similarly physiqued friends, I would be in your house all laced up spanking your very naughty misogynist bottom, HARD! Oh geeky I wouldn’t stop spanking until your cheeks were all flushed with remorse.”

I happened to ask the poster of this excellent response to GL if she had heard of Max Mosley. Another poster, Ms Hansen, picking up on the reference, asked for thoughts / comment on the new legislation about possession of offensive images. Her post is well worth a read – Helga Hansen “Giving kinky the boot”

Moving away from sex to other matters…. and inject some gravity into the proceedings. Here is a story from The Financial Times – a newspaper of gravitas.

Taiwan mislays $30m in foreign aid: “Taiwan’s government said on Friday that it had lost track of $30m in foreign aid after it handed the money to two men it barely knew hoping they could help establish diplomatic ties with Papua New Guinea. The case offers a rare glimpse on how Taiwan, struggling to maintain its few diplomatic allies in the face of China’s rising influence, conducts money diplomacy.”

WTF do they drink in Taiwan?

AND so it came to pass, this May Bank holiday, that I found myself on Friday night and yesterday late afternoon at a new establishment frequented by topers, binge drinkers and, it has to be said, some perfectly normal and sensible residents of Chiswick – The Duke of Sussex.

A very good friend, noting my absence from the Bollo (I have been working – and it seemed appropriate to moderate the juice consumption.) telephoned me yesterday afternoon to see if I fancied a quick one. With this particular friend, who interleaves the consumption of 12-14 pints of Guinness with coffees over a long session, the idea of a quick one is at best an oxymoron and at worst, misrepresentation. I agreed immediately – arriving, as requested, at 5.00. My friend arrived at 5.15, giving the appearance of a man who was in rude health. It soon became apparent, after he downed three quick pints of Guinness, that he had been at it with another friend of mine at The Bollo since 2.00. Before you could say Ali Baba and The Forty Pissartists, this other good friend of mine, face florid from giving a masterclass in drinking to the customers of The Bollo, arrived. I was well behind the curve, and had to leave them to it. It was good to see them. It was good to be ‘missed’. The fact they could barely see me was neither here nor there. The truth of the matter is, of course, that I had a later engagement and arriving for that ‘ROA’ or ‘roaring on arrival’ would have been a solecism. A very big solecism!.

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My thanks to Nick Holmes of Binary Law for his kind words and, very much more importantly – for promoting UK Law Blogs and Blawgs!

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Well… the results are in…. Labour managed to lose 333 council seats, secured the worst poll result for Labour since the First World war, Boris is Mayor Boris now… his wife collected the newspapers in her dressing gown (a wonderful reprise of Cherie Blair’s similar antics 11 years ago), Gordon has made his phonecalls to Mugabe for advice, and is now attending coaching seminars on ‘listening’… but can he hear the sound of plotting and knives being unsheathed?

The next defeat for Gordon will be the vote on the extension of detention without charge from 28-42 days (apart, that is, from the Henley by-election when Boris resigns as an MP). He might like to practice his listening skills by listening to the DPP, the law officers, former A-G, former Lord Chancellor and sundry others who seem to know what they are talking about. There is some suggestion in the press today that he won’t have to listen to Chief London Plod Sir Ian Blair for much longer because Boris is no fan and may well be stacking the voting in the appropriate place to remove Blair.

My career as a restaurant critic may have survived my first review for LawandMore. I have been asked to do two further reviews: Kensington Place and Roussillon. The latter serves a famous 24 course gastronomique lunch experience. I can do no better than quote from the email I received from Sabreena at LawandMore to confirm that I did understand the nature of the commission!…. “Further to our earlier telephone conversation, I just wanted to make you aware that the lunch will be a four hour affair, is this ok?” Excellent! It is probably just as well I do not work for Allen & Overy or some other £600 per chargeable hour outfit. It falls to few in their lives to say these words… “I must do my duty for truth, justice and the people of our land.” I shall do my best to get through all 24 courses.

Inevitably, I was reminded of the famous Monty Python sketch: Mr Creosote

Off for a quick bite to eat…. more later….

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