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Archive for May 24th, 2008

London – a place where mammon meets government, art meets youth, and the engine of modern day Britain thrives on reclaimed social wasteland – a City now governed by an exuberant, ebullient and eternally eccentic Etonian… the template of future direct rule from Notting Hill and the resurgent Tories who, without revealing any detailed policy(ies), have attracted, possibly, new voters from a people, a nation, in the process of being broken on the wheel of oil prices, food prices, bank charges, falling house prices, credit-crunch and financial armageddon. (For those of you with a taste for Greek: αρμαγεδδων). The Thirteen horsemen from Eton are coming… it is no longer ‘if’… it is ‘when’ they will come…..

I just thought I would try my hand at a bit of hyperventilating political schmolitical hyperbole before the Sunday papers arrive on our butler delivered breakfast trays tomorrow.

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SEVERE WEATHER WARNING FROM THE MET OFFICE: BANK HOLIDAY SPECIAL

“The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the TOFF-MEISTER comes.’

I like a bit of Revelations

The rains are coming… and the march of change is upon us all. Have a good Bank Holiday… I cannot say it will be our last £1.35 per litre for petrol bank holiday, because of the new Consumer Protection Regulations coming into force on Monday.  Nostradamus…. “You’re nicked, mate.”

I have not revealed this before, although if you were ‘one of us’, to coin a rather unfortunate New Labour electioneering phrase, you would have known – but in addition to blogging, I am a professional soothsayer, relic seller, medium and fortune teller, regulated by Ofsooth. This new consumer protection legislation has wrecked my retirement plan to go on a cruise liner in two months time and talk compassionately to coffin dodgers about what…. ‘life has in store’ and sell them life insurance (with free carriage clock – so they can see the hours counting down, presumably). I mean… I’m a regular sort of a fortune teller and soothsayer and… I like to give people hope with a bit of hyperbole… and help them talk to old friends who ‘have gone over to the other side’ and are now voting for the Toff-Meister. I can’t do that now without handing them a leaflet stating clearly: “My glimpse into your future Is for entertainment only” and not “experimentally proven”.

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I’ll find something else to do in my retirement… don’t worry about me…

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I begin this Whitsun Bank Holiday with a reading suitable for a funeral….

Stop all the papers, cut off the net,
Prevent the backbenchers from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pundits and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the Tories come.

[With many apologies to W H Auden]

I amused myself with a glass of Rioja Gran Riserva at lunch today – to ward off malaria – and decided to branch out into a bit of hyperventilating hyperbolic political punditry myself (Infra or here). I fear it may be a short lived career.

So… when all about you are losing their heads… what is a blawger to do? Max Mosley is in Monaco fending off offers of a thick cushion to sit on, the cricket at Old Trafford is of interest to me (I am listening as I write) SECOND TEST, Old Trafford (day two):England v New Zealand 375-8 – and I am wondering how best to spend my evening. I suspect, given that I made absolutely no arrangements this weekend, that I may end up planning more episodes of West London Man – and, possibly, introduce some unsolicited, gratuitous sex… into the story that is, as opposed to my chaste and pure life. Caroline tells one of her friends at the supper party tonight that George is not really meeting her performance targets. George told Caroline about the MP expenses before they went to the supper party.

And… in a rare exception to my writing on this blawg, I managed to shoehorn a bit of law in with my ‘Clairvoyant Emptor’ analysis of the new Consumer Protection Regulations due to come into force on Monday.

What are the judges up to?

After the high comedy fashion parades of recent weeks, there is little to report, save for a rather amusing piece picked up on by John Bolch of Family Lore on the correct usage of “judgment / Judgement” – of concern to few but lawyers. I won’t spoil it. It is worth reading… visit the Family Lore post for this gem.

And the bloggers?… what are they doing?….

As I try to cover the more serious blog posts each day on the Insitelaw Newswire, I am, of course, free to focus attention here on the more bizarre offerings of the blawgers… Geeklawyer picks up on the Israeli Airforce being scrambled to intercept Tony Blair’s private jet as it moved into Israeli airspace.

J Dan Hull, blogger, attorney, pundit and all round amusing American, continues to mix his serious blog “What About Clients?” with nuggets of lunacy and the human condition. I liked this one, today:

“Is txt msgng the new threat to France?

The Economist asks: “Parlez-vous SMS?” France’s American-like President Nicolas Sarkozy is worried about what “text-messaging is doing to the French language”. Please aim higher, sir.”

We have two non-law bloggers: Knitting With Only One Needle with an eye catching post and, Ms R, ‘A Woman of Experience’ making other bloggers jealous by taking on the responsibility of reviewing sex toys in a well written amusingly observed and sharp post – a blog for those moments in the day when you want to laugh at something other than law, lawyers or, even, attend to the day job.

And then… there is…. White Rabbit… who, after his less than “office safe’ picture of Tony and Cherie in the “Last Tango in Balmoral” pic, has turned his attention to cricket… or, to be more accurate, dental matters caused by playing cricket and has a post about someone being a ‘complete arse’.

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Well… that is probably enough for Weekend Review (1) – it is a long weekend. More will / shall follow… ineluctably.

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The politics of expedience…

Nantwich & Crewe has come and gone. It is a Bank holiday in Britain, coupled to a parliamentary recess. There is time for the men in suits to slip quietly, silently, like deadly clostridium difficile, into Downing St. to have a quiet word. The Sunday newspapers have yet to pronounce their verdicts. The Saturday broadsheets have made their views known.

Employees will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted beyond it, according to Laurence Peter, the author of the concept. The role of prime minister carries no specific portfolio yet requires many talents. It may not require the deep intelligence and attention to minutiae needed of a Chancellor, but it certainly needs an intelligence honed by dealing with people from many backgrounds, it requires good communication skills, the ability to delegate and oversee and, above all, the skills of an orator and the ability to bite when being bitten. An article in The Guardian pointed out that while there is, for the present, the sound of senior members of the government keeping their heads down – even Tinkerbell Blears, wheeled out to do her best on Question Time the other night is silent – that Brown may at best be given a year to sort things out, possibly less, and one commentator wrote that it is time for the P.M to have a re-shuffle, fall on his sword and make way for someone else.

Brown, to my perhaps jaded eye, is a classic ‘Number 2’, the backroom man, the enforcer, the attention to detail man – the man who does the dirty business, who executes the business plan. Number 2s rarely make good Number Ones – and that, in part, is what we are seeing with Brown now.

Backbenchers, worried about the prospect of the Labour Party being reduced to below 100 seats at the next election will, inevitably, as they did with Margaret Thatcher and John Major all those years ago before the ‘nice decade’, begin to yap and then, as more join in, bark until the pack howls, growls and tears what is left of Gordon Brown’s beleaguered and plague infested administration to bits.

Well… I am not, of course, a political commentator. I read newspapers. I watch politics programmes – but I do see Shakespeare… I see men in togas walking up the steps… I see a man, alone, coping with his demons… as the phones fall silent… as those who once sought patronage and favour slink away like jackals…. I see King Lear…. for Lady Macbeth has already gone to write her memoirs…. and, for the present, has sheathed her stiletto(s).

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I like nothing better on a Bank Holiday Saturday afternoon than a bit of hyperbole and hyperventilation… to go with a lunchtime glass of Rioja Gran Reserva

The end game is close… it cannot, now, be long. It could be checkmate by pawns. … a truly horrible way to end a chess match…. or, indeed, a long political career.

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Audio Version: West London Man (7) – Pre-dinner

Saturday evening 7.00 pm: George and Caroline are having a glass of wine and a dance in the drawing room of their graciously appointed West London home. They are going to a black tie supper party with West London friends. They have cracked open a bottle of fizz and have been discussing the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. George is fascinated by the expenses being claimed by MPs released yesterday, after all legal process to suppress publication failed, under the Freedom of Information Act.

George: Caroline… did you read all this about MP expenses?

Caroline: George… no… I’ve had rather a hard day as it happens with our children. They take quite a lot of looking after and now that Katja has gone and the cleaning agency don’t do nannies I have had my hands full.

George: John Prescott…. claimed £9800 to cover mock tudor boards to his house and his food bill!. Blair claimed £10,600 for a new ivory kitchen and repairs to his Aga and the “Toff-Father”, Cameron, is claiming £1,741.83 a month for the mortgage on his cottage in Oxfordshire…. fantastic…. how do they get away with this?… Hang on… and Margaret Beckett had a £600 claim for plants and a pergola rejected…. a claim was actually rejected I tell you….!

George flicked through The Telegraph, Daily Mail and the FT to see if there were any more reports.

Caroline: George, it is Saturday evening, we are about to go and have a supper party…. why are we talking about the expenses being claimed by MPs?

George: This is important… It is about the government and governance of our country… it is about the principles of democracy…. it is about our future and the inheritance of our children as that strange man on The Dragon’s Den who flogs ladies underwear and stationery supplies keeps saying.

George looked in to the middle distance, a composed, serious, expression on his face…. He turned to his wife and smiled.

George: Caroline… I’m going to stand for Parliament…. hey… I’m a regular sort of a guy… how difficult can it be to be an MP?

Caroline raised her eyes to the heavens, drained her glass of fizz, got up and started dancing… a Polka.

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Audio Version: West London Man (7) – Pre-dinner

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