Archive for August 24th, 2008

So… it is Sunday on a Bank holiday weekend. The Notting Hill carnival is underway… reggae reggae sauce, courtesy of The Dragon’s Den, Red Stripe, curried goat,  whistles, floats, exotic outfits, dancing policemen – a national treasure I shall not be attending, having been to five over the past fifteen years.

Instead, I find myself on a boat on The Thames, realising there is no legal news of any consequence and, thereby, I am free not to shoehorn much law in without guilt. So what has been “occurring” as David Cameron would say, jumping on yet another populist bandwagon (Observer article I happened to read)?

Nick Holmes, founder of infolaw, author of the Binary Law blog and fellow enthusiast for the net as a medium of expression and publishing – has started up an idea called The Free Legal web.  yes… there are going to be difficulties.  Have a look.  It is a great idea.  Even better – become a contributor.  I fear, however, that my musings on this blawg will be of little value to this project – but I shall have a go to see if I can contribute in other ways.

Blawgs are in the news… well… to be more accurate, not that many blawgs are – but serial blogger, ranter and the man who did set up UK Lawblog Conferences  – Geeklawyer – has been in The Times in a piece by Alex Wade.


The first UK Blawgers conference, last year,  was set up by Geeklawyer and Ruthie – and was an enjoyable event.  This year the tone is different – no talks – straight to the pub to talk of many things.  There may be short five minute ‘lightning’ presentations, the odd podcast – and, for my taste, this format is all the better for the informality. Blogger or would be blogger… let Geeklawyer know if you plan to attend by commenting on his blog post… or, perhaps… just turn up.  Venue details are here.  Come along…  all liability is, naturally, excluded.

And so… to matters of Government.

The Labour government continues to persuade the British electorate of the benefits of ID cards with another command performance.  Hot on the trail of 25 million records being lost by H M Revenue & Customs, Northern Ireland driver details, various military and intelligence secrets left on trains inbound to Waterloo by spooks and military people – the kebab fancying Home Secretary,  Jacqui Smith, has now been able to point the finger of shame at a contractor entrusted by her department for losing the records of “40,000 serious criminals”  (The Telegraph).  Apparently, these details were on a USB memory stick.

The Telegraph reports: “Home Office officials are now in discussions with the Information Commissioner about what steps it may need to take to protect those whose privacy has been jeopardised. The Commissioner said last night that “searching questions must be answered” before it decides what further action to take.”

The Information Commissioner has already warned that Britain is ‘sleep walking towards a surveillance society’.  In The News of The World this morning I read that local councils, who appear to be developing a taste for misusing ‘terror legislation’,  are now spying on people to see if girlfriends / boyfriends are staying overnight – to enable them to ‘swoop’ on those who claim a discount on council tax because they live alone.

Meanwhile… Prime Minister Cyclops is in in Beijing – arriving after we had won most of our medals so as not to jinx yet another sporting event – looking just as uncomfortable in front of the cameras as he does holidaying in Suffolk wearing a beige jacket.   Team GB has done well.  It is pleasing that we got more medals than the Australians – my only real interest in the games.  Boris will be collecting the Olympic flag today and, mercifully, the newspapers and other media will be able to write about rather more interesting things…  China will be able to get back to being a beautifully run authoritarian state, and , hopefully, we won’t have to watch Lord Sir Sebastian Bore on our screens for a while.

I’ve just popped on to Twitter. One of the Twitterers had written: Who thinks we’re going to bugger something up at the closing ceremony – especially after Boris said it would be a safe, risk-free affair?”

To my shame, I read it rather differently – misreading the word ‘something’.  Mea culpa.

I’ll write again later, for I plan several parts to my Postcard over this bank holiday weekend,  – but now… I have to go for a glass of Rioja….

I shall, however, leave you with this from the BBC live online coverage of the games:

“”A beautifully organised Games all around, then Boris appears, jacket undone, looking like a drunk who gatecrashed the party, what an embarrassment.”

Best wishes as always….

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