Archive for November 29th, 2008

So… it came to pass, after much deliberation, that St Peter Mandelson was brought back from the wilderness and… Lo… within but days… the Prince of Darkness had wreaked havoc and destruction in Tory  ranks with his gospels about George and Oleg the Oligarch.  St Peter, in his Revelations to the Media Pharisees,  then said… “There would come a man… the new Moses…. Gordon Brown… to lead us from financial hell to the promised land…. and so there was.”

I had to go out and buy a bottle of British fortified wine earlier after reading that.  I want to do my bit for Britain…. and when my eye saw the alcohol content at 15% …. I thought why not?  It does the business.  This may not explain what drugs Moses was on when he received the Ten Commandments… but it certainly enhanced my appreciation of the irony of calling Gordon Brown, son of the manse, Moses…

It also triggered my memory of a rather good quote from Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel… appropriate today… “Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”

And so… to BBC 2 The Barristers: Episode 3

After grinding through episodes 1 and 2 of The Barristers,  which I did not find that interesting, I did enjoy episode 3.  Much as I like the engaging students in the programme, I felt that the director spent too much time on ritual, baraphernalia and the students.  Episode 3 actually got down to the nitty gritty about the work of criminal barristers and was interesting television.  The focus was mainly on criminal work last night – but as I know little of that world, I found it interesting.  I’m afraid I have no idea if it was a true and fair portrayal of the life of a criminal barrister – but it did show us a snapshot of the relationship between the CPS and the independent Bar – not brilliant, it would appear! – and the work of Dickie Bond an experienced member of the independent Bar.  There were some amusing moments of banter between Bond and his opponent in the case in the robing room.

I can’t help feeling, given the sophistication and intellectual range of the work of the Bar,  that the producers have missed a trick by not looking more closely at the diverse and complex work and involving more experienced barristers across the range of work done by the Bar.  There is still episode 4 to come, so I may be jumping the gun.  I regret to say, I have rather lost interest in what happens to any of the students and my only observation is to say – I hope they make it – but for me the interest lies more with the experienced members of the Bar.

Much of the latter part the week was taken up with the horrific events in Mumbai, covered so well in the Indian and world media and by Tweeters on Twitter.  Twitter certainly provided so much good *live* content that they were often quicker than the television companies… so quick, the Indian government asked twitter to stem the flow in case the terrorists were on Twitter themselves.

But we did have our own *Breaking News*:  The arrest of Damien Green MP. AS with many other law and political bloggers I covered it in a post and, in fact, did a podcast with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog on Saturday morning.  Carl is always on the money with his observations on constitutional law and it was a pleasure to spend half an hour in discussion with him about this fascinating story.

I have a feeling that the story has a bit to run. The Speaker, certainly, has some explaining to do, given reports in the press today casting doubt on the consent to enter parliament issue.

My eye was caught by a story on Inner Temple’s excellent  Current Awareness RSS feed: “A High Court has upheld a tribunal’s findings that a West Yorkshire dentist urinated in his surgery sink before treating a patient.” It appears, from the BBC report, that the dentist did urinate into his surgery sink – but the High Court quashed the “findings Mr Hutchinson used dental instruments to clean his ears and fingernails.” BBC.

Twitter has many benefits and while I continue to abuse it and tease the enthusiastic marketer lawyers from the States… I did learn that an armless man has been caught driving in China through Twitter – so I’m a fan. If you want to wast some more time and follow the good, the bad and the nonsense (and Stephen Fry is an enthusiastic Twitter user) … follow me and reach @Geeklawyer, @Infobunny, @Scottgreenfield, @Colinsamuels, @Jaffne, @gideonstrumpet, @kevinokeefe and a whole raft of rather amusing and interesting people. I’m afraid that my *Tweets* drone on about the boat, ducks, Hans and his U-Boat surfacing in the Thames right outside my boat – but others are more ‘sensible’….. or are they?

An excellent post for smokers in The Devil’s Kitchen today by guest “The Filthy Smoker”: “One the best things about the smoking ban is that you no longer have to step over dead bodies to get to the bar. We all remember, don’t we, the familiar sight of nonsmokers clutching at their chest as that lethal secondhand smoke triggered one cardiac arrest after another. On any visit to the pub you could be certain to witness at least one heart attack. The life expectancy for barmaids was three weeks. Thank God those days are over.”

The Filthy Smoker notes that the media fell over themselves to applaud the smoking ban when it was revealed that heart attacks, particularly in Scotland, were falling – but now it seems that the heart attack rate has been falling for some years… mind you… pubs are going bankrupt and many pubs, some say,  are thoroughly miserable places nowfull of non-smokers nursing a pint or nipping outside to drink with the pissed smokers – and that the smoking ban has not been the medical “promised Land’ lazy hacks from the media hyped it up to be!

Rather more interesting, for me however as a man who enjoys ‘turns of phrase’,  was the language employed by Filthy Smoker. I give a few examples which made me laugh….

“Inevitably, one the hatchet-faced gurners from Action on Smoking and Health piped up to make the implied connection with passive smoking explicit…”

“Even in the swivel-eyed fantasy world of anti-smoking nutjobs….”

As they say… some of my best friends are non-smokers, but they seem pretty tolerant when they are standing outside in the cold wet rain drinking as we smokers puff away!

There is a lot of navel gazing, over-analysis and horseshit going on in *social media* at the moment. here is yet another article… this time not from the States but from Canada… It’s not just the housing bubble and the stock market that crashed, says Steve Rubel, the digital media guy at PR giant Edelman. People’s attention spans have also burst after a prolonged distension… The number of things coming at us has outstripped what we’re capable of managing,” he said, as blogs, Twitter, and information on demand continue to proliferate.”

I liked the word *distension*… must shoehorn that into my next Christmas lunch speech….  Mon dieu….. why  all the analysis… It is only a bloody blog….Facebook or Twitter…. analysis schamanlysis.. I fear.

I did, however, have some difficulty trying to decipher what the writer meant by this paragraph… ” But, Rubel claims, he’s fortunate to have found a vocation where his ADD is able to work in his favour. He says spending so much of his time in the overstimulated digital culture gave him a special appreciation for how to market to its attention-deficient natives.”

I am sending it to M15 and GCHQ.

And finally… at least for Part I…. RollonFriday.com continues with the search for unusual law firm names…

Irish firm Argue & Phibbs;

Knocker & Foskett Senior Partner, Mr R Don;

– Trainee Mark Reckless and partner and water industry specialist, Trevor Turtle, at Herbert Smith;

Chad P Ennis and Sanford (affectionately known as Sandy) Weiner, at Vinson & Elkins.

Scott Greenfield, US Attorney and author of the Simple Justice blog has an interesting post today – where mention of a Judge Lawless is made.

That is all for tonight… the British 15% fortified red has woven a spell…. I’m now going to lie down and think… of many things.  Back tomorrow…

Regards, as always…

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Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, a barrister, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog about the extraordinary arrest  by Police of shadow frontbench spokesman on Immigration, Damien Green MP.

We break the discussion into five sections: (1) The power of arrest and the potential charge –  (2) The PM, Home Secretary and senior government ministers did not know about the arrest in advance, yet The Speaker, David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson did – why? – (3) The Speaker’s role – he authorised the search (4) Cross party anger and irritation and (5) Will there be a prosecution.

It was a wide ranging discussion, bringing in opinion from the traditional media and well known UK law blogs.

Listen to Podcast 80: With Carl Gardner on The arrest of Damien Green MP


Related link from Charon blog: Arrest of Tory  MP Damien Green

Related link from Head of Legal blog: Justifying misconduct in public office

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