Archive for February 15th, 2009

Curiously, I was at a loss for something to do this morning so I took a trip to the Moon, fully reported on Twitter – where else! Frankly, we would all probably be more free  if we were on the Moon these days given the taste of the present government for CCTV cameras, ID cards, promulgating new criminal offences and Robocop thinking when it comes to controlling the British people.

The latest stunt being pulled by the government in the dying days of their 12 year “Protectorate” ( taste precluded me from using the rather more emotive “Reich”)  is the plan in the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Commons committee stage this to week to allow the newly renamed Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to take away the driving licences and passports of parents who refuse to pay for their children – without a court order. As The Law Society Gazette reported: ” Justice Director Roger Smith described the ‘disproportionate’ sanctions as the thin end of the wedge.  They are sure to creep into others areas of dispute once the link between the method of enforcement and what’s at stake is broken.”

Another stunt pulled by the government was to jail parents for the truancy of their children. The BBC reported this week: “A parent is jailed for their child’s truancy once a fortnight every school term in England and Wales, analysis of court statistics shows.”

This plan was a big FAIL. One wonders if this idea was dreamed up when half the Cabinet were smoking cannabis. Child doesn’t go to school. Jail parent.  Child goes into care if from a one parent family, possibly brutalised by the experience and less receptive to school than before and taxpayer picks up bill for high cost of imprisoning parents. Clever stuff. The BBC dredges up ex-minister Estelle Smith and sundry Lib-Dems to wring their hands and undergo ritual atonement and exculpation.  I can’t even be bothered to quote from the report.

I’m with the ex-Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, on this one.  We have far too many criminal laws, far too much political interference with the Judiciary, way too many CCTV cameras, irritating regulations, cash raising fine schemes and interferences in our lives in this once green and pleasant land.

So…pouring a libation to my taste… on to the other matters of the week…

At a loss for something to do this Sunday morning, I decided to make a moon landing. This was reported fully on Twitter of course – where else?

I was also able to do my 100th podcast with my friend Dan Hull, a lawyer in the United States, who can be relied upon to be robust, controversial and to the point. We talked of many things including the future of lawyers post recession.

Geert Wilders tried to hit our shores to show his film to a group of peers in The House of Lords. He was frustrated in this endeavour by the Home Secretary who banned him from entry on grounds, inter alia, that Lord Ahmed had indicated there would be 10,000 muslims on the streets.  Wilders ignored the letter and arrived at Heathrow to be excluded by Immigration and Border Agency officers. I did a podcast with Carl Gardner who believes that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully.  I agree with his analysis.  Rather more worrying….  this exclusion was yet another example of our government believing they know best.  It was a shameful decision;  riding roughshod, whatever one may think of Wilders, over the reputation of this country to handle difficulty with debate, with reason, with parody, ridicule and mockery – rather than the blunt bludgeon of the law – misunderstood, possibly, in this case.  10,000 muslims did not turn up at Heathrow or stampede on our streets –  possibly because they are more rational than Lord Ahmed.

It is not Thunderbirds are GO for Alistair Darling on the banks lending front, nor, it would seem, on the issue of his own expenses.  Guido Fawkes jumps on the story with his usual enthusiasm.

I quote: “When the man in charge of the nation’s finances, Alistair Darling, has been caught fiddling his expenses, and Jacqui Smith, the woman who is in charge of crime prevention is accused of corruption, you have a government which is a kleptocracy. The New Labour promise to be “whiter than white” is like a sick joke now.”

Another week begins tomorrow.  I shall be at my post, watching our shores, checking the Thames for U-Boats and French Ships of the Line… I shall be back.  Have a good one.

Regards as always


Read Full Post »

Podcast 102: Usefully Employed on developments in Employment Law
Today I’m talking to solicitor turned barrister, the author of the Usefully Employed blog about developments in Employment Law.

We discuss:

Redundancy generally given the downturn, collective consultation and the impact on law firms

The British jobs issue at the oil refinery and, now, at Radcliffe power station

The imminent repeal in April of the dispute resolution procedures, the replacement provisions & the resulting new Acas codes of practice.

Listen to Podcast 102


Podcast version for iTunes

Read Full Post »

Charon reports: From The Moon….

I woke this morning and lost the will to live after reading in the News of The World that Peaches Geldof has many bizarre tattoos and Alistair Darling has apparently been re-furbishing his £1.2 million Edinburgh *not his main residence* home at tax payer expense… more of which later.  The question formulating in my mind as I smoked a woodbine was… ‘what to do on this rather dull Sunday morning’.  I watched the gulls and the cormorants enjoying their breakfast and had a Damascus moment.

I would make a moon landing… guided the necessary 270,000 miles by my iMac laptop – with very much more computing power than the original astronauts had when they landed on the moon 40 years ago.. or didn’t if you are an Area 51, UFO/ conspiracy theory fan/nutcase etc etc….

I am not able to reveal how I got to the moon… because I already get a fair number of emails from assorted nutcases and fruitcakes and I do not wish to encourage them.  Suffice it to say that the trip was most enjoyable and I was able to continue making posts on Twitter for much of the journey…  such are the advances in technology from the days when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made their historic trip. My trip was not entirely for selfish gratification.  I did a bit of science up there… or over there as we Charononauts like to say.

I landed on the moon at approximately 11.08 GMT and reported on Twitter (I was able to get a very faint signal)

Ever mindful of *Evidence*, I took particular care to kick a bit of moon dust around to ensure that the ground under my spacecraft looked as if it had actually landed on the moon, planted a couple of flags to get the shadows right and discovered the essential truth that while we do see stars from earth, there aren’t any visible from the moon at certain times.  My trip happened to coincide with one of those ‘starless sky’ times.

It would have been most inelegant not to have done some science. I carried out two brief experiments and shall be sending my findings to NASA , Scientific American, The Royal Geographical Society and Hello magazine.  The first experiment involved cracking open a bottle of Rioja.  When I finally caught the bubbles of wine that formed in the zero gravity they tasted good… I had a specially built straw for this purpose.  My second experiment proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is possible to smoke a cigarette on the moon – and it is lawful to do so as well, there being no busybodies over there to stop me.

Read Full Post »