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Archive for April 17th, 2009

John Flood, academic, law prof and blogger has done the business with his new persona  – stand up comedian. In my book, anyone who can do stand-up in front of any audience, let alone pissed people in a pub – deserves praise for courage and idiocy/madness in the face of reason!

The title to this piece comes from one of many very amusing quips in John’s latest stand up routine …. It made me laugh… but I would have laughed even if I wasn’t half in the bag.

Watch the John Flood movie

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( also does pretty good podcasts and knows a thing or two about law! )

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Friggin Friday…

So here I am on a rainy Friday afternoon, grey skies and cold,  with a glass of Chianti to my right.  I met up last night with Geeklawyer, Carl Gardner, Jacqui Gilliat, Information Overlord, Oedipus Lex and the two editors from LawandMore – Vanessa and Sabreena. We met at The Cittie of Yorke, a pub just outside Gray’s Inn in Holborn, a hostelry I used to frequent many years ago when I was teaching law in the area.   Geeklawyer produced a very snazzy Canon digital camera costing megabucks, took an excellent photograph of me (I talk of megapixel quality and composition) and I have reduced it to a stylised parody with a bit of Photoshoppery to give it a bit of ‘arty nonsense’ worthy of a blog and to  enhance the ludicrous tache I have been growing since Christmas. A touch of Vercingetorix, peut-être?

I have surprisingly few photographs of myself. My face is best suited to radio as the saying goes.  But here, for a limited time only, is me. Most enjoyable evening last night and Sabreena duly arrived with the promised electric cigarette which I used on the train back from London.  No-one even noticed and if they did, they weren’t bovvered.  I use the vernacular because in the seat across the aisle from me was a young woman with a strong Kentish accent practising her command of old anglo-saxon.  She was talking to her boyfriend and was clearly upset ‘wiv ‘im’ …. unless C**t and “You effing tosser” are terms of endearment wherever she was going to.  The electronic cigarette is absurd.  It glows at the tip when sucked on ( a small LED, I believe) and produces real smoke – or non toxic vapour.  I’m told these e-cigarettes cost £79 quid and nicotine cartridges work out at about the price of a pack of twenty fags.  I can’t really see them catching on – although the amusement factor of watching Geeklawyer puffing away on the thing last night inside the pub was was good.  Sadly, no-one came over to be a busybody and then get eviscerated by the Prince of Darkness.

White Rabbit bulletin

I am pleased to read of the continuing recovery of White Rabbit following a recent injury.  He is off the fags for 23 days now and is amusing himself by doing a spot of blogging with a post on Irritating Words and Phrases.  White Rabbit gives several illustrations.  Here is one:  You are? This means ‘what is your name?’ I don’t know quite why, but there’s something about ‘you are?’ that makes me want to smack the questioner in the face.”

Obnoxio The Clown had a recent post which prompted me to further investigation of a LadyBird book parody. As we have different readers you can either visit Obnoxio’s amusing and very blunt blog to see them as he reveals them or have a look here.

And finally for this friggin Friday post…Nick Holmes of Binary Law has an excellent post… I think you should read it…

“Plenty to ponder about the future not just of the established news industry but also of other old media players in this post from Jeff Jarvis and the numerous comments:

You’ve had all that time to reinvent your products, services, and organizations for this new world, to take advantage of new opportunities and efficiencies, to retrain not only your staff but your readers and advertisers, to use the power of your megaphones while you still had it to build what would come next. But you didn’t. You blew it.”

I could have left the Jeff Jarvis link in, of course… but that is the point about bloggers – they tend to link to each other, they tend to share, they tend to push news items, they tend to do *Hat Tips* when they find something on another blogger’s blog.. … go and have a look at Nick Holmes post to get the link to Jeff Jarvis’s excellent post… it is my *Read of The Week*…

Not just for UK bloggers… for all bloggers.. and it ain’t about law!



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Jacqui Smith in the firing line over security and secrecy
Times: Jacqui Smith faced renewed pressure last night after the secrets case against Damian Green was thrown out and the leaks with which he was involved were deemed not to have involved national security.

Quite apart from the furore over her expenses, the Home Secretary has demonstrated that she is not a safe pair of hands with this latest episode over the arrest of Damien Green MP,  who was told by police at the time of his arrest that he could be facing life imprisonment if convicted. Mr Green won’t be convicted, nor will the Home Office whistleblower,  because DPP, Keir Starmer, has refused to prosecute and said ‘his decision was based on the fact that the leaked documents “were not in many respects highly confidential”.’ Guardian

While Ms Smith did not press for the arrest of Damien Green MP, she did “back a Cabinet Office decision to call in the police following 20 destabilising leaks from the Home Office in the past two years.” It now appears that the leaks were not substantial state secrets, affect national security or put lives at risk as was being ‘suggested’ at the time of Green’s arrest.

Starmer, not surprisingly, covers his position by saying – as reported in The Guardian – “the unauthorised leaking of restricted and or confidential information is not beyond the reach of the criminal law and can amount to an offence of misconduct in public office”.

David Davis MP, former shadow home secretary, commented: “…the police were increasingly trying to use “misconduct in public office” to target officials who leak, undermining a key reform to the Official Secrets Act introduced to allow the disclosure of information. Green said the episode “whipped away the veil over this government and the way it exercises power”. He said: “They make serious mistakes on immigration policy and rather than correcting [them] they try to cover them up and when the cover up is exposed they lash out and, in this case … they exaggerated the security implications.”

Carl Gardner, a former senior government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal Blog has written three good posts on this issue, the most recent, this morning: Damien Green – Jacqui on the rack

Gardner writes: “The way I’d put it is this: Jacqui Smith is under suspicion of having used the police as a political tool; of having allowed her own anger and frustration at the embarrassment the leaks caused her to cloud her judgment, so that she authorised the involvement of police for a wholly wrong purpose – to stop that embarrassment. I can’t imagine a more serious charge against a Home Secretary. I don’t like suggestions we live in a “police state”: I think that kind of claim is always over the top . But vigilance must be eternal, and, if it means anything, it means making sure ministers do not use the police for their own political interests.

So Jacqui Smith is now on the rack. The onus is on her to acquit herself of these suspicions – which I don’t think it will be easy for her to do.” Carl Gardner then says that she needs to answer a number of questions and suggest the questions she needs to answer. Read Carl’s piece for further information…

For my part, if she is not able to allay suspicion that she may have misused her office – then quite apart from the expenses furore, she should resign. She may not have to worry about taking the honourable way – there are rumours that she will be part of a Brown re-shuffle fairly soon anyway.

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The news and updates to profession are now up on Insite Law

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