Archive for June 13th, 2009

Dear Reader,
As I sit here, necking Rioja straight from the bottle, I could not help but sit back and think about The Queen watching her soldiers march up and down at the Trooping the Colour to mark her official birthday.  She used to sit on a horse and salute in earlier times but now, at the grand age of 80, she stands on a dais and takes the salute from there.  I wrote earlier today about the honours and awards bestowed on the people of Britain who like that of thing.

So now that The Telegraph has run out of expenses stories, is life on the political front returning to normal? Hardly…. Brown survived what is now seen as a particularly lame putch that would have Silvio Berlusconi laughing on the Bridge of Sighs in Venice and singing O sole MioJust one more term…. give it to me!

Hazel Blears, after repaying £13 grand in expenses and crashing out of government in a flurry of cartoon noises, is now popping up on television recanting with the fervour of a self-flagellant;  apologising for everything, including wearing a ‘Rocking the Boat’ badge  on TV the night of the Euro elections after she resigned and mocking Gordoom’s absurd YouTube video.

And… the Prince of Darkness continues to tighten his dominion over all matters spiritual, temporal and governmental.

Hat Tip to @WalterOlsen: British cops deliver Catch 22 to photographers: you’re not allowed to know which areas you’re not allowed to photograph

PC Plod hasn’t really quite got the hang of the internets thingy yet… or Google STREET View.  By the way… five minutes on RollonFriday came up with this very useful information, courtesy of Supes on RoF: “There is no where in Britain that you are not allowed to photograph. There are places where police can question you about what you are doing. They cannot ask you to delete photographs.”

Supes from RollonFriday discussion board also gave me (I post as Brigadier Grappa on RoF.. and returned to doing so today ) this useful link if you are into photography – as some of you are: Read the Info

Courtesy of @obnoxiotheclown:New Shoplifting deterrent at Salford Market…

And finally… if you want to see how the new Mayor of Doncaster made a complete prat of himself on a BBC radio interview – and left the studio mid interview.. then this priceless transcript is for you.  It is, I have to say, a wonderful piece of political interviewing and is worth the read.

A short Postcard this week, I’m afraid… the truth is… I have to stand down to spend more time with my wine bottle…. but I’ll be back

Best, as always


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Lawcast 141: The House of Lords judgment on control orders

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog about the House of Lords judgment in Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) v AF (Appellant) (FC) and another (Appellant) and one other action

Lord Pannick, QC represented the lead appellant, AF “Since the Home Secretary can no longer impose control orders without telling the controlees the substance of the case they have to meet, the right decision — legally and politically — would be to abandon the discredited control order regime and concentrate on prosecuting in the criminal courts those against whom there is evidence of wrongdoing.”

We also cover Diane Abbot MP’s campaign about secret evidence

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for itunes

House of Lords judgment

Carl Gardner blog | Head of Legal blog

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From Yes, Minister

An episode of the Whitehall spoof Yes, Minister underlined how politicians and officials responsible for the system believe honours will be seized with alacrity. The programme featured an exchange between civil servant Bernard Woolley, and minister Jim Hacker, as they drew up the department’s list. (The Guardian June 2003)

Hacker: “When did a civil servant last refuse an honour?”

Woolley: “Well I think there was somebody in the Treasury that refused a knighthood.”

Hacker: “Good God, when?”

Woolley: “I think it was 1496.”

Hacker: “Why?”

Woolley: “He’d already got one.”

Today is the Queen’s Birthday (Official birthday – she has two)  and, as is customary, she gets to dish out the honours – or, to be more accurate, the government does. We live in the 21st Century but still this rather bizarre practice continues whereby people are given titles or awards.  It is harmless enough and perfectly reasonable to reward people for what they do by giving them a medal if that is what they want. (Apparently, they only dish them out to people who will actually accept them… a very few turn them down).

Regalia, badges and ribbons are given to the recipient so they can wear them at home or at ceremonial events and confirm their place and position in Britain’s absurdly hierarchical society. There are people who compile lists of the ‘nobility’.  Burke’s Peerage is but one. Many of the old titles derive from the Norman conquest and feudal days – the land grabbers of the day who were useful with a sword and a lance.  Other honours were dished out to some quite unsavoury people by various Kings and Queens in later years.  The recipients of these titles were, I understand, more concerned with the land than the bit of ribbon or badge that goes with it. Today there is no land, just the badge and the ribbon.  You can even buy a badge to ‘wear with your everyday clothing’. YouGov has the details

For my part, I am not remotely interested in honours and awards but, like George Bush, I am pleased for those who want them and get them.  It is unlikely that I would ever get an honour and,  if one was offered,  I would turn it down on principle – for I have no need of baubles and feel that the time has come to end this preposterous and meaningless division based on the peerage and knighthoods.  I cringe when I see candidates on The Apprentice, keen to get a decent job, grinning and say ‘Yes, Sir Alan”.  Frankly, I am surprised that a man of Sugar’s intelligence and experience should wish to be called ‘Sir Alan’ but, as we say East of London … chacun a son gout. It’s a free country… or is supposed to be.

I have a new plan – for years I have refused to address anyone by their title. I am going to encourage as many people as I can to adopt this plan.   And now, having been ‘overlooked’ yet again… I am orf to have some breakafast in my own reality of a truly democratic, caring and socially non-divisive, Britain… I shall be wearing the Red flag again… and despite the absurdities  in government in recent months (and even years) I shall continue to believe in a socialist and fair Britain where everyone has the same opportunity to get on in life and be successful  and, at least,  get  a reasonable wage to live on and access to education, justice and health.

Have a good one, comrades.

Oh… and as The Queen has two birthdays… I’m going to have two birthdays as well… you should think about doing the same?

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