Archive for October 23rd, 2009

Dear Reader,

I write this week from my penthouse garret, replete with boeuf bourgignon cooked on my new slow cooker, and with no Professional Masterchef to watch, I shall in all probability take of the wine of the gods and do a spot of writing….. the results of which are set out below.

Last night I watched BBC’s Question Time, a programme I usually enjoy. The BBC were right to invite Nick Griffin onto the panel.  The protesters at the BBC appeared to be the usual mob of professional protesters (some even wore masks), and students.  The irony of a group of left wing protesters protesting about free speech was not lost on me.  Frankly, the fact that 3 police officers were injured because of the antics of these people is appalling.  Protesting in a violent way is not the answer to issues of this nature.  The programme, discussed in detail elsewhere, was poor.  The audience and Bonnie Greer were rather good.  Griffin revealed himself to be a man lacking in mental acuity and tried to play the moderate card… absurdly referring to meetings with the Klu Klux Klan – the ‘non-violent wing’. He couldn’t tell us why he used to talk about racism, holocaust denial etc etc because of European Law.  This, of course, is bollocks.  We do not have a holocaust law in the UK.   His racist, intolerant bigotry shone through. He also looked rather weak.  Not a convincing dictator for a new order at all. Unfortunately, he will get more support because there are many in our sceptred isle who lap up his brand of racial and social intolerance.

With hindsight, Question Time may not have been the right vehicle.  Perhaps 10 minutes on Newsnight with Paxo or Andrew Neil on Straight Talk would have been a bit more rigorous and more credible from an intellectual honesty point of view.  I got the distinct impression that the BBC were revelling in their own sanctimonious and unctuous pomposity and brilliance… and… the ratings as well.

The only good thing is that the BNP morons will not form the next government – but I have no doubt that some other self serving politicians will be part of the next government, whichever party wins.

Following my fifth Michelin star, awarded to myself earlier this week, I have purchased several items of kitchen equipment – a slow cooker and a vegetable rack.  The slow cooker (£17.95 from Range)  is excellent.  15 minutes prep with fresh ingredients, toss in a bottle of decent wine, adjust chef hat, turn slow cooker on.  10 hours later – boeuf bourgignon – another Michelin star.  Recipes galore on the internet.

The vegetable rack was a design nightmare. Basically it comes with two side struts, on casters.  The idea is that four wire baskets fit onto wires on the side struts to create the whole and provide support strength.  The trouble is, with the casters, and only two hands, I began to lose the will to live.  Expletive followed expletive to the point that I felt like Basil Fawlty thrashing his car with a branch a la Fawlty Towers years ago – and wanted to toss the whole thing into the river. However, reason prevailed.  I had a cuppa. And cunningly outwitted the side struts (and the casters)  by laying them flat on the floor to assemble the vegetable rack. Job done. I then had to go and buy some vegetables to put in it, of course.

Props to RollonFriday for this remarkable picture from a New Zealand Barristers website, EquityLaw.

It does rather look like an early Village People publicity shot.  I just love the ‘evil dictator’ look with the guy in the dictator’s uniform…. so 2010.

A RollOnFriday t-shirt goes to anyone who can translate the following:

“In a similar manner to the ancient arts of budo law is a discipline, which trains the ethical character, the fighting spirit and the will. [Law] represents the ultimate battle of mind, will and knowledge. Equity equates with equality, fairness and justice. This is the philosophy and approach of the firm, which has developed a new vision of law for the 21st century.”

It has been an interesting week. I did a podcast with Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite having had no sleep on the Sunday night, emergency dental treatment in the early hours of Sunday morning – but the show must go on and I had to get up to London to The College of Law multi-media studio to record it at 12.00 midday.  It was probably the only time the DPP has been interviewed by someone high on drugs (legal – heavy pain killers and anaesthetic!). I’ll give you the link when it goes out.  It was a very interesting discussion. Keir Starmer was very open and pulled no punches.

Well… only one glass in… but time to do a bit of work… for, tomorrow, I ride on London to escape from my garret and my desk.

Best,  as always


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Kaplan Law School

Lawcast 158: The Bar Professional Training Course at Kaplan Law School


Today I am talking to James Wakefield director of the Bar course at Kaplan law School in London. From September 2010 the Bar Vocational Course BVC will be called the ‘Bar Professional Training Course’ BPTC. Kaplan has been validated by the Bar Standards Board to deliver the Nottingham Law School course in London as from September 2010.  Kaplan states on its website that The Nottingham Law School Bar Vocational Course has been long established as one of the best in the country with double the average pupillage rates and the highest student satisfaction rates.

Controversially, while the Bar Standards Board was not able to introduce an aptitude test after Office of Fair Trading intervention – Kaplan is introducing one of its own.

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

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