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Archive for October 27th, 2009

The Daily Mail worries me, but in a week where there is actually quite important news  – The Daily Mail has come up with a story about inbreeding in the Royal Family. You have to have a quick look at this – to get the point… astonishing, however, how all the royals do look alike?

It really is astonishing how a leading newspaper can be so pre-occupied with so little… what is more worrying is that their readers may also be pre-occupied with so little and, like everyone…Sun Readers, Mirror Readers… Guardian,Times, Indie, Telegraph etc etc readers….  … they have a vote.

I love Britain…… serious about politics… You bet!

Anyway… let me re-assure you, I am a republican. I am not related to any Royals or Boris Johnson… and while my father was in the Army during the second World War, he didn’t have liaisons with any members of the royal family past or present… or even dead ones.

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Lord Neuberger: A rather good speech..

I would like to draw your attention (if you have not already seen it) to a good speech by Lord Neuberger MR.  Amusingly, it includes a scripted slip of the tongue in para 14!

LORD NEUBERGER OF ABBOTSBURY, MASTER OF THE ROLLS

A JUDICIAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE CONDUCT OF CLAIMS IN THE CURRENT
CLIMATE

Yes… more of this from the senior judiciary, please.  Very interesting reading.

Worth reading

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The legal news over the last few days has thrown up some curious and interesting stories.

Genocidal maniacs

Yesterday we had Justice Minister and Lord Chancellor Jack Straw announcing that Britain would not become a haven for warlords and genocidal maniacs – which is reassuring given our history over centuries and, some would say, more recently (Interestingly the Radovan Karadzic genocide trial began and was suspended)…yet today  The British government wants allegations that it was complicit in the torture by the US of Britons held as terrorism suspects to be heard in secret.

“In documents seen by the Guardian, lawyers for the government argue it must be allowed to present evidence to the high court with the public excluded, otherwise Britain’s relations with other countries and its national security could be damaged. The government also wants its evidence kept secret from defence lawyers.”

It is, perhaps, not appropriate that I refer to Tony Blair in the context of genocidal maniacs – but he has been told in no uncertain terms by the prime minister and by David Miliband that he must fight or risk losing the European Presidency. (Guardian)

While I do vote Labour,  I have some reservations about Tony Blair becoming President of Europe.  I understand the need for Europe to have a well known politician to represent European interests on the world stage.  I suspect that other candidates (who have to hold or have held prime ministerial office in their own countries) may well be ‘invisible’ outside their own countries. Unfortunately, Blair is all too visible.  His pro-European sentiments were clearly not to the fore when he sided with Bush on the Iraq war.  Henry Porter did a rather good piece in The Observer last Sunday and, as always, made sense and put his views carefully and in a rational manner.

“What European leaders should want is the most principled individual for the job, not someone who cuts a dash on the G20 catwalk and knows how to abuse power.”

Having read Alastair Campbell’s The Blair Years recently, I have reservations about Blair’s ability to lead a complex entity of nations without being overtly ‘Presidential’. Blair also tended to be over reliant, it would seem, on a few people to govern and this, in the context of the European Presidency, would not appear to be a tactic which could be deployed successfully.  There is also the question of why he would wish to do it when he can earn fantastic sums of money on the after dinner speech and consultancy circuit. This latter. of course, is a personal issue for him.

I also have grave reservations about the baggage he carries with him over the prosecution of the war in Iraq and, more particularly, the use of the sexed up dossier.  Former Foreign Secretary (Lord) David Owen, is not alone in believing that ‘contempt of Parliament should always be a disqualification for holding high office’.   This, I feel, disqualifies him play a leading role in Europe  and, as Philippe Sands QC observed in the Observer on Sunday –  Blair is associated with the possible use of torture by the US and UK governments.  Sands puts the boot in, albeit elegantly as befits a Professor of Law at University College London and a leading Silk, by saying “Europe needs a president who is associated with promoting modern values, including the rule of law and fundamental rights for all.”

That said, there is no doubt that Blair was one of the most dynamic prime ministers of the modern era and would certainly bring profile, energy and drive to the job and perhaps this is of more value to Europe than baggage from the past? I suspect, had there not been a war with Iraq, that Blair would have gone on to be a very credible prime minister, albeit  not one with overtly or natural socialist principles. Who knows?  we did go to war with Iraq on a premise which has been revealed to be incorrect.

We also have some potentially sinister developments on the Policing front

Guardian: Chief constables will be forced to justify the legality of recording thousands of law-abiding protesters on secret nationwide databases, the government’s privacy watchdog announced today. Christopher Graham, the information commissioner, said he had “genuine concerns about the ever increasing amount” of personal data held by police.

 

The present government does not have a taste for following advice from incumbent Information Commissioners and it is no surprise to hear the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, saying “The police know what they are doing, they know how to tackle these demonstrations, they do it very effectively.”

To be fair to Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, he has intervened at the eleventh hour in the case of Gary McKinnon,  the hacker who faces 60 years in jail in the US for hacking into the Pentagon computer system..  Alan Johnson is going to look ‘very carefully’ at the medical evidence being put in support of a likely suicide if the extradition goes ahead. Times

And finally… a conman who told women that he was Keir Starmer QC, the DPP, to lure them into his bed has been jailed…

Independent: A swindler who pretended to be the country’s top lawyer and dressed in pinstripe suits, wigs and robes to trick women is behind bars after being convicted of a string of offences including fraud and theft.

 

 

 

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