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Archive for November 22nd, 2009

Readers who have seen The Godfather, a truly classic film, will be familiar with the scene at the end when Michael Corleone, the new Godfather, attends a christening.  While The Don is at the christening, those who crossed him meet their destiny with the after life.  I couldn’t help but make the connection when I read this morning in The Sunday Times that Lord Mandelson wants to be Foreign Secretary.

As The Sunday Times notes: ” Mandelson’s reshuffle call puts the prime minister in a perilous position as he struggles to retain the support of the most powerful figures in the cabinet. If he bows to Mandelson’s wishes, he risks alienating David Miliband, the foreign secretary, and his ally Ed Balls, the schools secretary, who is still eager for promotion. If he refuses Mandelson’s demand, he risks losing his loyalty with potentially devastating consequences for the election.”

As they say… Revenge is a dish best eaten cold…. Game, Set and Match to Mandelson?  Brown could well be stuffed on this one. You have to laugh…. Ladies and Gentleman… we have a new Richard III of The Labour Party… I present… for your delectation and delight… Baron Mandelson of Foy, Foreign Secretary of The United Kingdom.   Of course, it could just be a load of balls and everyone at the top end of the labour party is happy, working harmoniously together,  and only thinking of the best interests of the country as a whole.

SHIT…. I’ve just seen a squadron of black leather clad stormtrooper pigs fly over Upnor Castle on the River Medway… they are heading for Westminster… and they look as if they mean business. You couldn’t make it up…. wonderful nonsense. The Sunday Times piece is rather amusing… and worth a read.

And don’t forget this from The Times on 27 September….

LORD Mandelson has disclosed that he is ready to accept a job under a future Conservative government.

In an interview with The Sunday Times magazine, “the business secretary said he would be willing to put his “experience at the disposal of the country”, if Labour lost power. “As I grow older, I can imagine more ways of serving my country than simply being a party politician,” he said.

Asked whether he might use his experience in business and world trade under a future government, he said: “If I was asked to do something for my country using that asset base, of course, I would consider it.”

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Straw to act on ‘draconian’ UK libel laws

“When another country introduces laws to protect its citizens from your courts, you have a problem. When that country happens to be your closest ally in times of war and peace, you have a crisis. That is the state of English libel law.”

John Kampfner is chief executive of Index on Censorship and author of Freedom For Sale.
Times

The good news… is that Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, is going to do something about it and, hopefully, the backing of the other parties.

The Times reports: “The justice secretary says the large legal fees involved in defamation cases in English courts are jeopardising freedom of speech, potentially curbing vital debate by scientists, academics and journalists.”

Inevitably, lawyers and other ‘special interest’ groups are rushing to lobby against changes. I do hope this comes to something because if it it doesn’t one can be fairly certain with mounting anger and awareness, Twitter, mainstream media and pressure from  voluntary organisations will build to a point where no government will be able to ignore the pressure.  Our justice system has been undermined and devalued by the injustice of our libel laws.  Freedom of speech, the right to investigate matters in the public interest, responsible and informed comment should be encouraged in a modern society.  The irony, of course, is that many who seek superinjunctions do have something to hide and a carefully framed revision of libel law should be able to protect the victims of genuine and malicious defamation.

Will I be sorry to see the demise of lucrative fees to lawyers when the libel laws are changed?  Will I be sorry to see a valuable source of invisible export income dry up?

You can be sure that I won’t be sorry – and there are countless thousands more out there who feel the same way.  Fortunately, there are some (individuals and organisations) who are more vociferous because of their ability to spread the word. Let’s hope they pile the pressure on until we rid our jurisprudence and legal system of these vile and undemocratic laws.

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