Archive for December 10th, 2009

In his guise as a modern artiste Charondrian,  in his latest nonsense, reflects on the political creation of modern Africa as seen through the eyes of an erudite elephant.

“The white ‘Mondrian’ lines represent the linear boundaries between many countries in Africa.  The colours reflect the colours used in many african  flags today and the black handprint (Charondrians’s own) a metaphor for landgrab from both whites and blacks. The Elephant, as a species, will probably live on Earth forever. The spots suggest conflicts and trouble spots – but also hint that the fumes from the vandalpaint spray cans favoured by the ‘artist’ may have been getting the better of Charondrian.”
Loft Laggers Monthly Art Review

Erudite Elephant II – The Politics of Modern Africa

Oil and spray paint on Canvas 2009
(In the Collection of Natasha Phillips)

A larger version may be viewed here

For other ‘paintings’ by Charonaletto (Charondrian, Charonasso et al)

Fuckerflies | Erudite Elephant 1 | Cokehead the Parrot

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The Judicial Process…

The UKSC Blog (a very good resource for those who wish to keep bang up to date with the proceedings of the new UK Supreme Court) reports today that Jonathan Sumption QC has withdrawn his candidature for the remaining twelfth seat in the Supreme Court. The UKSC noted in October (picking up on a story in The Times)  that “senior” judges from the Court of Appeal oppose the much discussed appointment of Jonathan Sumption QC to the Supreme Court to fill the one remaining vacancy.  The article suggests that the judges are concerned about his lack of judicial experience as well as the “disincentive to other top names at the Bar to join the circuit or High Court”.

(I would like to be able to give the direct URL for the UKSC reports – but this does not seem to be possible (curiously) from their blog.  The RSS feed is also not recognised by widgetbox or my RSS feed readers)

While I can well understand the ‘concerns’ of senior members of the judiciary, who themselves took the ‘vow of poverty’ to become High Court judges and then rose through effort, ability and patience (possibly) to do their time in the Court of Appeal, that a barrister who has not done his or her time as a judge should ‘leapfrog’ over them into the Supreme Court.It may well be essential that a Justice of The Supreme Court should have judicial experience – but this would preclude the possibility (envisaged by the legislation?)  that the Justices could be joined and made more diverse by senior academics or very talented members of the Bar or the solicitors profession direct.

One assumes that these ‘senior judges’ from the Court of Appeal are not suggesting that appointment to the Supreme Court should be on the ‘Buggins’ Turn’ principle so beloved of many British institutions? That would, surely, be absurd. [ “Sorry chaps, we know there is this brain the size of a planet knocking at the door who may well do the job rather better than anyone else but we really have to let Buggins LJ have a go for a few years”? ]

It is not unreasonable to suggest that their concerns did not turn on the fact that a ‘start performer’ at the Bar or in practice as a City or other solicitor could decide not to take a lesser judicial appointment and continue to earn substantial amounts of money……. although this is hinted at in the UKSC blog post which notes…”the judges are concerned about his lack of judicial experience as well as the “disincentive to other top names at the Bar to join the circuit or High Court”. [ “Right… we have another person with the brain the size of a planet who is about to blow the bloody doors off…. he / she has been earning truly fantastic sums of money when others of his/her generation have  defied mammon and done their duty by becoming High Court judges…. quick..close the doors and call a journalist to stir things up a bit” ]

It would, therefore, on this analysis (which may, I accept this, be entirely faulty and driven by fumes from painting too many pictures with paint from a spray can) come down to this – that a barrister or solicitor who has not done time as a judge is simply not suited to the  work of the Supreme Court.  I have no experience of practice but having talked to a person with considerable experience at the Bar and on the Bench, and from my own understanding of the  role of the Supreme Court – such judicial experience is not vital to the very demanding and specialised issues facing the justices where intellect and understanding of the law  in its most refined form, arguably, is so important.

We may have missed a trick.  Jonathan Sumption QC, I am told by people who know, would have made a good Justice.  He has withdrawn his application. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have the very best minds of our time in the Supreme Court and if these come from the Bar, academe or the solicitors side of the profession would it not be to our advantage to encourage change and recruit Justices from a wider pool?

Your thoughts, as ever, are most welcome in the comments section below.

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Propaganda, PBR and Cokehead…my parrot.

Hat tip to Tom Harris MP and the Wrinkled Weasel for drawing attention to a rather bizarre Christmas card being sent out by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond.  (The pic on the left) A most unfortunate icon?

You don’t mess about with ‘Lambo’. Lieutenant-General Sir Graham Lamb, a man who does not mince words as can be seen by his recent statement: “We are continuing to strike the Taliban, and have to, till their eyeballs bleed”. The former SAS officer and Commander, Field Army,  is now advising both Stanley McChrystal and President Karzai. Paul Waugh, in his  Evening Standard blog is keeping a very close watch on the Iraq Inquiry and has a good piece on yesterday’s presentation to the Inquiry by ‘Lambo’.  Typical of Sir Graham Lamb’s direct responses is… “The most difficult people to deal with weren’t the Shia or Sunni militias/insurgents, it was the Americans and their refusal to accept the idea of reconciliation, of dealing with people who had blood on their hands.

The White Rabbit (whose blog is always worth visiting – not much law on it – no bad thing for a law blog, of course) has a rather good video with the added bonus of Nena and her 99 Luftballons which I enjoyed back in 1984.

I do not know, of course, if Matron was called to attend to Tories who appeared to be wetting themselves when George Osborne responded to Darlings PBR speech yesterday. Certainly, Speaker Bercow had to ask members to calm down several times and he admonished Henry Bellingham MP (Tory) for doing a running commentary oln Darling’s speech which ‘neither the house nor members of the public needed’. It always good when member’s become excited but this is a law blog so I’ll leave such matters to others.

I was watching PMQs and the PBR speech yesterday on my laptop while also looking at Twitter. @KerryMP, Labour’s so called ‘Twitter Tsar’, was at it hammer and sickle… getting very over excited when Gordon Brown landed blow after blow on Cameron during  PMQs but appeared to lose interest when Osborne came on to respond to Darling.  No matter, we had a raft of Tory twitterers to wave the flag for ‘their chap’. All wonderful propaganda, of course, with neither side conceding that the other had made any useful points at all. But that is what I like about Twitter when it comes to politics and Tom Harris MP (who tweeted all the way through PMQs from his place on the back benches)  gets a special ‘Tweet of the week’ award for this…when Speaker Bercow had to intervene to calm the over excited members when Nick Clegg got rather angry during his turn.

The Tory propaganda machine has swung into action and while I find their latest poster rather lame, they certainly seem to be enjoying themselves and more ‘artwork’ will surely be forthcoming.

Talking of dubious artwork….. I have completed another ‘painting’ in my ‘F**kART – a homage to BritArt’ series.  It is a portrait of Cokehead, my old parrot from a West London Man episode (Now in the collection of @jaffne) (You may view a larger version here)

It is 4.10 am – a bit early for serious analysis of matters legal.  I shall return later in the day… possibly. Have a good one.

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