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Archive for January 11th, 2010

With sincere and genuine apologies to Jiminy The Cricket... but I started on the Rioja a little early and had some new coloured pens to try out. Guido Fawkes has a picture comparing Cameron and Data from Star Trek.  It is quite difficult to tell them apart, but I felt that what the leader of the Conservative Party really needed was an image which would appeal to young and senile alike…. . now that no-one is allowed to publish pictures showing him as belonging to a ‘certain club’.

The world does not need any more political bloggers – there are plenty of excellent ones about of all shades (a few here)  – so I shall confine myself to weaving politics and law together in a way that, perhaps, reflects my wine consumption as the day progresses.

And here is a story that really astonished me… from The Independent:

A senior Scotland Yard officer assaulted and falsely arrested a man in a row over payment for a personal website, a court heard today. Ali Dizaei, 47, abused his position as a Metropolitan Police commander to further his own interests, a jury was told. He then wove a web of lies in the aftermath of the row outside a west London restaurant, Southwark Crown Court heard. Prosecutor Stephen Wright QC said Dizaei “bullied” and “threatened” Iraqi web designer Waad Al-Baghdadi He said: “These are allegations of the wholesale abuse of power by a senior police officer for entirely personal and oblique motives.”

The case continues…

Hoon and Straw to give Iraq evidence

Jack Straw and Geoff Hoon are to be the first members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet to give evidence to the Iraq Inquiry, it was announced today. Geoff Hoon is lined up for two three hour sessions.  I would imagine, in the light of recent events, that he is likely to be less reticent and less prone to dissimulation.

***

Old Holborn is on the money again with this… Cromwell your MP:

“My attention has been brought to a mischevious little website set up to annoy the 646. It takes the hassle out of abusing MPs by automatically formatting and sending the following speech by Cromwell to any MP you fancy….”

Release of secret child punishment manual ordered

The Guardian reports: The information commissioner has said that a secret prison service punishment manual used in ­privately run child jails should be made public after a three-year freedom of information battle. The 114-page Physical Control in Care training manual details restraint ­techniques authorised for use on children in secure training centres.They include detailed descriptions of “distraction” techniques, which deliberately inflict pain and were found by the court of appeal to have been routinely unlawfully used in secure training centres……

The Guardian noted.. with a wry twist at the end...”MPs and peers said their were alarmed when they saw the headings of some of the redacted sections of the manual covered issues including “hair grab”, “strangle on the ground”, “strangle against the wall”, “strangle on the ground”, “kicks standing” and “kicks on the floor”………The MPs and peers also concluded in their report that it was impossible to tell whether physical restraint techniques complied with human rights when they remained secret.”

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Old Holborn:  Is The Lid Finally Coming Off Gordon’s Head?

( Also cross-posted in Anna Raccoon – Cross posted from Anna Raccoon – original article by John Ward of NotBornYesterday)

The health denials that emanated from Downing Street throughout Autumn 2009 are now revealed in almost every detail as a tissue of cynical lies from start to finish. Following the Mail’s extracts from Peter Watt’s new book Inside Out, Guido Fawkes last night as good as confirmed our story of 4th September 2009, which had alleged that the evidence for Mr Brown being on anti-depressant drugs and going blind was compelling. Fawkes’ new piece openly headlines ‘He’s Bonkers’…..

Definitely a should read.


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Some mornings I get up and I find that the idiots have been behaving themselves – but not so this morning. The Telegraph reports:

Businessman arrested over ‘anti-gypsy’ email he did not even write

The 45-year-old IT company manager, who does not want to be named, was arrested in front of his wife and young son, was fingerprinted and had his DNA taken.

It came after staff at Rother District Council in East Sussex declared the phrase “It’s the “do as you likey” attitude that I am against” – sent in an email to their planning department – was potentially racist because “likey” rhymes with the derogatory word “pikey”. The businessman was held in a cell for four hours until officers established he had nothing to do with the email, which had been sent by one of his then workers, Paul Osmond, from a company computer….

Sussex Police said they had arrested the businessman over “suspicion of committing a racial or religious-aggravated offence”…..

A council spokesman said: “As far as we were concerned it was an offensive comment, so we got in touch with the police.”

Why do we bother?  How do we manage to have obviously not very bright people working in public services?  Don’t Sussex Police have better things to do than arrest people for this sort of nonsense?  £12000, the investigation cost, according to the report.  Madness.

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The Law Society Gazette podcast : I talk to Jonathan Goldsmith about the role of the CCBE, the Akzo Nobel case on in-house counsel, the new Justice Commissioner and the opportunities for lawyers in Europe.

Jonathan Goldsmith is the Secretary General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which represents over 700,000 European lawyers through its member bars and law societies. The CCBE deals with a wide range of EU and global issues, such as anti-money-laundering legislation, an EU-wide Code of Conduct, competition matters affecting the legal profession, and human rights. He is an English solicitor. |

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While I would not go as far as Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, in the Kill a Burglar stakes, I do think that Hertfordshire HomoPlodiens have lost a sense of proportion with this case, reported in the Independent. Police warn TV star over knife

Independent: Myleene Klass was said to be “aghast” and “bemused” today after being warned by police for waving a knife at youths who entered her garden.

The TV star and Marks & Spencer model was in the kitchen with her daughter upstairs when she spotted the teenagers peering into her window just after midnight on Friday. She grabbed a knife and banged the windows before they ran away.  Hertfordshire Police officers warned Miss Klass she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal. The Independent reports…however..”A spokeswoman for Herts Police said no reference was made on the Klass incident report about a weapon.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Government strongly supports the right of law abiding people to defend themselves, their families and their property with reasonable force.

“That is why we introduced the self defence provisions of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

I agree with those who say that our current ‘reasonable force’ provisions are sufficient and I would have thought that a woman alone, with a child, picking up a carving knife from the kitchen drawer and waving it at people staring into her property, who cannot possibly have been in fear for their lives (but who may well have been deterred from further activity),  should be within the law. This is why I keep a Panzer tank in my drawing room – parked in the corner.  I have had no intruders. I also have a very fine Samurai sword in my drawing room from my old Kendo days. I don’t think I would have any hesitation whatsoever in unsheathing it if I discovered an intruder. There is an old maxim, once used by a president of the United States “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”. I would not use the sword, of course (unless the intruder was also armed)  – for then I might well cross the line of reasonable force… but waving it about to deter violence from an intruder? Interesting issue – perhaps a Criminal Law specialist reader could cast some light on this plan – so that I continue to act like a law abiding citizen?

Matthew Taylor writing on his blog considers the fairness of the fine meted out to Harriet Harman QC, MP in relation to her recent driving activities. Harriet Harman’s Fine, or Does this look right? The issue has been discussed, inevitably, in the political blogs (with some vigour) and in the Press but it is good to see a lawyer apply some solid research and reasoning to the issue.

And here is a wonderful story about officialdom and Health & safety gone mad… (Hat Tip to @loveandgarbage)

“Apparently it was quite a day in Lochmaben. The ice had been checked by the local council and was 7-8 inches, and solid. However, someone phoned the police to say there were lots of people on the ice and they didn’t think it was safe. Anne tells the story, “Six police officers arrived but they couldn’t go on ice to warn people because of health and safety so they passed the buck to the Nith rescue who came with a rescue boat but because of heath and safety they couldn’t go on ice either. So the Coast Guard arrived, lights flashing! But guess what? Because of health and safety he couldn’t go on the ice either! A great day was had by all.”

Excellent!

A right-wing think tank today called for drunk NHS patients to be fined and prescriptions for common pain killers to be scrapped. (Independent) There is an increasing tendency to penalise people for their lifestyle choices – on the grounds that those who lead impeccable lives should not be penalised by having to subsidise the health of those who actually live their lives – albeit, at times, intemperately. There have been calls to ban smokers and binge drinkers.  Then, of course, obese people… soon, it could be people who live in areas outstanding national ugliness or who watch X-Factor…who knows?  We could have a crack at people who engage in sports – broken legs and arms must tax the NHS?We must not forget those who are unfortunate enough to get old and endure the long process of bits of their bodies packing up?

The Right-Wing Think Tanks are all revving up their engines waiting for the glorious day when their leader, freshly airbrushed, rides into Downing Street with his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse…to bring order to our land.

I certainly support action to fine people who, through excessive alcohol consumption,  are violent and abusive to medical staff in hospitals.  This, I am told, is a very serious and increasing problem.  Fortunately we have some criminal law provisions for this already.

The thaw may have started and I have lost interest in laughing at BBC autocuties droning on about the snow. There isn’t a lot of law about to report on this morning so you may as well have a laugh.  here is a wonderful pastiche about Google’s new phone…  (Hat Tip: Gideonstrumpet)

Google Nexus One: The “Fuck You iPhone” Phone

Do watch the movie.  it is rather good.

| John Flood RATs – also picks up on this!

A quick trip to the blogs

John Bolch at Family Lore has a couple of posts of interest:  Sunday Review | John Bolch also notes…The recession: it IS all doom and gloom for those in relationship breakdown

Capitalists@Work consider Politicians@Work

Meanwhile, in the City of Westminster . . .

Is David Cameron the luckiest man alive, or what ? Saved by Hoon & Hewitt in an important week when he was looking like a prize eejit. C@W has long registered misgivings about the boy Osborne, and it is surely clear now that his ability to muster (and brief his master upon) a coherent Treasury package is wholly inadequate. Not a comfortable conclusion.

Bearwatch asks:  Which books should we burn?

Welsh pensioners are buying books as fuel. Discounting differences in book size, and assuming you could gather all copies of the same title, which books would you burn? On his deathbed, the poet Virgil requested his friends to burn his “Aeneid”. Does an author have the right to do this?

White Rabbit is  Off down to London…: Here is a – very temporary – parting shot. I’m working in London tomorrow so think I’ll head down tonight to avoid travel grief tomorow morning given present conditions. Jailhouse Lawyer – the source of so many goodies – comes up with the following gem of a news item: “Man’s penis removed from pipe

The Law Society Gazette podcast : I talk to Jonathan Goldsmith about the role of the CCBE, the Akzo Nobel case on in-house counsel, the new Justice Commissioner and the opportunities for lawyers in Europe.

Jonathan Goldsmith is the Secretary General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which represents over 700,000 European lawyers through its member bars and law societies. The CCBE deals with a wide range of EU and global issues, such as anti-money-laundering legislation, an EU-wide Code of Conduct, competition matters affecting the legal profession, and human rights. He is an English solicitor. | Listen to the podcast

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