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Archive for January 22nd, 2010

Below are extracts  from  what could well be the testimony  that Gordon Brown delivers to the Iraq Inquiry when he does appear…possibly?

Sir John Chilcot: Good morning, prime minister.  Perhaps we could start  at the beginning… when you first heard of plans to invade Iraq?

Prime Minister: Yes..indeed…. It all started in America… I remember the day well… The Arctic Monkeys really wake you up in the morning!  [The prime minister laughs and bobs his head from side to side] …

Sir John Chilcot: Quite… now, if you please…… the events leading up to the war?

Prime Minister: My favourite sport at school was rugby. All sports are teamwork, but rugby particularly is about teamwork and I think teamwork is the essence of this…. but I must emphasise tht it was Tony Blair’s team… my team and I were holed up at the Treasury with other things on our mind… I think I speak for millions of people when I say today that Tony Blair’s achievements are unique, unprecedented and enduring, including sexing up the dossier….. In the hours and questions ahead, my task is to show I have the new ideas, the vision and the experience to earn the trust of the British people..and had nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq and the decision… I wasn’t even there…. I was at The Treasury, getting on with the job.

Sir John Chilcot: Prime Minister, we have heard that there was a particularly strong and close relationship between Tony Blair and George Bush….

Prime Minister: Our relationship with the United States is a relationship founded on our common values and the dignity of the individual… I was on the phone just before coming over today talking to President Obama Beach and told him this… that he had nothing to fear from Britain or the Iraq Inquiry…  [The prime Minister leans back in his seat, grinning like a Cheshire Cat and rocks from side to side]

Sir John Chilcot: If I could take you back, please, to the early discussions about the weapons of mass destruction and the issue of whether regime change was ever discussed…?

Prime Minister: Oh yes… I often talked to members of my inner cabinet and, indeed to Mr Blair… about regime change… his!  [The prime minister laughs maniacally, stands, turns to the audience seated behind him and takes a bow]

Sir John Chilcot: Indeed… but if we could trouble you to focus on the key issues?

Prime Minister: I want to lead a government humble enough to know its place – where I will always strive to be – and that is on people’s side….. I think we should do better next week, better the week after, and better right throughout the course of our government. Sometimes in parties these things happen, but it is not acceptable to go around terrifying the British people with talk of weapons of mass destruction.. that is the sort of thing the morally bankrupt Tories and The Daily Mail do… and I do believe that what people now want to do is to debate the future with me… we are a team together…  about policy – and I think the issues about what Tony Blair will or will not do with his time now that he is no longer involved in politics  are going to be left to Tony Blair…who got us into this mess in the first place, according to tape recordings I made secretly at the time. [Brown looks cunning]

Sir John Chalcott: Prime Minister… you had many meetings with Mr Blair in the run up to the Iraq War… what did you talk about?

Prime Minister: That’s between me and the bed sheets  [Prime Minister laughs  and makes unusual hand movement with his right hand]

Sir John Chilcott: Quite… the Iraq War discussions, if you please, prime minister… and in particular the importance of the dossier and its potential to persuade others to a point of view?

Prime Minister: Potential?  This government strives to bring about conditions where everyone can live their lives fully….Pop Idol, X Factor, Fame Academy, there’s so much talent out there. It’s great to see people getting the chance to show their potential…I hope the Spice Girls will come back, although it may be beyond even Bob Geldof to get that to happen.

Sir John Chilcott: We have heard that Robin Cook was the only Cabinet Minister at the time to object to the plan to invade Iraq… what are your thoughts on this?

Prime Minister: Robin Cook’s mastery of the House of Commons was acknowledged on all sides and his incisive mind, forensic skills and formidable and wide ranging debating prowess were seen by the public very clearly. I admired and valued Robin as a colleague and friend and as one of the greatest parliamentarians of our time. His wife Gaynor and his two sons are in our thoughts and prayers… Unfortunately he is dead and can’t be here today.

Sir John Chilcott: Mr Blair told us that he firmly believed in the intelligence reports presented to him in the run up to the War.

Prime Minister: There is nothing that you could say to me now that I could ever believe… I  said that to Tony Blair on several occasions.  For me there is a mission for this country moving forward – there are big long-term decisions we’ve got to take as a nation. We spend more on cows than the poor. I sense a new spirit in Britain: that the people of Britain want this massive demonstration of my competence to get on with the job to be given enduring purpose. Did I tell you that the Arctic Monkeys really get you up in the morning?

Sir John Chilcot: We shall break there for lunch….

***

Much of the above narrative was, of course, taken from well known Gordon Brown quotations (with some midifications to suit my purposes!) … it is quite possible, in the real thing, that he will rehash some of his most famous lines?

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I have no idea why the Tories thought it was a good idea to put Caroline ‘Nannygate’ Spelman on to BBC’s Question Time last night – because she didn’t do a very good job.  In fact, Spelman reminded me of my old days when I taught law students who turned up to tutorials hungover and unprepared  after a night on the lash and who, when I inevitably zeroed in on them to kick proceedings off, put on a slightly hunted look, eyes swivelling frantically,  as if to get inspiration from the ceiling. I remember looking up at the ceiling with them just to see if it was their lucky day and the answer to my question was, in fact,  on some celestial autocue. It never was.

Spelman, qua representative of the Tory party (and she is a front bench spokesperson after all), managed to convey the impression of a party which isn’t yet prepared and hasn’t quite thought things through.  She was particularly bad when discussing the Munir Hussain ‘have a go hero’ case and seemed unable to get the distinction between self defence and revenge. I half expected the spectre of Chris ‘Kill a burglar’ Grayling to loom in the background, arms outstretched. I’ve mocked a pic up to show you how I saw Question Time last night when this topic was being discussed.  It has to be said… I do enjoy a few glasses of rioja while watching QT.

The Tory policy on families, I suspect, is doomed to fail – another attempt by politicians to socially engineer people into a bizarre troupe of ‘Stepford’ couples.  I’m afraid I can’t be bothered to comment further on these policies and this was my mildly over refreshed take on it as I added to the nonsense tweets about #bbcqt last night.

First up from the left field this morning is another example of government brilliance and competence at controlling highly personal data.

The Independent reports: ” The personal details of hundreds of magistrates were placed in the hands of convicted criminals in a data loss blunder, it was revealed today. A directory containing names, telephone numbers and email addresses of magistrates and court legal advisors in Norfolk was sent for printing in a prison workshop manned by inmates. The document, containing details of 400 magistrates and 26 legal advisors, was sent to HMP Standford Hill in Sheerness, Kent, at the beginning of the month. Printing, which is carried out by inmates supervised by prison officers, had begun when the mistake was uncovered. The incident prompted an apology from senior courts service staff. A spokesman said all copies of the document have now been destroyed.”

Cue…the Information Commissioner banging his head on the table and some hapless minister being shunted out to do the Lessons have been learned speech from Richard III ( Copyright G.Brown 1997-2010 )

Fear (of something)  dominates the headlines for most newspapers and tv stations. Charlie Brooker’s latest Newswipe on iPlayer (available for seven days, apparently) devoted an entire edition to the way TV and mainstream news media terrorises people with scare stories… and a very amusing edition it was. I was particularly amused at the footage of a hysterical and angry US female news reporter expressing outrage at the failed attempt by Mustapha Al-Blowmyballsoff, the guy trained by Al Qaeda-on-Sea in The Yemen who tried to blow a plane up at Christmas by setting fire to his explosive underpants.  Brooker’s  response to all the shouted questions from the journalist was wonderfully laconic… “I don’t know… you are the fucking journalist.. go and find out and tell us.” (or words to that effect.  I can recommend that edition of Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe! In fact, I can recommend all Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe programmes!

The Telegraph tells us that….

Muslim police say Islam not to blame for terror attacks

“Muslim police officers have rebelled openly against the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, warning that it is an “affront to British values” which threatens to trigger ethnic unrest.” Telegraph

Good to see that the government has got a firm grip on current thinking in a section of the police force.

Over to The Sun, the thinking Tory’s favourite newspaper…… for the latest issues of the day..

The headlines today were particularly good…Blake has been at it again… (left) but the other headlines included… “Cross me and you’re dead…Fergie warns his United stars…” and

“Is this the worst Mum in Britain?…She sniffs 12 cans of lighter fuel a DAY in front of kids and down 10 cans of Stella”

And I discovered, under the headline Simon’s a very cheeky fella that SIMON Cowell patted Cheryl Cole on the bottom as they arrived at the glittering NTAs

The Sun does, eventually, find some news that people who live on earth read… and reports that Gordon Brown will be flamegrilled by the Iraq Inquiry before the election. After Jack Straw’s elegant appearance before the Inquisitioners yesterday (reported more fully in The Independent) we now have the prospect of Tony Blair next week (29th January) and Gordon Brown.  I suspect that Blair will be smooth and effective and “McDoom” will make a complete balls of it.  He is not a great public speaker… but I could be wrong.

And finally… for this week’s edition of Rive Gauche…

Apple turns lawyers loose to keep its big secret

The Times reports: “Apple has turned to its lawyers in an attempt to keep the lid on the company’s biggest product launch in three years. Its lawyers have sent a warning letter to a website that offered cash for photos of its touchscreen tablet personal computer before the product is unveiled, probably next week. The tablet will be Apple’s biggest new product category since it launched the iPhone in 2007. The company, which has turned secrecy into a marketing phenomenon, has declined to confirm even if its event a week today will reveal the much-anticipated device.”

Have a good one… there is some sensible law related stuff in the posts below and I shall, of course, continue with posts over the weekend with my Postcard from the Staterooms-on-Sea, returning to the daily Law reviews on Monday… have a good weekend..

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