Archive for January 24th, 2010

Dear Reader,

“Philippe Sands QC, a professor of international law, who gave evidence to the Dutch inquiry, said: “There has been no other independent assessment on the legality of the war in Iraq and the findings of this inquiry are unambiguous. It concludes that the case argued by the Dutch and British governments, including the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, could not reasonably be argued.” Guardian 12 January

“The findings of the Dutch inquiry that the war had no basis in international law are even more important for a domestic audience in Britain,” said Sands. “I do not see how the five members of the Chilcot inquiry, none of whom is legally qualified, could possibly summon the means to reach an alternative conclusion.”

Against this background and Jack Straw’s recent appearance before the Iraq Inquiry where he says he was ‘haunted’ we have Sir Michael Wood QC, principal Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1999 and 2006, likely to testify that he gave consistent advioce that the Iraq War was illegal without a second resolution. This will, The Observer, reports…“This will provide an explosive backdrop to the former prime minister’s appearance before the inquiry on Friday.”

The Observer notes: “His testimony will come the day before the appearance of Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, who is said to have dropped his legal objections days before the invasion, following intense pressure from Blair and his closest advisers, and the US authorities……Wood’s deputy at the time, former Foreign Office lawyer Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned two days before the war because she believed the invasion was a “crime of aggression”, will appear at the inquiry after Wood on Tuesday.”

Lord Goldsmith changed his mind about the legality of the war.  Was he waterboarded?  There was talk late last year of him being pinned to a wall by Blair’s enforcers. . This will be one of the key areas of questioning and will pave the way for what could be an extraordinary day when Tony Blair appears on the 29th.  Blair will hold firm and repeat the mantra that he did what believed was right.  I rather suspect that Gordon Brown’s testimony will be as interesting – testimony which will now be heard before the general election which Bob Ainsworth says will be on 6th May.  Tom Harris MP says that Ainsworth doesn’t know the date and asks why we are so interested in conspiracy theories. Harris adds, laconically…“Given the public appetite for conspiracy theories, I’m surprised no-one has actually suggested that Bob’s and Chris Bryant’s comments earlier this month are part of a complex subterfuge aimed at persuading the Tories to prepare for an election on the wrong date…

Interestingly, the Observer reports: “Blair will take his place amid intense security, with mass protests expected in Westminster. Sources close to Scotland Yard said Blair’s appearance had been a major factor behind the government’s decision to raise the terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe”.

Brown must now be regretting his ‘masterly’ decision to hold an Iraq Inquiry – an inquiry which, reportedly, angered Tony Blair.

Finally, on the Iraq war issue…The Mail reports :

David Kelly post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information


I escaped to London on Saturday – hence no blog post – for lunch. I don’t do it often (but I am moving back to London in early February) – but I do enjoy a long lunch…particularly lunches which start at 2.00 pm and end the following morning.  Curiously, at some point in the proceedings, I was asked if I would like to appear as ‘Chairman of a large Corporate’ in a parody film being made about news by a friend of mine.   Hey… why not..?  I prefer the subtlety of radio/podcasts and I no longer care that much if people run when they see images, still or visual, of me on blogs….  so I appear to have landed myself a ‘part’ in a ‘musical video’… I do enjoy ‘random’.

I left Battersea at 8.00 this morning, walked across the bridge to World’s End in search of much need black coffee...found some at Mona Lisa and another cup at the Chelsea Bun and sat down to read the News of the Screws. (The Observer is best read sober).  Coffee taken…I made my way to Victoria Station to be told there were no trains to Rochester/Chatham because someone had decided to thrown himself in front of a train.  (I do feel for the driver’s of trains in these not so uncommon situations). Onwards to Charing Cross – where I found a train and after faffing about on the internet for a while I had a most enjoyable afternoon kip….

All this is, of course, completely irrelevant… but I would like to link to The White Rabbit, a fellow law blogger who is a serious lawyer but finds detailed analysis of legal issues on his own blog… unnecessary… This week he has several excellent posts and I have no hesitation in suggesting, when you want a laugh.. just pop over to his blog… (he does music as well)… This week I have selected…

Immortal stuff from Steve Bell

White Rabbit notes… “Cartoonist Steve Bell surpasses even his usual standards in the Guardian this morning. For the terminally inattentive Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary at the time of the Iraq invasion, has informed the Chilcot Inquiry that he could have stopped British participation in the invasion by resigning.

He didn’t though.”

I read many political blogs and this week, Old Holborn caught me eye with this wonderful idea! I quite fancy the idea of buying myself a High Viz yellow jacket and wondering around talking to Police Community Support Officers….

Oi! YesYOU! Who are you!? PROVE IT

Old Holborn advises: “Do it. Everytime you see one of them watching you, watch them. DEMAND to see their warrant card. And then ask the time(they hate it).”

[Picture Cassie Mayes – which I just had to nick from Old Holborn’s post.  Mea culpa]

Guido Fawkes reports: +++ Osborne to Re-Pay £1,666 Expenses Over-Claim +++

“Lyon’s report says Osborne’s breaches were not “major ones, were not intentional and did not provide Mr Osborne with any significant financial benefit.” He will not have to give an apology to the House. Nice to know the Shadow Chancellor can add up though.”

Rather more serious…. Guido Fawkes notes about David Chator MP… David Chaytor, the soon to be former MP for Bury North, drew up a tenancy agreement with his daughter but disguised their relationship by giving her middle name as her surname.  That is deception. …”

Obnoxio The Clown, not ‘knowingly over under-C*****d in terms of  usage of the old anglo-saxon (and not always office safe – assuming you want to keep your job) is a blog I read regularly. Acerbic is a word I like… and Obo can, certainly, be that… here is a recent post on politicans..  Have I got politicians for you

I did enjoy this tweet from Sandanista…

And Jimmy Bastard on NevermindtheBollix…. makes one think…

“If I’m honest, I always knew that walking away would not be the end of it all.

It could never be as easy as opening and shutting a door. There would always be a time when that knock on the door, or that tap on the shoulder in a crowded bar would see me having to face up to my past.

My advice to any armchair gangsters reading my words who still believe that violence brings honour or glory to a man’s name is; seek help, for you are caught up in your own mad world of atrophied emotional dyslexia.

Violence is an opprobrium that sits like a cancer inside a man’s chest.”
And another blogger who not only thinks, but engages in discussion on many blogs.. Obiter J – this is the latest piece.. Children and the law: No.1 – The Edlington Case

Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer, blogger (Head of Legal blog) is always worth reading on the current ‘difficult’ issues of the day. I know Carl.  We enjoy a few glasses of wine together from time to time and I have done many podcasts with him. This piece on the Munir Hussein case is very definitely worth a read…The truth about Munir Hussain

I lost  my parents many years ago.  This week, three people I know (all three met through Twitter – two I have met many times face to face). Geeklawyer lost his Mother.  I think he made a fine choice of music with this.  I would certainly have no hesitation in using it when I finally go.

What better tribute to a parent… Geeklawyer writes… “Thanks old girl. See you around.”

Best as always

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