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Archive for February 13th, 2010

Dear Reader

It has been a most entertaining week – a bit of good business, a great deal to write about – not least the spat between the Court of Appeal and the government about MI5 alleged ‘complicity’ in the activities of American military torturers.  No sooner had I posted the tweet above after having a quick nap on Saturday afternoon when I received a tweet from @wibblenut to inform me about a ‘shoplifting seagull’.  The BBC reported some time back on the activities of a highly intelligent criminal seagull who stole packs of crisps from a shop.

Another reason why I enjoy Twitter…. these tweets from fellow tweeter …. stupidgirl_no1

@Charonqc I’ve seen that very seagull in action! The shop’s not far from my work!

@Charonqc see?! http://www.flickr.com/photos/stupidgirl_no1/3751921642/

It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow – a day when couples take over restaurants and (a) behave in a romantic way (b) stare at each other glumly (c) or get very drunk.  In my time, I am pained to admit, I have had to engage in this annual gorgefest of sentiment. Well…once… My various wives were not really into Valentines…or at least that is what they told me through their legal advisers.  As Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday retailers are complaining that business is down.  The husbands are all at home and it can be difficult to slip out to send chocolates or flowers to ‘X’ from reception or ‘Y’ from the typing pool and footballers and TV celebrities are keeping their heads down after the outing of John Terry and Vernon Kaye’s activities – not to mention Ashley Cole’s lurid photographs of himself being texted all over the place.

I am a militant ‘single’ for the present – a state of grace which I am enjoying. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy being romantically involved – but it is certainly a more simple lifestyle and allows me to decide to go to a bar at 11.00 a.m. should I feel the need to do so without a concerned wife or girlfriend logging on to the net to contact NHS Direct and ‘grass me up’.

Guido Fawkes is on the money again with this… Pigs Might Fly

I quote:

Piers Morgan: What’s been the best present you weren’t allowed to keep?

Prime Mentalist:
Er, I think the different governments in the Middle East send huge presents. One actually, after a dinner, was a full pig that they actually sent, that had been roasted.

Which Middle Eastern muslim government would send a roasted pig to a foreign head of government?  If they did it would not just be a breach of protocol, it would be some helluva insult. Wouldn’t be Israel either sending the roast pork.  Like a lot of his claims it will, Guido suspects, turn out to be a delusion.”

I do wonder sometimes if Brown is fully briefed on the Middle East… or, indeed, on many other matters.

I have not had the  misfortune to fly on Easyjet or Ryanair in recent years and shall do my best to avoid takings flights with either airline if I can in the future. The Times reports that Sir Stelios and Ryan are chucking their toys out of the pram again.  Some say that this is for free publicity.  I couldn’t give a monkeys about the outcome of this case – but taske consolation from the fact that it provides work for lawyers at a difficult time.  The Times reports… “In a statement released last night, Sir Stelios, the largest shareholder in easyJet, said: “My lawyers have today commenced High Court proceedings against Michael O’Leary and Ryanair for libelling me. Full details of my claim against them will be published later this month. It was about time someone was willing to spend the money to take this arrogant man to court for his despicable behaviour. Sir Stelios’s action comes after advertisements placed by Ryanair, which depicted him as Pinocchio and accused him of failing to publish easyJet’s aircraft punctuality data.”

“Mr Ryan of Ryanair responds in characteristic fashion and is clearly not ‘bovvered’ ““Stelios obviously can’t run, but he can’t hide, either. He’s rattled as he knows that easyJet’s punctuality is lousy. If he’s too scared to run, then why doesn’t he accept our challenge to a bout of sumo wrestling instead.”

Ah… the majesty of our law, reduced to dealing with the the antics of these ‘Magnificent men and their flying machines.”  Yawnnnnnnnnnnnn !

I am appalled by the behaviour of the RSPCA in bringing a case against the beneficiaries of a will.

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How the RSPCA bites the hand that feeds it

When George Mason bequeathed a large chunk of his fortune to the animal charity, little did his brother think that they’d come back for a second helping. Chris Green of The Independent  reports

In his will, Mr Mason’s brother divided his £1m fortune between the charity, his brother and two of his closest friends, Norman and Patricia Sharp. But, under Britain’s complicated tax laws, the RSPCA was concerned it was going to have to pay inheritance tax on its share of the estate. So it took Mr Mason and the Sharps to court to try to get them to pay some of the tax out of their bequests.

However, at the High Court in London last week, Mr Justice Peter Smith dismissed the claim and ordered the RSPCA to pay the costs. The judge said the charity’s case had been “extremely weak and should not have been brought”, and refused to give it permission to appeal.

….Clare Kelly, John Mason’s solicitor, said she thought it was “quite disgusting” that a donation which had been left in good faith by an elderly animal lover had been used to pursue his relatives for more money.

….But Paul Hewitt, a partner at Withers law firm who fought the RSPCA’s case against Mr Mason, told The Independent yesterday that he felt the ruling in that case had been “grossly unfair” and that the judge had been “wrong” to dismiss the case. He also pointed out that the “vast majority” of legacy cases in which the charity is involved are settled out of court.

I haven’t read the judgment, so I don’t propose to comment on the case.  I used to be a fan of the RSPCA.  I won’t, however, be leaving any of my cases of Rioja or shekels to them after this nonsense.  I am quite shocked that a charity can behave in this manner and even more shocked that they waste money on lawyers.  I have a feeling that many others – whatever the merits of the case – may be equally irritated that a charity should waste money litigating… for my part, they should have paid their portion of the inheritance and be grateful for the money bequeathed.  This..in the modern vernacular is a FAIL.

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And finally…. it seems that nothing can happen these days without being given the seal of approval by National Treasure Stephen Fry….. it can only be a matter of time, surely, before he becomes Lord Fry of Twitter?

Fry has thoughts on love… for Valentine’s Day.. one assumes, as opposed to just feeling like a bit of random musing…

The Independent carried the story…

“Stephen Fry explains how the moment of first love is so intense that it can never be matched or recaptured, but will linger for a lifetime “like a good acid trip,” with “little flashbacks every now and again.”

I’d like to end by saying I love you all… but (a) that would not be true (b) I am British and (c)  I am not a luvvie.  I’d like to end with the letters SWALK – but I am not a teenager high on e-numbers and angst about body image…. the truth is… I  couldn’t give a monkeys about Valentine’s Day myself… but I shall, as we say in Battersea, defend to the death your right to gorge yourself tomorrow on chocolates, champagne and love.

Have a good one

Best, as always

Charon

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