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Archive for June 15th, 2010

On the third floor of the Muttley Dastardly LLP building in the City is a suite where five highly paid specialists, two men and three women, are paid to think.  Sometimes they think the unthinkable conceptually.  Sometimes they think about doing the unthinkable to get an edge on the competition. For the remainder of the time they  think carefully about the politico-economic drivers which affect our national interest, for this is the interest of The Partners. The Head of the *Unit*, Massimo Charles Lutyens Rutland, graduated with First Class honours in Economics  from Cambridge, went on to INSEAD,  and after a spell at Lehman Brothers – he was fortunate enough to get out intact before the crash – went in for his own interest and joined Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Rutland was admitted to The Partnership, following successful completion of the GDL, which he completed in two months of detailed study while commuting from his Surrey home to the City;  going on then to qualify as a solicitor via the New York Bar examination, the latter taking him but a month to memorise sufficient data to satisfy the examiners. Rutland has the grace, at least, to say to those who ask about his legal background that ‘It is fortunate indeed, that I do not wish to practise as a lawyer in England… the truth is I know very little about English Law… or for that matter…any law…. mind you…they say that this is true of some who actually hold themselves out as practising lawyers.”

His associates, (they are not lawyers)  are never identified by name, not even within the firm.  Their identity is known only to Rutland and the CEO and managing partner, Matt Muttley. The *Unit* works closely with partner and director of education, Dr Strangelove, on psyops – on a project of ‘limited visibility’ with the filename DOH!  This stands for Dissimulation, Obfuscation and Hegemony;  a subtle joke, if of questionable taste, thought up by Dr Strangelove.

***

Below is a transcript of a brief iPhone conversation between Rutland and Matt Muttley

Muttley: Massimo – your thoughts on Osborne’s problem?  Fraser Nelson is saying in relation to the economy ‘things are going disastrously right’.

Rutland: Sure, but that was fairly predictable. Darling is no fool.  He hid £6Bn from Brown’s eyes during the election period to stop Brown spending it. Legacy, however limited, is a powerful driver for all politicians. Even a miserable scrap like that can be worth basing an entire book around.  Osborne has set up the OBR.  This could be a cuckoo that flew over Osborne’s nest and takes a dump on him en route to Tuscany before too long.  Osborne has no room to say that some things are worse than we thought, because the OBR says the economy is doing rather better than Darling predicted.  Sure, there are spending atrocities which The Sun will push out to their readership, but these are not structural.  They make good copy.  The problem is growth.  The OBR says that growth forecasts are lower than Labour forecast.  Osborne will therefore be able to use that to justify cuts.  There is every prospect, reading the press, that Osborne will make cuts to keep the cavalry twill wearers of Surrey and backbenchers who have been released back into the community happy, but it is unlikely that he will be daft enough to do a Roosevelt and drop us into double dip.  Osborne, and Labour, or whatever they are calling themselves these days,whether they like it or not,  is far from stupid.  In fact, he must be rubbing his hands that Laws has gone and Beaker is his Chief Treasury.  Alexander is expendable and it is a blessing that he is a Lib-Dem.  Yes… the Coalition agreement requires that ‘One out, one in’ but the Lib-Dems only have 50 odd MPs and they are running out of people who can count, let alone run the Treasury.

Muttley: So things are looking good?  I watched the five Labour candidates on Newsnight tonight.  I can’t say that there is much there to discuss?

Rutland: Nothing.  Irrelevant for the moment. Christ… the election runs until the Autumn.  This is good for the government, because there isn’t an opposition now that the Lib-Dems are part of government, and won’t be until the Self Aggrandisement conference season is over in September.

Muttley: Budget next week?

Rutland: Unfortunately, the new government is unlikely to leave it on the back seat of a taxi.  I’m thinking.  I’ll get back to you

Muttley: Anything to trouble us?

Rutland: No.  All looking good.  There is a developing shambles.  Parliament Square being cleared will cause even more confusion.  House prices dropped today by 5%.  BP looks as if it won’t pay the dividend.  That means less money for the pension funds.  This will irritate the cavalry twill wearers and dawn on many others as a ‘bad thing’. Yes… I think we can safely say that there will be plenty of work for us.  Dr Strangelove has started buying BP shares again in a modest way.  I think we should get out of wind farm stock.

Muttley: Ok. Thanks Massimo…. we’ll talk at 6.30 tomorrow morning.  Helpful.

Rutland: Ok…what time will you be getting to The Groucho?

Muttley: I’ve just pulled up outside.  See you in thirty.  Strength and profits.

Rutland: Strength and profits, Brother Matt!

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Law Review: Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday: the Saville report live

• Saville inquiry strongly condemns behaviour of soldiers who opened fire and exonerates victims
• David Cameron issues apology on behalf of government
• PM will not say whether he thinks soldiers should be prosecuted
Read the Bloody Sunday report in full

And here is the section of the report with the principal conclusions – ie the 60-page summary.

I’m not going to comment about this for the simple reason that there were 40 years of troubles – rooted in many years of history before that – with the prospect now of peace in Northern Ireland.  I do feel that Lord Saville’s report is a remarkable undertaking and it is right that The Widgery Report is consigned, thereby, to history as a falsehood.  I do think it right that David Cameron apologised.  Our forces do much good, but it must be right, when they err and break the rules that they are held to account – whatever that form may or may not take in Northern Ireland.   They say both sides were forgiven in the Good Friday agreement.  We shall see if all sides are prepared to admit truth, apologise and move forward in peace.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, said about the publication of the report.

I think it’s a wonderful day for Ireland, and can also be a wonderful day for Britain, and for people everywhere who want truth and who want peace and who want justice.

I can see no point to going back  if there is hope for the future – but I am not from Northern Ireland and cannot hope to understand even the barest outline of what has been and what could be.  I hope that it is possible for all involved to find a future of hope rather than a future of fearful and horrific memories and discord.  What can anyone who didn’t exprience it say other than to express the wish of hope for the future?

The Lawyer notes…

Saville Report: the lawyers involved

The release of the Saville Report into the events around the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry in 1972 has signalled the end of involvement for dozens of law firms and barristers.

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Bloody Sunday findings due to be published

While undoubtedly  a building block in the route to peace in Northern Ireland, the Bloody Sunday report chaired by Lord Saville, a distinguished law lord, has taken a considerable time to produce, exceeding the estimates given by Lord Saville himself by some margin.  The cost has also been remarkably high.  There is a risk, of course, that this report will bring conflict back to the forefront, not least should allocation of responsibility and guilt not be to the taste of those most affected by the troubles in Northern Ireland. The BBC notes: “Eight years after he wrote an enthusiastic article about the Bloody Sunday Tribunal and its legal implications, Professor Dermot Walsh is now disillusioned, believing that Saville’s findings have been “seriously diminished” by the length of time it has taken to compile them.”

And further down in the BBC report: In any case, Professor Walsh believes that the Saville Tribunals will be the last of its kind and that, he argues, will be no bad thing. Public inquiries, he says, should be “rare” and a “last resort” as a proliferation shows that something is wrong with the normal judicial system. “Normally when conflict or public concern arises over some aspect of government, it would be resolved through the courts or the democratic process…..If we are calling for inquiries more repeatedly, then we really need to ask what is so wrong with our courts, what is wrong with our democratic process that persuades us we need inquiries every time something goes wrong?”

Parliament Square eviction case a ‘collision of rights’

The BBC reports: The High Court has heard the Mayor of London’s attempt to evict Parliament Square protesters is a “collision of rights”. Over the past weeks tents and flags have transformed the green into what demonstrators call Democracy Village. Mayor Boris Johnson said he wants to “safeguard the rights of the majority to use and enjoy Parliament Square”. Protesters claims only the Queen has the right to bring such proceedings in relation to the central London square. Mr Johnson said he has a right, as the Greater London Authority owns the green space. The mayor’s counsel, Ashley Underwood QC, told Mr Justice Griffith Williams: “This is a case that deals with a collision of the rights of the minority to exercise free speech and assembly and protest in a public place and of the rights of others to use that same public place for that and other uses.”

I had a look at The Democracy Village blog. It was an interesting way to spend a few moments.  There appears to be another one.  This announces… “We are a group of concerned citizens who have gathered on Parliament Square to let the world know that we are deeply troubled by the way our taxes and resources are wasted on illegal and inhuman wars.” I rather lost interested in going further when I read this from the same blog…

Mass Pickets

Democracy Village

The Democracy Village currently occupying Parliament Square sends greetings to British Airways Cabin Crew currently out on strike.

Forward to Victory!

In comradeship

I’m obviously getting old – an initial preparedness to examine the issue and perspective on that blog laid waste by the mixed message and bollocks  about British Airways cabin crew on strike.  Hardly a matter of life and death and worthy of support in the same breath as the very important right to free speech, the right to protest peacefully and the serious issues facing this country in relation to the war in Afghanistan.  I have some sympathy with those who say that Parliament Square should be for all.  We shall see what the High Court makes of it all.  The case continues.

What will the Legal Services Board do about referral fees?

The legal profession seems to be in a bit of a mess on this issue – with what seems to be a bit of premature ejaculation in terms of the rush to ban them. The Law Society Gazette has an an article which is worth read if you absolutely must have your fix on referral fees. Neil Rose writes…“Is the referral fee debate over? Two reports submitted recently to the Legal Services Board (LSB) would make one think that it is, even though the board itself has still to reach a final decision.”

Anti-paedophile database halted weeks before launch for ‘commonsense’ reasons

Plans for a database of adults who want to work with children have been halted following a wave of criticism.  Ministers feared the Vetting and Barring scheme, designed to protect children from paedophiles and which was due to be introduced in England and Wales next month, would drive a “wedge” between adults and children. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will say on Tuesday that the scheme is being stopped, and will be redesigned along “common sense” lines.  (Telegraph)

Seems to be a start to the rolling back of the more excessive ‘knee jerk’ laws.  I gather that plans to get rid of the more ludicrous and oppressive laws of ‘Past Labour’ are now well under way.  This is good.

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