Archive for July 17th, 2010

Labour leadership contenders round on Mandelson over ‘offensive’ memoirs

Guardian: Milibands, Burnham, Balls and Abbott uniformly condemn peer’s ‘destructive and self-destructive’ account of party in-fighting

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Dear Reader,

About every 12-18 months I get cravings for mackerel – especially if they are grilled with a slice of lemon or smoked.  And it was thus this year on Tuesday last that these cravings started.  I have been eating mackerels at a local cafe since.  I now plan to buy some and eat them. It is likely that I shall continue to eat mackerel daily for another week, possibly more.  I shall then move on to prawns.   I was a bit bored on Friday afternoon.  As summer kicks in there is less work to do, fewer cases to analyse or laws to comment on.  I get a bit restless when I have too much time on my hands.  After a good lunch of grilled mackerel and vin rose  on Friday I returned to The Staterooms and went on to twitter.

It was then that I remembered the twitter #film games and I created my own hashtag #mackerelfilms and tweeted “Bring me the head of Alfredo Mackerel” .  It may have been the Rioja I had just poured myself shortly after 2.30 pm. Others joined in… I shall select but a few: @ lesleyalmost The Unbearable Lightness of Mackerel #mackerelfilms,  the former leader of he Libertarian Party UK @IanPJ: Carry on up the mackerel #mackerelfilms, @ lifelessvanilla One more (I promise) Dances with Mackerels #mackerelfilms, @ bnzss: 6million dollar mackerel #mackerelfilms….

I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to tweet David Miliband and Ed Balls who, it has to be said, have rather more important things on their mind apart from Peter Mandelson’s book The Third Mackerel to worry about than my questions about mackerel.

Charonqc: @DMiliband Hi David… I’ve run out of mackerels… Balls said he’s got some… but I’d rather have your mackerels *Wink Wink* (Votes)  and then in the fine british tradition of playing politicians off against each other (as opposed to them doing it for themselves)….

Charonqc: @edballsmp Ed – I know this is a bit weird… but do you have any mackerels? I’ve ask DM…. if you do…I’ll see you right!

Suffice it to say that quite a few people who may have had a bit of time on their hands on a quiet afternoon piled in – I thoroughly enjoyed it.  If you really have to find out about #mackerelfilms click the link

Unfortunately I lost a few mackerel followers – including my very good friend, but clearly no lover of over refreshed #mackerel tweets @ScottGreenfield..  I know where he is.  He has an excellent blog. I may just pop over there!

Enough about Mackerels and on to a bit of politics…

I have ordered my copy of Mandelson’s book The Third Man – and I am looking forward to reading it.  I have read the serialisation in The Times and listened to pundits and commentators who haven’t read the book either telling me on television and radio about it.   What is truly astonishing, reading the extracts and listening to sundry pundits who once counted Mandelson as one of their closest friends when it mattered, is the sheer chaos of the new Labour government, the strife between Blair and Brown, the vanity of men put before the governance of nation.  I’ve never been a fan of Gordon Brown.  I regarded him years ago as a clever classic Number 2.  The Number 2 in an organisation is often more clever than the Number 1 – but the Number 1 wins because they are able to communicate and connect.  We saw how Brown, inarticulate and dysfunctional to the the point where bloggers and pundits were making jokes about ‘happy pills,’ could not relate to voters and appeared to have a very strong ‘control freak’ streak.   I am looking forward to reading the detail and, also, to reading Blair’s The Journey.  (What a hackneyed title for a book?) because I am interested in political biography.

I don’t think any of these books matter in the real world.  Britain has moved on.  I’m not so sure Labour has. I think the voters decided that they had had enough of Labour and even I, a voter of 30 years, lost patience with their stance on civlibs and political correctness.  It now seems that waste and extravagance abounded and government itself became dysfunctional because of infighting. Tragic – an opportunity wasted?   For my part – I am interested in none of the main contenders for leadership of the Labour Party.  Diane Abbott, I like, and I am sure she would make a good home secretary – but I do not see her as a PM, not that it matters what I think.  The Milibands, Balls and even Burnham were all part of the last regime and while they are keen to quash debate on Mandelson’s book and distance themselves from the events of 13 years of Labour rule – I suspect we will have to wait until the generation after them before we see new thinking acceptable to the public.  It may be, of course, that the Coalition makes a complete pig’s ear of things and an election comes sooner than later and Labour return to power.  I’m not so sure that will happen now.  I rather suspect that we will see a Tory government without  a very much weakened Lib-Dem party before another Labour government gets a taste of power.

What does matter, of course, is how the present government governs….

Ken Clarke says that he has no plans to cut the prison budget.  What he does plan to cut is the budget for legal aid, the judiciary and the courts.  He also plans to put prisoners to work making mailbags and, possibly, plastic cases for iPhone 4s if he can involve the private sector.  At a time when 600,000+ public servants are likely to be looking for work it is probably not a great idea to put prisoners to work.  However, far be it for me to suggest that the government have consistent politico-economic thinking.  That would break a fine and proud tradition of recent British government.  I plan to have a look at this next week….it is the weekend.  This is no time to discuss law.

But just a few more quick items: RollonFriday reports: Solicitors face huge rise in negligence claims: Lawsuits against solicitors were up an incredible 163% in 2009, according to data gathered by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.

210 claims were launched in the High Court in 2009, compared to a mere 80 in 2008 and only 31 in 2007. RPC  suggest that many firms are facing professional negligence claims fuelled by the growth of speculative “no win, no fee” arrangments. Investors (including banks and subprime lenders hit by mortgage fraud) burnt by the failing economy are out looking for scapegoats – and their professional advisors are the first to feel their wrath.

Nick Green QC, Chairman of the Bar has come out in favour of de-criminalising drugs. There are cogent arguments for and against.  I noted this yesterday

+ + + Breaking: Lord Taylor Charged with False Accounting + + +

Guido Fawkes: Troughing Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been charged for claiming expenses in relation to a house he didn’t own.

Having been brought down by a blogger he’s now on his own, out of the party and in the dock. He’s accused of fiddling the second home allowance by claiming to have spent six years living at the former home of his dead mother.


And if you haven’t seen Zac Goldsmith v Jon Snow on Channel 4 news last night – this is classic.  How not to do a TV interview

Zac v Snow

The silly season starts soon.  The courts will close, lawyers and others will go off on holidays and there will be even less business or work for me to do.  This is just fine.  I plan to paint and do a spot of writing.

Best as always


Update…. This from Twitter…

@ ThetisMercurio

@Charonqc I liked the comment from someone who said you’d smoked one too many mackerels. Struck me as hilarious – the image – Dali-esque

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