Archive for July 24th, 2010

Lord Shagger writes…..

I have to say that I am baffled about Keir Starmer QC ‘s statement on Mr Tomlinson and the events surrounding it. As you know, The Guardian reported “The Crown Prosecution Service has admitted that the decision not to prosecute a police officer for the death of Ian Tomlinson rested on the evidence of a pathologist who has been officially reprimanded and is facing 26 further charges of sub-standard practices, including incompetently carrying out a number of earlier autopsies.” It seems that ‘Freddy’ Patel, the pathologist, was not terribly good at his job given the astonishing number of charges for sub-standard practices reported in the Press.  Why was he engaged to do the first autopsy?  Why did the CPS miss the six month deadline?  Why was “Advice to charge police officer over Ian Tomlinson death ignored” ?  It appears that there is a marked reluctance to prosecute police officers in Britain.  The problem with this and the Sgt Smellie case (not forgetting the 30 years it took to get the Police to make admissions on Blair Peach)  is that the reputation of the Police will go down.   Goodwill works both ways and while I accept that there are many police officers who are concerned about this, there are, unfortunately, many who are not and who seem to regard it as given that they will be able to err without fear of prosecution.  How did PC Simon Harwood, who had ‘anger management’ problems with another force, get into the Met?  We’re not talking about a desk job supervising bun eating  PCSOs here – we are talking the Tactical Support Group, the spiritual successors of the ill-famed SPG of old…in the eyes of some.  Is Keir Starmer up to it?  Not looking too good.

I see that you covered good old David Davis’ nonsense about Brokeback Coalition. He’s right of course. Many of us are seething that we have to waste time with all these huggers from the LIb-Dems. Clegg doesn’t appear to know the difference between holding personal views and speaking as a Deputy Prime Minister.  Given that the Liberals haven’t had a taste of power since the days of Lloyd George I suppose he can be forgiven for not being wholly versed in the machinations of rule and government.   I rather lost the will to live after watching Clegg talking about his remarks about the ‘illegality of the Iraq war” on Channel 4.

I rarely spend an evening at the Chien et Canard in Monaco without debating The Boer war with some retail millionaire. Sometimes we even get the odd rich parvenu or fugitive from justice, who didn’t find Spain to his taste or  who has decided that the Cotswolds is not a tax friendly environment,   who chips in with nothing of any value at all in terms of the conversation.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: You learnt a lesson at the Dispatch Box this week, you can’t really say what you think, you have to speak for the government rather than your own personal opinions on things like the legality of the Iraq War.

Nick Clegg: I disagree on some things as hugely important and divisive as the Iraq war. People are still debating the Second World War, the Boer War. This is a debate that will run and run and run.

I remember when I was at Eton many years ago…..some boys were so eager to impress that they had a certain slightly unctuous and creepy look about them. Cameron has that look and certainly seems to have swallowed much of the public school bollocks.  Usually old boys from public school get over their attachment to their old schools within a few years of being mocked by those who came after them when they keep turning up for events at the alma mater.  Cameron gives the impression that he is still keen to impress those in authority and hasn’t quite grasped the whole point of being Prime Minister…that he is The Authority.  But there we are.

As for Clegg… I thought this quote from Hamlet might amuse…

“In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.”
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.1

I suspect that the end game will see Clegg wondering around some television station shouting…

A vote ! a vote! my kingdom for a vote!
Richard III. 5. 4

Good to see that BP has started drilling off Libya. This will, no doubt, irritate those senators issuing invitations to all and sundry – who, sensibly, have declined an invitation to be humiliated in public by the Yanks – and will do wonders for the BP share price.  Timing, dear boy.. timing.  Timing is all…as every litigation lawyer knows.

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Dear Reader!   Bonjour!,

After a very pleasant evening last night, doing a spot of writing and catching up with my Rioja drinking, I decided to ‘stress test’ my bank by telephoning them to ask if a payment had come in.   I was put through to a call centre and passed the security checks.  I had waited for some time for this and the Rioja had taken hold.  The operator was taken by surprise when I ordered a pizza and then asked him what toppings he had.  He wasn’t very amused. I was a bit over refreshed and rather bored by the long wait.  It can be fun, sometimes, to be an awkward customer with banks.  I shall be writing to The Governor of The Bank of England to say that I am at my country’s disposal in these BIG SOCIETY days should he want any further bank ‘stress testing’ done.

This morning, I rose rather earlier than usual at 4.00. I found many good stories on the online newspapers – NOT The Times of course now they have hidden by a paywall – and, at 7.00,  I walked up to have breakfast at the Battersea Grill near Battersea Bridge.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten that it did not open until 7.30 so I amused myself by buying some more Marlboros, checking my balance on the ATM machine in the newsagent and purchased The Indie and The Sun.

I then saw a guy – almost certainly Nigerian from his accent – nicking tomatoes from a pile of small vegetable boxes left outside the cafe. [I have taught and met a lot of Nigerians so can generally recognise them – and very amusing most of them were!.  I am a fan of the louder Nigerians who laugh a lot.] The man appeared to be slightly drunk. He had an opened  can of cider in his hand.  I asked him what he was doing.  He became very abusive.  I asked him again why he was taking tomatoes which did not belong to him.  One of the waitresses arrived and opened up the cafe.  I told him to put the tomatoes back.  He became even angrier, told me that I could get *kill-ed* for doing this.  I’m getting a bit old for this sort of nonsense but I was relaxed – doing Karate and  Kendo in my youth for many years assisted (Not forgetting my ruthless exercise regime with Smokedo).   He was braced to throw a punch – which suited me just fine.  People who are not trained,  invariably are not balanced when they throw a punch. This is why it is a relatively straightforward matter to side step, grab the assailant’s wrist and use one’s other hand to snap the assailant’s elbow into a locked position and put them down.  The pain from the elbow and pressure applied to the nerves around the wrists drains the assailant’s enthusiasm for fighting fairly quickly. At which point, a foot on the neck tends to discourage further activity.  This is the theory of it – although, unfortunately, I had to use it with a pisshead many years back.

Fortunately, I did not to have  to deploy such methods in middle class Battersea at 7.15 am. After calling me various names, saying that he would wait for me and punch my head in, that I could be *kill-ed* again,  I thought it  best to use the other technique of ‘command and control’ and tell him to  fark orf. Ludicrous man! He did and I settled down at my usual table to have an excellent English breakfast.  I was greedy this morning and asked for  some beautifully cooked chips!


A quick return to The Staterooms to do some writing on my new Tort book. This, I have to say, had no appeal at all.  I did read the excellent blog post by lawyer and blogger  Jack of Kent about the win in the libel courts yesterday in the case of Kaschke v Gray, Hilton. This is a very important decision for all bloggers and I raise my hat to Dougans and Jack of Kent for their pro bono work on this, Osler and other matters.  Lawyers do not always get a good press.  These lawyers deserve a bit of praise and they certainly get it from me.

It would be well worth your time, if you are interested in libel law or blogging, reading these:

Victory for Gray and Hilton
Jack of Kent blog post

Judgment: Kaschke v Gray, Hilton.

Kaschke’s response – which I have to say is rather dramatic.  I am, of course, allowed to express an objective opinion on what I have seen published on the internet.

John Gray has become a fat ponze

I came to the view that Ms Kaschke’s blog post,  in response to losing the libel application yesterday, was ‘dramatic’ simply by reading her own opening to her blog post… I quote…

I have to let out the frustrations somehow that I collected today when I sat the High Court to listen to Stadlen J’s useless judgment.

John Gray is just a fat ponze now, he is part of the political establishment, having gotten the Labour Party Councillor post. Alex Hilton has gotten away with his tactics and Robert Dougans looked like a clown who spend most of his time stammering and didn’t know what he was doing. Or maybe his bad conscience over how he tricked me out of my claim, finally caught up with him, it is possible that he still might have a tiny drop of humanity in him, but its not certain…..

It goes on…..


It would appear that Ms Kaschke did not appreciate my comment and giving her an opportunity to respond by linking to her blog post.

Henchman?  Moi?

I won’t, of course, be seeking any legal remedy for being called a *Henchman* – I have better things to do than waste my time on litigation.

Guido Fawkes is usually on the button.  Here is his take on the matter:

Court Report : Loonie Leftie (Tory Party Member) v Hilton & Gray

And so to other matters…..

Catholic church embarrassed by gay priests revelations

Guardian: Vatican on defensive again after magazine exposes priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex

And then I went orf to The Square to have an early morning glass of vin rose with my americano and some Marlboros. All in all, an unusual morning.  The day can only get better.  I plan to ensure that this is the case

I asked yesterday on twitter: “To haircut or not to haircut……Whether ’tis nobler on the head to suffer the hacks and cuts of an outrageous barber….or look like Lear? ”  I enjoyed my visit to the choppers in Battersea Square.  A lovely Spanish hairdresser did the business…. I removed the tache myself some weeks ago.

Pic right – I would not, after all, wish my readers to think that I am pictured top left.  That is my alter ego!

Best, as always

Enjoy your weekend



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David Davis pub talk reveals Tory unease at the ‘Brokeback Coalition’

• David Davis reportedly repeats alleged remark by Lord Ashcroft
• Remarks echo criticism of David Cameron’s ‘big society’ policy

Guardian: Unease on the Tory right over David Cameron’s coalition with the Liberal Democrats was highlighted last night in unguarded comments made by the man Cameron defeated in the 2005 Tory leadership campaign.

David Davis is reported to have approvingly repeated a description of the partnership between Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as “Brokeback Coalition”, which he attributed to another senior Tory.

Davis made his remarks during a private lunch with former colleagues from Tate & Lyle at the Boot & Flogger wine bar in Southwark on Thursday.

The MP was reportedly overheard saying that Lord Ashcroft, the ex-Conservative party deputy chairman, had referred to the government as “Brokeback Coalition” – a reference to the Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain, about a gay relationship. Davis, whose remarks are disclosed in today’s Financial Times, said he had been misheard.

I know The Boot & Flogger in Southwark rather well – a fine establishment for getting seriously over refreshed and for the seriously over refreshed!

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