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Archive for August 22nd, 2010

PODCAST VERSION: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – EPISODE 1

Eva Braun walked into the waiting area outside Matt Muttley’s office on the top floor, elegantly dressed in a dark tailored suit and black court shoes. “Mr Muttley will see you now.  I will show you in.”

James Harrison, confirmed as an associate with the firm only three weeks before, walked into the large darkened office and was invited to sit in a high backed chair facing Muttley’s desk, but set back exactly ten feet away. The chair, inspired by art nouveau concepts, was made of metal with a curious curved back which made it difficult for the person sitting in it to sit comfortably or with any degree of elegance.  Harrison decided to perch on the front section of the seat and put up with the discomfort.

“Well, good morning James.  Do the names Friedrich Miescher, Francis Crick or James D. Watson mean anything to you?  If I was to  tell you that polymerases are enzymes that synthesize polynucleotide chains from nucleoside triphosphates,  would you find that inordinately fascinating or even know what I was talking about?”  Matt Muttley sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his neck, his expression expectant.

“I do not know the people you mention.  I am certainly not dealing with their files at present.   And I would have to say that I would not find the information you have given me on polymerases of any immediate interest, simply because I have no idea what they are and they are not germane to any of the files I am working on currently.”

“If I was to say….. Deoxyribonucleic acid… would this assist you in your thinking….? thinking in relation to a personal matter which has been drawn to my attention by our covert surveillance unit headed by Dr Erasmus Strangelove, our esteemed Director of Education and Strategic Information.

James Harrison paused before answering, glanced upwards, noticed a discreet cctv camera pointing straight at him and answered “You are talking about DNA, but how is that relevant to my work here?”

“Spot on James.  Let me tell you where I am coming from on this, to borrow from the well worn phrase used by James Caan on Dragon’s Den.  We routinely monitor the internet traffic of all members of the firm.  This is covered in clause 1441 of your employment contract. We chose 1441 as the clause for this as a bad joke to reflect our view that it was our ‘weapon of mass destruction’.  We issue iPads to all our employees not because we are philanthropists, but because we want you to work, work and work some more.  We want the first thing you reach for in the morning to be your iPad and the last thing you touch at night to be your iPad. I understand that Eversheds have taken a similar policy of issuing iPads to all their fee earners – but I rather suspect that their intentions are honourable, while ours are not.  This is covered in Clause 1441(d)(viii) of your contract of employment.  Dr Strangelove, during his routine sweep of Facebook accounts, noticed that a woman by the implausible name of Squirrelnutkin 4 wrote on your ‘Wall’.  This is what she wrote…”

Muttley flicked his fingers over his goldplated iPad – a gift from a company one of the Dragons had invested in, but not signed, fortunately,  by Frank Lampard on the back.

Muttley quoted: “Hello Bigboy Jimmy Babes…. Have I got NEWS for you!  You remember that night of erotic passion and entirely random sex we had after you took me to that nightclub?  Well…. I am pregnant…. seriously pregnant….and it is yours!!  I hope you are earning a lot of money at that crazy law firm you are working at… because Jimmy Babes… you are going to need it.  I have engaged the services of JAWS, one of the most famous family lawyers in Britain… and, boy… is he coming after you… big time.!”

The colour drained from Harrison’s face and his forehead went clammy.

“A glass of water, James?”  Muttley asked, a dry smile playing on his lips.

“Er… no… not thank you Mr Muttley”

“We look after our staff at Muttley Dastardly.  We also look after ex-staff.  Clearly, it cannot be acceptable for a firm of our stature and reputation to employ lawyers who randomly impregnate people, and even if you are found ‘not guilty’ as we say in our business, we certainly can’t employ someone who goes around on Facebook calling himself BigBoy Jimmy Babes. Do you watch the Dragon’s Den, James?”

“No… I don’t have time.”

“But you do watch The Apprentice. We know this from your internet traffic records.  Well…as SurAlan, now Lord SurAlan, would say… You’re Fired!  Eva Braun will give you a black bag with your belongings, your severance pay and the telephone number of Cellmark – the DNA testing specialists.  We use them all the time here… for our clients.  We didn’t imagine having to use them for one of our staff…. or, indeed, ex-staff.”

Harrison stared at Matt Muttley, puzzlement clear in his eyes… “You mean I’m out?”

Muttley smiled.  “Yes… you’re OUT!  Goodbye.  Oh….do look at the section on the Cellmark website What is the process for DNA testing – a most useful video. The baby, after all, may not be yours. We would, of course, be happy to represent you if you fight.  I regret that we do not do discounts for anyone – although Partners get all our services free. ”

***

PODCAST VERSION: MUTTLEY DASTARDLY LLP – EPISODE 1

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors ,
Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

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F**kART: “Evil Dave”

“Evil Dave” came from a well known web pic of David Cameron. Using my new *Painting by Numbers* technique; reducing tone and shape to essential colour blocks – I can knock these out quickly enough to stop me getting bored.  When I was in my early twenties one of my nicknames was ‘Risotto’ – ready in 20 minutes.  I tend to favour paintings or drawings which can be done quickly.  I blame all forms of government, modern technology and an inbuilt, but very British, tendency for shallowness and ephemera!

The split down the middle reflects my view that Cameron is, actually, a rather nice chap and  a true liberal;  but has to play Tory and do the business because he just happens to be our prime minister and leading a party, whose members, some of them, judging by their comments on blogs and other media, are orf the bleeding wall when it comes to humanity and caring for the interests of the wider community.   The title of the piece is a deliberate falsehood; consistent with the times we live in of smears, obfuscation, smuggery, Toby Youngery, venality, brutal self interest and crassness! (Just to get a few thoughts orf my chest)  – I don’t think Cameron is evil at all. In fact… I’d be quite happy to vote for him if he defected to Labour!

Having a glass or two and doing a bit on nonsense art (mixed media these days!)  keeps me amused.  I could be out raping the people of Britain by working in an investment bank or making things using child or foreign ‘slave’ labour and hedging my earnings offshore.  I’d rather earn a lot less and enjoy Britain.

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Surge in Britons exported for trial

The number of people in Britain seized under the controversial “no-evidence-needed” European Arrest Warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year, figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.

The Telegraph reports: “In total 1,032 people – almost three a day – were detained and extradited by British police on the orders of European prosecutors in the 12 months to April, up from 683 in 2008-09. The Home Office expects a further 70 per cent rise, to 1,700 cases, next year. The increase will fuel growing political concern about the “unfair” and “disproportionate” nature of the warrants, which British courts have little power to challenge……

They can spend long periods in jail – here and abroad – for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain. They can also be seized for offences which are not crimes in Britain.Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be “surrendered”……

Mr Blunkett said: “I was right, as Home Secretary in the post-9/11 era, to agree to the European Arrest Warrant, but I was insufficiently sensitive to how it might be used.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to reviewing the UK’s extradition arrangements.”

The Telegraph notes: “Britain has the same rights to request no-evidence extraditions from other EU countries, but uses the power sparingly. The latest figures show that 98 people were brought to the UK on European Arrest Warrants in 12 months, a fall of 6 per cent on the year before.” It would seem, on the bare facts above, that while we are keen to export our people, we are less than keen on importing offenders – perhaps, being cynical, this is just too much of an effort and costs too much?

I am sure that the European Arrest warrant is valuable and ‘warranted’ in the more serious crimes – but driving without insurance, driving off without paying at a petrol station?  I’m not so sure in the case of minor fines which could, surely, be dealt with by fine and paid by credit card with agreement of the person charged?

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The new Coalition government, or Tory government propped up by Tory Lite if you prefer, is keen to do business with India, China, in fact, any country it can do business with.  This is perfectly understandable and some might say laudable.  Do I, however, want to buy goods produced under conditions tantamount to slave labour or worse, child labour?  Do I want to associate with countries where human rights atrocities are routinely sanctioned by the state?  Do I want to associate with one party states where, in the name of a  god or some form of deity or prophet, the rights of women are downgraded to have less value to the men than their exotic motor cars and houses?  I don’t – but it seems that a great many of us do. But  I don’t have a choice, you don’t have a choice –  because our government may well force us indirectly to turn a blind eye to these through our need to reduce the deficit and promote the interests of what David Cameron referred to as the ‘sharp elbowed middle classes’.  And there was I thinking, naively, that Britain in the 21st century was at last moving away from the class system!

The government proposes to stop recording human rights abuses across the world, a process first established by then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in the name of ethical foreign policy.

My observations on the need to trade with the ‘Good, the bad and the ugly’ will be met, possibly, by the easy retort that the last Labour government caused the deficit and the government needs to put that right.  Received wisdom indicates that this bald statement is not entirely true. One can accept that there were instances of over spending, poor management, chaotic procurement policy, lack of control and lack of clear policy (endemic in most governments?) – but the collapse of the world economy cannot be laid at the door of the last Labour government.  What would it have been like had the Bank of England not embarked on a programme of quantitative easing?  What would it have been like had the Brown administration not continued to spend?  What would it have been like had sharp elbowed middle class bankers behaved like honourable human beings instead of avaricious, venal and thoughtless human beings? We cannot, now, know – because all these things happened and others did not.

I will, however, accept that Labour were responsible for many of the oppressive erosions on our civil liberties – a phenomenon I still find  puzzling from a party with the core ethic of acting in the wider interests of the less advantaged but stated, by Blair, when he began his premiership to be for all the people of Britain.

Britain scraps annual assessment of human rights abuses across the world

NGOs concerned that ministers are ‘blindly’ pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities are taking place

The Observer reports: ” The coalition government is plunged into a major row today over its commitment to human rights amid claims that it will scrap the Foreign Office’s landmark annual assessment of abuses across the world.

The Observer has learned that civil servants have been told to stop working on the next edition of the FCO Annual Report on Human Rights, which highlights incidents of torture and oppression, monitors use of the death penalty and aims to expose the illegal arms trade. The report also acts as a guide to MPs and businesses over which countries it is ethical to trade with.

The former Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, broke ranks last night to claim that any move to end the annual report risked “downgrading human rights” and would be met with “fierce resistance”. NGOs said that doubts over the future of the report, which was introduced by Robin Cook in 1997, fuelled their concerns that coalition ministers were “blindly” pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities were taking place…..

It makes interesting and sobering reading.  Roll on the Great Repeal Act, much trumpeted by Deputy Prime Minister Clegg.

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