Archive for September 12th, 2010

This week, after thinking it might be a good idea to drink some cider for a change (it wasn’t), my postcard may well ramble more than usual…..

It has been quite a week. An ignorant bigoted self styled pastor managed to attract world wide interest and the attention of the President of The United States for his offensive plan to hold a ‘Koran Burning’ session.  I commented on this in a post yesterday but I would like you to have a look at this wonderful post on 9/11 if you haven’t already seen it from Meg Cabot.  It is a strong piece of writing about 9/11

With the Pope on his way…. Geoffrey Robertson QC, Richard Dawkins and a host of others wanting to arrest/criticise/vilify him… I thought I would balance things up a bit with this wonderful movie which I heard about tonight on Twitter…

This is fun if you like a bit of Papal Bull (via @Colmmu) http://youtu.be/i6ULDSNf87A “Twat in the Hat”

Put the pope in the dock

Geoffrey Robertson QC: Legal immunity cannot hold. The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law

I enjoy twitter. I enjoy social media and, obviously, I enjoy blogging. Are people one comes across on twitter and through comments on blogs any less real because it is an online experience?  I don’t think so – and certainly not for those I have met, podcasted with or talked to over the telephone as a result of meeting them online.  I would even say that others I tweet with regularly are ‘real’ in the sense – whether I agree with them or not – that they interest me and I look forward to reading their latest thoughts on twitter.   Suzanne Moore summed it up rather well in her Daily Mail column.

Charles Christian, who I have known for many years – has another side to his life….here is a tweet from earlier this evening… (I did offer to be a dysfunctional Rioja drinking walk on… so… maybe?)

This is @ChristianUncut’s tweet: Latest episode of my diary of a novel: I’m now turning all my major characters into deeply flawed human beings. http://bit.ly/boxVJY

Many will write about Lord Bingham who died yesterday. I think his words are a more powerful obituary than the many being written – and I am confident that those who write will not be offended by my comment, for their obituaries are strong and honestly written.  My own post is here.

A remarkable man – but I chose his penetrating statement about the Iraq war as one of countless thoughts he had, expressed in talks, lectures, books and judgments, to sum up his remarkable contribution to British life and not just legal history, but our history.  Afua Hirsch writes in The Guardian…and I quote…

In his own book, released this year, Bingham described the text of the Magna Carta, with its “no free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of his rights or possessions … except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land” as having the power “to make the blood race.”

“These are words which should be inscribed on the stationary of the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, in place of the rather vapid slogans which their letters now carry,” Bingham said.

I can certainly run with that… I suspect most people can and do….. let us hope government, of whatever complexion, does too.

Difficult to follow that, so I won’t.

Have a good week

Best, as always


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Lord Bingham of Cornhill obituary

Lord Bingham of Cornhill obituary

The Guardian: The greatest English judge of the modern era, he saw judicial independence as essential to the protection of human rights

It seems fitting (to me) to mark Lord Bingham’s death with three quotations  – of many –  from his writings and judgments:

If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the security council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law.

For the effect of acting unilaterally was to undermine the foundation on which the post-1945 consensus had been constructed: the prohibition of force (save in self-defence, or perhaps, to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe) unless formally authorised by the nations of the world empowered to make collective decisions in the security council …

The Rule of Law in the International Order (Nov. 2008)

Lord Bingham of Cornhill

Lord Goldsmith’s ‘revival argument’ for the legality of the Iraq war: “…all that resolution 1441 requires is reporting to and discussion by the Security Council of Iraq’s failures, but not an express further decision to authorise force.”

Lord Bingham’s response: “This statement was, I think flawed in two fundamental respects… First, it was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had: Hans Blix and his team of weapons inspectors had found no weapons of mass destruction, were making progress and expected to complete their task in a matter of months.

Secondly, it passes belief that a determination whether Iraq had failed to avail itself of its final opportunity was intended to be taken otherwise than collectively by the Security Council.”

The former senior law lord noted that Lord Goldsmith’s “revival” argument had been ill-received. Lord Alexander QC described it as “unconvincing”. Prof Philippe Sands QC called it a “bad argument”. And Prof Vaughan Lowe QC described it as “fatuous”.

The Rule of Law in the International Order (Nov. 2008)

It would appear that our governments have ‘form’….

Writing to the Prime Minister on 7 November 1956, the Attorney General, Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller QC, said “… I support and have supported the Government’s actions though I cannot do so on legal grounds.” After a meeting the next day he wrote again, on behalf of himself and the Solicitor General, Sir Harry Hylton-Foster QC: “Although I support what we have done and have said so publicly, we cannot, as you know, agree with the statements made on behalf of the Government that we were legally entitled so to act.”

The Rule of Law, Nov 2006

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