Archive for the ‘Charon’s Advent Calendar’ Category

I have enjoyed doing Charon’s Advent calendar – a  suggestion from a friend.  I appear to have cocked up the days… so this may or may not be Day 25..not that it matters.  I wish all readers a Happy Christmas, An Excellent Isaac Newton Day and a Good New Year.  I shall be at my post, blogging, tweeting and, ineluctably, with two days of sybaritic pleasure ahead, I shall be taking of the wine of the gods.  Thanks for coming to the blog this year – it does make blogging a bit more fun when people read and…. thank you also to the many who comment.  One of the problems with twitter is that there are, now,  fewer blog comments as debate and  comment now tends to happen more on twitter.  Unfortunately, not everyone who reads the blog is on twitter…so some excellent observations and comments from readers who post on twitter are missed by some  blog readers… but we can’t have everything.

I plan to do many more podcasts and up the Law Review content in 2011.  On January 3rd I shall be hosting Blawg Review (My sixth) and it will be UK centric…..

Have a good one… back on the morrow… inevitably.  If you have time and the inclination…. I wrote a Christmas Carol story last night (below).  I am never knowingly under refreshed when I blog at night.


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I appear to have got up to Day 24 a day early… but strange things happen on this blog, so I’ll have to have another Day 24 tomorrow or be really radical and have a Day 25…

Never let is be said that Charon is not relentless – even on the eve of the eve of Christmas – in bringing to you legal news…..

When filling judges’ benches, we need to solicit more solicitors

Neil Rose in The Guardian: Much can be done to encourage solicitors to apply for posts in the judiciary, a sector historically dominated by barristers.

Neil Rose reports that “1,071 solicitors applied for the 193 deputy district judgeships available in its most recent selection exercise – the biggest the JAC has ever run – and just 9% (94) made it through to appointment. By comparison, 284 barristers applied for this junior judicial role and 28% (80) were successful.”

What I did enjoy was this from Neil’s article…. “The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, recognised this last week when he admitted that he had failed to encourage City lawyers to apply.”

James Dean in The Law Society Gazette noted “Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge told the Lords Constitution Committee yesterday that, if he could persuade City lawyers and their firms that a judicial career is a plausible option, ‘we would have a more diverse judiciary’.”

Lord Judge will, of course, be aware that City lawyers at the top tend to earn truly fantastic sums of money – often going  into seven figures, they say,  at the very top end of the top end. Judges don’t do too badly but it is probably about one tenth the remuneration of the City lawyers at the very top.  The relative modesty of judicial salaries may, of course, be an entirely irrelevant consideration for City lawyers and it may be that they are truly dedicated to their high end corporate clients and feel a sense of public duty to serve beyond the call of duty…. who am I to even think anything else?

Well….there we are… I shall be back on the morrow with Day 25 of my Advent calendar…

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As Christmas draws ever closer so too does the end of  my Christmas Advent calendar. Today I have a few interesting law snippets of general interest – and, an Assange free day.

I shall start with an irritant… the ‘Class’ system which I despise – a plague in our country which still appears to wreak havoc in terms of benefit being given to the undeserving from the middle classes at the expense of a young man or woman from a less privileged background.  It still goes on and today an interesting article in The Law Society Gazette warns that we should not ‘judge a book by its cover’…

Firms reject candidates on the basis of their accents, research suggests

James Dean, in The Law Society Gazette, writes:

Top London law firms are hiring graduates with ‘smart’ accents and public school backgrounds because they think they are better for their image than working-class candidates, new research has suggested.

Suitable white working-class applicants are being passed over for jobs in favour of middle-class graduates of all ethnicities from elite universities, according to a study of 130 staff at five prominent London firms by City University’s Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School.

The five firms all had diversity policies, and had successfully recruited ethnic minority candidates, but rejected able working-class students because their appearance or accent was not thought ‘smart’ enough, the research found.

Dr Louise Ashley, leading the study, said that the firms want to preserve their ‘upmarket brand’.

She said: ‘Focusing on ethnicity enables law firms to boast excellence, or at the very least improve diversity outcomes, despite the fact that they have continued to recruit using precisely the same types of class privilege that have always been in operation.’

Ashley said that one partner told her: ‘There was one guy who came to interviews who was a real Essex barrow boy, and he had a very good CV, he was a clever chap, but we just felt that there’s no way we could employ him. I just thought: putting him in front of a client – you just couldn’t do it. I do know though that if you’re really pursuing a diversity policy you shouldn’t see him as rough round the edges, I should just see him as different.’

The rest of the article is worth a read

Was the Telegraph sting illegal?

The Telegraph journalists who posed as constituents to entrap MPs may have committed a criminal offence

While I think Vince Cable (and other MPs recorded) may have some difficulty with civil breach of confidence actions and using copyright law, David Howarth, a former shadow solicitor general and Lib Dem MP for Cambridge between 2005 and 2010, has made a useful point under criminal law…

Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to dishonestly make a false representation with the intention of putting someone at risk of pecuniary loss or with the intention of making a pecuniary gain for another.Unlike in the civil law, what counts is the defendants’ intention to cause harm, rather than the actual result. Did the journalists and their editors intend through dishonest false statements to put ministers at risk of losing their jobs? Did they intend to make money for their paper? If either is true, a criminal offence has taken place. There is no free-standing public interest defence. Perhaps the journalists involved should now be preparing their answers to those questions.

Journalists often misreport on legal matters.  As a reminder of this, you may like to read this post from the UK Human Rights blog:

Failure to deport Philip Lawrence killer was not about human rights

And, since I am interested in human rights, here is a useful round up of recent judgments as the courts wind up the calendar year….

Bite-size human rights case law

And, as I am on a roll with misreporting, this analysis of the Cable / BSB Sky issue by Carl Gardner is worth a read to get it right: Taking Vince Cable off the BSkyB case

Bye… until tomorrow….

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Christmas Day is but a few days away… but as I have never been good at deferred gratification and can see aboslutely no reason to wait, or, indeed, in having several Christmas days…. I have started.  I wish you a good Christmas and New Year….

Lord Judge’s interventions in politics have not overstepped the line

If the lord chief justice is a thorn in the government’s side, it is one of parliament’s making

I particularly enjoyed this thought provoking piece from Joshua Rozenberg… I quote a few paragraphs to entice you into reading the rest of it…

Ministers could be forgiven for thinking that Lord Judge, the lord chief justice of England and Wales, had gone too far last week, overstepping the invisible line that separates the judicial from the injudicious.

There he was, introducing his annual report on criminal appeals and complaining about the “continuing burden of comprehending and applying impenetrable legislation, primarily but not exclusively in relation to sentencing”.

And there he was again, giving evidence to the Lords constitution committee about the “extraordinary” effect of the government’s public bodies bill, which gives ministers so-called Henry VIII powers to modify, merge or abolish a huge range of quangos. His concern that an “astonishing” number of acts now allowed ministers to repeal primary legislation will come as no surprise to the lord chancellor: Judge said as much to Ken Clarke at the judges’ dinner in the summer.

But what really worries Judge is the threat posed by the public bodies bill to the independence of the judiciary.

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I began the day, reduced to watching the banality that is BBC Breakfast.  Most of the programme was about SNOW…with pictures of people,  like plague victims, lying on the airport concourse, wearing what appeared to be bacofoil…. prompting me to tweet that if “You want to get the full HEATHROW experience….at home… sit on your floor… get the bacofoil out and wait for a BBC film crew to turn up.”

Then along came Mr Hammond, the TORY Transport Minister, who decided he didn’t need to read an experts’ report on SNOW commissioned by the previous government,  but would consult his own expert so ‘lessons could be learned…yada yada blah.’   Iain Dale (who appears to have blogged more since his retirement from blogging than he did in the weeks preceding his Moses Moment on twitter when he announced his ‘departure from Blogging Gate 20’) …. mused on twitter…that Mr Hammond had the makings of a future Prime Minister.    I do…so… love pantomime and comic opera at this time of year.

I could not help myself with the tweet above…. The Tory-led Coalition has blamed Labour for  everything else since grasping power with the running dog Kim Il Clegg…. and his sidekick Vince CableTV … that I thought it only fair that the previous Labour government should be blamed for the fiasco that is Heathrow today…

That is all. I shall return tomorrow with Day 21….. ineluctably.

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When I start ze restaurant Maison Charon, I specify that ze entrance must have ze big glass doors, pas de valeur architecturale… zut alors!… non!…. mais… so my maître d‘ can see ze punters coming in more ways than one.

You English have ze saying… less is more… I take zis to my heart….so in Maison Charon…. we are, how you say…. minimaliste…. minimal decoration, minimal service and ze minimal portions pour la haute gastronomie.  You English have been watching too much of ze Masterchef avec Chef Michel Roux, so I am more than happy to, how you say, fart about with your food and construct ze tours absurde on ze plate and smear ze sauce avec merit artistique. Zis allows me to give you less and charge more…. you see?… I am anglophile!

It is also important… pour ze clientele who frequente Maison Charon zat I ensure there is bollocks complète on ze menu, so I hire l’expert en marketing to write ze bollocks complète to describe ze dishes I prepare.  Zis is one exception to ze ‘less is more’ rule.. here… more description means we can serve less…..

I give un exemple of how less is a lot more.  Zere is a chef in Denmark… Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma…. amusingly ze best restaurant in ze world… mon dieu!…… and he collects ze seaweed, berries, grasses and other delectations du nature, serves zem up on a plate and… Voila!….. ze hyperventilation of ze clientele est superbe!.

I do zis at Maison Charon..only se ozzer day. I send a sous chef to Wandsworth Roundabout and Hyde Park  avec a book on  foraging and say I want grass, berries, anything edible…..   I get anuzzer sous chef to go to B&Q to buy some Welsh slate roof tiles et Voila!…. ze Cuisine naturelle a La Suède. I wanted to put ze description a La Pseuede… mais…. maître d‘ he says to me…. “Chef Charon… you have eighteen Michelin stars to your name…. even though you give them to yourself… this is a step too far….. to mock ze punter is Le Sport… to ridicule ze punter is not good business.”  So… with free ingredients from Wandsworth Roundabout, a few absurd smears of sauces, berries arranged at each corner of ze welsh slate from B& Q and much pantomime from maître d‘… we serve three tiles of grass, and edible leaves and berries and charge £38.50 per portion…. who needs an amuse-bouche when one can do zat?!

Ze best part?…. when I come from le cuisine...to le salon de la gastronomie….avec mon chapeau de chef on my head to take ze adulation of ze punters…. and tell zem how much they have enjoyed l’experience du Maison Charon.….. and tell zem we take ze  AMEX.   Aussi… I try very hard not to drop my fake  accent français

I wish you all a Joyeux Noël

Chef Charon

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I write from The Staterooms in #ICEAGE Battersea Square….

A glacier is moving slowly down Vicarage Crescent towards The Square and I have not seen snow like this since the early 1960s when I was a kid. The snow is white, cold and it has a satisfying feel to it when rolled into a ball which can then be lobbed, in meaningless protest, at passing Ferraris and Bentleys reduced, humiliatingly, to doing a very cautious 5 mph.  I do love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.  I neither confirm nor deny that I lobbed aforementioned snowball nor, indeed, do I admit to even having such a projectile about my person at any time.

I took the view that as I was unable to travel anywhere – save to Mazar, my local caff of choice, and unable, therefore, to do ANY Christmas shopping, I would send a picture of a wrapped Christmas present nicked from Google images to potential recipients by email.   I spent a few moments on Twitter marvelling at the #UKuncut protest tweets in my twitter timeline.  Apparently these brave foot soldiers of the modern era were able to generate a great deal of public support for their CUTS cause by farking up the busiest shopping day before Christmas.

I understand that the main focus of these #UKuncut protesters was the fact that large companies have been able to structure their tax affairs within the laws of England & Wales in such a manner as to minimise their tax liability. As I took a draught of the drink of the gods,  I wondered if the #UKuncut protesters would try to break in to H M Revenue & Customs to declare their support for taxation by filing their tax returns early.  I have seen nothing on the News to suggest that such a protest occurred.

This tweet, being a smoker, did amuse….

Non smokers… how can you live with yourselves… avoiding all that tax and living to absurd ages and putting pressure on dwindling Government pension resources?

Tomorrow is another day… and there may be more SNOW… and the Battersea Square glacier may have moved across the bridge to Chelsea.  I am only sorry that The Thames has not frozen.  It would have been fun to amuse the Archbishop of Canterbury by tap dancing on the river opposite Lambeth Palace.. but there we are… perhaps after Christmas?

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I appear to have started the Christmas holiday period earlier than I intended. This is fine by me as I plan to start my F**kART paintings for 2010 tomorrow and enjoy two weeks of solitude.  It snowed in Battersea today while I was sitting outside at Mazar, my caff of choice in Battersea Square.   The owner of Mazar, Marlon, a very amusing Lebanese man , has provided an outside sitting area now protected from the elements with an awning and transparent  ‘nylon’ (as he calls it) sheets.  These are ‘smoking legal’ because of the cunning construction of gaps to come within the ‘No Smoking’ laws.  I always sit outside, even in appalling weather. There are wall heaters. It took approximately 15 minutes for Battersea Square to be converted into a winter wonderland this morning.  More snow is on the way – but I have a spade and I shall do my duty and make the 65 yard journey from my ‘riverview’ apartment to the caff each day for an excellent breakfast and Marlboros and excellent conversation with regulars.  If you find yourself in Battersea Square – Mazar really is a very good cafe / restaurant.  The Lebanese red is most acceptable…. not that I drink wine at breakfast that often.

The Christmas tree – provided by the businesses and others of  Battersea Square  – is far more impressive than my mobile phone pic reveals.  It has white lights and is quite dramatic at night.













After seeing an extraordinary exchange between the blogger formerly known as Iain Dale ( @Iaindale – who has given up blogging )  and David Allen Green ( @davidallengreen ), who veers between several alternative egos on Twitter aka Jack of Kent, today on the issue of RT (Re-Tweeting other people’s tweets’) I came up with a ‘plan’.

Re-Tweeting other people’s tweets on twitter is quite common.  Unfortunately it carries a few dangers. It could be seen to be a ‘mark of approval’.  If another tweeter, OUTRAGED by someone else doing an RT, assumed  same to be an approval, it is possible that a twitter bitchfight could ensue.  It did between Dale and David Allen Green today.  I believe the two gentlemen have virtually hugged and made up and I assume that tweets made on both sides have now been deleted.  (They may still be there…if you are quick)  I did, as it happens, take screen grabs from both, and I shall be sending these to Wikileaks later today!  Freedom of information is all…. natch! (I won’t do that).

I often RT other people’s tweets.  This does not mean that I approve. It may be because I find them interesting, because I do approve, because I wish others to look at a different point of view,  or because I find the tweet amusing or in wonderfully bad taste.

So… I came up with a plan for RTs by suggesting a symbol format and tweeted same: RT+  (approval) |  RT- (disapproval)  | RT0 (Neutral)….then I had a drink and I now have a fourth category RT**** (Wonderful Bollocks)

Have a good weekend..and try not to get into too many bitchfights on twitter… it is Christmas…after all.

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It is Christmas…. so I suppose we should show good cheer to all men and women. First up for your delectation and delight is this truly astonishing flash mob ‘production’…. [ Hat Tip to @Legal_Week ]

On December 15, 2010 at 1:30 p.m., a group made primarily of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) articling students, and a few partners, associates and staff, performed a Flash Mob dance at the Commerce Court food court in Toronto, to the song “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas!

You may watch the video here – if nothing else it could be a most useful warning to practitioners who think they have better ideas than their marketing professionals !

Fellow law blogger Legal Bizzle has an excellent Christmas story for you…

A jar of humbugs: an in house lawyer’s Christmas

And….Lord Sugar does it again. I do like @Lord_Sugar… The Apprentice has been excellent this year and his bitchfight with Piers Morgan on twitter over followers and his truly relentless plugging of his book is amusing.  Apparently there is a spoof Lord Sugar.  Unfortunately, Lord Sugar appeared to send this message to himself!  I checked the link.  He did!

AND…since I am here… I rather liked this story…..from a newspaper that you may not read that often or at all…

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Friend and fellow blogger, David Allen Green (who writes the Jack of Kent blog), has been on a pilot for a C4 News programme.  I have a face for radio, so harbour no desires to appear on telly myself – but then, as I had another Christmas Party on my own earlier this afternoon, the thought came to me, given David Allen Green’s excellent blogging and incisive analysis of legal issues…. that he could have a pop at Britain’s Got Talent as well.  I’d pay good money to see that… in fact… I’d even audition with a leprous dog with a pirate patch over one eye to see if I could get at least one vote….

OK…. I’d better run now… before Jack of Kent visits the wrath of justice on me…. well… it is Christmas….at least it is here, at The Staterooms.

Being serious – if you have not read David Allen Green’s Jack of Kent blog – it will be well worth your while.

And…back to nonsense…..

The Sun reported this morning…

A PERVERT was caught pleasuring himself in a public library — while reading Alan Sugar’s autobiography.

That was amusing enough… but Lord Sugar’s tweet was funnier.  He has been having an amusing ‘bitchfight’ with Piers Morgan on Twitter to see who can get the most followers and betting sustantial sums of money – the loser to donate to Great ormond Street Hospital… here is the tweet…

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It is always a pleasure to see student law societies taking their law studies seriously by looking at law in different ways and it gives me pleasure to give some modest publicity to law students at Birkbeck College, University of London for inviting a film director over to talk to them about The Specialist.

“The Specialist” comes at an interesting time in the culture. The producer and director, Eyal Sivan, has compiled and assembled black-and-white footage of the trial of the SS officer and war criminal Adolf Eichmann, and his film is the grimmest possible precursor to the occasionally frivolous “Court TV,” which plays on the current fascination with watching the judicial process grind exceedingly slow, and exceedingly fine. {The New York Times, April 12, 2000}

When: 17th of December 2010 (Friday), 6.45 pm
Where: Birkbeck Cinema (click here for map and directions)

Special Guest : The Producer & Director – Eyal Sivan

Bonus: Workshop and discussion materials for all attendees All Law/Human Rights/Film Students: A must!

Registration desirable to avoid disappointment BBK Law Society Members: Free admission

Non-members: £3.50 – Free drinks and snacks For bookings please contact: Neil MacKinnon: nmacki01@students.bbk.ac.uk
Other Enquiries: Despina Dokoupilova: dntoko01@students.bbk.ac.uk

And… News from the law schools


Title: BPP appoints Kate Hayes as Admissions Director
Summary: BPP University College today announced the appointment of Kate Hayes as Admissions Director.

Kate joins BPP after nine years as Director of Marketing at The College of Law, where she was responsible for a multitude of services geared towards ensuring excellent student satisfaction – including the Admissions department, Marketing, Customer Insight and the college’s Customer Contact Centre.

First for Leeds law firm John Delaney & Co as all its future trainees to be recruited from BPP law school

Summary: BPP Law School and John Delaney & Co have announced that that all of the firm’s future trainees will be recruited exclusively from BPP Law School ’s Legal Practice Course (LPC) students. High Street firm John Delaney & Co is a Criminal and Family Legal Aid practice, based on Park Row. As part of its relationship with BPP, the firm recently recruited 3 students who successfully graduated from the Law School ’s centre in Whitehall Quays.


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Government majority on fees rise 21 – so now future generations will pay a great deal, whereas many of us did not have to pay fees.  Maybe we could stop waging and paying for wars in the future and invest in people here – they are, after all, the future of our nation as well.

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A few interesting links today….. and if you are into legal education reform – scroll down for the latest podcast with Scott Slorach of The College of Law.

Bailing Assange

Scott Greenfield, a US defense lawyer, has an interesting take on this issue.

Wikileaks and the arrest of Julian Assange

The UK Human Rights blog from 1 Crown Office Row has a very considered view.

The Real Lessons of WikiLeaks for Lawyers: Non-Social Media Version

Antonin . Pribetic, a Canadian lawyer is well worth reading on this and starts his post with a bit of Shakespeare….

Marcus Antonius:
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270–275

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I find quite a few politicians a bit baffling – but this latest nonsense from John Hemming MP, who has a reputation for being quite bright, is just daft….

Political Scrapbook reports….

“Millionaire Liberal Democrat John “three homes” Hemming has told Radio 4 he would vote for  a rise in tuition fees to punish students who occupied his constituency office. His extraordinary exchange with Eddie Mair came after an embarassing argument with a protester live on local radio……”

The global Assange / Wikileaks circus continues today with police arresting Assange when he walked into a London police station this morning.  It appears that the judge refused bail – despite the paucity of evidence(*), it is asserted, but Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer,  has the ‘thermonuclear 256 bit encryption code to decode thousands of documents now transmitted to thousands worldwide should anything untoward happen to Assange…like him being killed, for example…or, presumably, extradited from Sweden to the United States?

(*) Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said the Assange case highlighted the dangers of the European arrest warrant, because the judge has no power to listen to the evidence to judge if there is a prime facie case.

Mark Stephens has suggested that the Swedish prosecutor  should question Assange in London – a perfectly sensible suggestion on the face of it, but I won’t be holding my breath. We shall see.

A rather ironic postscript: Mark Stephens, not surprisingly, is concerned that the security and others services are watching him and that client confidentiality may be breached and leaked to the world at large.  The attempt by US lawyers to elide the lawyers with Assange and implicate them is just primitive and should be easily resisted.

Read The Legal Week report

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Today… and it was on the Today programme – it is a very easy choice for the ‘morsel’.

James Naughtie on  BBC Radio 4 the Today programme managed to do a ‘classic spoonerism’ when trailing that he was going to be talking to Jeremy Hunt MP

And then…Andrew Marr, managed to repeat it…

Wonderful start to the day.  It may get taken down… I do hope not!

It hasn’t been a good day for Radio 4 – here they are interviewing  person who impersonated a Lib-Dem MP.  I heard the interview.  It was a bit bizarre….

Guardian Source

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It is not that long ago when a fresh faced youthful man who, hitherto, had been largely ignored and mocked by prime minister and leader of the opposition alike, stood behind a lectern on television between two giants of the political stage and told us…“You want to know the great political story of our generation? It isn’t new Labour. It isn’t New Conservatives. Those are just the dying sparks of a fire that’s running out of fuel.”

Well… Clegg didn’t actually say that in the leadership debates… he said it a couple of years before.  Now, even Sepp Blatter is more popular than Kim Il Clegg.  I suspect the great political story of our generation is that, soon, Lib-Dem MPs will be able to go to work in a Smart car….. all of them……. in just one Smart car.

Nick Clegg’s unexpectedly swift journey from idol to hate figure

Rawnsley, in The Observer, does the analysis….

And…just when you thought it was safe to consider the possibility that politicians may be acting in the ‘national interest’The Mail on Sunday would like to disabuse you of this idea…

Ed Miliband’s statement that the fees rise is an ‘Act of vandalism’... prompted me on twitter last night to suggest that the election of  Ed Miliband as leader may be the act of vandalism.  For my part, I cannot really summon the enthusiasm to either listen to or read anything he has to say. After 30 years of voting Labour I no longer subscribe to any form of tribal politics, preferring instead to look at the  ‘real politik’ of options open to us in the context of the times we live in.  Miliband Minor is not going down that well.  Clegg is going down very badly.  Vince Cable is spinning so fast with mind changes that he may have a future after politics working for Shell again, but this time as a drill.  This leaves us with Cameron who admits that he is more of a Chairman than a CEO; presiding over a party where the more extreme element are sitting on the backbenches wearing togas, sharpening their knives on the stones of vested self interest and asking each other when they will be able to kill foxes again. Apparently the 1922 Committee chairman is asking them not to rock the boat, otherwise the next two years will be about killing foxes and not the recession.
At least there is some good news… The Mail on Sunday reports“Boris Johnson has taken revenge on Sepp Blatter and the other FIFA delegates who destroyed England’s bid to host the World Cup by kicking them out of London’s Dorchester hotel for the 2012 Olympic Games.”
It has taken a while, but the mainstream tabloids, now that X-Factory and I’m a Tosser Get Me Out of Here are coming to an end, have finally worked out that our investment in the BANKS could be a good thing and we might actually make a profit out of selling the bank shares over the next two years.  City experts believe that we will make a profit.
And some even more surreal political news….

MP’s Commons aide is accused of being a Russian spy: Woman, 25, fighting deportation on suspicion of espionage

The Mail reports…“An MP today denied his Russian assistant was a spy after security services arrested her on suspicion of espionage.

Home Secretary Theresa May had approved the removal of Katia Zatuliveter after being briefed by MI5 about her alleged activities, according to the Sunday Times.

Ms Zatuliveter, was working for Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, who confirmed that she had been taken into detention and was fighting deportation from the UK.

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In the wake of the ‘seriously pissed Santa’ of yesterday’s advent calendar post, I am pleased to be able to report that stupidity is not unknown on our shores. I spent nearly a year living in Chatham Maritime, overlooking the old naval basins and near the dockyard where HMS Victory was built.  I am not, however, surprised to read that a woman in Chatham telephoned 999 to report to Police that someone had stolen her snowman.

I am thoroughly enjoying #Ashes – sitting up watching the cricket, and reading the tweets of fellow cricket fans under the #Ashes hashtag .  Last night, being possessed of a real cricket ball, I chalked some stumps on the inside of my front door and took to bowling at those chalked stumps from the drawing room, down the short hall. No neighbours were harmed, nor was the door, by this rather curious activity.   I am pleased to report that I got a hat trick.  England are in a comfortable position of 317/2 having bowled the Aussies out for 245 on Day One. Punter…has a problem….so life is not all bad!

Always a pleasure to see a serious writer – Alex Massie of The Spectator – writing in such an august journal about other ‘important’ things in life…cricket.  An enjoyable article

Being that this is supposed to be a law blog… I am more than happy, even on a Saturday, to shoehorn a bit of law in…

Legal aid lawyers were struggling even before the cuts

But.. I won’t overdo it… so here is a choice morsel for your delectation and delight… from..where else?…RollonFriday:

Scottish courts to open on Saturdays to deal with piss-heads

And finally… this is a very enjoyable film!

Warning… not office safe!  🙂  Barking!

Matt Whistler’s Merry Christmas 2010 Southover Street Brighton

Back tomorrow… have a good weekend…

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I thought I would kick off with two sporting matters – first, a remarkable first over in The Ashes match last night  – I am one of many staying up much of the night watching and tweeting – when three of Australia’s top batsmen were out within but 3-4 balls showing a remarkable scoreline which could have been 12-4 had a catch not been dropped shortly after.  England are ahead.

This prompted me to tweet…

I am a bit worried.. if we don’t get a wicket soon… #Wicketleaks will start leaking adverse information about our cricket skills #ashes

The second, of course, was the decision of a corrupt FIFA to award the games to Russia, outed as a ‘Mafia state’ by Wikileaks earlier in the day.  Well… they do say that birds of a feather flock together.

I would, however, to echo the sentiment of many, prefer to have a free media than kow-tow to FIFA.  Full marks to Cameron, Prince William, Becks et al for trying.  The Sun raged…..this morning about FIFA BUNGS games to Russia.   It doesn’t bother me personally – I don’t follow football, but I do know many were disappointed… or “Gutted and sick as a parrot”…as the old saying goes.

Guido Fawkes notes…

+ + + Chaytor Pleads Guilty + + +

The second former Labour MP in court today has pleaded guilty to false accounting for a sum of around £13,000 in mortgage interest.

UPDATE: Guido smells a plea bargain, he will be sentenced on January 7th. When considering sentencing let’s not forget the Fees Office clerk who “came up with a “carefully executed fraud” for £6,000 and was sent down for nine months. One rule for us…

And, as a warning to MPs to clean up election campaigns – to at least the point of being able to distinguish insult for lies and misrepresentation…. Phil Woolas says legal fight has hit ‘end of the road’

Hopefully, we won’t have another round of MPs and kneejerking political bloggers complaining that democracy is being undermined by ‘unelected judges’.  Judges apply the laws put in front of them.  Laws are made by Parliament.  Sometimes MPs manage to get into Parliament without resorting to lies and serious misrepresentation.  I am not holding my breath.  There does seem to be a tendency for conservative (and Labour)  political bloggers to be the first to scream about being tough on Law & Order and then rant about unelected judges… we shall see.  Perhaps they have something else to occupy them today…

UK Human Rights Blog has an excellent and  sensible analysis:

Analysis: Woolas loses election court challenge, court clarifies constitutional role

It would not be Christmas without a ‘Pissed Santa’ story….

Drunk Santa caught on CCTV urinating and falling over repeatedly

One Santa in Germany must now be regretting indulging in a few too many festive drinks, as a video has emerged on the internet showing him urinating in a car park and falling over.

The Metro does warn about not showing the excellent video to ‘younger people’. Not being a ‘younger person’ I did find it very amusing…truly astonishing!

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Two choice morsels for you today… the first one I enjoyed very much on the subject of how the Americans and the British can stop Assange and Wikileaks…

1. Lilian Edwards, UK cyberlawyer, has a great post on the issue. I won’t spoil your pleasure with any extracts… do read it if you have time..

Veni Vidi Wikileaks

2.  A Labour supporter speaks without forked tongue. It is good to see a well known Labour man writing sense on a very difficult issue – Labour opposition policies and attitudes…

Over to Peter Watt with…. We don’t see it, but our arrogance stops us from listening

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A friend of mine on Twitter – @TheDreamSociety – put the thought into my head that I should do a daily Advent calendar – with some choice item each day.  Whether I will be able to find ‘choice’ items is another thing.  Sometimes they will be serious items and sometimes they won’t.  We’ll see how it goes.  Some days there may even be more than one item…

Today, I have two items of interest:

1.  DavidAllen Green’s article in The New Statesman that liberals ought to be concerned about Wikileaks – the core point being that Wikileaks is accountable to no-one and a secondary point about the legality of using information which may have been obtained through illegal means.

WikiLeaks and the liberal mind

2. And Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, considers the Supreme Court judgment in the case of the troughing MPs who claimed parliamentary privilege to argue that they should be dealt with by Parliament and not tried as common criminals and held in the bowels of some Garrow’s Law style gaol before walking up the stairs to face the sword of English justice.  Read more….

Well… I may as well give you some nonsense as well…..

University Of Calgary Professor And Senior Advisor To Canadian PM Calls For Julian Assange Assassination On National TV

“It is not a good week for Wikileaks. Following yesterday’s Interpol arrest warrant, also yesterday, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. On CBS News. On Live TV. As the video notes, “it is believed to be the first ever televised “fatwa” since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie in February 1989…..”

Read more….

And… some truly marvellous nonsense… as a commenter says… it is a pity Kevin Pietersen can’t do this without a blindfold!  Wonderful short film

Kevin Pietersen Blindfold Cricket



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