Jess Philips


It is now a few days since an unnamed female parliamentary researcher has complained that her former lover – a Tory MP – should be punished by having the whip withdrawn. She is apparently “devastated” that the Tory party has not suspended him on the strength of her allegation.

It seems that the lady in question had been in a relationship with the Tory MP for quite some time, and has since complained about what happened on four occasions between July 2019 in January 2020.  The matter is now in the hands of the police.

It is, perhaps, hardly surprising that the Tory party take the view that the MP in question should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. We do not, of course, know anything at all about the facts of what went on in those four occasions.  Is this a case of hell having no fury like a woman scorned? We don’t know. But it does seem curious that if the Tory MP had been raping her and sexually assaulting her, that she apparently continued with the relationship for some considerable time.  And so when Continue reading

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A Question

plumpThis is a question, not a complaint, let alone any criticism.

Why does it appear, from pretty much all the photographs in the media, that pretty much all nurses dealing with coronavirus are plump?

Part of it might be that the protective gear they wear is hardly flattering to the figure. But unless they are Continue reading


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A Bit of Proportion

For all those people in Australia worried about Covid, and who are stressing out too much, bear in mind that your odds of dying of Covid are roughly represented by the following (stick a pin in this list somewhere):

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid

Something other than Covid Continue reading

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On Hysteria

I was invited to put an opinion piece up in The Telegraph in London the other day, and did so.[1] Blogs that I put up on this website get maybe a hundred hits or so. My Telegraph piece has had, I believe, about 20,000 hits. That makes this site, I guess, very special, with its select readership.

The general drift of the piece was evident from its headline: Australia’s hysterical response to this pandemic is downright bonkers. But it is not just the Australian government which has overreacted.

It is now a few months since Covid 19 became apparent, which is enough time for at least some dust to settle. It seems to me that the key features of the landscape are as follows Continue reading

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How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom

InnovationI have just finished Matt Ridley’s book How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. The reviews of it have been pretty much universally positive, and rightly so.

Lord Ridley is a scientist, and an empiricist. And so, logically enough, he does not start by theorising, but rather by charting the history of innovation over the last century or so: Who does it? Why do they do it? What are the helpful factors? What are the unhelpful factors? Only once he has laid out the evidence does he advance the proposition advertised in the book’s title.

Indeed, the evidence seems to be that governments are almost always unhelpful in the area of technological advance, and it would be much better if they did not interfere at all. Governments are perfectly capable of spinning a good line in terms of priming the pumps, and stoking the fires of the white heat of revolution in science. But in fact, they have historically been complete crap at Continue reading

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The American Nick

NickIn the UK, the prize plonker, by far, in terms of making false allegations of sexual misconduct has been Carl Beech a.k.a. “Nick”. He was believed for quite some time before it was demonstrated that he was a fantasist, and that his allegations of paedophilia were either entirely false, or almost entirely false. He is currently serving 18 years at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

In the USA, Virginia Roberts a.k.a. Virginia Roberts Giuffre has been coming up fast on the rails. It remains to be seen just how much of her tissue of allegations stands up to examination. For the time being, she has been largely believed.

But she may have been unwise in making allegations against the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who is smart, determined and almost certainly entirely innocent of her allegations. He has got the pip, and seems quite keen that she should do time, saying Continue reading

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Beeb Beeb

BBC_World_ServiceThe BBC World Service is not a program to blow its own trumpet, but they did let slip this week that the latest figures show that they have an audience of nigh on 500,000,000 people.

I like the BBC World Service, which is streamed here in Australia by SBS as a digital radio station. I can even get it in my car. It is a good deal less tediously proselytising than the domestic BBC radio stations, or the ABC here in Australia. And it is refreshing to hear opinions on world events from people in Africa, India, and around the world.

I suppose that the BBC, when it loses its right to imprison people for failing to pay the licence fee, will start by cutting the BBC World Service. Not that there is probably that much to cut. I suspect its annual budget is what its stars like Gary Lineker earn in a wet weekend.

But as a matter of soft power, the BBC World Service should not be underestimated. Just as a small portion of public funding broadcasting in Australia does not go to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation,  which generally apes the BBC), but to SBS (Special Broadcasting Services) which, despite some slippage in recent months, is generally much more independent than the ABC, and much more tuned into what is going on in the world at large rather than the Flopsie Sydney/Melbourne bubble. There may be a case, in the UK, for the government to do something similar: to carve out Continue reading

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Tony Elliott CBE

Tony photoMy cousin Tony, who died a few days ago, was always ahead of me. Five years older than me, he founded Time Out in 1968, 12 years before I founded my law firm – originally Fenwick Elliott & Co -are now Fenwick Elliott LLP. We both had offices in Covent Garden at that stage, and it was a year after I had launched my law firm that he faced an immense challenge. Two thirds of his staff walked out to form a rival publication which was promptly subsidised by the taxpayer, courtesy of the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.  I know that Tony found it immensely unfair that his own and other people’s taxes were being used to try to pull down the magazine that he had created. But Tony, whilst somewhat shy, was immensely resourceful and determined. Eventually, Tony prevailed. His magazine, Time Out, flourished and his taxpayer funded rival collapsed.

It was not long after that that I went through a not dissimilar fire. All four of the partners who I had invited to join my law firm decided that they could take it over, along with the goodwill that I had created, and walked out to create a rival firm. Determined to follow in Tony’s footsteps, I was determined to regrow my firm from the ground up. Eventually, I prevailed, and the rival firm collapsed. Fenwick Elliott LLP is now the largest and most successful specialist construction law practice in Europe.

Challenges continued for both of us. Again, I know that Tony found it extremely irksome that the BBC poached on the travel guide ground that he had nurtured – again with the benefit of taxpayers’ money. But again, he persisted.

Cancer is what gets my favourite cousins, and it was cancer that got Tony in the end.  His obituary is in The Times today, and The Guardian.[1]

Tony E

I was lucky to have Tony as a cousin.




[1] the Guardian obituary is generous, bearing in mind that it was written by two of the journalists who were part of the 1981 walkout


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A Picture Tells A Thousand Words

Covid Sweden UKIn most recent fields of endeavour, steady – sometimes spectacular – progress has been made by specialists who know what they’re doing. But in a minority of areas, there are blind alleys. Examples include share picking by investment analysts, chiropractice, astrology and climate science. In these areas, the people who are described as experts routinely make predictions which do not come true and prescribe remedies which do not work.

The best way to identify these blind alleys is not to genuflect at their ability to drown out the voices of dissent within their own field or even to dissect the workings of their methods (although the latter is sometimes helpful). A more reliable indicator is to take a “black box” approach: to compare their Continue reading


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Edge Done


Microsoft have updated its browser, Edge. It says, inter alia:

“When you use InPrivate browsing, your browsing data (like cookies, browsing history, and passwords) isn’t saved on your device after you’re done.”

I think they mean:

“When you use InPrivate browsing, your browsing data (like cookies, browsing history, and passwords) are not saved on your device after you have finished.”

It is pity that “updated” so often means “dumbed down”. And anyway, I do not like the idea of Continue reading

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