Monthly Archives: December 2011

Black Hole on Air

It used to be the case that people all around the world tuned in to the BBC in order to get the news that other broadcasters censored out. Generally, the standard of BBC reporters is very high. Which makes it all the more remarkable that one of them – Richard Black, the Environment Editor – has attracted such a huge amount of criticism for his work in censoring news about the environment. Not, of course, that you will hear any of the criticism of him on the Beeb, which is protecting its own fiercely.

The Guardian is not my natural stamping ground, but I was surprised to be rather impressed by the recent speech given by its Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger about the importance of Twitter as an important disseminator of news these days.  The same must be said, of course, for the huge number of blogs all around the world these days: I turn to them for news at least as often as I turn to the mainstream media since they tend to be faster, more complete and more diverse in allowing all viewpoints to be aired. And in the blogs, Richard Black gets a very bad press indeed, from all around the world.

You might agree with his staunchly warmist views, or you might not. But to have someone who attracts such contempt cannot be good for the BBC, or indeed for the UK. Surely it would be better to have someone with a more balanced viewpoint in this role, and to shift Richard Black sideways to something a little less loaded, like basket weaving, or retail news, or Welsh affairs, or something. Continue reading

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Water baby

I was not worried too much about her being able to swim, but I was keen that she should know where the steps are, so that she could get out of the pool if she fell in. So she had her first swimming lesson on Day 1.

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Old Bunk

If Henry Ford said that, “History is bunk”, he was, on the whole,  quite wrong. History is important to prevent us doing things which do not work, and to warn us about things which do work, but which are very bad news. It teaches us that when governments say we are going spend our way out of recession, what actually happens is that they will retain some short term popularity at the expense of medium term damage to the economy, and that they more they spend, the greater the damage. It teaches us that they most vicious dictators are those who profess to be socialists.  It teaches us that, however much we find the French interesting and amusing, their foreign policy is always going to be designed to try and frustrate and annoy the Brits.


But some history is indeed bunk, including the Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, which he wrote in about 1150. Continue reading

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Name this dog

T S Eliot thought the naming of cats was a sophisticated business.

How much harder to find a name fitting for the new love of one’s life? She arrived last night from Queensland. Not sure that either Phoenix Snowfall or Mrs Shrimpton is right for her after all, having met her.  She got in at 10.30 pm last night, and I when she got home, I played with her and showed her  around for about an hour, thinking that by then – having had a long day including a 2 hour flight – she would be sleepy.  Oh no!  Continue reading


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4 days to new dog

Rufus is the small one with big ears who wants to be amused. I am the other one trying to read some papers.

Only 4 days until our English Setter puppy arrives.

Rufus the Roo might find it a bit of a shock?

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Assange Update

I posted about the Julian Assange case in 2010, but things have moved on a bit since then, so it might be time for a quick update.

There has been a fair bit of coverage which suggests that he might well be a bit of a wally at times.  He has fallen out with his lawyers and a number of his colleagues at Wikileaks, but these things are not criminal offences.  He has for a while faced a request for extradition from the UK to Sweden to answer charges about his conduct in the bedroom.

The story so far

Lest you have been in a coma for the last year or so, I can briefly recap out the basic facts.

In August 2010, Julian Assange, an Australian leaky geek, was in Stockholm, having been invited to talk about his work with Wikileaks, which had been busy publishing on the internet things that various governments would rather keep secret. He accepted an invitation to stay at the apartment of Miss Anna Ardin, who had organised the event, and during the night of 13/14th August they went to bed together, had sex and then went to sleep. Continue reading


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Celtic Woman (sic)

Celic Woman

I have been pretty much lazing around this weekend.  Jeanie and the children are away for a few days, I have a lingering cold and my physician told me last week that I am suffering from poly fibromyalgia, which appears to be a fancy way of saying that I ache all over (I could have told him that.  In fact, I did tell him that.  He told me to rest).  So I have been sleeping and waking up at any time of day or night, feeding off Scotch eggs and Turkish Delight, wandering around the house in whatever dress or undress I choose, reading rubbishy books on my Kindle and watching some TV.  It has been rather cheering. Continue reading

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Dyson – No loss of Power

Lord Dyson

I was really pleased to see my old friend John Dyson – Lord Dyson as he now is – as one of the judges of the UK Supreme Court who has granted leave to appeal to Julian Assange against his extradition from the UK to Sweden.

For the early part of his career, John Dyson was, like me, a specialist in what is now known as the Technology and Construction Court, and so I first came across him when I was just a newly-qualified assistant solicitor at Masons, in the late 1970s.  In fact, he was junior counsel on the first really substantial case that I worked on, and I was given the task of preparing the instructions to counsel from which he then drafted the Statement of Case.  I had never done this before, but did my best.  Before the proceedings were filed, there was a big consultation to evaluate the case and review the draft claim.  Everyone was there: Patrick Garland QC, his junior John Dyson, John Bishop (who was then my boss), the managing director of the client building firm, and other members of the board of directors. Before Patrick Garland started dispensing his wisdom, John Dyson made a general announcement to the room: that the brief was the most helpful set of instructions he had ever had from solicitors on a major case, and that had been a major factor in formulating the case. I was rather chuffed of course – he must have known that I was a “new bug” and it was kind of him to be encouraging in this way.  There were real difficulties with that case but, with John Dyson’s help, we dug away hard at a novel but profitable seam (recovery of gross margin via then the-untested Hudson Formula) and ended up with a very satisfactory result for the clients. Continue reading

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A Cliche Afoot

It is absolutely staggering that someone should turn up to the UK LibDem Party Conference wearing SOCKS AND SANDALS.

This is like the little lemmings all marching off towards the edge of the cliff with nervous smiles, all holding banners saying, “We are the jumpers”. Kind of cute and sad at the same time.



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New Zealand seem to be doing rather well at sport these days.

Not only did they win the Rugby World Cup this year (which you might have expected) but they have also just won a 5 day test match against Australia (which you would not).

My father-in-law will be pleased.  He has sat through test matches for years back in New Zealand waiting for a win, and has had a pretty arid time in this respect.

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