Confederation Report (June 2009)

Sometimes, when I sit down to write these silly pieces, I simply cannot think of what to write.

This month I just do not know where to start! And all of it with a “point of law”. I mean, there has been so much going on. Should I begin by attacking the Justice Minister, Jack Straw, who I “had a go at” in the last edition? He it transpires, claimed for a refund of the entire sum of his poll tax, but had only had to pay half of it! When pressed he stated that “Accountancy is not my strong point.”

This from a man,, you will recall, who told us that “Legal Practices are not supposed to be successful” !!! So its ok for you to line your hypocritical pockets, but the rest of us should tighten our belts eh? If you had been Joe public working for Torfaen BC you might have been charged with deception, Mr Straw. Course you weren’t. Legal point number one.

Or perhaps I should highlight the appalling effort of Mr Browns mate at the desk next door planning to besmirch several members of the opposition on a web site specifically designed so to do? And by the way, if the follow hadn’t been shopped before he’d done it, wouldn’t that have been defamation? Legal point two.

Or should I attempt to amuse you by recounting “Golden’s EVENTUAL “apology”, after a few half hearted mutterings into his beard, like “I really regret this happened” Pause. {Aside}” Or rather that we were found out” or ”As much as I regret David Cameron’s trousers spontaneously combusting and him being revealed to be wearing Posh Spices’ designer thong!” Not that he has of course. David Cameron and his thong I mean.

No, but the PM’s eventual apology was fantastic. “I, Gordon “Ming the Merciless”, “Superman”, “Einstein” Brown, unreservedly apologise for Whatshisface, (whose name, despite me and him having been mates for eons-and this being the 27th pension able job I’ve given him in the past ten years – already escapes me- see how innocent I really must be!) him anyway-being in the first, preliminary and entirely unauthorised, planning stage to say nasty, totally untrue things about other people, who aren’t in my party. Or maybe they are, ‘cos I didn’t even read the bits of paper he made into paper gliders. Honest. And I never said he could use my laptop .... Never!”

But then, when asked “Do you take full responsibility, Prime Minister?” something awful happened. His mind must have slipped a bit, because his answer was “Yes Yes I take full responsibility…” then realising that he had undone all the work done by hundreds of toadies over the past few weeks, (raiding Wine Bars and stating, robot like to any journo they could find, “Not his fault. Couldn’t possibly be. NOT HIS FAULT!” (While New Labours leader hid in the under the stair cupboard, puce in the face, clutching “Mr Wibbly” the velveteen bunny and screaming “Shan’t Mummy! Shan’t say sorry!”) went whiter than a Milky Bar and smooth as gravel said “That’s why the person responsible went immediately!” So.....that would be you then Gord. I listened on the car radio, and I did a double take. So did the presenter, Simon Mayo, who’s pretty switched on. But yep! He did say it. But he’s still there.

But it’s a funny thing, My deal old Mum used to say that when things went wrong for the smug and arrogant, they really went wrong. And by golly they are horrid times for New Labour and their rapidly deflating balloon of a leader….

Quite apart from the economy (and you WERE the Chancellor for well over a decade Brownie) here was the embarrassing rejection of Gord’s attempt to plug the dyke of second homes expenses for MP’s, where most of his own party said “Yah Boo Sucks looser- I want to carry on getting free viewing of “Madame Whiplash’s debauched tales of sensuous sin” on my flat screen in Belgravia – saves me taking the tube all the way to Uxbridge where the missus stops capers like that!”

Didn’t you just adore the MP on Question time trying to justify not having to travel 8 miles to the House by saying that “maybe we silly members of the general public didn’t realise that they had to stay at the House late sometimes!” and the riposte from some way “Like being in a job you mean?”

Then there was the Ghurkha question. Now I am going to admit that this is something close to my heart as my Uncle Peter Howard, served in the Ghurkhas in Burma in the Second World War, and I have worked with them as a member of the reserve forces. Good God, they have laid sown their lives in their thousands for this country. They are brilliant people! I’d rather have every one of them living here that some of the Eastern Europeans who are only here to steal and claim benefit. Or else work in Houses of Parliament as Security Supervisors.

And to hear that mealy mouthed reptile, who is apparently the Minister for Immigration – I couldn’t be bothered to remember his name – he’ll be out the door shortly “Yes Welllll……..What you must recall is that there is now fair and just process, as long as they serve for sixty years…IN the combat zone, win three gallantry awards, including the VC, and join the labour party…they’re in! That is if they joined up POST 1997. So by 2059, most of these one hundred and fifty folk will have satisfied the criteria! Won’t be a state pension by then sadly but..”

Anyway pretty peeved Purdey pulled on her purple hot pants and thigh boots and apparently popped along to number 10 and flung a few Karate chops (better if they were Mexican PORK chops), forced Gordon to cower behind the sofa and change his mind. Then, after Gord had had his mind re-changed again, she chased a plainly terrified Mr Woolas (damn-mentioned his name!) around W1 until he had to hide in a Starbucks or some such. He was probably served his Double Butterscotch Latte (justifiable expense)by an illegal immigrant in there as well!

All of this, I hear you say, is just Mumf off on his regular rant about the Government. But this whole crumbling edifice is far more sinister in my view. And its all to do with the Rule of Law.

Let’s take Jacqui Smith. The last few months have seen her stewardship as Home Secretary encompass the Police raid on Damien Greens office IN the Palace of Westminster. Without proper permission. We are asked to believe that the Police DECIDED to use the elite Anti-Terrorist Group, numbering into the hundreds, to mob-handed raid this mans home, arrest him and to “force” their way into the Houses of Parliament. And then to question him under caution for nine hours.

An independent decision. But as yet no-one has revealed WHO made it. We are asked to accept that the police decided on the strength of the “response”.

OK. But what were they TOLD it was all about, and by whom? Let’s face it this is about as Big Brother is it has ever got – arresting and questioning a man whose job it is to OPPOSE the democratically elected Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and to bring to the Public’s attention matters which are of concern to us. And these figures about illegal immigrants being employed in sensitive positions surely are.

The truth is that Mrs Smith, OR SOMEONE pretty darned close to her, must have deliberately “over-egged” the pudding to stop a vote-losing fact emerge, by exaggerating this matter, making out that it was bordering on treason, prompting the disproportionate actions of the police. I don’t believe they would have done it otherwise. That is surely an abuse of legal process, malicious prosecution, and therefore actionable.

And it is extremely frightening to think that if you do something completely legal that THEY don’t like, they can send in the Stazi to make sure you know who’s boss, to teach you a lesson. Isn’t that what Adolf and his mates decided was democracy in the 1930’s? (Blimey, I hope she’s not reading this! I’ll be down the garden up a tree when this edition reaches you. Or in a Gulag in Blaenau Ffestiniog).

There is already a law suit from an American DJ who has been barred from the UK which will cost millions. That is down to her authoritarian, knee jerk policies.

In addition we will shortly have the introduction, at the cost of BILLIONS of pounds, of ID cards, which are a recipe for disaster, and will certainly lead to may miscarriages of justice.

But Wait! – the fabulous news is that in the midst of this debacle Jacqui is able to reassure us of the rectitude of her department, by issuing the news that twenty two, TWENTY TWO, horrid people who have been saying and doing naughty things have been expelled! “Being allowed into the UK is a privilege” and they all abused it.

Phew! That’s a relief then. Justice being seen to be done. Very Stern! Blood and Stomach Pills! There are over a hundred thousand illegals wandering about the UK. THEY’RE not going to pop into the post office to give their dabs for a card. They will pinch or forge one and hang the consequences! I mean what is the worst case scenario for them – a couple of months in a comfy jail, three ‘O’ Levels, a grant to set up a business, then a free flight home. And then straight back in the refrigerator of a lorry from Ostend for more of the same. Hardly a disincentive is it? I daren’t even start on G-20 policing. Mobile phones with cameras are bound to be banned in the next Queens speech, if this miserable excuse for a government manage to hang on long enough.

I suppose that the point of this diatribe is to focus on the increasing authoritarianism of this disparate and desperate Government, and to highlight the fact that it could be ANY party. If you live in a goldfish bowl for too long, you lose the urge to look what’s happening outside. And to prove the point that I am not some fascist trying to rabble rouse the proletariat into civil insurrection – I don’t think Citizen Smith takes Legal News, and us lawyers are so apathetic that we’d rather watch telly than demonstrate anyway – I am able to recount a meeting I had last week, with a Solicitor who is the Conservative candidate for somewhere or other. He said when told who I was “OH yes! What am I going to have to do to win your vote and stop you writing about me in Legal News then?” Apart from thinking “Crumbs, this bloke actually reads a local law magazine!” I was tempted to blurt out “Just keep breathing mate – you’re a shoo-in!”

But then I thought “Wait a tick – this guy may well be in power and, like the last lot could abuse his position just as easily!” So I told him what I thought would be a vote winner - a total reform of social welfare, public funding for the justice system, legal aid for all, castration for wheel clampers, etc etc etc.

He told me he thought that was a little unreasonable and over optimistic, but that he hoped the Tory manifesto would persuade me of the REAL differences they would make and ensure my vote went to him. I don’t hold out much hope for the reversal of all those draconian measures that are gripping our throats like a python any time soon under a Tory Government. I didn’t tell him I don’t live in his constituency!!

Not much news on the Confederation front. But I hope you will:

 

  1. Support the Summer party on 3rd July (application form on page 15, wearing straw boaters and floral chiffon (that’s the men please), and
  2. Sign up for autumn CPD courses – otherwise the nasty, big, bad Solicitor’s Regulator will come knocking at your door for not having your CPD hours, criticise your wallpaper, then fine you money you haven’t got… I know this for a fact, because I have had a whisper that Jacqui Smith’s next job is as an enforcer with the SRA.

Enjoy the sunshine.

Mumf

Simon Mumford
Chairman, Confederation of South Wales Law Societies

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