I left the drafting of this edition’s President’s letter deliberately late.
Due to a printing hiatus, my musings for July did not make it into print. Rather, you were all treated to an illuminating article on the wonders of Pershore. I make it plain from the start that, erudite though that article was, it was none of my doing. Although I have visited the fair town of Pershore on several occasions in my youth, have visited their local swimming pool on one occasion and generally enjoyed the hospitality of this quaint market town, I cannot in honesty agree that it would be my choice of a holiday destination. However, others may well differ.
Thus in truth I had left the drafting of the July version of this letter late. This may account for the aforementioned printing hiatus. However, I did want to include a first review on the Confederation party on 15th July. Sadly now this is somewhat ancient history in September, but the remains of what follows were my erratic thoughts in July, shortly prior to departure on holiday for 2 weeks
There was at that point in July an end of term feeling in my office (my personal office I mean, not the office generally!), as I was due to depart on leave with 2 weeks in France to look forward to. Additionally, the weather had by then finally accepted the arrival of summer and we were basked in a mini heat wave if you recall. It is at times like that, with the temperatures nudging 30 degrees, that I can sit smugly in my office, turn the air conditioning down to a cool 21.5 and chill! Sadly, the forecast was temporary and a return to more usual summer weather duly arrived shortly thereafter! Still, I managed to enjoy it whilst it lasted.
I duly attended the Monmouthshire Law Society ball at the Celtic Manor on 24th June 2016. This year it was held in the Augusta Suite of the golf club, rather than the main hotel, thought the event did not suffer for that. Once again it was a well attended, lavish affair, ably organised and executed by the Monmouthshire Society. Credit must go to Clive Thomas and all his team for another highly successful and enjoyable evening.
I have already made mention of the Confederation party on 15th July. This was held in the more relaxed and informal setting of Llandaff Rowing Club, an organisation with which I have a passing acquaintance! The weather was not as kind as it could have been. Numbers were not as numerous as one had hoped. However, all who attended seemed to me to have a good night. My wife and I eventually called it a night at around midnight. We were not the last to leave with a group of hard core revellers still revelling. The pace was a hard one and seemed set to continue into the wee small hours. Oh to be that age and have that stamina again! My thanks to all our sponsors of the event without whose generous support we would struggle to run it.
The Presidential diary was suspended over the summer holiday period. Alas, that is all but forgotten as the return to the daily grind has caught up with even the latest holiday makers in my firm.
I was able to attend the Civil Update Day run by the Confederation at Cardiff City Football Stadium on 15th September. You always know when you have attended a worthwhile course when you come away having learnt something new. I learnt several new things from the array of first class speakers we were honoured to have attending that day. It was with a tinge of sadness that we witnessed the swansong at this event of H.H. Judge Seys-Llewellyn Q.C, DCJ for Wales. The DCJ has been a loyal supporter of this event since his appointment. His commentary from the perspective of the bench has been invaluable to local practitioners over the years. His contributions this year were no less erudite, entertaining and informative. I am sure that the chair for the day, Michael Imperato, will not object to me repeating his observation that it was worth the course fee just to hear the Judge speak, This was equally so this year. On behalf of the Confederation, I wish the DCJ well in the future and thank him most sincerely for all the support he has afforded the Confederation over the years.
Other speakers were equally well received, including the inimitable Mark Harvey. Again well worth the course fee if you practice in PI and related matters. My warm thanks to all the speakers who made the day such a success.
For Family and Criminal Law practitioners, we are once again holding our Update courses in October and I urge you to attend – Booking Form on pages 10 and 11.
Although a little old hat now, but still current, the Brexit debate continues. I will end therefore with my observations, intended for the July edition, on this point as they remain worthy of inclusion I think. At the time of the May edition of this magazine, the Brexit referendum was on the horizon. What an outcome that brought. I will confess to being a staunch remain voter. I did struggle to understand the logic of the leave representatives prior to the event. I note that, subsequent to the event, they all appear to have resigned and cleared off! It is clear from the fallout from this event that a lot of what was spoken of as gospel has turned out to be significantly not. I struggle to understand how any person, politician or otherwise, can so bend and distort the truth simply to fit a political end and then think they will be taken seriously. Not only has this been shown to be the case, many people who voted to leave are now having second thoughts in the light of the revelations post-referendum. I did hear one interview with a leave voter who, when asked to comment on why they had voted to leave, was heard to reply “Well, I can’t stand that Cameron. It’s time we had a change from the Tories anyway.” I leave you to your own conclusions in the light of that comment! If people did not clearly understand the issue in the referendum, we have only the politicians to blame for that. Neither of the competing campaigns can claim any glory for the manner in which they were conducted. The resulting mess is a true testament to that shambles.
The subsequent political fall out has been both quick and breath-taking. We already have a new Prime Minister. I wish her well in what will be some of the most testing times in recent British history. Am I the only one to appreciate the shrewd move of appointing Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary? Being a cynic, I have imagined the conversation behind closed doors at number 10:
Theresa May: Right Boris, you got us into this mess so you can get us out of it. I’m appointing you Foreign Secretary so you can sort out the Brexit deal.
Johnson: Ahh... er... well... I don’t know that this is really my cup of tea Prime Minister. Thanks awfully and all that but..
May: Oh no matey, you don’t get away with it that easily! Your name’s not Farage is it? You engineered this, you sort it. And no, I’m not going to accept your resignation when the going gets tough
Well, one can dream cannot one?
In truth, the political landscape has changed beyond recognition in almost the blink of an eye. For the Profession, this may well be a good thing, several initiatives being shelved at least temporarily if not permanently in the fall out that has ensured. I will shed no tears for the loss of Nigel Farage, though I suspect we will rue the day that David Cameron exited stage left at least as far as our representation on the world stage is concerned. The current political disintegration in the Labour party makes the Brexit fight in the Conservatives look like a children’s squabble. More is yet to come there I fear! In truth, we live in very interesting times.
I am sure there are more twists and turns to come on all this in the future. The Brexit process is likely to be more akin to death by a thousand cuts than a quick exit, but the people have spoken. We are a democracy. We must now put our efforts to making work that which our democratically elected representatives have been told to do. I will watch the process with interest!
In the cold light of day, I trust you all enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing summer break.
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