Confederation Report (April 2007)

Two things happened to me yesterday. The first was the horrific realisation [aka Realisation 1, Ed.] that I was a “Grumpy Old Man”. I met this fact as I was driving back to South Wales from the Accies Vets match at Yeovil. As I slammed on the anchors to avoid the umpteenth speed camera (the road was deserted, so no problem there), I found myself cursing, not only speed traps in general, but an array of gripes and moans that had obviously accumulated over a considerable length of time.

In what I am assured was a ranting diatribe of biblical proportions with a duration of some four minutes, I managed to include the Orwellian lunacy of fingerprinting children of 11 for a secret national database, Doctors “prescribing” air conditioning on the NHS, free haircuts and massages for the unemployed and single mothers to help give them confidence to apply for jobs, 9 year olds being given £450 vaccinations for STD’s, Gordon Brown and his expensive teeth, and the prosecution of a boy who chucked a tuna sandwich at his mate.

I then got onto Woody Allen (who apparently is quitting “boring” Britain. I didn’t even know he was here!) and Madonna who is also packing her spotted hankie and heading for New York with her entourage of grape peelers and nut shellers.

Now there was, in my view, considerable mitigation for all this. Wales had been robbed by an English ref (but why didn’t you just kick for goal boys?), We, the Cardiff Accies Vets, had just been pummelled into defeat by Yeovil, I had had a perfectly good goal disallowed (by yet another English Ref !), England were on the radio winning against France, and even as I ranted, Manchester City were chucking the FA Cup away . My Cup Ranneth Over.

I then sat down over my new computer (yes Mumford finally moves into the mid 1990’s) to write this piece, only to reach... Realisation 2. That I hadn’t the faintest clue what to write about! Now usually this is not a problem. As with the spoken word, I am a garrulous writer, and although it is probably tedious, at least there is some content to drivel on about. But nothing would come. The muse had left. The lights were on but Mr Brain had left the building.

I started to let you know about the next Industrial Action between 19th and 24th March by the Criminal protesters, and the attendant rally in London on the Monday (with Wedgie Benn coming to lend his support), but I have been banging on about that for so long, and it really must be boring you all by now.

I considered the merits of a witty reference to the revelation that there were fewer firms with dwindling partners in those firms, but that is of no surprise to any of you out there trying to survive. I even considered some amusing tales of funny court room moments. Just wouldn’t come to me.

You see, I was all ranted out. To cap it all, when I finally gave up the task of seeking inspiration, and went to my tatty armchair to watch Top Gear (my favourite telly, and often a means of subject choice through Clarkson and his irreverence), I found it wasn’t on cos they were showing Crufts. I am very fond of Dogs, but watching a procession of highly groomed Pekes, Poodles and those ones with loads of wrinkles and no fur, just made me more depressed and sloughed away any inspiration that I might have had.

In desperation, I started doing that most “Man Thing” of “Man Things”, flicking through the Sky channels hoping there might be something, anything, that might tickle my televisual fancy. And there it was Realisation 3. Space 1999. That Gerry Anderson sci-fi programme, where he swapped the puppets for even more wooden human beings in those ridiculous outfits and the worst sets since Benny fell through the kitchen wall in Crossroads.

And it did get me thinking. Because in that void of the universe, there weren’t ANY lawyers. There were plenty of baddies injecting dolly birds with knock-out drugs from thirty metres, and blowing up vital instillations with death rays, but they were never prosecuted by the Cosmic CPS. Or sued by the interstellar version of Morgan Cole. They were just put to death by the heroes.

Did Gerry have the prediction right? Or was Charlie Falconer a really keen fan as he sat and watched whilst having his post-school Neeps and Tatties with a slab of Haggis?

Either way, 8 years on from the predicted date, there is a real danger that the vacuum will be a reality. Which will be a real tragedy, because when you read about Angela and Ian Gay finally having been proved innocent of poisoning their little boy with impossibly huge doses of salt, after the hell of 4 plus years including imprisonment, you realise that to have the state having the ability to prosecute without any checks and balances for the individual, or at least with the Criminal Defence Service being so weak as to be next to useless, its 1984 and not 1999 that is the bleak truth facing us.

Realisation 4. That you cannot have an adversarial system of justice without adversaries on both sides. The latest development, that the Magistrates Court Lawyers are now supposed to consider themselves as “Third Parties” to prosecutions in their courts is, quite simply, monstrous. They, apparently, will “assist” by deciding what witnesses should be called.

And with that little snippet, I shall leave you. I find my mind wandering to the horrors of the coming weeks, a possible English win in Cardiff, and the “Wooden Spoon” for us, disaster in the Cricket World Cup, and the fact that I have a ticket for the Manchester derby in May, where United could clinch the title, and City could be relegated. I don’t think I shall be buying a lottery ticket for a while. Still there’s always Global Warming to look forward to. With all that Mediterranean weather coming, perhaps I can get my old job back selling ice cream on Tenby beach.


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