Cartoon not required

Xmas 2012 approached and a barristers’ chamber – Pump Court -obliged with a blog headlined, This Year’s Wakiest Cases: Festive focus on ‘discrimination on the ground of philosophical belief’.  Perhaps these ‘freedom of thought and conscience’ cases are amusing for some lawyers because they cannot see them as part of a larger class struggle in Britain. Here’s a story of three unions and betrayal. Continue reading


Conspiracy at the BBC

Nine years ago I had a long chat with the man entrusted with investigating the collapse of three skyscrapers in New York on 9/11. From the off he knew what caused the collapse of World Trade Center 1 and 2. “We were not looking at a bomb. We knew what the source of the problem was, which was the airplane impact. There was substantial evidence for that. We didn’t really need to understand what caused the building to collapse. We knew what started the process.” Continue reading

Runnymede blues

An epidemic of back-slapping spreads as the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta –  sealed at Runnymede, England on 19 June 1215 – draws closer. This Grand Charter emasculated the divine right of kings and produced “Britain’s greatest export, liberty and the rule of law”. The constitutions of the US and India, the Universal Declaration and European Convention (of Human Rights) have all been inspired by MC. For all that I’m with the party poopers. Continue reading

Standing up for journalism

There is a  mailing list for left-leaning journalists at Britain’s prestigious National Union of Journalists. Not so long ago the conversation was about whether this ‘left list’ was moribund. Now there’s a lively debate about sending a letter to the ‘The Journalist’ (the in-house rag) to voice dismay “that the leadership of our union has seen fit to ‘celebrate’ the satire of Charlie Hebdo.” Continue reading

Points of awe

The common law in England is the accumulated wisdom of the judiciary distilled in decisions and preserved in law reports. I think there is something quite magical about depending on a judgment handed down in the 18th century. But now I will never know whether a breach of the peace in Hampstead,  London – settled in the House of Lords on 28 November 1893 – may have helped in a quest for freedom of thought and conscience in the United Kingdom today. Continue reading

A beautiful mind

If there’s a fringe benefit to litigation it is the opportunity to appreciate the refined elegance of the trained legal mind. It makes it easier to accept, if  necessary, that you were wrong in law and flawed in argument. – careless and wasteful of the court’s time too. But it is equally a breach of trust, and the arbitrary exercise of power, to dispense justice laced with fallacy. Continue reading

Ignore the facts

Judgments are intended to explain to the parties why they won or lost. I don’t believe that the judgment in Maistry v BBC (4-04-2012) does that. Nor do I think that the Court of Appeal judgment (9-07-2014) makes matters any clearer. Is the case representative of the legal process in Britain?  Is it impossible for ordinary folk to understand the law? I am hoping careful reporting will allow people to judge for themselves. Continue reading

Spot the Difference

Some 23 000 BBC employees carry passes inscribed with the BBC Values  which – together with the Corporation’s Mission and Vision – inform the work of the BBC and the discharge of its public purposes. Thousands of other freelancers and independent producers are also bound by these Values.

At a month-long trial in Birmingham in February 2012 the Values took centre-stage.To support its claim that the BBC Values are no more than a mission statement, in short nothing to believe in,  the BBC Continue reading