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FRED KARNO’S CIRCUS

December 18th, 2014

A number of conclusions can be drawn from the recent referendum on Scottish independence that can be applied to the Fred Karno’s circus now doing the rounds, otherwise known as Ukip.  The first and most telling conclusion was that the Scots don’t like us.  In fact, as far as I can see, they don’t like anybody, least of all themselves, and that is perfectly understandable.  It is also obvious that those who voted for independence hadn’t thought through the consequences. It was an emotive not a logical vote.

The stronghold of the independence movement was Glasgow, whose main claim to fame was that it was, and possibly still is, the knife capital of Europe.  I am not referring to the knife as part of the feeding ritual, after all, that’s why they have fingers, I  refer to the knife as an offensive weapon used to threaten or injure, and most frequently used at football matches.  Such simple pleasures!

Fortunately for the Scots, there  were enough who thought through the consequences to win the day for  moderation and common sense, but for how long?  And could anybody give a rat’s crap?!?

With Scottish independence now on the back burner, up pops Ukip, riding high on a wave of public concern over immigration, yet another emotive issue that hasn’t been thought through.  But it’s not their policies or lack of them that causes me concern.  It’s the dramatis personae that leaves me open mouthed as one blunder after another hits the fan.  We have one party notable, whose name escapes me, drafted in to weed out the lunatics, his words not mine,  who have associated themselves in one form or another with this circus.  And we really should question the credibility of the party when they have accepted Neil Hamilton into their fold.  You may not remember him and all his shenanigans years ago over cash for questions, with his paymaster the odious Al Fayed.  Hamilton, manipulated by his strong willed wife Christine, refused to accept he had done anything wrong or unethical, and he had to be pushed out of the door.  But Christine’s ambition knows no bounds.  Rejected by the Tories, he has popped up in Ukip’s camp, the only party willing to take him, and guess what?  He is being investigated over his expenses claims.

Something about leopards and spots springs to mind.

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STRANGER THAN FICTION

December 11th, 2014

What a hoot! A woman who claimed she was raped by an African preacher gave evidence in court for more than an hour before a court clerk spotted that she was not speaking English.

Lawyers had been struggling to understand the woman, who used a distinctive Creole that is native to Sierra Leone and repeatedly told her to speak more slowly and stand further back from the microphone.

They put their difficulties down to her accent and also the acoustics of the courtroom until a court clerk, also from Sierra Leone, intervened.

Christiana Kyemenu-Caiquo, who also comes from Sierra Leone, told Judge Nicholas Madge that the 38-year-old was not in fact talking English at all, but Krio, an African Creole variant.  Fortunately British phlegm prevailed, and there was no stampede for the exit with hysterical cries of ‘ebola’.

The court clerk found herself immediately sworn in by the judge so that she could act as an intermediary or interpreter for the witness, with another clerk replacing her on the bench.

The suggestion that if the witness stood back from the microphone and spoke more slowly comes straight out of Baden-Powell’s manual on communicating with Johnnie Foreigner. Speak more slowly and shout was his advice, and it’s advice still taken today, from distant shores such as the Costa Brava to the Canaries and all points east.

But what worries me most of all about this farce was the role played by the unfortunately named Judge Madge.  It was his task, in summing up, to remind the jury of the salient parts of the complainant’s evidence.  Unless he was hiding his light under a bushel and, unbeknown to anybody else, was fluent in Krio, what was he going to say?  I suppose one possible approach, which I have heard adopted from time to time, is to simply direct the jury  that they have heard the evidence, and it is for them, as the sole judges of fact, to make of it what they will.  That’s the coward’s way out, but it works until some smart-ass juror asks to be reminded of the relevant evidence, in which case the judge is stuffed, and hopes to God the defendant is acquitted.

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ELGIN’S LOST HIS MARBLES

December 11th, 2014

You couldn’t make it up if you tried.  The Elgin marbles have been in the British Museum since the early nineteenth century when they were ‘liberated’ by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time.  I have never been to see them, and judging from the photograph of the marble that has caused all this fuss, I would have been seriously disappointed.  Frankly, a headless torso holds only limited appeal, and it was either damaged in transit when it was removed from Greece, or Elgin was sold a pup.

But back to the plot, if there is one.  Having spent the best part of two hundred years refusing to give back the marbles to Greece, and at the same time refusing requests from museums around the world to exhibit them, we are informed that under cover of darkness, one of the marbles, the headless bloke, was secretly transported to St. Petersburg, soon to be renamed Putingrad, and is now on display at their Hermitage Museum.

I remember not so long ago the invasion of Eastern Ukraine by the Soviet Union, otherwise known as Russia, and a lot of tub-thumping and posturing and rhetoric coming from the West about the injustice of it all.  Steps were taken, after a lot of navel gazing, to impose sanctions on the Soviet Union which fell woefully short of anything meaningful.  These included cultural as well as economic sanctions, and into that category should have fallen the display of the headless bloke in the Hermitage.

I am told that Mrs. Clooney is on the case, so we can all rest easy in our beds.  It doesn’t matter which side is in the right, but on any view, the Greeks have the high moral ground.  After all, the marbles were removed from the Parthenon, one the the building blocks of Greek civilisation, and that is where they belong.  The fact that the Greeks can’t afford to look after them, and Athenian pollution will reduce them to dust in no time at all, is beside the point.  So let the Greeks have the marbles back, and a good starting point would be for the odious Putin not to return the marble to the British Museum, but simply send it back from whence it came two hundred years’ ago, and, like Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, deny all knowledge.

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PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW

December 2nd, 2014

With Order in Court neatly stacked up and ready for the Christmas rush, I thought you might like a taster, so here’s an excerpt from Chapter One.  Read, buy and enjoy!

As I was also to discover, January was the month when divorce petitions were hitting the courts in record numbers for all sorts of reasons. The rictus grins around the Christmas dinner table as the in-laws made merry mischief with carping comments about the Brussels sprouts and the congealed gravy, and the fourth bottle of vin ordinaire releasing the usual inhibitions that had been maintained, with difficulty, since Christmas Eve. Then there were the presents round the tree which never failed to disappoint, with the breadwinner giving “Her Indoors” a shiny new set of saucepans and oven gloves with a cheeky motif. The kids were screaming the house down because they hadn’t received a new Playstation or DVD player or BMX bike which Santa, smelling of mothballs and strong peppermint sweets, had promised them when they visited Hardy’s department store, and besides, they’d told him they’d been good children, and to have their word impugned by some beery Bozo from Neverland simply added insult to injury.
With the in-laws barely out of sight and wending their way home, the recriminations began. “Her Indoors”, who had kept up the pretence of bonhomie with the help of copious slugs of cooking sherry, finally snapped and flung the new set of shiny saucepans at the breadwinner, telling him to shove them where the sun never shines. For his part, the breadwinner brought up the subject of the Brussels sprouts, bad move, and not even the congealed gravy could pour oil on the troubled waters.
The final straw was usually the New Year’s Eve dinner dance, overpriced and overhyped, with enforced jollity the order of the night. It was when the breadwinner asked that gorgeous dolly bird on the next table for yet another dance that “Her Indoors” lost the plot, told him to drop dead, and stormed out.

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ORDER IN COURT

July 18th, 2014

Image (3)Whilst feeding you excerpts from May It Please Your Lordship, the exciting news is that Book 2 in the Toby Potts series has just been released on Amazon.  It’s entitled Order in Court authored by me.  Go to Amazon, buy, enjoy, and look out for Book 3, provisionally entitled My Learned Friend, due for release early in the new year.

It doesn’t get more exciting than this!

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