Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two sacks, or three, Mr Heathcoat-Amory?

Whilst strolling home from my regular twice-weekly run, I spotted this sign and the accompanying, erm, pile on a country lane in Old Langho near Whalley.

Granted, it's in a reasonably well-hidden corner of the Ribble Valley, and a conservative 230 miles from his home in Somerset, but what a pity David Heathcoat-Amory MP didn't happen upon it by chance.

Just think of the trouble he might have avoided...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Steven Gerrard: acquitted and innocent...

Just over four months ago, I posted this update to a post I wrote in January of this year about the Steven Gerrard 'assault' case.

I will not bore you all by rehearsing the points I made in those posts - the links are there for you to read at your leisure - but forgive me for reminding you that they both referred to the presumption of innocence granted to those charged with offences inthis country; a presumption which many in the press chose to virtually ignore in questioning whether Gerrard was fit to play for either his country or his club, because he had been charged with assault - a matter which was subseuently dropped before it went to trial - and affray.

Well the wheels of justice have now turned, Mr Gerrard has been tried and acquitted of that allegation.

And for those in the press who possibly wanted to see him convicted, allow me to point to the words of the trial judge, Henry Globe QC, in discharging and releasing him:

"The verdict is a credible verdict on the full facts of this case, and you walk away from this court with your reputation intact... what at first sight to the casual observer may seem to have been a clear-cut case against you of unlawful violence, has been nowhere near as clear-cut upon careful analysis of the evidence."

And that, in a couple of sentences, is why we have the presumption of innocence; because in a trial situation, when evidence is tested, it is often found to be far more opaque than it first appeared.

I wonder if all those journalists who salivated so obviously over Gerrard's arrest and subsequent trial will have the decency to print articles as large as their sensational originals in apologising to him and declaiming his innocence?

I won't hold my breath waiting for them to appear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kevin Myers on the Irish public sector...

By way of a gentle reintroduction to my ramblings, here is another article by one of my favourite columnists, Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent, in which he lays into the feather-bedded public sector in the Republic.

I don't know what you think, but I wouldn't have thought that the Irish trades union movement or Irish public sector workers in general will be toasting Mr Myers' health this evening...

Do you?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Excuses old and new and a rediscovered passion...

Well, once again, it's been a while since my last post and the reasons for my lack of productivity are a combinaion of the familiar and the new.

Put briefly, I've been very busy at work again, but in all honesty, not so busy that I couldn't have tapped out a quick post or two, had I been minded to do so; and therein lies the second reason: during my recent editing exercise, I simply got out of the habit of posting and at the same time, lost my enthusiasm for doing so, too.

As if that combination wasn't toxic enough, a further conspirator raised its head in the form of my renewed interest in the history of mediaeval England, which has seen me with my head in a book for a couple of hours most evenings, the latest of which is Marc Morris's excellent biography of Edward I, "A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain".

Those of you familiar with the Throne will have anticipated that I bridled slightly at the use of the word 'Britain' in the title of the book - Edward was king of England - but other than that admittedly minor quibble, it is a good read at 480 pages.

Now I've finished that one, I'm planning to move on to similar sized works on the life and reign of his son Edward II (red-hot poker, anyone?) and subsequently that of his grandson, the arguably even greater Edward III.

Should keep me out of trouble, whilst I attempt to recover my writing 'mojo'...