Friday, August 27, 2010

Renovation, renovation, renovation...

Just a quick word as to the reason for the recent posting hiatus here at the Throne.

In a moment of weakness, I acquiesced to Mrs RToK's 'suggestion' that we needed a new bathroom. There is now a large gap where the bath and shower used to be and four bare walls which used to be covered in perfectly serviceable - if admittedly dated - tiles, all of which were forcibly removed by my own (once fair, now gnarled and scarred) hands.

The plumber is due to return this Sunday to install the new 'suite', as I have learned to call it; but until then, it's showers at either work or a neighbour's house.

Enough said, I suspect.

I'll be back once the dusty cave which once served as the family salle de bain is returned to a usable condition...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Predictions for the forthcoming football season...

It's that time of year again when, for the last two years at least, I have traditionally gazed into the Throne's murky crystal ball in an effort to predict the positions in which all twenty Premier League football teams will find themselves at the end of the season.

Well, all good things come to an end, and instead of attempting to predict the position that each and every club will find itself in - an enterprise in which, if I say it myself, I was more successful than the newspaper pundits who are paid to do so - I propose to predict only the most important matters, which I will entitle the Winners and the Losers.

It wouldn't take a Philedelphia lawyer to work out that the Winners group will include the League Champions, the remainder of the 'top four' who will thereby qualify for the Champions League and a further three clubs who will qualify for the Europa League, always assuming that seventh palce will be good enough to do so.

The Losers, of course will be the three clubs that I envisage kicking off the 2011 - 2012 season in the Championship.

So here goes, starting with the Winners:

Champions: Chelsea.

Rest of the top four (in no particular order): Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Europa League (again in no particular order): Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.

Moving on to the Losers, and with apologies to the supporters of the clubs concerned: Blackpool, West Brom and Wolves.

I had considered both Stoke City and Birmingham for places in the Europa League positions and whilst I eventually selected 'safer' choices, I would not be surprised to see either of them force their way into that select club, unlike Aston Villa, where I foresee a mid-table finish at best, following a season of rebuilding and recovery after their recent losses.

So there we are.

As usual, following the last games of the season mext May (doesn't that seem a long way off!), I'll be back to assess my predictions against what actually happened, and open myself up to the usual ridicule if the crystal ball has misled me...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Could Bamber be innocent after all?

As something of a student of these things, I have to say that, irresepective of my now oft-repeated support for the presumption of innocence, I had always thought that the jury in the Jeremy Bamber trial got the verdict right, even if it was by the tightest possible margin of 10 - 2.

However, this article in today's Daily Telegraph gives me cause to reconsider that position.

If, as it would appear, Bamber's father telephoned the police on the night of the murders, suggesting that his daughter had gone 'berserk' and stolen one of his guns, it throws a second call, made to the police ten minutes later by Jeremy Bamber himself, into even sharper focus than before.

Because in that call, Jeremy Bamber told police that he had just spoken to his father, and went on to recount an almost identical account to that allegedly contained in the newly-uncovered call made by his father.

As the article goes on to say, the legitimacy or otherwise of that call was to play a vital role in the jury's deliberations, as the judge himself described the matter as pivotal to the case.

Unfortunately, the jury were not made aware of either the existence, or the content of the earlier alleged call from Bamber's father, a call which on any reading of the facts of this troubling case, would have strengthened his son's defence immeasurably if its contents are as they have been reported.

All that said, there is still an amount of evidence which points to Jeremy Bamber's guilt: his mention of the potential inheritance of £426,000 were all his relatives to perish, the existence of certain forensic evidence linking him to the murder weapon and the alleged discussion with a former girlfriend of the possibilty of hiring a hit-man to kill them, to name but three of the most compelling.

But that is to avoid a fundamental issue.

The jury responsible for convicting him - by the thinnest of margins, remember - were never told of the existence of the newly reported phone call from Bamber's father; a call which if it, at the risk of sounding repetetive, actually happened and was as has been reported, undoubtedly lends credibility to Bamber's account that his father had in fact phoned him; an issue described, remember, as one about which the entire case turned.

I see that the case is back with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


If this evidence actually exists, it has the capacity to cast doubt on the safety of Bamber's conviction and the matter ought to be brought back before the Court of Appeal as quickly as it can be.

Bamber might just be innocent, and if this new evidence is credible, a new jury in possession of all the facts, must be allowed to consider that possibility.

Kevin Myers and a question for the Guardian...

In this article, the ever excellent Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent, asks the publishers of the Guardian why they saw fit to hire a defeated terrorist warlord to act as a moral arbiter over the actions of the British Army in Afghanistan.

Written with his usual searing disregard for reputations - in this case, those of a dissembling murderer and his naive self-hating paymasters - I think he's got it spot on; but what do you think?