27 November 2006

Polo Politics

Interesting article in the latest edition of Polo Times: A Lawyer's View of the EU Dilemma (the article is not online). Basically proves that the HPA, the sport's governing body, has been getting the law hopelessly wrong for the last few years since it lifted restrictions on non-EU players and thereby on every South American profession with a Spanish or Italian granny (i.e. all of them).
My understanding is that after the Bosman ruling the HPA went off and got an opinion from some distinguished QC who had no particular expertise in sports' law - who said the protections for English players were illegal - didn't wait to be challenged in court by a rich patron and just went ahead and changed the rules.
All credit to Polo Times which has been very vocal on this issue, not least as I suspect the editor's husband, himself a distinguished IP lawyer, has bothered to look into the issue. Maybe now they have published the advice of a leading sports' lawyer, the HPA might think again.... will they have the nerve?

Victorian Liberal

My (quite distant) cousin Ted Baillieu has been fighting for the Premiership of Victoria, Australia as leader of the state Liberal Party (who are conservative). The poll was this weekend and he failed to win, but it looks like he did quite well and will stay to fight the next one in 2010. There is lots of "morning after" press - the report in the Melbourne Age is HERE.

22 November 2006

Lessons in blogging from the West Wing

I have been watching old West Wing DVDs belonging to our au pair's boyfriend (he knows how to make himself welcome in the Baillieu household), and was struck by a scene (episode 5 - War Crimes - Series 3) which speaks volumes about the desire to publish or leak material but how it is not necessarily a good idea. Thanks to a useful website I have just found (Westwingtranscripts.com - amazing), here is the scene in its entirety, which speaks for itself (key bit in bold...).


Toby walks down the hall. The chatter of staffers gets louder as he approaches the WHITE HOUSE MESS.
When he walks in, Toby sees 30-40 staffers sitting andstanding on one side of the room. Ginger is standing in the middle of the group near the back.


The group quiets down. They all look pretty somber, like they're anticipating a severe tongue lashing. Toby sits down on the edge of a table, facing the group, and hesitates for a few moments before speaking.

There's an old saying: "Those who speak, don't know; and those who know, don't speak."I don't know if that's true or not, but I know that by and large the press doesn't care who really knows what as long as they've got a quote. Last Friday, we had our Week Ahead meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Some of you were there, most of you weren't,but I'm talking to all of you now. Bruno Gianelli and I were leading a discussion about whether or not the President should stop in Kansas on his way back from the West Coast, and I remarked that the Vice President is polling better than the President right now in the Plains states...

Sam walks into the room. He stands in the doorway, looking far more stern than Toby.

TOBY [cont.]
...and that if the President is re-elected, it's gonna be on the VicePresident's coat tails. That remark made its way to a White House reporter... We're a group.
[chuckles cheerlessly]
We're a team. From the President and Leo on through, we're a team...We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together...And if you don't like this team... then, there's the door... It's great to be in the know. It's great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say,"I know something you don't know." And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team... So, an item will appear in the paper tomorrow, and it'll be embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the President. I'm not gonna have a witch hunt. I'm not gonna huff and puff. I'm not gonna take anyone's head off. I'm simply gonna say this: you're my guys. And I'm yours... and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.

They all look pretty deflated and chastised. Toby stands up and walks out. Sam walks with Toby back upstairs.

16 November 2006

Insightful political commentary

Tony Blair taunted David Cameron that at the next election he would be up against a "heavywight" who would hit him with a "big clunking fist" (who uses the word "clunking" these days?). Taken literally, this is obviously a reference to John Prescott's famous campaigning skills, although apparently it was metaphorical and Hazel Blears (cockney rhyming slang for "it'll all end in tears") has revealed that Blair was referring to Gordon Brown (see BBC News).

Well I never! Thank you Hazel for sharing that with us.

However, TB will not confirm. He said: "I have decided to say nothing about it. You can say anything - people will always interpret these things but I have said all I want to say, at the moment."

Gosh, how very delphic of our Prime Minister - and how lucky we are to be allowed to interpret his mysterious utterings. Although given Gordon's handling of the economy over recent years, I had him down as being ham fisted...

14 November 2006

More Congestion Charging

So Ken has announced that vehicles in "Band G" will pay £25 to drive in the Congestion Zone from 2009 - see BBC News article - including those who live in the zone.

Although it is quite hard to work out which band a car falls into, this apparently covers 2.0 ltr Ford Mondeos and the Renault Espace.

We have a C Class Mercedes Estate car, into which we can just about fit two baby seats and the double buggy folded (I say "just" - I really mean it, it is a tight squeeze). If we were to have another child, we would need a bigger car. It sounds as though it would be impossible to buy anything bigger that does not fall within Band G - so this would force us to move out of Central London, rather than pay £6500 per year in charges. So this is actually a tax on "hard working families" - Gordon Brown, please take note.

The sooner this bigoted power crazed despot who masquerades as Mayor is disposed of, the better - however, the Labour government has so successfully Gerrymandered the electoral map of London to include millions of people who never come near the zone (and hence do not give a monkey's), I doubt this will have any effect on his re-election.

Question is, will David Cameron's Conservatives actually stand up for motorists on this issue or will they applaud it as a "green" initiative.

08 November 2006

Cameron and Blair sing "Changes"

I was sent this recently and find it highly amusing...

07 November 2006

Free Market?

The Law Society Gazette this week reports on movement by the EU to "investigate" restrictive practices in various European labour markets. Apparently, in Germany the "profession" of chimney sweeps is protected by law and there are restrictions on the number of chimney sweep practices in any one region and on the number of employees they can take on.

Whilst I am delighted that the EU is doing something to promote free movement of labour, why is this only happening now and what is there to investigate?

The serious part of the article is in respect of European notaries who have a monopoly on conveyancing in many countries. Again, this is indefensible - but the EU is launching a "study" of the issue - millions of euros later and what's the bet nothing changes?

01 November 2006

Bermuda blogging

Just one small step for this blog.... I am sitting in a hotel lobby in sunny Bermuda writing this on my blackberry.

Just had to share that