Easter Sunday, along with Christmas and birthdays, is the only day you are allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast. It’s not a very enforceable rule and not one, as far as I know, defined by statute, but it’s a rule nonetheless. Unlike the supposed law banning eating mince pies on Christmas day, which is, as with many of the most amusing examples of stupid laws, an urban myth.
You know when something is seriously wrong with the world when you are on the same side of an argument as Lord Tebbit. Not exactly known for his compassion, he famously urged the unemployed to get on their bikes and look for work, he’s not a politician you would think of as a supporter of any sort of state funding for, well anything. However, this week he has rather surprised everyone and come out fighting to preserve legal aid for children in medical negligence cases.
It’s probably not quite close enough to Christmas to start employing pantomime analogies, but if there were ever a Cinderella in our justice system it is surely administrative justice. It’s not a phrase that trips easily off the tongue, most of the public have probably never heard of it, most lawyers don’t pay it much attention and even the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) barely mentions it in its business plan. Which is odd because, unlike criminal justice, most people will probably come into contact with it at some point.
As I sat in an excruciatingly long, unmoving queue at Lanzarote airport on Thursday I nearly caused a stampede when I read about the QualitySolicitors deal on my iPhone. My little whoop of excitement and slight leap into the air made many of the frustrated travellers around me think that Spanish ground crew had finally turned up to check us in.
I have a cat. I’m quite fond of him and I like having him around, but, if I’m honest, I don’t think he’d be too upset if I moved away and left him. He’d probably just go and live with the neighbour up the road where he seems to spend most of his time anyway. It’s what cats do. So it’s surely common sense that a cat couldn’t be a reason not to deport someone? Apparently not.
As you probably know, I am not a big fan of lawyers. But I do have to concede that sometimes lawyers are not the only people who make me angry. It probably isn’t too surprising that one of my targets today is the insurance industry. It’s probably slightly more surprising that the other is Which?, the consumer group that, arguably, made me who I am.
Being in power so you can implement party policy is the whole point of politics. At least, that’s what I have spent the last 20 odd years thinking. But, after just one evening at the Liberal Democrat conference, I have realised that actually the whole point of being in power is just that, being in power.
No-one could fail to be moved by the words of Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the three men mown down by a hit and run driver in Birmingham last week. His reaction to his son’s death, killed as he tried to protect his community from rioters, was both poignant and extraordinary. He said he believed people could stay calm and could live together. The police said his words had played a significant part in helping to quell further unrest.