Category Archives: UK
Reading about Sen. Cruz calling other Republicans ‘squishes’ because they were not, at least in his telling, as hard-line as he is, reminded me of when I lived in the UK and the late Margret Thatcher and her supporters derided their less-immoderate fellow Tories as the “wets”.
It also made me wonder about the national differences the two terms imply. Am I alone in thinking that there’s some suggestion of unmanliness about ‘squishes’? And if so, is that in fact tied to a national difference, or just to the gender and general sexism of the particular speaker?
Wikipedia tells me that,
Historically, the term “wet” was English public school slang for someone judged to be weak, feeble or “soppy”. Within the political context it was used both as a noun and an adjective to describe people or policies which Thatcher would have considered to be weak or “wet”.
So maybe it isn’t all that different after all?
… principled people have quit over the LibDems’ support of the “justice and security bill,” which establishes a system of secret courts in Britain in which people who sue the government over torture and kidnapping will not be able to see the government evidence offered against them. The LibDem leadership supported this law, whipped their MPs to vote for it, and all but seven of the sitting LibDem MPs did, despite the enormous public outcry against it, including a condemnation from Lord Neuberger, the country’s most senior judge.
The Lords — a chamber full of senior lawyers and judges — has rejected this legislation and sent it back, calling for a system of safeguards to be put in place before upsetting the principle of open justice going back to the Magna Carta. Parliament has ripped up the Lords’ amendments, refusing even the most basic of safeguards in this legislation.
We voted for the LibDems to be the “party of liberty,” but they’ve been anything but. With this latest betrayal of party principles, the leadership has scuttled any credibility it had left. There is simply no case for this measure. The proponents of the law act as though there is a flood of baseless claims of torture and kidnapping that the government has had to settle in order to avoid revealing the secrets of Britain’s spies. The truth is that the government has had to apologise for lying about its role in illegal torture and kidnapping, and that most of its victims are unable to get justice even today. Indeed, we don’t know for sure that the practice has stopped, and we can’t, because we’ve had more than a decade of “war on terror” nonsense that says that the public must be spied upon at all times, but that politicians and police must be able to operate in unaccountable secrecy.
Cory also points to Philippe Sands’s letter of resignation in today’s Guardian.
If I had been a British voter in the ’80s I likely would have been a Liberal, then a LibDem in the ’90s and ’00s, and modulo some defense issues in the ’80s, mostly felt pretty good about it. Not today. Today British voters have nothing to make them happy: their electoral choices are I think even worse than ours. That the British ostensibly have three major parties to pick among only reminds me of a story:
It is said that when Kwame Nkrumah made Ghana officially into a one-party state in 1964, a reporter from the Associated Press asked Nkrumah how he, supposedly a proponent of democracy, could do such a thing, giving voters only one party to choose among.
“Oh you Americans,” Nkrumah is supposed to have airily replied, “you also have only one party, but with typical American excess you have two of them.”
The U.K. Graduate Student’s Guide to Interpreting Feedback from American Faculty — Kieran Healy (Duke), via Leiter.
‘Bystander’, the pseudonymous UK magistrate (a court of first instance for lower-level offenses) blogger, wants you to know something. Well, actually he wants all British news editors to know it:
NO -REPEAT NO – COURT IN ENGLAND AND WALES USES A GAVEL – EVER!
THAT’S RIGHT – EVER!
Just sayin’, as they say.
As it happens, I’m in the UK only a few miles from where this was posted on the door of a Manchester Subway:
(For an ironic corrective, see this compendium.)
The more pervasive rioting has been in London, including a major tear-up of the main street in Hackney, Mare Street, which was about a mile from Homerton, which where I lived when I first moved to London.
The Internet suggests there are signs of returning normalcy. Commentators on the #Manchester hashtag, for example, say much of the damage, including broken glass, has already been replaced.
Charon, QC is a blogging barrister. Charon deals with cold callers: 101
Caller: Can I speak to Charon please?
Caller: You are Charon of The Staterooms, Battersea?
Charon: Yes…and you are?
Caller: We are doing conservatories in your area and wondered if you would be interested in hearing about the opportunity we can give you.
Charon: Yes, but you do realise that I am a lawyer and I charge everyone for my time? I've just started the time clock running. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: Sorry? I'm not with you.
Charon: It is perfectly straightforward. I am a lawyer. I charge for my time. Nothing in this world I live in is free. You called me up to ask if you could speak to me — ergo, you want to buy some of my time. Time is money. I take money. In fact, I have a most useful device from Barclays which allows me to take money from your account and put it straight into my account. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: I'm not sure I understand…you want to charge me money to listen to what I have to tell you?
Charon: Bingo!…yes, you have understood the position perfectly. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: This is ridiculous…..
Charon: What is ridiculous?
Caller: That you want to charge me for calling you.
Charon: I don't see what is ridiculous about it. I have to make a living, as you do. I didn't call you. You called me to ask if I would listen to you tell me about conservatories. I said that I was happy to do this, warned you that I am a lawyer and charge for my time, and then asked you for your card details so that you can pay my fees for listening to you.
Caller: This is mad.
Charon: Mad? Fortunately this call is not being broadcast for you have just slandered me by calling me mad and as I've just finished writing a chapter on the law of defamation for my new Tort book, I'm fairly well up on libel.
Caller: I haven't libelled you.
Charon: Technically, because there is no publication to a third party in this instance, you have not libelled, but calling me 'mad' when I am not, could found an action in defamation, had I been broadcasting this conversation; one which even in these anti-libel days we live in I may well have won.
Caller: This is now getting more ridiculous…. I am terminating the call.
Charon: Did I tell you that I am on the third floor of a block of flats? I assumed, given your thorough market research, you were aware of this. In the circumstances, I was fascinated to hear how you were going to build a conservatory for me. I haven't seen many conservatories hanging off the side of mansion block buildings. I was genuinely keen to learn….
Of course, by quoting the whole wonderful thing I have probably exceeded fair use, and can now expect a writ the next time I visit London…