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Leverhulme
19 July, 2010  
Notes from the Paddington end

Mandy furiously promoting The Third Man ... Judge resigns over rent-boy indiscretion … Clegg wants to overturn law that bans animals fornicating with Royal corgis … Punter wins hedging bets case – London Calling


imageA lot of people who end up in powerful jobs are plonkers. They spend so much time selling themselves to others that they start to believe their own publicity.

These days, self-effacement and humility are not virtues.

Have you noticed how many successful people are obsessed with titles or what Lord John Prescott calls “flunkery” and how many of us buy into their status by taking them seriously?

We fuel their swelling egos.

Prime examples abound in politics. The latest Hawke-Keating spat is another reminder of how politicians view petty personal feuds as history. When a politician speaks of his or her “legacy” watch out.

And so it is in Britain.

The Prince of Darkness, Lord Peter Mandelson has just rushed into the bookshops with a blow by blow account of the poisonous animosity between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

imageMandelson (seen here) came back into the Cabinet at Brown’s request and landed a job with a 34 word title.

How he had time to run a department, sit on all those Cabinet committees and write a detailed memoir is a puzzle.

His old boss Lord Kinnock says that Mandy seems to have perfect recall.

But it has been the promotion of The Third Man that has been oddest thing.

No doubt tongue-in cheek, Mandelson has been appearing on our tellies every night dressed in a cravat and smoking jacket and reading as follows from a large book.

“Once upon a time there was a kingdom and for many years it was ruled by two powerful kings, but the kings wouldn’t have been in power without a third man.

People called him the Prince of Darkness. I don’t know why. But this fairytale wouldn’t have a happy ending. But that’s for next time.”

Meanwhile Rome burned.

* * *

imageSpeaking of fairy tales poor old Judge Gerald Price jumped before he was pushed this week.

Price (pic) was the married judge who took such a shine to a 26-year old rent boy that he allowed young Christopher to sit on the bench with him.

In December 2009, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice told Gezza that his behaviour warranted removal from office.

In the future, judges who fancy batting for the other side would be well-advised to stick to Kylie concerts and cocktails.

* * *

In other news, a black female Liberal Democrat councillor was found guilty of aggravated racial harassment for calling a brown female Conservative councillor a “coconut.”

imageThe “victim” didn’t hear Shirley Brown’s (seen here) comment when it was made, but she was later referred to footage of the meeting on the council’s website.

In these remunerative times, people are never slow to take offence and Jay Jewtha, 42, says she was struck numb. She even wept openly in the witness box.

It seems, a “coconut” is a person who is brown on the outside and white on the inside and apparently it is an insult to behave like a white person.

For a moment, I thought Shirl was implying that Jay was hard and hairy which seems far more hurtful.

* * *

The Deputy Prime Minister has called on Britons to petition him about ridiculous laws that should be repealed.

In York it is legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow except on Sundays.

It is unlawful for you to let your pet fornicate with a royal animal and men may urinate in public as long as it is on the wheel of their car and they have their right hand on the car. No doubt this is for steadying purposes.

The Tele’s marvellous cartoonist, Matt, depicted a chap in the dock on the phone saying: “Can I speak to Nick Clegg about repealing certain laws? It’s quite urgent.”

* * *

imageJudges often get a drubbing, particularly in this organ. But it is with delight that I report the righting of a serious injustice.

Harry Findlay (snap) is a professional punter.

He is large and gregarious and he bets scary amounts of money.

He made the mistake of backing his own horse, Gullible Gordon both to win and to lose. You’re not allowed to bet on your own horse to lose.

Findlay says he was hedging his bets and stood to win a lot more money if Gordon won the race. It did.

The stewards were unimpressed and banned Harry from British race courses for six months.

In upholding his appeal and substituting a fine, Sir Roger Buckley, a former High Court Judge and his panel said:

“We intend no comment upon the rule in question [the laying of one’s own horses] here, that is not our role, but we do feel that in principle a clear distinction needs to be drawn between a lay bet placed as part of a corrupt practice or even conspiracy and a betting strategy which has not interfered in any way with the integrity of the race and in particular the running of the horse in question.”

Beautifully put.

But listen to Harry, because it gives you the flavour of the man.

“He [Buckley] was so impressive. He was flanked by two other panellists who, like him, obviously had a thorough knowledge of the case and this is all I wanted. After the undoubtedly toughest four weeks of my life, I very nearly actually smiled when he spoke of a ‘gambler’s instinct’. I knew then that he understood the case and, in my language, he was simply ‘the governor’.”

Harry still has the hump with the British racing industry. He’s moving everything to a much more congenial place: Australia.