Long, long ago I placed a “blog roll” on the side of this page listing blogs I liked and which I thought would be worth visiting.
I thought I would do something similar, but in the form of a blog post.
Partly this is because it is well worth doing, and all of the blogs in question deserve as wide attention as possible…
Partly it is because, after Thursday’s four blog posts, and two which are partially drafted, I am looking for a bit of relief from Nimmo Smith fatigue (but do not worry, I will have more to say about the decision and its implications and reception).
All the blogs below have a connection, either close or tenuous, with the law. However I think each one comes from better writers than me, and undoubtedly each one benefits from the author not being afraid to edit their thoughts down!
Quite sensibly none of them are as prolific and verbose as I am, so rather than make them daily visits, if you popped on every week or so, then I am sure that you will enjoy what has been added to each site that week.
Ian Smart has been a successful solicitor in Cumbernauld for a long time. Even though he was in charge of a small firm, he was willing, over a number of years, to devote substantial amounts of his time to serving the members of the Airdrie Faculty as their representative on the Law Society Council. This resulted in him achieving the position, a couple of years ago, of President of the Law Society of Scotland.
Along with his legal career, Ian has been active for many years in the Labour Party. Indeed he sought selection as a candidate at the last election but, somehow, the Party did not choose him. I suspect that was a huge mistake by Scottish Labour.
After the debacle for Labour of the 2011 Scottish elections, Ian started his blog with the following statement:-
“I’ve always thought blogging was for people who needed to get a life but, in the aftermath of Scottish Labour’s 2011 defeat, needs must”.
Since then Ian has been blogging away, once or twice a week, on the issues of the day. His most recent piece is entitled “Of The Bedroom Tax: Tories, Hypocrites and Numpties” and it contains much of what I like about Ian’s writing. It makes clear political points, even if they would be subject to serious debate and, unlike most people connected to a political party, he is unafraid to criticise his own.
He ends the above piece saying:-
So, in summary, I’m angry with the Tories for their malice; the Lib-Dems for their complicity; the SNP for their cynicism and the Labour Party for its ineptitude as an opposition.
Maybe I should become a Green.
(I think the last line is his joke.)
As well as his astute political brain, Ian also has written some deeply moving and emotional pieces about what is important to him in his life. His is a blog well worth bookmarking and following.
He is a fine writer, dedicated lawyer, cultured gentleman and committed politico – and also he is an extremely nice man.
From one lawyer in practice, I turn next to a very good friend who saw sense some time ago and moved from the law into something far more sensible.
He has written probably millions of words on issues of politics, in Scotland, the UK and around the world. He has mentioned and discussed many erudite writers about whom I had no knowledge until I read what Martin had to say about them, and this prompted me, always to my benefit, to find out more.
He also writes vibrantly about his Roman Catholic faith. Martin and I do not agree on everything – for one I am sure he thinks I spend far too much time addressing football-related issues!
He too writes from the heart as well as from the head, and some of his pieces referring to his own life would deserve Pulitzer Prizes, never mind Orwell Prizes!
Martin’s most recent post concerns the resignation of Pope Benedict and his last address to the Cardinals. He writes:-
As a tired but nevertheless prayerful old Bavarian bowed out, he allowed himself a parting shot heard not merely around the world but in Heaven itself, one that will echo down the arches of the years to the end of time – the new man must clean house at the centre, and he and his successors must keep it clean thereafter.
Martin is a fine man, a proud and happy father and an excellent husband. He is also a great friend. Read his blog. You will be entertained and enlightened.
As he says himself on his blog:-
I am a traditional Scottish, quasi-intellectual “peat worrier” who is a supporter of the Scottish National Party, but who remains distinctly intellectually free floating. If prodded, I would give my inward political affiliations as Robespierrist Neo-Jacobin. Besides my political enthusiasms, I’m professionally interested in Scots and European human rights law and institutions; moral philosophy and ethics, sociology (particularly of law) with the odd dod of criminology for that recidivistic frisson.
I like that bio.
I have never had the pleasure of meeting, or even speaking to, LPW, but we have exchanged thoughts on the seemingly interminable Tommy Sheridan legal shenanigans, and tweeted back and forth over the early days of the live coverage of Scottish cases before the UK Supreme Court.
He, along with the next blogger on the list, more of whom below, helped inspire me to write, building on the foundations I gained from reading James Doleman’s unsurpassed Sheridan Trial Blog.
LPW has many astute insights into the machinations of Nationalist politics but, as per the bio, without sticking rigorously and unquestioningly to the SNP party line.
Independence of mind in a supporter of independence is a potent combination.
LPW also produces excellent analyses of legal issues, and has been particularly wise in addressing issues about the courts themselves.
In it he makes the very relevant though ignored point that, with Lords Reed and Hodge comprising the Scottish duo in the Supreme Court, there will not, health and acts of God aside, be a further vacancy for a Scot on the Supreme Court till nearly 2030. LPW writes about how this might head off at the pass some Scottish jurists who have ambitions for a place at the top of the Scottish judiciary.
A comparison with the two Scots lawyers who’ll now sit on the UK Supreme Court is an instructive one. On admission to the Faculty, the second Scottish judge on the Court, Lord Reed, was about 27 years old, Hodge was 30. In judicial terms, both of the Scottish justices are now in the green salad days of their youth, Lord Reed 56, and Hodge 59 years of age. That’s a half-decade younger than their most youthful English or Northern Irish colleague.
Barring ill-health or disaster, both men potentially have more than a decade and a half of judgin’ in London before them. If Reed and Hodge prove as zesty as Lord Hope, the no vacancies sign will hang outside Middlesex Guildhall for a substantial period of time and they can expect to be colleagues on the Court until 2030. Unless, of course, we win the referendum in 2014, in which case the brace of Justices will have to seek gainful employment elsewhere…
Finally today comes a remarkable blogger and tweeter, who appears to be obsessed with scones, pasties, Guardian live-blogs on weather, look-alikes who don’t resemble the person they are meant to look like, and the preponderance of tiny people appearing on BBC Question Time.
You can find his twittering here.
He was able to obtain a first draft of the questions asked by the Vicky Pryce jury which was ultimately discharged for being too silly for being unable to reach a verdict.
His draft included such queries as:-
1. Can we rely on the readings of chicken entrails by the juror who sacrificed a chicken on the third day of deliberations?
2. If we believe that the accused had an identical twin who is wholly evil and may have committed the crime can we use this in reaching our decision?
3. Is the episode of The Tweenies featuring Max dressed as Jimmy Savile something we can take into account in reaching our decision?
I defy anyone to read his blog and not laugh.
So that is four for today.
Read them and enjoy them!
I do and I am hugely grateful to them all for the time and effort they put into their varied writings. (But please remember to come back here for the turgid and self-important drivel!)
Posted by Paul McConville