Thursday, 22 December 2011

Fuck you in arse Trafigura, a lot of good your injunction did. £9,677,554 ATE Premium recoverable

As we all know (because the Texas tort reform post is below, sheesh! pay attention, it's just tits and hilarious rapey jokes.... and huge gaps when I get obsessed with something shiny) In the UK, the usual rule is that the loser of a civil court case has to pay the legal costs of the winner. 

Now globally acknowledged uber khunts Trafigura, of the poisoning Africans to make a quick buck, taking out super-injunctions to stop anyone calling them on their bullshit, variety have fought what are in essence 3 trials about legal costs to try to trim down the costs of Leigh Day (sols for various poisoned claimants). 

Anywhose, there has been a full on cripple fight over whether the deffered insurance premium of 9 and a half million quid was reasonable and could be recovered in full. Generally these things cover a poor claimant for the cost of the defendant if they lose, the claimant can't pay the premium up front so the insurer carries the risk of losing the case and not getting its premium along with the risk of paying the otherside's costs (which were something like £14, allegedly, I bet they'd have been about £200 million if they had won but that is an issue for a different hate rant). 

So fcuk you Trafigura (who are quite possibly insured and will barely feel this but fcuk them anyway) I hope it was worth it. 

Christmas Tits are awesome!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Battleship Pron

King George the 5th Class, looking a bit worse for wear, probably just before scrapping, don't know which one.

I miss Glasgow

Only Glasgow could produce such optomistic quotes as "As wan door closes anither yin slams in yer face"

Monday, 19 December 2011

Texas Tort Reform

From the Economist

In June the governor of Texas signed a “loser pays” tort law, intended to discourage slight or frivolous lawsuits by making losers pay the winners’ legal costs. Conservatives are eager to support it. The right has maintained for decades that America’s legal culture smothers small businesses, doctors and innovators.

Too bad, then, that the Texas law is timid. “Loser pays” is the norm in many countries, including England, Canada and Germany. But there, “loser pays” is the rule in most torts. The Texas bill awards legal costs only for suits “that have no basis in law or in fact” and are dismissed before any evidence is gathered. Most competent lawyers can write a complaint that clears this bar. Even the Texas trial-lawyers’ association eventually endorsed Mr Perry’s law.

So, England and Wales adopt American style damages based agreements and America adopts English (I am pretty sure it's the same rule in Scotland but haven't checked for about 15 years) style 'loser pays' litigation funding. Litigation boom anyone?
I don't know what the position is with 3rd party litigation funding or insurance against losing a case in the US but surely this gives potential for that market to grow. Might bump the lads at Allianz and see what they think.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

On Freedom

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but licence.
John Milton

The job of a litigator is not to win trials but rather to avoid losing trials

Fun (and profitable) as it is to battle through a long and antagonistic litigation if you are not going to win at trial it is a waste of time and money for your client. You should not be gambling your client's litigation budget on 'how the judge feels on the day'. You run winners (75%-80% or better chance of success) and you compromise (or at the least you recommend compromise in no uncertain terms) everything else. 

Tits are awesome

Friday, 21 October 2011

Tundra Rap

Howard Moon: The arctic has no respect for fashion, Vince. You know, never take the tundra lightly. It can drive a man insane. You know what it is about this place, that gets people mad?

Vince Noir: Not really.

Howard Moon: Have a look through there, what do you see?

Vince Noir: [looks through binoculars] Nothing.

Howard Moon: Exactly. It's the nothingness... the whiteness... the endless... ness. Stretching on beyond the human imagination. Desolation of the soul. Oh my Gooooooooooood!


Howard Moon: Ice flow, nowhere to go / Ice flow, nowhere to go / Lost in the blinding whiteness of the tundraaaaaa / Check him out.

[Vince dances]

Howard Moon: They call him the shrew! Arms in short, then with the claw!

Vince Noir: I'm little Johnny Frostbite, moving around / Freezing you up, freezing you down / Like an icicle / Coming in your tent in the pink light, scissorbite/

Vince Noir, Howard Moon: Arctic death!

Vince Noir: Infinite night!

Howard Moon: Call me Tundra Boy / Cause I move like an arctic

Vince Noir, Howard Moon: Lizard!

Howard Moon: When the blizzard strikes / I disappear like a pipe dream

Vince Noir, Howard Moon: All that's left is the gleam!

Howard Moon: On a tent peg

Vince Noir, Howard Moon: Boosh, Boosh / Stronger than a moose / Don't lock your door or we'll come through your rooftop / Stop, look around, take your mind off the flow / Cause the Boosh is loose / And we're a little bit raaaaw! /Ice flow, nowhere to go / Ice flow, nowhere to go / Lost in the blinding whiteness of the tundraaaa!

Howard Moon: ...yeah?

Vince Noir: All right! Proved your point, in song format!

Howard Moon: Yeah, well maybe you'll take this place a bit more seriously now.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

On Litigation


...ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

Gerald Broflovski

Damn it! ... He's using the Chewbacca defense!


Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

On Liberalism

When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them

F A Hayek

Saturday, 24 September 2011



In the 'people you might know' section of facebook up pops what appears to be a 14 year old girl. Why would I know a 14 year old girl? Oh I see I have a friend in common... a friend in common with a 14 year old girl? who is that...? my idiot brother maybe? I shall click on the friend in common and see who it is. 

Except I didn't click friend in common, I clicked send creepy stalkerish old man friend request to young girl!. Of course I can't for the life of me find a 'people you have begged to like you' section so I can't even find this girl to send a message saying "sorry meant to click something else, please ignore me until you're at least 25 and are having issues with your dad"



All right youtube, this has been brewing for a bit. When I am waiting for a big pot of chilli for one to boil over and make a huge mess of the kitchen so I know it is ready, and I want to titter like a giddy school girl, then I will likely turn to you for some family guy clips or a hilarious montage of star wars clone troopers blasting people to some hefty rock track.

I realise you are putting adverts at the start of things now to try to make some money out of hosting everyone's videos, bit annoying but, okay, I can get on board with that, paying for youtube with the tears of blood that shitt upbeat american adverts for shitt you can't get in the UK cause.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

On Power

The genuine role of the media, the role it must adopt if society is to function in a practically and morally coherent way, is to reveal power, to pester power, to hound it with questions. Because power cannot be trusted.

Ian Dunt

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Perhaps we don't need a state to provide a court system?

via Lawyerwatch

lawyer watch picked up on Centre for Justice a while ago, thier site is here. It describes tiself as;

Centre for Justice is a new adjudication service fr public, business and government. The Centre adjudicates nearly all types of legal claim and dispute and is a modern, straightforward and effective alternative to the courts.
It appears that a claimant approaches the centre who assign an assessor to investigate the matter and then some sort of arbitration takes places (yes yes my views of arbitration are well recorded). The centre is a not for profit and (says it is) independent. I am interested to see how it progresses and whether the law Society will shitt a brick and try to have such activities banned or reserved to the good old guild of solicitors.

The Bar council might go for this because the kind of wig jockey who does not get instructed much often takes the view that he would make an amazing mediator (eh Jayers) and this sort of institution may provide an alternative career.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Alien threat would end the slump

okaaaaay ? what?

So, working with the notion that peak debt and peak oil possibly mean peak civilisation — and that there’s no World War II style economic kick coming around the corner — Paul Krugman’s decided that there might just be some logic in staging a fake alien attack on the world. You know, to get the economy going.

And if you thought that was just a non-challant remark, meanwhile — and that he’s just messing with our brains — Krugman’s referred back to his fake alien attack idea at least twice since then on his New York Times blogs.

From FT Alphaville

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

On Value

"Value" has no meaning other than in relationship to living beings. The value of a thing is always relative to a particular person, is completely personal and different in quantity for each living human—"market value" is a fiction, merely a rough guess at the average of personal values, all of which must be quantitatively different or trade would be impossible. [...] This very personal relationship, "value", has two factors for a human being: first, what he can do with a thing, its use to him… and second, what he must do to get it, its cost to him. There is an old song which asserts that "the best things in life are free". Not true! Utterly false! This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted… and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."

Lt. Col. Jean V. Dubois (Ret.), Page 93 - Starship Troopers

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Tits are awesome

Jeebus I feel old, turns out Frances Bean Cobain (daughter or Kurt & Courtney) just turned 18, result.

Annoying things about living in England 14,327 - Cricket

I don't understand cricket, I don't know why 2 teams would play in the same colour. I don't understand how you can play a game for 4 fcuking days and get a draw!!! 

I really really don't fcuking care that England are now the best out of the 6 or so nations that play fcuking cricket if you go by something called 20/20 rankings. I don't know what the fcuk 20/20 rankings are either.

Cricket is worse than cancer, it's like getting AIDs every time you cross the border. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

I don't know why you are confused by the riots/lootermageddon

This is really fcuking simple.

There was a protest on Saturday that got hijacked by scumbag kids, who did fcuk all at school and are now pissy that they have no opportunites despite living in a global employement hotspot, looking for an excuse to get in a fight with the police.

The equally odious Met who are quite happy to run in truncheons blazing when its 15 year olds angry about (education) taxation without representation decided 20 yeaqr old yobs with bricks are a whole different story and so 'contained' them and let them run riot in the contained area.

Having seen that you can loot as much stuff as you like and the cops will stand around doing nothing litterally every yob and vandal in London got in on the act. You might as well have said 'get your free stuff'. Also, because guns are largely banned or regulated to the point of a ban for anyone except criminals and state employees in the UK small business men, shopkeepers and the like, abandoned by the state they apparently pay because it's first duty is to protect them were unable to protect themselves and their worldly posession.

Having seen the 'lets get free stuff athon' in London Birmingham followed suit and a half arsed semi riot was mounted in Manchester too although, it was a bit quiet out to be called a proper riot if I'm honest and the Rangers fans did a much better job (to my shame) when they last popped by.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

So, you're mad about something on the internet?

People in the UK need to stop venerating the government.

(stolen from the Obnoxio the Clown Blog here, so glad he's blogging again gives me something clever to pinch and shove on rollonfriday when there is a spazfight about whether blu labour or nu labour are worse, anywhose)

People in the UK need to stop venerating the government.

The government takes your money, spends it very badly on delivering things because it's just a way of hiding transfers of wealth from you to multi-national businesses. The government takes us to wars that we have no business fighting, leading us to be responsible for the deaths of thousands or millions of innocent people on the other side of the planet. The government sticks its nose in to things which are none of its business.

All these people who seem to equate society with the government are leading us down a very dangerous path.

Lazy journalists who attack businesses for being tax efficient because that starves the government implicitly seem to feel that the government deserves to have our money for whatever fucking nonsense they want to do next.

Cheerleaders for government spending ignore the fact that most government spending is simply transferring money from you and me into the hands of Accenture, Capita, ATOS, Cap Gemini, Capita, etc.

Stop being khunts and fucking think about what you're saying for a change.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tits are awesome

On Liberalism (old fashioned liberalism not what the confused Americans call Liberalism)

Conservatism, though a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic and power adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place.
F A Hayek

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

If you are having problems with a client I pity you young chap

for I have 99 problems but a lack of instructions is certainly not among them!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Tits are awesome

Yeah, check me out nicking a black and white photo and being all classy and such, have some of that!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

On Client Service (only a little tongue in cheek from AA)

“if a client wants your virginity give him your virginity!”
Anonymous Assistant blog

On Libertarianism

The tax upon land values is, therefore, the most just and equal of all taxes. It falls only upon those who receive from society a peculiar and valuable benefit, and upon them in proportion to the benefit they receive. It is the taking by the community, for the use of the community, of that value which is the creation of the community. It is the application of the common property to common uses. When all rent is taken by taxation for the needs of the community, then will the equality ordained by Nature be attained. No citizen will have an advantage over any other citizen save as is given by his industry, skill, and intelligence; and each will obtain what he fairly earns. Then, but not till then, will labor get its full reward, and capital its natural return.
Henry George Book VIII, Ch. 3

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Psychiatrist - Greek for 'Couldn't make it as a real Doctor'

Lifted almost whole from The Register (which is in theory a tech geek newspaper but in reality the only daily I'd buy if it hit the newstand)

Academic reviewers at the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, based at Boston University's Medical Center, have responded to the British trick-cyclists. They say that a sudden cut in old-timers drinking would probably cause a lot of dangerous health problems:

It should be made clear that 65-year-olds are healthier than people of that age a generation ago - age-specific disability rates are decreasing, not increasing.

[A recent study] showed a direct dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and risk of death in women aged 16-54 and in men aged 16-34, whereas at older ages the relation is U shaped ... The authors state that their data suggest that women should INCREASE their intake to 3 units a day over age 75, and men rise from 3 units a day up to age 54 to 4 units a day up to age 84.

The [UK psychiatrists'] report was conspicuously lacking in a discussion of the important role that moderate drinking can play in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis. Advising healthy people aged 65 years or older who are moderate, responsible drinkers to stop drinking or to markedly reduce their intake would not be in their best health interests, especially in terms of their risk of cardiovascular diseases ... the absolute risk for cardiovascular diseases increases markedly with age, and therefore the beneficial or protective effect of light to moderate drinking on cardiovascular diseases is greater in the elderly than in younger people.

And there are in fact many other benefits of an occasional tipple when one finds oneself getting on a bit - in fact some of the worst scourges of the elderly are alleviated. 
Evidence is also accumulating that shows that the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia is lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers. Neurodegenerative disorders are key causes of disability and death among elderly people. Epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption, may reduce the incidence of certain age-related neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease. Regular dietary intake of flavonoid-rich foods and/or beverages has been associated with 50% reduction in the risk of dementia, a preservation of cognitive performance with ageing,a delay in the onset of Alzheimer's disease and a reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

If this wasn't enough, the fact is that a drop of booze now and then just makes life more pleasant.

Scientific data are consistent in demonstrating that quality of life is better and total mortality is lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers.
Indeed, taken overall, if the UK government as a whole - and trick-cyclists advising their patients in particular - actually wanted to help older folks to live pleasanter, healthier, more fulfilling lives they would in fact advise them to drink more, not less.

[A recent study] showed a direct dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and risk of death in women aged 16-54 and in men aged 16-34, whereas at older ages the relation is U shaped ... The authors state that their data suggest that women should INCREASE their intake to 3 units a day over age 75, and men rise from 3 units a day up to age 54 to 4 units a day up to age 84.
Full details of the damning critique responding to the psychiatrists' poorly-informed and silly recommendations can be found here at the website of the Boston University School of Medicine.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dear chancer of a Counsel's Clerk

If you are going to send me a cheeky email trying to get an £800 uplift om fees do not be surprised that I send you an indignant, "you'll have grand and like it sonny!" reply.

And If you are going to follow that up with a haughty "well this necessitated us actually doing something other than trying to convince you that you should settle the file" type email then maybe your offer to meet in the middle should be the same as the fee we agreed 3 weeks ago rather than £200 below it.

I'd have never got away with that with Chambers in Manc or even the accursed Smog.


On Theodore Roosevelt

Must be President some day. A man you can't cajole, can't frighten, can't buy.

Bram Stoker, novelist, upon meeting Roosevelt in New York City in 1895,

Litigation funding attracts PE interest - LITIGATION TO DER NATION!

from Financial News

Bramden Investments, which typically invests between £250,000 to £10m in start-up companies in the UK, Europe and US, is providing around £20m in funding to a new litigation funding vehicle, Vannin Capital.

Vannin is seeking to profit from a new type of asset class, by paying the costs of legal claims in return for between 25% and 45% of the spoils. It was founded by solicitors Nick Rowles-Davies, Matthew Cox and William Evans at the beginning of the year, although Rowles-Davies has only just launched the firm full time after quitting his position as a partner at West End law firm Bridgehouse Partners.

Litigation funding is a small but fast growing investment class that promises high returns that are not dependent on favourable economic conditions. Legal disputes tend to increase during recessions.

There are currently only a handful of major players in London, including Aim-listed Burford Capital and London-based Harbour Litigation Funding, which have attracted a mix of institutional and wealthy private investors.
tech boom -> property boom -> social media boom -> litigation boom = harvest time at Sumo's dispute farm, assuming of course investors are cognisant of litigation risk and don't swamp litigators with too much of the kind of bureaucratic mess 3rd party funders like to swamp litigators with.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Firms have a lot to learn from the Restaurant biz

I was out for a fairly snazzy lunch the other week, food was good but service was excellent, absolutely made the meal. Mrs Sumo raves about it, slags off other snazzy restaurants what she drags me to when she is sick of just having steaks. 

It dawned on me, while supping on a braised shin of beef, that the restaurant was not cheap, was closed on a weekend, had good food but on its own no better than a slew of other generic places and yet was full on a weekday afternoon, was booked for weeks in advance and had me thinking I would come back here. 

The service made it, attentive, knowledgeable staff, specialised in their tasks, friendly yet professional, immediately available yet not hassling you. That is the absolute blue print for any Law Firm. 

There is no excuse for a firm to fail. Study a top flight restaurant and apply it. It's a simple formula it just takes a bit of a culture shift and a realisation that you are providing service and it is not you who is important. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Oh you are fcuking kidding me you fcuks!

Apparently growth in the Uk is stuttering because of the Royal Wedding? a big tawdry pile of shitt that is basically an excuse to manufacture a pile of tawdry shitt to flog to tourists is responsible for the Uk's economic woes. 

Do fcuk off

That is some weak reporting even for the increasingly vapid Spazygraph

Friday, 20 May 2011

Quote of the Day - On the coming Zombie Apocalypse

The only thing more annoying than zombies are teenagers, a plague of which Admiral Khan and the CDC do not have the resources to handle. None of us do, really. And let's not even think of the damage that the real zombies of Planet Earth – the Baby Boomers – are getting set to do as they retire and slurp the remaining flesh off the thin bones of the Western economies.

El Reg

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Firms are just not getting it!

First off, there are 2 big events on the UK legal horizon. The first is the much trumpeted Alternative Business Structures (ABS)n which broadly unshackle firms from having to be formed as a partnership of solicitors. The LLP structure started this but ABS takes it to a whole new level and might see firms listing. 

The next thing is Lord Justice Jackson's cost reforms which to my mind seem to be trying to make costs rules for litigation in England and Wales much more American, with contingency fees, lawyers carrying risk and client's carrying risk in so far as they have to take out insurance to cover the costs of the otherside should they lose. At the moment that insurance premium is recoverable from the other side assuming it is acquired at a reasonable market rate. 

I've skipped over this and simplified massively but the point is that even if ABS does not have the huge impact many academics well out of the actual profession expect, the new cost rules probably will (in whatever form they are ultimately implemented). 

Into all this 'making it easier to start a law firm' and 'making litigations cheaper and thus easier to start' environment we have a new fashion of firms publishing assistants and associates billed hours (here, here). On the face of it a bit of a draconian way of boosting productivity and certainly cheaper than buying a case management system that actually works (if such a thing even exists?!). 

But management are missing the point. Instead of giving assistants more stick to bill (and inevitably pad out bills) partners should be focusing on assessing and judging assistants by client service. It's a no brainer (and something the 4 Hullsmen of the Apocalypse bang on about constantly). The market is going to get more competitive, Fee income probably is going to shrink on a case by case basis as a result (honestly, is every single hour you work for the client worth £700? even the one where you are looking over a senior associate's letter to the OS telling the to get fcuked?) and the firms that survive are not going to be the ones over charging the client so that they can keep up in the city rankings, it's going to be the ones that can win and hold clients. It's that fcuking simple, it really is. 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

On Libertarianism

Libertarians see the individual as the basic unit of social analysis. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions. Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility. The progressive extension of dignity to more people — to women, to people of different religions and different races — is one of the great libertarian triumphs of the Western world.
David Boaz

The word "outcome" is jargon

had to be done or the universe would surely implode

Conan Trailer! Resultasaurus Rex!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

South Park does Steve Jobs

You clueless spaz brained fcuks had better be kidding!

Dog owners could be forced to have a microchip implanted under their pet's skin under government plans to combat dangerous animals.

New-born puppies and dogs sold would have a chip inserted under the skin between their shoulder blades at a cost of about £35. Details would be placed on a national database acces- sible by police and the RSPCA. Microchips are already compulsory for owners who take their dogs abroad.
I don't even know where to begin with this shitt! The Government is supposed to be (or we are told it is) run by people who have a fcuking clue and at least, least! 2 fcuking brain cells to rub together.

I can see the thought process behind this "couple of kids got badly bitten and that piece of w@nk dangerous dogs act that we wriggled in the last time people were dumb enough to let the khunts and grandads party into power has predicatably done nothing and since we don't have any good ideas we'll go with another bad idea, cause this is how the government response flow chart works dontcherknow!"

So what we have is a pile of poorly trained dogs bought by thugs to use to intimidate people and some kids go play with these dogs at Uncle Scumbag's house and they get mauled by the mental thing and people are surprised and the plan to stop this is to make it illegal to not have your dog chipped and this will stop the people who happily buy illegal dogs from illegal breeders and then have act illegally for a bit of fun. Meanwhile anyone with a fcuking collie or labrador that they spent a ton on getting legit and training from a puppy gets fcuked in the arse for another £35 to have their dog chipped in case the damn breed brakes the habit of a millenia and goes wild.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Growling cape

I do like the I.T. Crowd

[Jen looks at small black box equipped with a single red LED light in the middle of the top side. Moss stands next to her.]

Jen: What is it?

Moss: This, Jen, is the Internet.

Jen: What?

Moss: That's right.

Jen: This is the Internet? [Moss nods] [suspiciously] the whole Internet?

Moss: Yep. I asked for a loan of it, so that you could use it in your speech.

Jen: It's so small...

Moss: That's one of the surprising things about it.

Jen: ...Hang on, it doesn't have any wires or anything...

Moss: [rolling his eyes] It's wireless!

Jen: Oh, yes, everything's wireless these days ,isnt it? So i can really use it in my speech? What if someone needs it?

Moss: Oh no, people will still be able to go online and everything; it'll still work.

Jen: Oh, good.

Moss: I tell you: you present this to the shareholders, and you'll get quite the response.

Jen: Can I touch it? [Moss nods; Jen picks the box up] Ooh, it's so light.

Moss: Of course it is, Jen! The internet doesn't weigh anything!

Jen: [laugh] No, no, of course it doesn't! [laugh]

[Roy enters the room]

Roy: (irritated) Hey! What is Jen doing with the Internet?

Jen: Moss said I could use it for my speech.

Roy: Are you insane? What if she drops it?

Jen: I won't drop it, I'll look after it!

Roy: No. No, no, no, no, Jen. [Takes the box back from Jen.] No, this needs to go straight back to Big Ben.

Jen: Big Ben?

Moss: Yep. It goes on top of Big Ben. That's where you get the best reception.

Jen: I promise I won't let anything happen to it.

Roy: No, Jen, I'm sorry. [Jen becomes woeful.] The Elders of the Internet would never stand for it.

Moss: Oh no, I spoke to the Elders of the Internet not one hour ago, I told them about Jen winning Employee of the Month, and they were so impressed, that they wanted to do whatever they could to help.

Jen: [supsciously] Wait a minute, the "Elders of the Internet"!? [shocked] The Elders of the Internet know who I am!? You've got to let me have it!

Roy: No, Jen, I'm sorry, it's just too risky!

Jen: Oh, please, Roy!

Roy: [resignedly] Well, Moss, has it been completely demagnetised?

Moss: By Stephen Hawking himself. [to Jen] He sends his congratulations, by the way.

Roy: Well, if it's okay with the Hawk...

Jen: So, can I have it?

Roy: You can.

[Roy and Moss dramatically give the box to Jen, reminding her to pick her speech up and carry the box carefully. As soon as she leaves the room, Roy and Moss dance happily]

(This actually reminds me of a conversation I had with a one time boss the White Book - I wouldn't have minded but it was in 2007)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

On Freedom

Books won't stay banned.  They won't burn.  Ideas won't go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas

Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959

Three arguments for AV and against FPTP

1. AV gives MPs more legitimacy by requiring a higher level of support: the AV winner requires “more votes than the other candidates put together“. FPTP on the other hand allows your MP to be elected with a minority of votes, when majority of voters might positively disfavour the winner. (Technically, FPTP allows the Condorcet loser to win, AV does not.)

2. AV Encourages honest voting for truly preferred candidates: voters need have no fear that their vote will be wasted by giving it to a minority candidate; conversely, FPTP encourages dishonest, tactical voting. (Technically, tactical voting is possible in AV but it is problematic and risky. See this LSE paper.)

3. AV is a simple evolution of the familiar current FPTP system; it retains the constituency link, it is very similar to vote in (instead of X, you mark 1, 2, 3, …), it is very similar to count and won’t take much longer; it produces arguably equally decisive results nationally – no more likely to result in coalitions than FPTP. But it is a system that is better adapted to our multi-party electoral environment. FPTP really only works when the contest is two-way. See the IPPR report downloadable from here.

from poplarmark

Friday, 8 April 2011

Tits Are Awesome (Taa anybody? anyone? no? dammit when will I get a word in the dictionary!)

Submitted by 1 Trick Pony

Finally watched Wall Street right through

having had to sit through Wall Street 2 on a plane last week film 4 slaps Wall Street on, wooo, spooky conicidence. Anywhose, I struggle to sit through a lot of films, especially if the main character keeps shouting random outrageous lines, cause essentially I do much the same at work (more for comedy effect, unless I am threatening a wig jockey in which case I am serious about coming after them with an axe), where was I going with thid, oh yes, the point is I think what Wrath needs is a few Wall Street quotes thrown in for fun.

Gordon Gekko: [points at a bum and businessman] You gonna tell me the difference between this guy and that guy is luck?

On Litigation

A prince or general (or litigator?) can best demonstrate his genius by managing a campaign exactly to suit his objectives and his resources, doing neither too much nor too little.
Carl von Clausewitz (alternatively keep reading your translated and re translated trite and dumbed down Sun Tzu for CEOs or whatever they are selling it as these days)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

On Liberty

“A library is an arsenal of liberty.”
Couldn't find the author, but never a truer word spoken

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

On Custom and Practice (and ABS?)

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.
Thomas Paine

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Facebook you v Real you

Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher,

Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone.  was a British admiral known for his efforts at naval reform. He had a huge influence on the Royal Navy in a career spanning more than 60 years, starting in a navy of wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon and ending in one of steel-hulled battlecruisers, submarines and the first aircraft carriers. The argumentative, energetic, reform-minded Fisher is often considered the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson.

Fisher is primarily celebrated as an innovator, strategist and developer of the navy rather than a seagoing admiral involved in major battles, although in his career he experienced all these things. When appointed First Sea Lord he removed 150 ships then on active service but which were no longer useful and set about constructing modern replacements, creating a modern fleet prepared to meet Germany during World War.

Fisher was short and stocky with a round face. In later years, some insinuated that he had Asian ancestry due to his features and the yellow cast of his skin. His colour resulted from dysentery and malaria in middle life, which nearly caused his death. He had a fixed and compelling gaze when addressing someone, which gave little clue to his feelings. Fisher was energetic, ambitious, enthusiastic and clever. A shipmate described him as "easily the most interesting midshipman I ever met". When addressing someone he could become carried away with the point he was seeking to make, and on one occasion, the king asked him to stop shaking his fist in his face.

Throughout his life he was a religious man and attended church regularly when ashore. He had a passion for sermons and might attend two or three services in a day to hear them, which he would 'discuss afterwards with great animation'. However, he was discreet in expressing his religious views because he feared public attention might hinder his professional career.

He was not keen on sport, but he was a highly proficient dancer. Fisher employed his dancing skill later in life to charm a number of important ladies. He became interested in dancing in 1877 and insisted that the officers of his ship learn to dance. Fisher cancelled the leave of midshipmen who would not take part. He introduced the practice of junior officers dancing on deck when the band was playing for senior officers wardroom dinners. This practice spread through the fleet. He broke with the then ball tradition of dancing with a different partner for each dance, instead adopting the scandalous habit of choosing one good dancer as his partner for the evening. His ability to charm all-comers of all social classes made up for his sometimes blunt or tactless comments. He suffered from seasickness throughout his life.

Fisher's aim was 'efficiency of the fleet and its instant readiness for war', which won him support amongst a certain kind of navy officer. He believed in advancing the most able, rather than the longest serving. This upset those he passed over. Thus, he divided the navy into those who approved of his innovations and those who did not. As he became older and more senior he also became more autocratic and commented, 'Anyone who opposes me, I crush'. He believed that nations fought wars for material gain, and that maintaining a strong navy deterred other nations from engaging it in battle, thus decreasing the likelihood of war, On the British fleet rests the British Empire.

Friday, 11 March 2011

On Client Service

Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.
Service wins the game.


Tits are awesome

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

BBC hoplessly biased on internet pron*

(*pron so as web filters don't go nuts)

Desperate to fcuk things up for all and sundry Fat Jackboot Jackie suckles the state's teat by knocking out a truly abominable propaganda show for the BBC. That would be the taxpayer funded BBC which doesn't chase ratings, honest it doesn't honest (of course it blatantly does and churns out shitt)

From El Reg

The BBC was today accused of ignoring its own charter requirement to offer balance by coming down firmly on the side of opt-in in respect of internet pron regulation.

Speaking to The Register today, Jerry Barnett, Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AIT), said: "The documentary appears to have been a piece of pro-censorship propaganda, backed by the full establishment weight of the BBC, at a time when freedom of speech is under concerted attack from multiple directions, by our government and many others around the world.

"Smith also put her weight behind Ed Vaizey's current proposal that Internet connections should be delivered with pron access switched off by default, although adequate filtering capabilities already exist for any parent who is concerned about what their children watch.

"It seems that adding support to Vaizey was part of her agenda for the programme. This capability would be the government's first major step into censoring the British Internet, and is of huge concern to me from a civil liberties perspective rather than just from the industry's point-of-view."

Similar concerns were expressed by feminist pornographer Anna Span, who said: "Can Jacqui explain what is wrong with a simple 'opt out' system, which enables people to have a pron free internet, and also allows others to have the free internet that is not censored by any Government’s idea of 'tasteful' material, which is surely our right in a free society?"

She commented (in a text blasted out during the follow-up discussion): "Ask f-king jacqui why she failed to present any of the intelligent arguments presented by a female insider?! F-king agenda driven judas. And you can quote me on that. So angry"

At issue was whether the documentary provided any real insights into the pron industry, or whether it was no more than the pursuit of a personal agenda, with some help from the BBC.

At issue? I think fcuking not, the BBC has gone ratings chasing by getting a useless wonk who rightly got the boot for dodgy expenses to make a docu-rant about how bad and imoral the UK is and how only she, HMG and the interchangable carbon copy political parties of the UK can make a difference.

Nice to see she is still a khunt.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Dear People with your fcuking gossip mags in the gym




Friday, 25 February 2011

On Freedom

Obviously, I'd like people not to be offended, but if they are I'm not going to waste any time worrying about it. Ultimately, I don't care if you're offended

Cerrie Burnell - Cbeebies - Children's Television show Presenter

Is there a new Tort a brewing?

(Stick with me, it’s a slow burner, if you can’t be bothered hit ctrl F and skip to Lord Justice Rix.)

In 1916, in the New York Court of Appeal Judge Benjamin Cardozo made good law from bad reasoning.

The background to the matter is thus. Mr Donald MacPherson, a stonecutter, was injured when one of the wooden wheels of his 1910 Buick Runabout collapsed. The defendant, Buick Motor Company, had manufactured the vehicle, but not the wheel, which had been manufactured by another party and installed by defendant. It was conceded that the defective wheel could have been discovered upon inspection. The defendant denied liability because the plaintiff had purchased the automobile from a dealer, not directly from the defendant.

The perfectly logical argument from Buick was that there was no privity of contract between the Claimant and Defendant and thus the Defendant owed no duty to the Claimant. The Claimant’s action lay against the seller of the motor vehicle and the terms of the contract on which he purchased it. It would then be for the seller to sue Buick and Buick to sue the wheel manufacturer. Of course at the time, one of rapid industrialisation of America and the early days of motor vehicles, contracts did not tend to include a warrant as to the satisfactory quality of goods purchased.

Essentially what MacPherson was trying to do was extend the duty of care owed by a manufacturer in tort to the eventual purchaser rather than the immediate purchaser/distributor. Until this point an end user was too remote to be in the contemplation of the manufacturer.

Cardozo realised the landscape had changed from a fairly simple agrarian society sort of thing with goods being made by the local blacksmith to one where mass produced, cheap, death trap, prototype cars were being punted to ill advised consumers. He therefore mashed contract and Tort together to get the result he wanted and gave the leading judgment thus.

“If the nature of a thing is such that it is reasonably certain to place life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is then a thing of danger. Its nature gives warning of the consequence to be expected. If to the element of danger there is added knowledge that the thing will be used by persons other than the purchaser, and used without new tests, then, irrespective of contract, the manufacturer of this thing of danger is under a duty to make it carefully. That is as far as we need to go for the decision of this case . . . . If he is negligent, where danger is to be foreseen, a liability will follow”
Which extends the common law duty of care that a manufacturer owes to the end user and started the log slog to the formal development of Product Liability.

Now I say this, not to show that beneath my crass shouty exterior I did show up to the odd lecture at law school but rather because in the UK, at the shiny shiny new Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) there is currently waiting to be heard the Employers Liability Trigger litigation appeal.

This in itself takes a bit of explaining but briefly. The history of construction and manufacture, at least in the UK is one of “dunno what that stuff is but since nobody has immediately dropped death it can’t be bad”. Thus we have reams of judical comment relating to dermatitis, blindness, industrial deafness, limbs missing, extra limbs growing and asbestos related disasters. We have so many asbestos related disasters that we now have judges talking about Mesothelioma Jurisprudence!

The Employer’s Liability (EL) trigger litigation concerns mesothelioma. Broadly we have a body of claimants who were heavily exposed to asbestos in the 50s and 60s. Asbestos is naturally occurring and, good news to the reader, you’ve got some in your lungs as it is present in low level air currents. Fortunately your body fights it and you don’t tend to develop a huge malignant tumor and die. If heavily exposed to certain types however your body’s defences will eventually be overwhelmed and you die a horrible and gruesome cancerous death.

Thus it is with mesothelioma it’s about 25 years from exposure to symptoms manifesting and of that the last 5 or 10 years is where the body pretty much gives up and a tumor starts forming.

Historically, with the various firms of the 50s and 60s that let exposure happen having gone pop long ago, insurers would have to step in and would broadly accept that if an exposure took place during their policy period then they would shell out.

Eventually however, as the medical knowledge and opinion on mesothelioma became more sophisticated some insurers (I say insurers, evil lawyers like me who get paid to stop dying pensioners getting any money) began to consider whether, with the long gestation period there was in fact any injury arising during the policy period at all.

Eventually an insurer broke from the pack and ran a case (Bolton v MMI) arguing that, yes it was obliged to indemnify Bolton Council if someone was injured during it’s period of cover but the claims for mesothelioma fell outside of the policy cover so, sadly they would not be covering. MMI lost but the basis for this was the interpretation of policy wordings and whether ‘sustained’ injury and ‘caused’ injury were the same thing and if they were the same thing when did these triggers happen. MMI had “caused” in it’s public liability policies but had ‘sustained’ (which would avoid it having to pay out) in its Employer’s liability policies.

Insurers jumped on this in subsequent cases and started to decline cover. And there is possibly the bitterest litigation ever fought between Zurich and MMI which is broadly just Zurich calling MMI a dick for a few years.

There then erupted a full scale battle royale test litigation between a group of insurers declining cover and a group of claimants/local authorities/other insurers, that we are calling the trigger litigation and which involved a depressingly detailed investigation of the policy wordings focusing really on what ‘sustained’ and ‘contracted’ which were used interchangeably by insurers in their policies meant. The result being that insurers with policy wordings of ‘sustained’ would avoid their policy being triggered.

This potentially creates huge black holes in cover and while the reasoning has been broadly confirmed by the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Rix has left open the possibility of a new Tort coming into being one where there is a liability arising for increasing the risk of an injury/cancer/etc occurring when an exposure has been made.

(right, so I’ve chopped this down a lot and tried to compress but I would recommend that anyone who can should have a look at this and keep an eye out for how the Supreme Court jumps in 2012)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

On Freedom

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

 Albert Camus

Monday, 14 February 2011

Tits are awesome

Lateral partner hiring doesn’t work

The Lawyer is running a feature here on the reality of lateral partner moves in London. The gist is that it is often a waste of time.

Almost half of lateral partner hires in London leave the firm they join within five years, and up to a third leave after three, exclusive research reveals.

The research not only highlights the instability inherent in the London recruitment market, but also flags up the different hiring patterns - and success rates - of UK and US firms.

The startling statistics show that a significantly higher proportion of the partners that US firms hire for the core areas of ­corporate and finance leave shortly afterwards.

Twenty eight per cent of all moves were at US firms over the five-year period, with considerably more departures in finance and corporate than at their UK rivals. In finance, 30 per cent of the partners hired in 2005 by UK firms had left by the end of 2010. In US firms the corresponding ­figure was 45 per cent.

US firms lost 42 per cent of their 2007 corporate hires by the end of 2010 compared with 29 per cent for UK firms.

The research, by Motive Legal Consulting, is based on 1,944 partner moves that took place between 1 September 2005 and 31 July 2010.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Register Explains how Evil Grain Hording Bastards are not actually to blame for anything other than people being able to eat next week

Excellent piece from El Reg, well worth reading if you are a thicky Wonk or UN Food Person.

Medieval merchants were wheat-hoarding bastards

This is exactly the argument that Adam Smith put forward to explain the activities of a wheat merchant (Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chapter V, start at para 40, here, for a decent dose of 18th century prose). When wheat is plentiful (although he calls it corn – the English did not call maize corn until some time later), say after a harvest, the merchant buys it up and stores it. He then waits until prices have risen before he sells it. If his expected shortage in the future doesn't arrive then he's shit out of luck and loses money. If it does, then the happy populace now have wheat to eat. For, and here's the crucial point: what our merchant, our speculator, has done is move prices through time.

If we all ate wheat like it was that bounteous time just after harvest all the time then we would run out of wheat entirely before the next harvest. Prices would, at that point, become really rather high. However, by buying in the time of plenty, he's raised prices in that time of plenty: thus making everyone consume a little less in that Harvest Festival gluttony. He's also lowered prices in the Hungry Time (in medieval times, the six weeks before the harvest was indeed known as this, it was the worst time of year for food supplies) because he has at least some grain available rather than none.

So we've reduced price volatility, stretched the available supply over more time, possibly even stopped some starvation, by someone being enough of a bastard to speculate on food prices.

Now note, this is physical speculation, actual purchase, taking delivery and storage.

Derivatives speculation, using futures and options, has less effect on prices. It gives us information about what people think prices might be in the future, for sure, but it will only affect today's prices if high future prices lead to that actual physical storage and hoarding. Which could happen, to be sure, but won't necessarily.

All of this leads us to what people like M Sarkozy are trying to say and what the WDM are screaming about. The latter, in their report linked above, come right out and say that as more people are playing with food derivatives, this is what has been pushing up food prices. This is nonsensical, in the absence of any physical hoarding. For a start, WDM seems not to realise than a futures market is zero sum: for any profit made by someone then someone else must have made an equal and opposite loss. For everyone going long (betting on a price rise) someone else must have made an equal and opposite bet going short (betting that prices will fall). That's just how these markets are. It really doesn't matter to spot (current) prices whether three people are betting £50 or 30,000 are betting $50bn: there will be an equal and opposite number of people long as there are short, by definition.

So it absolutely cannot be that “more people speculating increases food prices”.

WDM's second point is that more speculation means more volatility in prices: something that almost all economists would regard with a very jaundiced eye. For the general assumption is that futures act upon prices as does Smith's wheat merchant: they reduce price volatility. Fortunately, the WDM, in its own report, provide us with an example of this. In the 2006/8 price rises, it notes that there's a deep and liquid speculative market for wheat and corn (maize), while there's only a very thin one for rice. And yet it was rice that was vastly more volatile in price in this period: despite the fact that it was wheat and maize which people were turning into ethanol for cars (the true cause of the price rises) rather than rice.

Speculative markets reduce price volatility, rather than increase it.

By Tim Worstall

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Blatantly stolen from What About Clients : Michelle Golden: Why Specialization Fails

Tits are awesome

Party Funding is Important

The FT is reporting that the (fairly) incumbent Government Tory party has received funding to the tune of £11.4 million (or about 50% of its funding) in the first 9 months of 2010 from the big Financial institutions of the ‘City’ of London. The City being the bit with banks and lawyers and various other nefarious outfits shunned by the uppity general public.

Now it is quite easy to shrug your shoulders and say “so what, better they get cash from anywhere that isn’t the public purse” but there is some danger of a Party being bought by a section of the Economy.

Take the last government. For an example of how easy it is to buy a government one need only consider the long running legal battle in the case of Barker v Corus. You may recall some time ago that Corus was actually the nationalised “British Steel” thus HMG bankrolled in the case.

The Claimant(s) had contracted Mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos while employed. To complicate matter Mesothelioma takes 25-50 years to manifest so it was impossible when dealing with various heavy industrial workers who would have moved around a clutch of employers as long ago as the 1950s to point to a single employer who caused (or allowed) the injury to arise. Thus in previous cases the principle established was one of joint and several liability, essentially that the injured worked could whoever he could find that he had worked for.

The Barker was bitter fought to the House of Lords by HMG (spending something in the region £3 million to make sure dock workers died horribly and penniless) and reversed this joint and several approach to bring in a new concept of proportionate liability thus saving British Steel, various insurance companies, the Government, Local Authorities and the like a fair old whack.

Having thus fought the matter to the conclusion it wanted the Government, made of the Labour Party promptly found its main source of funds to be, entirely predictably, furious and so, having pissed £3 million up the wall to change the law promptly brought in the Compensation Act 2006 to reverse the decision back to the pre Barker position.

The Democratically elected UK Government changed its mind because the Party in power’s bankroller rattled the purse strings. So yes, no danger of the same happening with the Tories, what was that about curbing bonuses?