Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finger on the pulse

I'd be the first to defend the right of the older generation to stand for public office, although my local UKIP parliamentary candidate in south-west London seems to be fighting the 1959 general election rather than the one scheduled for 6th May 2010.

Brian Gilbert, 78, tells us that he 'hopped from job to job' until 1956, having trained as an air radio fitter in the RAF after the war. The former serviceman reveals that he then 'commenced a career in punched cards and computers' with IBM. What he's been up to in the intervening half century doesn't appear to be deemed that relevant to his political ambitions.

The lively septuagenerian gets letters published in The Daily Telegraph with extraordinary regularity, if the 42 he posts on his website are anything to go by. Some poor civil servant at the Ministry of Justice has also been forced to reply to correspondence that he sent to the Queen about constitutional matters and a troubling legal case called Thoburn v City of Sunderland.

On an election leaflet I received through the post, Brian lists his top 'local' issue as leaving the EU. And checking his website, he seems very focused on the erosion of our traditional British rights. His reference points for a lot of what's happening in 2010 appear to be the Magna Carta of 1215 and the 1689 Bill of Rights. Things have got so bad that 'if you appeal against a parking fine by the Council you have to travel to Central London where your appeal is listened to by a Solicitor employed by the London Councils'. It's certainly a slippery slope. The road to hell is paved with fixed-penalty notices and signposted Central London.

So many 'bad laws' have been passed in recent years that Brian suggests a blanket Repeal Bill to get rid of them all. This would cover everything from quantitative easing to 'oppressive' regulations on recycling and Home Information Packs. Friendly UKIP members are taken with Brian's suggestion for a catch-all piece of legislation that would rip up everything Labour's introduced. They've kindly suggested that, while we're at it, we could scrap the Human Rights Act, Race Relations Act and the law that abolished the death penalty for treason.

Why do I have hunch that the local incumbent, Dr Vince Cable MP, isn't unduly worried by Brian's campaign? The UKIP man is, however, making me wonder whether I should poke my head round the door of a public meeting. There could be some fun and games.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jack? You'll find him in the potting shed.

I discovered tonight that Kiefer Sutherland - better known as Federal Agent Jack Bauer from 24 - is already a grandfather. If the terrorists knew this, they wouldn't take him half as seriously. But at least the President would always know where to locate him. Chances are you'd find him on his allotment.

A law unto herself

I was surprised this week to read about the death of law student Laura Main. The 28-year-old posthumously hit the headlines after a misadventure verdict was delivered by the Coroner in Westminster. While studying to be a solicitor, Ms Main was pursuing a double life as an escort with an agency called Bunnies and DJing under the assumed name of 'Lady Asbo'. She died after taking a cocktail of alcohol, valium, GHB and meow meow, while celebrating Christmas with fellow call girls.

Perhaps I'm a little old-fashioned and easily shocked. But I don't think I'll ever see conveyancing in quite the same light again.