2022vi1, Wednesday: The question that comes too late.

We’ve all kicked ourselves on occasion for missing the chance to ask about the thing that’s really important. Although sometimes the answer is too obvious for words… Sometimes it’s a few seconds. Sometimes half an hour. And sometimes it’s not till the following day. But I can’t be alone – either among reporters (my former […]

2022ii6, Sunday: Sheer dishonesty.

Politicians shade the truth. Fact of life. But that’s different from deliberately seeking to mislead. Option one is excusable. Option two isn’t. Kwasi Kwarteng: I’m looking at you. Expecting politicians to be wholly straightforward is a mug’s game. That’s not to parrot the common canard about them “all being the same”, or that “you can’t […]

2022i4, Tuesday: Weight matters.

Weight isn’t just a matter of physics. It’s a matter of heart. Anyone with a smattering of physics knows there’s a difference between weight and mass. Mass is how much of something there is. It doesn’t change. A litre of distilled water masses a kilogram. Here, on the moon, in microgravity. Everywhere. Weight, though, is […]

2022i2, Sunday: details.

The best and worst things in life. They trip you up, if missed. They redeem your soul, if marked. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution. I don’t do them, as a rule. Nor is it a review of the year, or an anticipation of the one we’re entering. If the past couple of years have […]

2021xi4, Thursday: Once upon a time…

Let me tell you a story. I think it’s about corruption. But do decide for yourself. Once upon a time, there was a man in Harare. His name was Edwin. He was a ZANU-PF member of Zimbabwe’s Senate. Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash Edwin had a friend who ran a business in his constituency. […]

2021×28, Thursday: Words and weasels.

Words change the world. Sometimes they do so as a result of malice aforethought. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a word for that… We lawyers love words.* It’s an professional deformation. Perhaps particularly (but certainly not exclusively) for us barristers; our working lives consist overwhelmingly of finding precisely le mot juste for every situation our clients […]

2021×18, Monday: Your right to say it.

Three days ago, someone murdered David Amess. We were political poles apart; and yet he strove to be my representative. We owe it to him to remember these are not mutually exclusive. He was my MP. And someone murdered him. I can’t claim any special connection to Sir David Amess. I never voted for him. […]

2021ix11, Saturday: 20 years.

Two decades on from a terrible day, I can’t help remembering – alongside the sick horror – a feeling of professional pride and challenge. Does that make me a monster? I don’t think so. Oh, fuck. Thinking back 20 years, to a sunny September afternoon in West London, I’m pretty sure that’s what I thought. […]

2021ix9, Thursday: the truth behind the lie.

Anyone can lie with statistics. But buried in the numbers backing up the BS, the truth that rebuts it can often be found. And fashioning that into a compelling story can be shockingly effective. One of the great things about numbers is not that they can be used to lie, although they can. It’s that […]

2021viii19, Thursday: A failure of trust.

A brace of Court of Appeal cases highlight both some fascinating litigation points – and why charitable trustees need to trust themselves, and their friends, a little less. Like many people who’ve spent time in counter-fraud, I have a firm but nuanced view of fraudsters. Nuanced, because part of the classic fraud triangle is “rationalisation” […]


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