Blogging and comments

3rd June 2021

Yesterdays post on the proposed National Flagship was popular – and under the post are a number of informed, informative and insightful comments, many of which are far more interesting than the head post.

The pride I take in blogging is not so much in my own posts – the quality of which will vary, depending on the topic and on the time and energy and available – but in the comments which my posts can elicit.

In particular, it is wonderful when a post prompts comments that not only add substantially to a discussion but also may not exist for the benefit of others but for the head post.

And that is also why I pre-moderate my comments, taking as much care over which comments are published as newspaper used to take over the ‘letters to the editor’ which were published.

(I approve about nineteen out of every twenty comments – because the moderation policy deters daft and dappy commenters event trying.)

So rather than read a law and policy post from me today, may I encourage you to go back to yesterday’s post and take time to read the comments.

 

 

A short post about some upcoming topics on this blog

3rd May 2021

Today – a bank holiday – has been taken up with dealing with an (ahem) irksome IT problem which, I am happy to now say, has been resolved.

The consequence of that problem is that it is now too late to post on the topic I was intending to post on today.

But instead of not posting at all (and I do like posting once a day if I can), I thought regular readers would like to know what is coming up – and also what I am seeking to move away from blogging about.

Upcoming are:

 – a couple of posts on the legal side of the ‘culture wars’ – premised on the basis of a previous post Suppose the government wanted a culture war and nobody came? – approaching relevant politic-cultural topics not as a combatant but as a commentator

 – a series of posts on the gaps in accountability and transparency in the conduct of the state of the United Kingdom – in respect of the Ombudsman system, the corononial system and public procurement;

 – more posts on issues relating to Black Lives Matter – including a follow-up to the Smiley Culture post and posts on other deaths in custody and whether those infamous ‘lessons’ are ever ‘learned’; and

 – the completion of my series on the Begum case (here and here), which shows the extent of sheer executive power in respect of the position of the individual.

I will also, from time to time, deal with something odd in the news – like Handforth parish council or Colin the Caterpillar – for no better reason than I think it would be amusing and instructive to look at it from a law and policy perspective.

And, of course, I will deal with any more earnest news developments if I can think of anything useful to say.

But.

I am beginning to think that there is little new to say about certain enduring subjects such as the (lack of) honesty of politicians and the limits of the constitution to address the (dire) state of our politics.

The subject remains crucially important – but averring that there are constitutional problems caused by political dishonesty and hyper-partisanship that need practically resolving is repetitive to write and, not doubt, to read.

Unless there is something fresh to say on the (absence of) practical accountability of the prime minister and related topics, I can only offer what I have said before as a given.

Many thanks to you for reading my blog – and an additional thanks to those of you who support it.

A Merry Christmas from the Law and Policy blog

Christmas Day, 2020

This wretched year nears its end.

And there probably has not been a year in the modern history of the United Kingdom – perhaps even in the history of the United Kingdom itself – which has been more eventful for law and policy.

But a highlight for me has been reviving this blog and doing a daily post, and so I thank you all for reading and supporting this blog.

A Merry Christmas you lot, and we will see each other on the other side.

(And I hear someone has delivered a ‘Deal’.)

My new “Guided Tours” at the Financial Times

11th June 2020

This blog has been quiet recently, though not through lack of law and policy material.

The main reason has been illness – nothing too serious nor covid-related – but another reason is the fast pace of recent events mean that considered responses are often quickly redundant or at least stale.

My personal Twitter account has therefore been my main means of providing commentary.

There has also, however, been another outlet for my commentary – I have now done two videos for the Financial Times (where I have the wonderful title of “contributing editor”).

I have called these videos “guided tours”.

I sit with a document (but without notes) and speak away into a mic as I go through the document.

The Financial Times’ production wizard Tom Hannen then takes the audio and then applies it to a visual tour of the document which he creates.

The intention of these “guided tour” videos is two-fold.

The first is to give an exposition of a topical document by showing the viewer the way through the document for themselves.

The second is to use that document as a way of explaining things about such documents more generally.

The first document was Dominic Cummings’ statement, which I analysed as a witness statement.

The second was the recent quarantine regulations, which I analysed as a statutory instrument.

My hope is that we can go on to do Acts of Parliament and significant court judgments.

These videos were Tom Hannen’s idea and initiative, not my own (and so he should take the credit), though I instantly realised how they could be useful devices for promoting the public understanding of law.

The videos are hosted at FT.com and also free to view on YouTube – and I have created a playlist to which you can subscribe where I will add each video.

The videos, as with any novelty, have faults but the feedback from legal professionals, trainers and teaches of law has so far been positive – though that may be partly because the videos are a novelty.

Any constructive feedback and suggestions for further videos welcome.

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Comments are welcome but pre-moderated, and so comments will not be published if irksome.

Welcome to the new blog

17th March 2019

Jack of Kent is no more.

I had been getting tired of the old fellow for some time.

Having a blogging name was something you did ten or so years ago, and I chose the name of Jack of Kent after the medieval wizard who outwitted the Devil by close attention to what was said.

It seemed a good name for a legal blog.

But one obvious problem was that my name is not Jack and (although I lived in north Kent when I started the blog) I am not from Kent.

Another problem was that I recently felt I did not know what to do with the JoK name – was it a distinct brand or a distinct approach, was it a character?

It was beginning to feel all rather odd, as I did not tweet nor do my journalism under the JoK name.

So I have now killed the old fellow off.

Bye, Jack.

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This blog is now under the name I do my legal commentary on Twitter and at the Financial Times and elsewhere.

You will see the url has changed.

The JoK name may still crop up in update emails, and so on, until the name change works its way through the system.

And I am afraid a lot of old links will now be dead. I am sorry for the inconvenience that will cause.

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But I have also done more than change the site name.

I have taken down my old posts, as it seemed a good moment to start afresh with my online presence.

(Though over time I may re-post some of the old posts which seem worth re-publishing.)

One nice thing about blogging independently is that you can take things down as easily as you can put things up.

Independent blogging (as opposed to blogs on commercial or news sites) is, in essence, a form of pamphleteering. It is a flexible and often ephemeral medium.

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I think the time has arrived to start afresh with a new personal blog.

Indeed – though I cannot promise – I may even get into the habit of blogging more regularly on here (instead of tweeting).

And it must be said, WordPress is now a lot more user-friendly than it used to be.

Thank you for joining me on this new(ish) blog.

And if you want to subscribe, there is subscription box above (on an internet browser) or on a pulldown list (on mobile).