Saturday, January 17, 2009

So Farewell Then

I was sorry to read of the death of Sir John Mortimer, QC, barrister, playwright, and all-round liberal bon viveur. I have read most of his books and plays, and I heard him speak at a Law Society do some years ago.
He was of course, as the obits. have said, a champagne socialist, but as he was only spending money that he had earned himself, I can't think any the less of him for that.
His occasionally affected manner could conceal his real love of liberty and of freedom under the law. As a lifelong liberal and a distinguished lawyer (but always for the defence) the authoritarian posturings and legal tinkerings of the 1997 New Labour government, elected with such high hopes, must have broken his heart. Civil liberties are deeply unfashionable at the moment, thanks in no small part to the corrosive and dishonest campaigns run buy such tabloids as the Mail and the Sun - the latter never uses the word 'liberty' without the preface 'diabolical'. We shall miss Mortimer: let us hope that the Bar continues to bring forward advocates who are fearless in the defence of liberty, and let us hope that it is not already too late for them to save our ancient freedoms.

I had a glass of house claret in El Vino's a few months ago, and I could only think of it as Chateau Thames Embankment: thanks, Rumpole.

Later - here's an article by a former client.

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