As I predicted, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has run into trouble. After a tussle with the Cabinet Office the Prime Minister was able to choose the judge to lead it, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.
Earlier in the week the media had been briefed that the choice of judge would be down to the pro-European Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas. What the media did not say, of course, was the Lord Chief, nice chap that he is with respect, would in practice only have rubber-stamped a name put forward by the Ministry of Justice.
I am quite sure that the Cabinet Office had lined up a tame judge, no offense intended, to take charge of the inquiry. They are desperate to suppress the truth, in particular the fact that there was an ISIS bomb-making cell in Grenfell Tower.
Who Is Sir Martin Moore-Bick?
Sir Martin Moore-Bick, with respect, is not a tame judge. I imagine that’s why the Prime Minister went for him. He’s the elder brother of Major-General John Moore-Bick, who did good work with the Royal Engineers. This is encouraging, as apples rarely fall far from the tree and the military operate to far higher ethical standards than civilians, and that includes the judiciary.
Sir Martin retired as Vice-President of the Court of Appeal in December. A commercial judge, who specialised in maritime lawyer as a barrister, he had the reputation on the Court of Appeal of being a pretty safe pair of hands. His judgments have rarely been over-ruled, and when they have been, it’s usually been the higher court which got it wrong.
I never appeared in front of His Lordship, but I have cited his judgments and had them cited against me, most recently last week in the Court of Appeal, where I was appearing as a ‘McKenzie Friend’. If they’ve been cited against me it was usually a sign of trouble! It was last week.
However, with respect, I am not sure that he was a wise choice to lead this inquiry. If the Prime Minister wanted a straight-shooting judge, there weren’t that many options available, frankly, especially if they sat on the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, no offense intended. Our senior judges are a bit like yours: highly political, vulnerable to blackmail and easy to push around. In London as in Washington no quality is officially admired in a judge more than intellectual dishonesty.
How the inquiry will be rigged
Having lost the battle over the presiding judge the Cabinet Office will already have moved on to plan B, indeed it’s already being implemented. Dodgy civil servants, if not that is not a tautology with respect, are being trawled from all over Whitehall to man the inquiry. White or black, surly or charming, smartly-dressed or shabby, one thing all these civil servants will share in common is an aversion to the truth.
They will be utterly determined to make sure that the inquiry fails, whilst pretending to be helpful. That’s the first part of Plan B – staff the inquiry with rubbish and make sure that it operates in a moral vacuum.
The second part of the plan will be to make sure that the senior counsel to the inquiry is an ambitious young man or woman without independent means and a burning ambition to be a High Court judge. The sort of barrister who won’t need to be leant on, in other words, without being disrespectful to m’learned friends.
The third part of the plan will be to set the tramlines for the inquiry, by having an official London Fire Brigade report which covers up the cause of the tragedy and blames Hotpoint, which I readily concede is no longer a British manufacturer. It’s unlikely that there will be a single, serious question about the cause of the fire in the whole inquiry.
Recent Unhappy Precedents
Two spring to mind: Lord Cullen’s inquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster and the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly CMG. Each was equally fatuous, with respect, indeed they were musical comedy proceedings from beginning to end.
Lord Cullen’s inquiry was sabotaged at the outset by the decision to withhold the only serious technical report into the explosion, prepared by Arthur D. Little Inc. The ADL team correctly concluded, with respect, that the oil and gas rig had been sabotaged. The official report, rubber-stamped by the inquiry, made no mention of sabotage.
That is because the facility had been sabotaged by Germany’s London operation, GO2. It was vital for Germany that her role in the murder of 167 men and the destruction of an important North Sea oil and gas facility be covered up. At that time GO2 largely controlled the Cabinet Office.
GO2 and the Cabinet Office were equally anxious to suppress GO2’s role in the assassination of David Kelly. As in the Piper Alpha inquiry not a single intelligent question was asked by anyone at any stage about the root cause of what they were investigating.
No intelligent journalists covered either inquiry, with respect, so the lack of intelligent questions from the media is not perhaps so surprising. What is more disappointing was the lack of any intelligent questions from the lawyers involved, not all of whom were stupid, no offense intended. However they lacked inquiring minds.
Judges and lawyers are easily fooled. All you have to do is trot out an official report and you will make up their minds for them. The inquiry will be another musical comedy proceeding sadly, and Sir Martin Moore-Bick will go down in history as a fool, no offense intended, which would be unfair. He isn’t, but with respect, he lacks the sort of forensic mind which will be needed to uncover the truth.
Turning now to the Far East, the commies in Peking have really made fools of the Foreign Office. They have torn up the Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong. Our former colony is now part of China in all but name.
In practice it has been since 1997, which is why I have always avoided flying through Hong Kong. The big development this week is that the Chinese have made it official, by effectively denouncing the agreement.
No one should really be surprised. The ChiComs are bloodthirsty, murdering, totalitarian bastards, no offense intended. Agreements with communist China aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
We should have intervened in the Chinese civil war after the treacherous commies opened fire on the sloop HMS Amethyst. You will recall the facts. On April 20th 1949 a commie battery opened fire without warning on HMS Amethyst as she was proceeding up the Yangtze River on her peaceful and lawful occasions, murdering her commanding officer and numbers of her crew.
Amethyst eventually broke out of the commie trap and gloriously re-joined the Fleet, after very skilful seamanship by her new commander, Lt-Commander Kerans. However the British Government of the day was under the control of two German spies, Clement Attlee, the sleazy Labour Prime Minister, and the equally sleazy Norman Brook, the Cabinet Secretary.
Mao Tse-Tung was also a German spy of course, as both Attlee and Brook knew well. Anxious to help their Abwehr and DVD colleague, and determined that the Far East should handed over to effective German control, they ordered the Admiralty to offer as little assistance to the beleaguered Amethyst as possible. Disgracefully, no King George V class battleship was ordered to pound the commie forts at Woosung into submission, although at least two could have been made available, including the mighty HMS Anson.
The failure to smash the forts at Woosung with 14” main battery fire meant that the commies got away almost scot-free. Only a tiny number were killed, when they deserved to die in their thousands.
The British Empire should have weighed in behind our war-time ally General Chiang Kai-Shek. The history of the world would have been altered, and Hong Kong’s future made secure. Instead, all we got was what we got in 1997 – snivelling cowardice and kow-towing from Downing St and Whitehall, no offense intended.
It is always a mistake to know-tow towards a bully, especially an Oriental one. The trick to dealing with Oriental Bad Guys is to make them lose face. They tend to be arrogant and egotistical, and they don’t like it.
Britain should respond by breaking off diplomatic relations with the PRC and recognising Taiwan. The Taiwanese are the nice Chinese. The time has come to give the boys in Peking a good smack, because they, no offense intended, need to be reminded who won the Opium Wars.
This Week’s TV Review: The Saint, Where The Money Is
Airdate: December 29th 1968, dir. Sir Roger Moore
As part of my tribute to the late Sir Roger Moore, I thought I would review this classic Saint episode, rerun on British TV (ITV4) this week. Our intrepid hero, Simon Templar, is called in by arrogant movie producer Ben Kersh, played with bravado by Kenneth Warren, after Kersh’s daughter Jenny is supposedly kidnapped in the south of France.
The kidnap is a phoney of course, and Templar spots it, having been shot at on his way to meet the kidnappers with a million bucks in the trunk of his cute Lancia sports car. The screenplay was written by the brilliant Terry Nation. Sadly the budget didn’t match the excellence of the acting, the directing and the writing.
The character of Simon Templar in the series is rather more charming and debonair than the hero of the books. If anything, the TV series is rather better than the books, mostly down to Roger Moore of course. This was the series that really made his name.
It’s better than the critics give it credit for. This is partly because anyone can turn on a TV set and you don’t have to dress up, not that anyone dresses up for the theater any more. Even I didn’t wear a tux when I went to watch a show on Broadway!
Critics tend to be liberals, and liberals tend to be intellectual snobs. They look down on TV as working-class entertainment. They’re wrong of course, just as they were wrong about Hillary Clinton and are wrong about President Trump. (I see that the CIA are having a hissy-fit because he won’t swallow their rubbish intelligence briefings.)
The episode is not only well-acted, with Roger Moore in the lead, supported by a strong cast including John Savident (Jumbo, the oily Permanent Secretary in Yes Minister), but well-directed, by Sir Roger himself of course. Unlike a play, movies and recorded TV series last.
This is quality TV, which will still be being shown decades from now. ‘Where The Money Is’ is one of my favorite Saint episodes and a fitting tribute to a great actor, and, let us not forget, director.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.