Monday, March 02, 2009


"Hello. Stan speaking."

"Yes, hello Stan. This is ... never mind who this is. I represent a faction within the government of a Northern European country and we are setting up a 'Court of Public Opinion'.
Are you in ?"

"You mean a Court of Public Opinion like Harriet Harmon talked about yesterday ?"

"Yes, exactly so. Fancy it ?"

"How do you mean 'fancy it' ?"

"I mean drop your role in the silly old-fashioned criminal justice system and come be a judge in the Court of Public Opinion."

"I don't know what to say - I always thought The Court of Public Opinion was a figure of speech."

"No, no. We're totally serious. The idea is that should the government be unable to get the answer they want from the criminal justice system, they would be able to appeal to the CoPOp so that Justice could be done."

"Are you sure justice would be done ? It looks to me as though public opinion is pretty much ignored by any government unless it supports government policy. This is all about the Fred Goodwin pension scandal isn't it ?"

"Er .. among other things."

"Well, I'm sure Public Opinion is all in favour of him being tarred and feathered, but Public Opinion is also very much against throwing trillions of their money at the banks. And having troops in Iraq. Would the CoPOp be allowed to have those policies set aside?"

"Well ... in the fullness of time ... on a going forward basis ... taking each case on its own merits..."

"Don't bother. So who have you got so far as judges in the court of Public Opinion ?"

"Sharon Osborne. Torville and Dean. Len Goodman. Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber. But that's beside the point - we first need to reassure ourselves that you have the right stuff for the court. If you were a judge on the Court of Public Opinion, what would you say about the Fred Goodwin case ?"

"Well I'd say that it's dangerous to choose what laws we obey and what contracts we honour. I'd say a big mistake was made here which must never be allowed to be made again, but fundamentally, even though I hope it chokes him, he gets to keep his money.

... Hello .... Hello ?!"

[[dial tone]]

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