Yet more A. P. Herbert!


This week on Facebook: I have loved reading A. P. Herbert’s parodies of the law in Misleading Cases. Having followed the legal escapades of Albert Haddock on television, although the series was not entirely true to the storyline. However, my favourite A. P. Herbert character from the books is Sir Ethelred Rutt, used last week as the model for the protagonist in my story ‘Men in Black’. Herbert didn’t always use the same characters in his stories and I’m sure that he would disparage the world in which we now live. In the last story, I’m sure that the abilities involved in the letters that Mr Sleep wrote are now superseded by in the inabilities of those writing ubiquitous emails.

A. P. Herbert also wrote poetry, if now considered somewhat jingoistic, some of it is quite apt in today’s political climate. I have added my version of the these 1944 poems making (I hope) the relevance to the politics of 2018 year end.

For Downing Street
We do not think that everything is well,
But we do know the obstacles are large;
So we are worried by the men who yell,
But follow quietly the men in charge.
December 24, 1944

We do not think that everything is well,
But we do know the obstacles are large;
So we are worried by the media’s yell,
But follow the views of parliament’s charge.
December 2018

For a Man in Trafalgar Square
‘Hands off Greece!’ The British must get out.
Oh, yes? And Hands off Belgium, too, no doubt.
We shall, of course, be better for your sermons:
But why not save some censure for the Germans?
December 24, 1944

‘Hands off Greece!’ The Troika must get out.
Oh, yes? Hands off Brussels, too, no doubt.
For or against Theresa May’s sermons,
The EU needs the UK millions.
December 2018

Poetry

A. P. Herbert

For Whom it May Concern
Cheer up. We never thought that Peace
Would all be song and dance.
And what is happening in Greece
Might have occurred in France.
December 24, 1944

We never thought the EU’s Peace
Would lead to such a merry dance.
That what the EU wrought in Greece
Is now far worse in Macron’s France.
December 2018


1. The Reasonable Man (Posted on July 21, 2012). Sir Francis Taylor Pigott (Of the Middle Temple, Barrister-At-Law, Procureur And Advocate-General, Mauritius; Late Legal Advisor To the Japanese Cabinet) recorded in his book – Two Chapters In The Law Of  Torts  – an address that he had made to members of the Japanese Cabinet Office, in which he presented  the philosophy of ‘The Reasonable Man’ and its significance in English Common Law.

2. Rights! What ‘Rights? (Posted on November 10, 2012). The post ‘Speech isn’t free’ elicited the comment “Isn’t the assumption that one has the ‘right’ to do something unless it is proscribed by law. The discussion of whether free speech is ‘a right that existed in law’ is moot on the premise that it exists as a right unless it is made illegal”.

3. Schrödinger’s cat. (Posted on February 20, 2013). The case of Rex v Jackson took place before, and in the same decade (1930s), as Erwin Schrödinger devised his thought experiment. The case could be considered very similar to Schrödinger’s cat, with an analogous Kafkaesque quality. It could even be inferred, perhaps, that Sir Ethelred Rutt K. C. (representing Oliver Jackson the accused) had more than a passing interest in quantum physics.

4. It’s elementary — education. (Posted on August 16, 2013). A recent post reminded me of a 1930 case before The Court of Criminal Appeal that was lodged by a canal boatman convicted of failing to send his children to school.

5. Fish Royal. (Posted on January 30, 2014). Pudding Magna; located on Pudding Bay in the county of Dorset, and inhabited by lowly fisher-folk of modest means, is not referred to in any works by Mr. Thomas Hardy.

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This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

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