The Law, Salvation, Franco and the Headless Dragon by Vince Nolan


My Dearest Chums,

I am given to understand that a number of Senior Lawyers read this drivel every month (by which I mean the drivel wot I write rather than the eminently more readable stuff my fellow scribes put together for your delectation).  It is only to be hoped that no Senior Psychiatrists do the same or my days of freedom may well be over.

Anyway, the law is an interesting area.  I have been embroiled in litigation of late and whilst very stressful, I have rather enjoyed it.  I always fancied myself as Rumpole of the Bailey hence my references to She Who Must Be Obeyed in my scribblings.  However, whilst waiting to go into Court recently, I witnessed a young bloke of circa 18 approach the Clerk and say “I am supposed to be in Court today but I don’t know why.” My practiced legal eye told me he was no stranger to the surroundings but either an inability to read or a startling bout of memory-loss had conspired to prevent him from being properly prepared to risk his liberty.  I quickly formed the view that his only sensible defence would be to claim he was Napoleon and in full retreat from Moscow at the time of the alleged incident. However, it was then that my sympathies went out fully to the legal eagles who had the task of defending him. How do you do it and all for £3.50 per day Legal Aid or thereabouts?

Vince Nolan 36Incidentally, as I am sure you know, the She Who Must Be Obeyed phrase made famous by Rumpole in the 1970’s originated in a 19th century novel written by Henry Rider Haggard. This referred to Ayesha, a fictitious queen who featured in the novel.  Apparently this has now been abbreviated by all you BookFace and Titter people to SHMBO. This is a similar phrase pertaining to our much loved Editor, Louise.  SWMET as we say on the Interweb thing.

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I was musing with The Leader of The Opposition (ha ha), the other day, about the Salvation Army.  To be clear I am a great fan of their work and long may it and they continue.  However, I wondered why there had never been a Salvation Navy.  Guess what?  There are no original ideas left in the world or in my head for that matter.  There was once a Salvation Navy in the United States (where else). During the 1920’s Aimee Semple McPherson managed to become the most popular radio and tent evangelist in the United States.  Apparently, part of her appeal was her ability at true showmanship or presumably, show-womanship.  She even had some 1920’s cars converted into boat-hybrids where she would dress as a navy captain and her co-workers as sailors. Take a squint at the picture opposite if you don’t believe me.

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Alas I was unable to find any lawyer/Salvation Navy jokes so how about this as a decent compromise: The Salvation Army bosses realised that they had never received a donation from the city’s most successful lawyer so one of their volunteers made an appointment to see the lawyer in his lavish office.  The volunteer opened the meeting by saying, “Our research shows that even though your annual income is over two million pounds, you don’t give a penny to charity (no Legal Aid work there then). Wouldn’t you like to give something back to your community through the Salvation Army?”

The lawyer thought for a moment and said, “First, did your research also show you that my mother is
dying after a long, painful illness and has huge private medical bills that are far beyond her ability to pay?”
Embarrassed, the Salvation Army volunteer mumbled, “Uh… No, I didn’t know that.”

“Secondly,” said the lawyer, “did it show that my brother, a disabled ex-soldier, is blind, confined to
a wheelchair and is unable to support his wife and six children?”

The stricken volunteer began to stammer an apology, but was cut off again.

“Thirdly”, the lawyer said, “did your research also show you that my sister’s husband died in a
dreadful car accident, leaving her penniless with a mortgage and the burden of supporting three
children, one of whom is disabled and another who has learning disabilities requiring an array of
private tutors?”

Completely beaten, the humiliated Salvation Army volunteer said, “I’m so sorry.  I had no idea.” And then the lawyer said, “So, if I don’t give any money to them, what makes you think I’d give any to you?”

General Franco the former Spanish Dictator is not exactly remembered fondly by historians but I read this the other day reputedly said by him:  “You are the slave of what you say and the master of what you do not”.  Interesting bloke.  His full name was Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde,…… a hell of a score in Scrabble I think you will agree.  Below we have a picture of him, who having dropped the roll of carpet from under his arm, asks Mussolini why the Italian has more medals than he has.

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I have since read that the author of the above saying is unknown.  If this is the case, I should like to claim it as my own along with the credit and royalties for penning Greensleeves, a more famous anon claimed by many, (mainly him), to be the work of Henry VIII.

And finally, back in the real world, I was previously employed by the Welsh Development Agency before its’ premature and ill-conceived demise and was recently able to discuss with a Welsh Government Minister over a leisurely coffee why many politicians thought this a good thing.  When asked for my thoughts on the matter I was able to say, quite unrehearsed:  “When you remove the head of a Dragon, it is difficult to see how it can breathe smoke and fire again.”  Still awaiting a response, but our economy could still do with a fire-breathing dragon.

Exasperated dragon on the field of battle: “Mother said there would be knights like this.”

Bye for now.