Friday, 24 October 2014

Supreme Court art: crumbs of comfort

Lord Mance comments on the Supreme Court in The Times: 'I don't think that we've become excessively activist as a result of moving to Parliament Square.'

Excessive or not, there are activists out on the square - Occupy, plus the street people who accumulate around any open-air community if it keeps still long enough. A haggard man in black harangues impassive policemen about article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights with more vehemence than is customary in the Supreme Court.

I pop over to Tesco's. What shall I donate to the Occupy larder? (Don't be like that - I've drawn them a lot and I owe them something.) They've got bread and water. I have a limited budget. What would benefit most people in the best way? A chunk of Stilton? It won't go very far and there are a lot of vegans out there. I settle for cherry tomatoes, grapes, orange juice and, in a moment of madness, Jaffa Cakes.

Do the same thought processes go through the mind of the Secretary of State when allocating EU structural funding? R (on the application of Rotherham Borough Council and others) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is examining his allocation decisions. Did they breach EU principles of proportionality and equal treatment, so close to Occupy's heart? What is his margin of discretion?

A vicious cough and cold is claiming victims on the bench. They are battle-hardened though. At the end, Lord Neuberger congratulates counsel on their performance.

I return to the cold damp earth of the square and draw a weatherbeaten rough sleeper. He writes down his street name, which he says is not to be spoken: STYX. I should introduce him to @charonqc.

The policing style here is inconsistent but they've dropped a hint: a blanket is camping gear, hence forbidden on Parliament Square under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, but cut a slit in it and voilà, it's a poncho.

After I go home, someone out there is arrested for feeding a police dog a biscuit. I console myself that it can't have been a Jaffa Cake which of course the VAT tribunal ruled was not a biscuit but a zero-rated cake.

In a departure from the norm for me, the final drawing is fictitious.

I am merely saying that bears are under-represented among the senior judiciary. As Lord Mance asked in court today, 'What is the point of this?'

There will be an exhibition of my drawings in the City next month.


  1. They have just taken a home made poncho away. Watch the latest feed on bambuser.