Mark Andrews: Rumpole rebooted, local democracy, and can't traffic wardens go on strike?

Right, so that's the rail strike done for a while, now it's the turn of the, erm, barristers.

File photo dated 20/03/1978 of John Mortimer, the playwright Q.C., and author of "Rumpole of the Bailey", who was portrayed by actor Leo McKern (right). Writer Sir John Mortimer, has died, his publisher Viking said today. He was 85. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday January 16, 2009. See PA story. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 20/03/1978 of John Mortimer, the playwright Q.C., and author of "Rumpole of the Bailey", who was portrayed by actor Leo McKern (right). Writer Sir John Mortimer, has died, his publisher Viking said today. He was 85. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday January 16, 2009. See PA story. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Our learned friends plan a fortnight's inaction, demanding a 15 per cent increase in an average income of £89,200 a year.

Given the glacial pace at which the legal process works, a two-week strike will probably disrupt half a dozen cases.

Can't wait for the 'rebooted' Rumpole of the Bailey, with Soapy Sam and Mizz Liz strutting their stuff on the picket line:

"What do we want? A 15 per cent increase in hourly remuneration, as per the guidelines outlined in the directive from the Criminal Bar Association. "When do we want it? At a date to be fixed, notwithstanding pre-trial review."

You have to feel for Priti Patel though. If only they had been on strike when she was trying to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

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Personally speaking, I would prefer to see traffic wardens stage a walk-out.

They should demand reduced hours, so they only work 15 minutes a day. Ideally at four in the morning.

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If the Government is looking for areas to make cutbacks, the Mayor of Bristol's PR team looks a good place to start.

"Head of communications" Saskia Konynenburg got a bit touchy when local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook asked whether mayor Marvin Rees jetting off 9,200 miles to Canada for a 14-minute speech about climate change was really good for the planet. Mr Rees blustered about 'shaping national and international policy'. Move over Henry Kissinger, the Mayor of Bristol's in town.

Then Miss Konynenburg intervened, saying she didn't think it was the role of a local democracy reporter to ask that question.

Listen love, the idea of local democracy is that journalists decide what questions to ask. And politicians are paid to answer them, whether they like the questions or not. And it is certainly not democratic for public funds to be spent on a "head of communications" to suppress information from the very taxpayers who pay their salaries.

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The Guardian's, ahem, maverick environmental commentator George Monbiot offers a simple solution to what he calls "climate justice": Rich countries should cancel all debt owed by poorer ones, so their governments can invest in sustainable energy.

Yeah, right. If wealthy nations wrote off all the money owed by Third World dictators, it would not be spent on solar panels and wind turbines, but on private jets, limos, and weapons. Not very good for the planet at all.

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