SlackBelly: Battle of the lawyers, but they're not in court

The City Snitch: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Square Mile

I'll begin with a tasty spat, which has erupted between two of the best-known lawyers in London. Stanley Brodie QC, the commercial barrister, called last month for the resignation of Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions and human rights specialist who advised the defendants on the infamous McLibel trial.

Brodie argued in a letter to a news-paper that Starmer "demeaned his great office" by "seeming to take the side of the Government and the Labour Party" regarding MPs' and peers' expenses – unfortunate timing as the Crown Prosecution Service (of which Starmer is head) was considering whether criminal charges should be brought over the scandal.

Mischievously, Brodie is continuing his campaign. Slackbelly has seen the draft of another letter, in which he points to the connections between Starmer, law firm Bindmans, and Lord Clarke of Hampstead (left), the former Labour Party chairman, who claimed outrageous expenses but whom the CPS concluded could not be prosecuted. Of course, Brodie doesn't for one moment suspect any partiality in Starmer's decision-making.

Brodie muses in the letter: "In 2006 Mr Starmer was shortlisted as the recipient of the annual 'Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award' [he did not get it]. Bindmans is a distinguished, much respected but left-wing firm of solicitors, prominent for its active promotion and defence of human rights causes. Sir Geoffrey Bindman received his knighthood in the 2007 New Year Honours List for Services to Human Rights. Lord Clarke was represented by Bindmans in connection with the criminal investigation into his claims for expenses."

So what does Starmer think of Brodie's latest missive? "We don't respond to ridiculous letters like this," sniffs his spokesman.

Titles fight: no end in sight in writers' war

Sahar Hashemi, the founder of Coffee Republic, published a book in 2003 called Anyone Can Do It. She was right. Three years later, Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne used the title for his book. Still, I'm sure it's all forgotten now. Bannatyne has gone on to irritate BBC2 viewers on a regular basis, as well as write another tome called Wake Up and Change Your Life.

Hashemi has penned a sequel, too, due to be published in May. Its title? Wake Up and Change Your Life.

Will Mervyn King be spending Budget day at the races?

Quantitativeeasing the Nicky Henderson-trained horse that has won three out of its four races, enjoys strong support from within the Treasury and the Bank of England, with Governor Mervyn King among his followers. So I'm intrigued to see that the gelding is entered to run in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on 17 March. Considering his fan base, are we really to believe that the Budget could be scheduled for that day?

What a difference five years make at Ladbrokes

"The betting industry is recession proof," said David Michels, the chief executive of Hilton Group – then owner of Ladbrokes – in November 2005.

Then, in May 2008, Chris Bell, Ladbrokes' chief executive, said: "I'd never say this business was recession proof, but it is recession robust. We are mindful of the economic climate and the spending of our customers but, like any hobby, it is what you do, and you still do it."

And now? Peter Erskine, the bookies' chairman, said this month: "2009 was a challenging year for Ladbrokes. We were impacted by the deteriorating economic environment."

Who killed Archie Mitchell? Place your bets ... twice

I've written before how Irish bookie Paddy Power keeps getting caught replicating the novelty betting markets of its competitors. Just two weeks ago, Paddy was caught offering punters the chance to bet on the first person to be thanked in the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award speech, a promotion almost identical to one being peddled by rival Bodog. But is Paddy at it again?

"Bet During EastEnders Live!" screams a release dated 16 February, before adding: "In a world first, online bookmaker Bodog will be offering odds during EastEnders' live show." Then, a day later: "In a world betting first Paddy Power are giving EastEnders fans the opportunity to bet on who killed Archie Mitchell as the drama unfolds." It could all be a coincidence, I guess.

One Alfred Place The claws are out

It seems my revelations about One Alfred Place – the private members' club – have provoked a catfight.

You'll recall that new chief executive, Sharon Brittan, has begun axing members who use the club as a serviced office. This managed to incite a frenzied reaction in cyberspace among the membership.

Michelle Dewberry who won the second series of The Apprentice, tweets: "Want a members' club? Try One Alfred Place but, um, don't go too often or you'll be given the boot." Shaa Wasmund, the chief executive of Brightstation, adds: "I would NEVER have handled the situation like this."

All of which has prompted a mea culpa from Brittan: "My intention was to act in the best interest of the club. However, I am also concerned that the majority of this debate is being conducted outside the walls of the club and by some who are not privy to the actual matters at hand." Will that be enough to calm the bosses?

postmaster@slackbelly.com

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice