• A question of competence.


    Above, my late father as a young college student. Insert, the London offices of Clifford Chance LLP.

    Google’s UK web page is the “goto” page of the Firefox browser on my PC so each morning when I go onto the internet I get that page up on the screen. Today there was a “doodle” which commemorates the 159th anniversary of the birth of Willem Einthoven (21th May 1860 – 29th September 1927), a Dutch doctor and physiologist. He invented the first practical electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) in 1895 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1924 for it (“for the discovery of the mechanism of the electrocardiogram”).

    This was a fact that until today, I did not know.

    For me the significance of the 21st May has always been that it was my late father’s birthday. Today marks the 113th anniversary of his birth. Interestingly, Einthoven died at around the same time that Dad went up to London to start college to become an Electrical Engineer. So Einthoven’s time on Earth ended at the time that Dad began to prepare for his working life on the same. Interestingly, Dad died in July 2003 of a heart attack something which Einthoven’s invention was designed to assist in preventing.

    As stated, Dad was an electrical engineer. Now to many British readers this will be interpreted as the man who comes around to fix their washing machine or TV. After all, the person in the call centre they rang to arrange this told them that “the engineer” will be around at a certain time to fix the problem. And when that person arrived they may very well have described themselves as an engineer.

    Well Dear Reader, they would be wrong. The person in question will not be an “engineer”. They will be a technician. In Germany, this confusion of roles would not take place. Germans would no more confuse an engineer with a technician than the average Briton would confuse a surgeon with a nurse or a legal secretary with a barrister.

    After working in quite a senior role in the electricity supply industry, Dad set up as a Consulting Engineer in the 1950s. Dad became an expert witness in court hearings. Dad’s knowledge and expertise was well known and was valued by the members of the legal profession of the day. He would spend hours preparing and researching a report prior to giving evidence. His reports were well known for being incredibly detailed and comprehensive.

    In many ways, it is a good thing that Dad is no longer around to see what an almighty cock-up is being made by our politicians of running the country. You see, for all his great gifts, Dad had one failing; he could not gladly tolerate fools!

    There are two fools whose recent activity would have exasperated him. These are Comrade Corbyn and his enthusiastic side-kick Rebecca “Long March” Bailey. These two dedicated socialist revolutionaries have decided between them that it would be a jolly good idea to assist in combating that dreadful scourge of CO2 by seizing control of a number of profitable privately owned businesses supplying electricity, gas and water and turn them into loss making publicly owned “agencies”.

    Realising this will prove expensive, these two members of the Karl Marx Appreciation Society have decided that the owners of these businesses should not receive the full value of their property.

    There are two depressing aspects of this:

    Firstly; that these two should consider such an expropriation as reasonable in the first place and secondly, that they actually think that they could get away with it!

    At this point Dear Reader we would not ask that you take your Editor’s word for it but the normally very expensive words of Mr Dan Neidle, a partner at Clifford Chance LLP.

    Clifford Chance LLP is a multinational law firm with it’s headquarters in London. It is a member of what is known as “the Magic Circle”. It is one of the ten largest law firms in the world measured both by number of lawyers and revenue. In 2016/17, Clifford Chance had total revenues of £1.54 billion, the highest of any firm in the Magic Circle, and record profits per equity partner of £1.375 million.
    For Mr Neidle’s report, GOTO: https://www.cliffordchance.com
    One thing is extremely easy to predict: If these two ever find themselves in a position to do what they say they want to do and do it; a legal challenge is inevitable!
    NB: Declaration of Interest: The Editor owns shares in SSE PLC.

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