Play the game

STOP PRESS! don’t miss the chance to attend An Evening with Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, 5 pm on Monday 12 June. A special event for Writers to the Signet. Early booking recommended – no charge for the event.

A HAPPY START to the week in the Signet Library with the Colonnades team celebrating not one, but two awards from The Scottish Food Awards 2017. Fresh from the ceremony the previous evening maître d Glenn D’Costa arrived Monday morning bearing two certificates for Afternoon Tea Destination of the Year and Highly Recommended Afternoon Tea of the Year, and also a winner’s medal. It is evident from social media that Colonnades is growing a large and loyal following (as well as providing some truly stunning Instagram shots). At the regular weekly meeting everyone at the WS Society joined in congratulating the Colonnades team on this well-deserved accolade.

THE SECOND BLIZZARD EVENT will be kicking off on Thursday 25 May at the Signet Library and tickets are going even faster than last year’s fixture. On the same day the WS Football Law Conference features high level speakers – Omar Ongaro, FIFA’s regulatory director, Stewart Regan and Andrew McKinlay of the SFA and Tony Higgins of the PFA Scotland and, of course, Associate Writer to the Signet Paolo Lombardi – and is attracting lots of fans. 

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME never fails to provide talking points both on and off the pitch as the sorry trail of evidence at the Craig Whyte trial in Glasgow continues to demonstrate. On Tuesday the court heard that former Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain was paid £360,000 as a bonus for his role in the sale of the club. Defence QC Donald Findlay asked chartered accountant and former Rangers director Michael McGill what this money was for. Mr McGill replied, “He had a long standing arrangement with the Murray Group”. It was also heard during the case that Mr Bain had been given a new contract with a 39-month notice period. Perhaps some talking points here for the Football Law Conference?

SOMEWHAT LOST DURING coverage of the French and UK elections is the ongoing and long-running saga of Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to take over Sky through an £11.7 billion bid by Fox. On Tuesday American lawyer Lisa Bloom and her client Wendy Wlash met with Ofcom in the UK to call on the telecoms regulator to block the sale. Walsh is one of a number of women Bloom is representing in an ongoing sexual harassment suit in the US against former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly who finally left the network after years of claims of large pay-outs to former employees over claims of sexual harassment. Bloom told the assembled media “the Murdoch media hacks, harasses and hides it with hush money”. There are also questions regarding how the “hush money” payments were presented in the Fox News accounts. Elsewhere another Murdoch favourite bit the dust, with long-standing controversy generator Kelvin Mackenzie finally being forced to leave The Sun following a column in which he described footballer Ross Barkley, who is mixed-race, as having eyes that reminded him of “a gorilla at the zoo”. Mackenzie was suspended following the article, with some questioning why lawyers for the newspaper had allowed the piece to be printed.

MEANWHILE IN THE US, the continuing tension between politicians and lawyers is back on the front pages, and that most public of stages, a Senate hearing in Washington. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates – fired by President Trump in the early days of his administration – had the daunting task of handling three hours of questioning in the uniquely intimidating set-up of such an iconic occasion, so familiar from the grainy newsreels of mid-twentieth century history. Her appearance proved to be an exemplary performance by a highly qualified lawyer totally on top of her brief, despite frequently hostile questioning by some Republican members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee. “Ted Cruz tried to corner Sally Yates on the Law. He failed.” The Huffington Post’s widely shared article was representative of the assessments afterwards. Yates however was overshadowed Wednesday with the stunning “termination” of FBI director James Comey, who found out he was fired by seeing it on TV. Cue a series on tweets from the President whilst everyone else in Washington apparently reeled in shock. It would be a brave analyst who would try to predict the repercussions of all this, but it is safe to say House of Cards has some serious competition for must-watch political drama right now.

— “Writer”

Writer's Week is not intended to represent the views of the WS Society or its members.