Thursday, March 25, 2010

Catching up

Monday Frank Russell came to see me about the African Gifted Trust, on which I have agreed to become a trustee. The paperwork for setting up a new trust seems to be unnecessarily complicated, requiring the production of a passport and another piece of identification such as a driving licence, to prove that you live at the address stated on the forms. But there's nothing to stop people convicted of serious offences becoming trustees.

Tuesday P G came to see me about his libel action against the Lake House publishers in Sri Lanka. He got judgement in the English courts but they refused to pay up, in spite of a treaty that's supposed to ensure reciprocal enforcement of judgements. Its difficult to see what remedy there is for this.

Another trip to the dentist in the saga of my tooth that fell out and was glued back, then fell out again. This time it means a ruinously expensive reconstruction, linking the tooth to its neighbours with a metal bridge. I have to go back again for this to be fitted when its been made.

After questions, Third Reading of the Equality Bill, the last stage before it goes back to the Commons next week, to complete the whole process just in time to avoid the 'wash-up' at the end of the Parliament. Then attended a useful meeting of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group to hear from several experts on the situation in Burma, where the generals are holding an election later this year under a new set of restrictive laws which ban the Leader of the Opposition, Nobel Prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi, from taking part.

Wednesday, in a piece of good timing, David Alton had a Question on the Burma elections in which I participated - asking if the EU could get the regional organisation ASEAN to declare in advance that the election is a sham.

Thursday, met US former Ambassador Bob Blackwill over lunck to discuss aspects of foreign policy including Afghanistan and south Asia. Wrote to Caroline Spelman MP about Tory policy on Gypsies and Travellers.

In the evening, to the National Army Museum for a talk by Alison Weir on Eleanor of Aquitaine, mainly about her new novel The Captive Queen. She acknowledged that the sources were few, though her biography of Eleanor published some ten years ago gives one a surprisingly full picture.

John William and Maite arrived from Grenoble in the late afternoon for a two week stay.

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