On Her Majesty’s Public Service

Yesterday was a bit of a banner day here in Unicorn City as a delegation from Rotherham, England (an official “sister city” of Cluj) as well as the prosaic British Ambassador to Romania, Martin Harris (who both has his own blog as well as an active presence on Twitter) were on hand to dedicate a British style call box (US: telephone booth) and thank many local charities for their hard work.

In contrast to the hideous and tortured English that the Romanian ambassador to Britain speaks, I’ve always respected Martin Harris (and his predecessor) for actually taking the time to learn the local language fairly well indeed. I heard Martin Harris give two television interviews after yesterday’s events and while he certainly has a noticeable accent, I give him full marks for correct grammar and language ability.

The Romanians at yesterday’s events, of course, continuously fucked things up, including incorrectly identifying the sister city’s name as “Rotherdam” as well as the mayor’s own Romanian staff referring to Emil Boc (with whom I spoke briefly) as “His Excellency” when speaking English during the event.

No, damn it, no! That is not the title for how to address a mayor, not in the United States (which would just be “The Honorable mayor X”) or in Canada (His Worship mayor X) or even in Britian (the Right Honourable mayor X). No. The title “Excellency” is for royalty and a few very exalted positions (such as ambassadors) you morons, not for mayors of a city.


I had a chance to briefly speak with His Excellency Martin Harris, doing my feeble best to try to get him to press Romanians on an issue which I think is absolutely critical to a better future for this country: judicial transparency.

As I’ve mentioned before here and here, Romania’s judicial system is completely opaque. We all know that Adrian Nastase (the former PM) was convicted and sentenced to a jail term for fraud. But the transcripts of that trial and the judicial reasoning behind his conviction and sentencing is nowhere to be found by the general public.

I’ll explore this topic in more detail later but the sad fact is that almost all of the corruption and criminal activities in this country “disappears” inside the courthouses across the nation because all of the proceedings remain completely secret. A powerful person might get arrested and charged but the cases mysteriously disappear once inside a courtroom and nobody (not even journalists) ever get full access to the court records to know exactly why and how that happened.

I fully believe that if court trials (with some exceptions of course, such as child molestation cases, etc) were made public, there would be far fewer places for powerful wrongdoers to hide their misdeeds. It would also open up the possibility for other judges to consult past cases (called “precedent” in the legal terminology) to help equalize sentencing guidelines.

In other words, the punishments for crimes would become more equal and not vary so much from judge to judge and case to case (as they do now in Romania) and lawyers (and defendants) would be able to point to past cases and say “hey look, this is what’s fair”.

It was very nice to meet His Excellency yesterday and I certainly hope he continues to do the (mostly) good work that he’s been doing here in Romania. I told him to his face how much I respect the British diplomatic service and how much I loathe and detest the incompetent and nepotistic system that the United States employs. Mr. Harris is definitely a professional in every sense of the word and I have the utmost respect for him in that regard.

Cheerio, govna! :D

11 thoughts on “On Her Majesty’s Public Service

  1. “But the transcripts of that trial and the judicial reasoning behind his conviction and sentencing is nowhere to be found by the general public.”

    Well, guess what: Mr. Google knows exactly where they are and, if you had spent one minute searching for them online (instead of, for example, philosophizing on the way to address a mayor… by the way, apart from the official addressing rules, “His Excellency” Mr. Boc is a contradiction in terms!), you would have found the sentence here:

    Minuta sentinţei nr. 176 – Dosar nr. 514/1/2009

    and the 154 pages of reasoning behind the sentence here:

    Sentinţa penală nr. 176 – Dosar nr. 514/1/2009

    And now you know! Vai ce bine!


      1. In all fairness, it must be said that “Minuta” doesn’t represent a transcript of the discussions in Court, but a briefing of the respective hearing.
        Also – strangely since the cases are supposed to be “public” – the files are not available to the general public so the proofs are not available. Without the proofs it’s impossible to know whether the judge was correct or not when sentencing.


  2. …Anyway the purpose of speaking a language is first and foremost to make youself understood so as ling as this is accomplished…

    Oh, and there is a well-established diplomatic protocol which determines how each official should be referred to, but you cannot expect everyone to know it.


      1. It was the mayor who was given the wrong title, not the ambassador. Anyway, it’s not like they’ve spat in his face, if anything he was given a higher title.


  3. I do agree that the judicial system should become much more transparent, in fact it should change drastically (for instance, precedents have no legal value so, other than maybe psychologically, it’s useless to refer to them).

    I don’t necessarily agree with you language considerations. I do apreciate that Mr. Harris has learned Romanian, but he doesn’t speak nearly as well as you think. Anyway


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