A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Rejoice! I have a garbage bin once more. Following a recent theft, it’s taken Newcastle City Council an epic two and a half weeks to replace it. Rejoice! I can once more do my bit for contributing to the gradual environmental disaster that is landfill. It might seem odd to start with this in a week when India has undergone transformation legal change, yet if I’m honest, as thrilled as I am about the the Indian Supreme Court decision, my shiny new green bin has brought me more joy. This goes to the heart of contemporary debates about sex and sexuality. Aside of a few dedicated activists (either driven by passion or being paid to make it their priority), most people are more bothered about the emptying of their household waste. Bin emptying, garbage removal, ask any local politician and they’ll tell you that few things get the public quite as exercised as this issue. The crushingly dull domestic will prevail. Ponder that.
As you can tell, I’ve started a bit of a diary column, styled on the type you might get in a weekly magazine or newspaper (he said, modestly). It gives me a bit more freedom to go off topic and provide a more rounded insight into academic life.
Sexual morality once more hits the headlines thanks to the antics of Bonking Boris, aka BoJo, aka Boris Johnson, aka the former UK Foreign Secretary, London mayor, and Brexit leader. As The New European editor Matt Kelly remarked, ‘now everyone’s been f***ed by Boris Johnson.’
This was my first week properly back in the office after the Summer vacation (in reality a mini break, and a lot of work). Appropriately, I started it off by dodging the office and heading down to Leeds to meet up with Law Teacher Deputy Editor, Jess Guth. Jess is a fabulous collaborator and friend, and everyone should meet with Jess to set them up for a new academic term. There was much plotting about new Law Teacher developments (we’re launching a peer review college this month to enhance reviewing and in turn, enhance legal education scholarship), plus we also talked through plans for a new book and research grant. Exciting (and busy) times ahead!
Wednesday evening saw the Inaugural Professorial Lecture of my friend, colleague and Head of Department, Professor Michael Stockdale. Michael spoke on legal professional privilege and the robot lawyer. It was thoughtful and thought-provoking stuff but I was struck even more by the warmth in the room. It’s rare for Deans/Heads of Law Schools to be all that loved in our managerial times, but the depth of affection for Professor Stockdale was palpable. Long may he reign over us!
The rest of the week has largely passed in a blur of activity. Lots of management meetings, meetings about REF related stuff and applying a little more spin to the various plates that wobble on sticks around me. I’m reminded of that Yes Minister scene when a Minister visits a hospital which has everything but patients – they’d only clutter the place up. Well, the students will soon be back, and I for one can’t wait.