[BLML] And I expect you'll all agree (was Delayed...) [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

Richard HILLS richard.hills at immi.gov.au
Tue Nov 12 02:14:28 CET 2013


W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado (1885)

Our great Mikado, virtuous man,
When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby
Young men might best be steadied.

So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered or winked
(Unless connubially linked),
Should forthwith be beheaded.

And I expect you'll all agree
That he was right to so decree.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right as right can be!

Sven Pran:

>Law 69A says:
>Agreement is established when a contestant assents to an
>opponent's claim or concession, and raises no objection to it
>before his side makes a call on a subsequent board or before the
>round ends, whichever occurs first. The board is scored as though
>the tricks claimed or conceded had been won or lost in play.
>Note the comma preceding the words "and raises no objection"

Richard Clark:

Sir Roger Casement was said to have been 'hanged on a
comma.' In 1914 he sailed to Germany and enlisted
German support to help Ireland gain its independence from
Great Britain. This included his unsuccessful attempts to
recruit Irish prisoners to form an 'Irish brigade' to fight
against Britain and drafting an unofficial treaty with
Germany to support an independent Ireland. On his return
to Ireland in 1916 he was arrested and charged under the
Treason Act of 1351. His barrister argued that because the
mediaeval act did not contain any punctuation and was
written in Norman French, that it seemed to apply only to
activities carried out within the realm (i.e. on British soil).
In translation the act read:

"If a man be adherent to the King's enemies in his realm
giving them aid and comfort in the realm or elsewhere..."

Casement's allegedly treasonable activities were all carried
out in Germany, so this argument could have saved him.
Nevertheless it is fair to say that this defence was very
weak! In any case, the judges claimed to find a faint virgule
(a sort of prototype comma, signifying a short pause) after
the second 'realm' in the original act, and so he was condemned
to death by hanging. If you want to be pedantic you could say
he was 'hanged on a virgule', but 99% of people wouldn't
know what was meant-so hanged on a comma it remains.


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