Sunday, 30 November 2014


Saturday, 29 November 2014


( Bigot found himself once again up before a judge to answer allegations of discrimination against several club members , who had all been made to wear derogatory name tags when
arriving at the club to play duplicate bridge. In 2010 The Equality Act defined various offences , which set out to protect people from all forms of discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Bigot-Johnson as always elected to conduct his own defence. )  

Counsel for the plaintiff ( CP ) :  Did you Bigot.....or did you a rather large name tag on Arthur Maitland , which contained the words " Rigor Mortis "
B-J : Indeed I did....
CP : And why was that ?
B-J : Because as slow players go he always gave the appearance of a man who was dead ....
whose body was in an advanced state of rigor mortis
CP : My god really are a mean , vindictive monster , who is not only guilty of unlawful discrimination....but also malicious persecution. You subjected Arthur to such extreme ridicule and humiliation , the poor man has had to undergo intense psychiatric therapy.
B-J : Hey...why don't you wise up a bit.....slow players are killing the game of bridge , bringing it to its knees. Time bandits like him are mean , selfish , inconsiderate bastards who need to be taught a sharp lesson...
Judge : Surely ....they just slow thinkers.....that's all ?
B-J : Well , please allow me to demonstrate .....through this impromptu annoying and frustrating it is to be at a table .....watching a slow player sink into a comatose state.....and then waiting for him to make a bid.... or play of a card .... as he ponders forever over what to do for the best.

( At this point Bigot moved across to where Arthur was sitting , with a sheet of paper in his hand along with a hand of cards. Written on the paper were the details of the auction , with the cards representing Arthur's hand. Bigot then instructed Arthur to make an opening lead against the opponent's 6NT contract. Silence fell over the courtroom , and everyone waited with bated breath for Arthur to select a card. Minutes rolled by and still Arthur stared blankly at his hand seemingly unable to make a choice of opening lead. Already the judge was beginning to fidget in his seat , desperate for Arthur to put an end to his torment and anguish. Elsewhere in the courtroom pain was etched on the faces of all those looking on , but the statuesque Arthur seem oblivious to the passing of time. Eventually Bigot picked up two massive cymbals  only to crash them loudly behind Arthur's head , but to no avail.  Not a flicker of emotion or movement. Immediately afterwards , before the judge could intervene , Bigot pulled out an ice-pick and stabbed it into Arthur's upper arm.  Again not a hint of a response or reflex action. Several more minutes rolled by , and then to everyone's amazement and relief Arthur finally came to life .......and spoke 

Arthur : I'm sorry but I need more time. This really is a tricky lead problem
B-J : Well , there you have it.....15 minutes of the nearest thing to rigor mortis you will ever see
..... a classic example of death followed by resurrection
Judge : For once I agree with you ......never in my life have I been subjected to so much torment and mental torture. You are free to carry on with the name dismissed
B-J : Your're a gentleman and a scholar   

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Plagued with so many slow players turning up for duplicate sessions at the Slaughter House Bridge Club , TDs were struggling to get through even 20 boards in the scheduled 3 hour slots.
Not surprisingly Chairman Bigot-Johnson decided enough was enough, and that drastic action was called for. As far as he was concerned " these buggers " needed to be savagely exposed , ridiculed and humiliated. And the way to do it was to name and shame these perennial sinners. 
Each of them would be compelled to wear a massive name tag to reflect and define the nature and extent of their slow play. Tags currently in circulation are listed below :

Mr. and Mrs Plod                        Standstill                                   Not At Home
Brain Dead                                  Inertia Man                                Mind Elsewhere
The Dullards                                Hangnail                                    Gone Walkabout
Foot Draggers                            The Laggards                           Missing Presumed dead
Huff and Puff                                Flat Tyre                                    Absent Without Leave
Motionless                                   In Shutdown                              Lost In Space
Rooted                                        The Dawdlers                           Brain On Standby
Wet Paint                                     Lobotomy Man                         Away with The Fairies
Lifeless                                        Dilly and Dally                           On Another Planet
Laid Back                                    Almost Horizontal                     In Limbo
Freeze Frame                             Comatose                                 Half Asleep
Rigor Mortis                                 Not All Here                              Fast Asleep
First Gear                                   In Neutral                                   Back In 5 Minutes
Handbrake On                             Brakes Full On                          Back In 10 Minutes
No Acceleration                           In Reverse                                 Hardly Any Pulse

And guess what ? The tagging has already produced two positive outcomes.  Many of the slow pokes immediately started to speed up their play ,  while others left the club. Happy days are back again !  


"  Partner......if you insist on failing then so be it. But please time try to fail better "

"  Partner......I do not subscribe to the philosophy that if at first you don't succeed try, try again. 
That is a load of bollocks. Who wants to be seen as a fool forever chasing lost causes. "

" Partner....please remember this.....the uglier your attitude is towards your opponents the more likely you are to achieve success. This is the undisputed Law of the Human Condition. "

" Partner....some people share the opinion that the game of bridge can always be improved by a little friendly and social conversation . But that is a view taken only by a very small misguided minority of players who don't understand what warfare is really about. "

" Partner.... the most important occupation of a bridge player is to engage in fierce , over-heated arguments with obnoxious and irritating opponents . Because let's face it.... this department of the game has been tacitly encouraged by ineffectual committees,   and TDs alike , since time immemorial. " 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Sunday, 23 November 2014


Saturday, 22 November 2014


Thursday, 20 November 2014


There are four obvious reasons by which a member can justifiably claim that his/her suspension or expulsion was wrongful :
1. The club's constitution is flawed by denying the member the right to a fair hearing and/or appeal
2. The club's constitution is similarly flawed if the member is denied other essential rights, which are clearly established by rules of natural justice  
3. The committee failed to follow its own disciplinary procedures to the obvious detriment of the member 
4. The committee allowed prejudgement and bias to undermine the manner and way in which the disciplinary process was carried out  by either ignoring , or treating with contempt , the rules of natural justice.

SO HATS OFF to Plymouth Bridge Club for acknowledging possible flaws in their club constitution , and that the decision to suspend the two members was as a consequence  open to criticism , being potentially suspect and wrongful. By rescinding their decision to suspend the two members , the committee acted in both a sensible and prudent way. 
Details about this case appeared in the club's own newsletter, as shown by the two following extracts :   

Ann Husk and Ivor Moore - 6 months suspended club membership

Jul 24, 2014

Following suspension of Ann and Ivor's suspensions on 9th July 2014, the Plymouth Bridge Club (PBC) Committee has reviewed the case and now fully retracts the suspensions as wrongful. Both players are welcome to return to the club to play with no disciplinary issue / entry against them from reported events 22nd April, hearing 8th May 2014. Club minutes will be amended accordingly.
Whilst the hearing 8th May 2014 conformed to the then PBC Constitution, the Committee acknowledges advice from the EBU and many other sources that the process used was wrongful and intends to appoint a working group to explore the adoption of the EBU draft constitution for clubs with its disciplinary code to be presented to the 2015 AGM for ratification.

Bruce Foster - Vice Chairman     Mike Hamon - Trustee  

Club News

Having received advice from the EBU and other sources the suspensions of Ann Husk and Ivor Moore are suspended. They are eligible to play in the club with immediate effect. The disciplinary issue that led to their suspension will be reviewed by the Committee and further announcements will be made this month. Ann and Ivor have agreed there is now no need for the EGM that was proposed for 24th July and that meeting is cancelled.
One proposal that was put forward for that meeting, being to review the Club Constitution to use the EBU Model Club Constitution (V 5.5 Feb 2012) as a template (which includes a disciplinary code that ensures no procedures take place without input from the accused, and the right of appeal) will be considered by the Committee, with a view to present a new club constitution for members approval at the February 2015 AGM meeting. In the meantime that EBU Disciplinary Code will be used by the Club as guidelines for any issue that arises between now and that AGM.

Bruce Foster Vice Chairman

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Man's ignorance on any subject matter can only be described as overwhelming. The sum total of all knowledge and understanding extends way beyond man's mental capacity to absorb , grasp and memorise even the smallest chunk of such an infinite mass. 
Ignorance of course is defined as " the condition of being uneducated , unaware , or uninformed ". Some commentators regard ignorance as a form of incompetence, but for me the best definition comes from an old Burmese proverb : " A man with little learning is like a frog who thinks its puddle a great sea ". 
However, ignoratio elenchi  (  also known as irrelevant conclusion or irrelevant thesis )  is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid , but does not address the issue in question. It is therefore by definition ignorance of the refutation. Nevertheless , this phrase is used more widely to cover the ignoring ( rather than ignorance ) of any contention , not just a refutation. A person is guilty of ignoratio elenchi if his contribution to the discussion fails to meet what his opponent actually said.
A classic example of this occured several years ago when the chairman of the committee ,  of which I was a member , told me that no one else in the room agreed with any of the concerns I had raised regarding a disciplinary matter.  By saying this the chairman had cleverly avoided the need for any discussion to take place on issues I thought were of great significance .  By failing to comment or refute any of my concerns , it was clearly apparent that no one on committee had bothered to pay any attention to what I had actually said. 
So I was left to ponder whether or not any of my concerns had even a modicum of substance or merit , and if they did why was there no discussion at all as to why, or how , they could be challenged or refuted. Indeed ,  I am now utterely convinced that ignoratio elenchi amounts to nothing more than the ignorance of logic.    

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Monday, 17 November 2014


( Having only just secured his first trophy win in years against the little old ladies of the Walnut Tree Allotment Society BC , Bigot found himself up before a disciplinary committee to answer allegations of cheating. ) 

Chairman  ( C ) : Is it not a fact that you cheated your way to success in the club's recent Swiss Pairs event ? 
B-J : How dare you accuse me of cheating. I'll have you up in court for defamation.
C : Well , explain to the committee ......when you held the trophy up for all to see.....why you shouted out " to come first with a dunce of a partner was nothing less than a miracle ! "
B-J :  Too bloody true when you consider the the fact that my partner was a clueless wooden top with the brain power of a gnat.  This victory was against all the odds. 
C : So please correct me if I'm wrong , although the term " miracle "  has many varied definitions ,  the general consensus of opinion is that a miracle involves an act that manifests divine power through the suspension or alteration of the normal working of the laws of nature. In other words a divine intervention from God.
B-J : That seems about right
C : And let's be honest here....did you during that competition pray to God....asking for his help? 
B-J : Too bloody right I did.....all too often I was beside myself knowing how I could retrieve the situation after my partner's earlier mistakes. Appealing to God was my only hope after witnessing partner's inept and lackluster play.
C : So God really did come to the rescue ?
B-J : He must have done......because every anti-percentage bid and play of the cards came off.....I do could no wrong.....I was walking on water
C : Well , from our perspective you had God on your side ....answering your prays......handing you the ability to perform miracles at the table......all of which added up to you having an unfair advantage over all the other competitors
B-J : I guess so....
C:  Indeed , any form of outside help and assistance amounts to cheating
B-J : Oh.....
C : Consequently , we are obliged to strip you of this trophy ......and to ban you and your Holy accomplice from all future competitions in this club
B-J : Bugger....

Saturday, 15 November 2014

BRIDGE BOOKS TO MAKE YOUR HAIR STAND ON END..... ( or so says a frazzled Pun )

  • I Owe My Bridge Success To One Essential Skill.................I. P. Callotte
  • Playing Tournament Bridge Without Breaking The Bank.......Honor Shoestring
  • Purging The Club Of Undesirables Has Only Just Started.....Darrell B. Moore
  • So At Long Last You've Finally Nailed Puppet Stayman........Penny Dropt 
  • My Partner Has Completely Lost His Staying Power...........Drew Peacock
  • I Need To Speak To You Partner On An Urgent Matter.......Candice Knott-Waite
  • One Of The Greatest Bridge Stories Ever.............................Peter Andy Wolfe 
  • What Are Those Two Idiots Doing In Our Team ?.................Laura Lynn Hardy
  • There's No Justice In This Game Of Bridge...........................Nadia Seymour
  • Watch It You Riff Raff I'm An Officer In This Club....................Lou Tennant
  • Don't Let Your Committee Bully You Into Submission...........Stan Yerground 
  • Wrongfully Expelled ? You Need A Good Lawyer..................Anna Turney

Thursday, 13 November 2014


BIGOT FIGHTS ON.............

( Desperate to avoid expulsion at his disciplinary hearing , Bigot introduces another philosophical argument to help win the day...... ) 

B-J : This hearing is rigged against me ......none of you are listening to what I have to say
C : Not so.....we see ourselves as attentive ,  open-minded and impartial individuals ...keen to see justice done
B-J : Like hell you are all damn disciples of fallibilism !
C : What's that ?
B-J : Don't you numpties know anything about philosophy ? Fallibilism is a theory presented by Pierce describing enquiry ......such as the work undertaken by the Initial Investigation an activity generated by a state of unease, aiming of course to attain a state of rest through finding the right answer to a question. 
C : And what question was that ?
B-J : How to fit me up ! .....Something which they successfully achieved in their report, which described my utterances as " threatening behaviour "......" defamatory " .... " and totally offensive "
C : Oh....
B-J : But....might I add....that rest is never assured , since no one can know ( a ) what fresh evidence might present itself to necessitate a change in position ....and ( b) what consequences might follow from arriving at a false set of conclusions about my so called inappropriate utterances
C : Oh may have a point here
B-J : Oh dear indeed !

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


( At a recent disciplinary hearing at the Walnut tree Allotment Society BC headquarters , Bigot found himself at risk of being kicked out of the club , because of his ill-advised , abusive remarks to a rather officious TD . A short extract from the hearing's transcript can be seen below . )

Chairman : Bigot....we on committee have had enough of your foul-mouthed utterances , which continue to upset TDs and other members in this club. What do you have to say for yourself ?
B-J : Why don't you ignorant numpties wise up a bit.....have you never read Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic......written in 1936 ?
C : No...... I haven't,,,,,,,,but what has this piece of work to do with your case ?
B-J : Well , it might help explain and justify my alleged misconduct. You see.... it's all to do with the boo-hooray theory , which is the apt and widely employed nickname given to the view that any utterance..... which can be described as morally justified.
C : I don't understand......
B-J : That's because you're a allow me to lay it on the line. All my utterances..... I tend to use colourful and explicit terms.....but they do not set out out to state facts. Instead they contain only evaluative elements . These utterances therefore cannot be defined as defamatory or malicious......because like ejaculations they simply express the reactions of the person at that precise moment in time. So when this toe-rag of a TD refuses to reprimand an opponent .....who was clearly guilty of cheating by his timed hesitations.......then my immediate reaction was to call him a...."  sycophantic nonce "......" despicable creep "..... and " arse-licking pervert " .......all evaluative comments which were nothing more than knee-jerk responses of a man in a highly distressed state. No harm was ever meant or intended.
C : Oh.....that's a very interesting way of looking at things....
B-J : Indeed it is....

( Later on at the same hearing )

C : I still can't get it out of my mind that you were bang out of order making those abusive remarks......shocking ,outrageous opinions which you should have kept to yourself......not to be broadcasted in a loud, offensive way so that the whole world could hear them as well.
B-J : But I believe in being honest.....and open... not to suppress my true emotions and feelings. Unfortunately , I am a slave to my conscience.....and when my conscience tells me to do or say things , I respond accordingly...
C : I don't understand why.....
B-J : Yet show yourself to be a complete numpty. So it seems I must now explain to you what having a conscience is all about. It is the holding of a firm conviction that some action.....such as telling TDs  that they are failing to do their jobs morally obligatory. Whenever a wrongdoing has been committed  I , like many other good people , believe that all moral beliefs and arguments provide powerful,  over-riding reasons for taking a stand against all perceived forms of injustice. To challenge the wrongdoer and to condemn his/her actions is a matter of conscience. Indeed , my conscience compelled me to expose the TD's ineffective control of cheating within the club, and biased favouritism towards certain individuals. 
C : So what you are saying then is that conscience represents the voice of God ?
B-J : last you're beginning to see the light
C : But how can you know what morality God preaches ......say in bridge-related matters.... to act as spokesman for the Lord's opinions ?
B-J : Some of us are blessed with finding ways in which to receive God's wisdom, advice and guidance.....and I can tell you..... LSD is one of them ! Anyway , what God has told me is this ......" Man should be excused from blame for following his conscience , for even if it has erred , then by definition he was still trying to do his best " . And believe you me I really went out of way to do my best.....and to make all my utterances truly evaluative ! 
C : Hold on there....surely the social consequences of your beliefs , and these awful abusive utterances , might somewhat be limited by the equally controversial claim that the extended boundaries of free speech are too extreme to be conscienciously held ?
B-J : Oops......I think you've got me there....bugger....bugger.....bugger

Monday, 10 November 2014


Sunday, 9 November 2014


On night , as I was on the way to my local bridge club , a small invisible leprechaun dropped from an overhanging branch onto my shoulder. This magical creature then told me that anyone who told me a lie tonight would be punched in the face and sent sprawling.
Believing all this to be a figment of my imagination, I dismissed this creature from my mind as I sat down to play bridge with my partner.However , on board 4 my left-hand opponent opened one spade, and in a flash my new found acquaintace jumped off my shoulder onto the table to throw a punch, which sent the psycher crashing the floor. 
After the commotion subsided with no one ( least of all me ) able to explain what happened, no further incidents occurred until board 19. During the auction I inquired as to what an " alerted " bid meant. The answer I was given was clearly incorrect, and so the leprechaun was at it again , knocking this particular liar out of his seat with a thunderous uppercut. For a second time onlookers were shocked and perplexed as to what was happening and why. 
Then came the last board of the evening, when my hapless and hopeless partner made an appalling lead of a heart against the opponents' 3NT contract. So when this contract made with an overtrick , I asked my partner what on earth possessed him to make such a dreadful lead. Eventually , he muttered two words......" I thought....." but before he could say anything more the leprechaun jumped down onto the table for a third time to land yet another fearsome punch. 

Truly a man of his word.   

Saturday, 8 November 2014


Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Voluntary associations often draft inadequate Constitutions, oblivious to the possibility they could become embroiled in bitter internal disputes , which then lead onto litigation and court hearings running into six figure sums. However , if an arbitration clause was present, being an essential part of the agreement between all members , then any unresolved dispute between a member and the committee would automatically go to arbitration. With both sides having agreed to accept the arbitrator's ruling , the specter of a prolonged , costly and unnecessary litigation process can be banished for good.
The obvious problem that an arbitration clause solves is one of ignorance on the part of the committee , whose members are likely to know very little about the rules of natural justice , let alone the precise legal requirements , which guarantee that the procedures laid down in the Constitution are correctly and properly followed. Paying lip service to laid down procedures is not the same as implementing them with integrity and good faith. Therefore , if mistakes are made then qualified , completely impartial arbitrators are more than likely to pick them up and correct any wrongful decisions made : all at a minimal cost, and within a very short time-frame.
Also , whenever there are highly charged emotions , the chance of rationally and soundly resolving disputes under the existing methods of dispute resolution are both unrealistic and unlikely. Adding to this improbability is the robust position of the association’s management committee. The management committee here is at the forefront of disputes and their position is supported by their qualified power and control over and in handling all disputes within a private and protected sphere. This private sphere provides the opportunity for dominant individuals to project their personal agenda and to protect their self-interests, which is not always altruistic. This private sphere coupled along with the power and control also offers the opportunity for the dominate committee members to hold meetings outside official meetings to decide the fate of a member by influencing others. Such conduct within a voluntary association does falls outside the spirit of the association’s purpose and is unacceptable. A member would feel powerless in this situation and to bring some fairness to the situation there needs to be a check point where management’s powers are not exceeded. 
Whenever both parties elect to go down the road to a courtroom resolution , costs just escalate far beyond the damages one party may be seeking from the other. Moreover , the litigation process is emotionally crippling , causing deep concern and stress to all those involved. There will be no winners except the lawyers. Clearly , the arbitration option saves both sides from financial ruin and nervous breakdowns. Indeed , all voluntary clubs should dwell upon the succinct observations expressed by Lord Woolf :  “....our present system ..... is too expensive in that the costs often exceed the value of the claim; too slow in bringing cases to a conclusion and too unequal; there is a lack of equality between the powerful, wealthy litigant and the under resourced litigant. It is too uncertain: the difficulty of forecasting what litigation will cost and how long it will last induces the  fear of the unknown.” Moreover , Walker J had this to say about why clubs should ever allow themselves to get sidetracked into pursuing courtroom resolutions:    “Charities  solicit donations from the public ... in the expectations that donations will be well spent on furtherance of the charity’s purposes. Even for a lawyer it is a difficult mental feat to recognise this very expensive litigation as helping the diabetics whose subscriptions and gifts will be the ultimate source for payment of the lawyers’ bills.” The same argument applies equally to say bridge club members , regarding what priorities their subscriptions and table monies should be put towards.
Reading the case law regarding the expulsion of members one can clearly see how individuals end up painfully investing so much of their emotions, their energy and their time to achieve an end to the dispute through litigation , none of which can ever be recovered. Therefore all voluntary associations would be well advised to take more care and attention to managing and resolving internal disputes without seeking recourse to the courts.
Prevention makes far better sense than pursuing a pipe-dream cure , and ADR is the perfect way to prevent both parties from acting like fools , willing to take lemming-like leaps of faith in a dark financial abyss.  

( The following suggestion for an arbitration clause reads as follows :
All unresolved disputes arising out of , or in connection with , a member’s legal challenge to decisions made by the Club committee and/or the Club's internal appeal panel shall be finally settled under the Rules of Arbitration ( see appendix ) , by one or more arbitrators appointed in accordance with the said Rules.
This clause has been said to contain the three “key expressions” for an arbitral clause – “All disputes”. . . “in connection with”. . . “finally settled”. The term “all disputes” encompasses all types of controversies, without exception. The language, “in connection with”, creates a broad form clause that will cover non-contractual claims such as tort and fraud , while “finally settled” indicates the parties intend the arbitrator’s ruling to be final so a court will not try the case de novo. )

Monday, 3 November 2014



Saturday, 1 November 2014


The bidding :       W           N           E            S 
            2H       P       4H    4NT
                      5C   Double     5D     6D
                      6H      P       P       6S !
                      7H      7S   Double    P
                       P        P      P

 ( Result :  Nowhere to go down 12  vulnerable )