Swift J (Shipman), Christopher Clarke J (Bloody Sunday), Jay J (Leveson) and now Hutton.
Of course they all deserve their elevation for the same reasons as they excelled in their role as Counsel to these Inquiries, still it is an interesting trend...........
Dingemans is a consummate QC of the old School. A joy to watch in operation -
As the Daily Telegraph once said re Hutton:
Let us be grateful that the Hutton Inquiry is not being televised. Television tarnishes everything it touches. It vulgarises. It overexposes. And it would turn the exquisite James Dingemans QC, the 39-year-old Senior Counsel to the inquiry, into a "media personality". First would come the rent-a-quote legal opinions, then the chat shows, then the pilot for an "upmarket game show" set in a court room.
I suppose the reason that I find Mr Dingemans so impressive is that, having been neither a court reporter nor a villain, I have never had the chance to see a good QC in action before. Perhaps they are all like him. Perhaps they all have his poise, his wit, his beautiful manners. But I doubt it. One of my favourite Dingemans quotes came when John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, peevishly complained that he never called the dossier a dossier, he called it an "assessment". Dingemans apologised devastatingly: "I am sorry for the loose use of language."
Another reason Mr Dingemans seems so good is that he has been examining people who look so bad, the politicians and journalists who have merged into one pasty-looking, faintly mad professional class. Also, he reminds me of those urbane Army officers who answered impertinent questions from reporters during the war against Saddam. They were articulate and magnanimous and embodied decency and sang froid. They exhibited what the poet Keith Douglas called "that famous unconcern". One, a brigadier I think, had to shout above the whiz bangs and bullets when he referred to the "spot of bother" outside Basra.
Are they a dying breed, these gentleman officers, these silks? They certainly seem a little out of place in our public school-hating society. If Mr Dingemans became a television star there would soon come a backlash. The tabloids would realise that he is everything they despise: that his suits are made in Savile Row, that he is a rugby Blue, that his father is a rear admiral. They would turn him into a national laughing-stock and mock his plummy voice for their sport. James Dingeman's natural home is the courtroom, away from the cameras. It is his context, his battlefield. Long may he remain there.