15 APRIL 1989, Page 22

Tiny's hands

HIGH comedy in the House of Lords, as Lord Keith of Kinkel, like some stern Scottish judicial nanny, asks Master Tiny if he has come into court with clean hands. She should know that he is not quite such a little gentleman as he looks. He of course wants her to examine Master Mohamed's hands, which is why he came to see her in the first place. I hope Nanny Keith finds the two of them more tractable than Nanny Young has. Clear signs of wrongdoing, says Nanny Young about Master Mohamed and friends: oh, tut, tut, who would have thought it? Nanny Keith was sticking by the nursery rule, which says the treat Master Tiny asks for is a privilege and not a right, and those who want it must show clean hands to get it. The legal maxim was expressed in more homely language by Lord Mildew, in one of A. P. Herbert's Misleading Cases: 'A dirty dog will get no dinner from the courts.'