All Together Now…

PUBLISHED September 25, 2013

Haven?t had so much fun since studenthood, when I demonstrated for "Free Abortion on Demand!?, "Gay Liberation!? and "Unconditional Support for the IRA!? Mercifully, no photos exist of the third march...

Somehow missed the Law Society?s demo... When PCT was announced, the Law Society?s reaction was immediate. A course promptly appeared on the website telling us how to prepare for a tender. Those of you who immediately exited in disgust would have missed the subsequent helpful courses: "Getting Used to Poverty? and "Cooking with Leftovers?.

All together now

They announced a consultation. Hardly Churchillian. "The Nazis have invaded Poland. We are urgently conducting a survey to discover the impact on our members so that we can present it to Mr Hitler?.

These are my less than charitable thoughts at first instance; but, on reflection, I do them a disservice.

Sources tell me that the main reason why not much was done initially was that our representatives advising the Law Society couldn?t agree a party line. Firms had completely different agendas. For some of us, let?s face it, some sort of PCT could even be profitable. Only when Mr Grayling flinched did our warring factions realise that we had to come up with something or we would be stuck with his nonsense by default.

Then, just when the pressure was beginning to bear fruit, the Association of Major Law Firms held their own meeting with the Ministry of Justice. Why? I know we all have to make a living and I would sweat too if my overdraft exceeded the national debt of Greece; but we cannot afford to break ranks. Not when we are winning; and that goes for the smaller guys too.

Grayling?s plan has always been to bribe the big to exterminate the small; but the sort of pressure that has been exerted in the last few weeks will only work again if it comes from a broad spectrum of the profession.

We all need each other. Sorry, you do need those touting b******s down the road. At least temporarily...

And thank God that someone has been putting cocaine in the Bar?s coffee. When the fight was announced, our rivals promptly joined us in the trenches.

No more haughty sniffing about "plea-only advocates? from the likes of Sam Stein. Instead, a roar from an old-style bruiser, Michael Turner, that the Bar wasn?t having any of it. The north eastern circuit threatens strikes and the others make similar radical noises. (Just what is so radical about preserving a choice of lawyer or the expertise built up over 50 years of poorly but adequately funded public defence services remains debatable. Still, that Jacobin bunch of urban terrorists, the Council of Circuit Judges, agree with us so it must be).

After all these years, the thought of praising the Bar Council sticks in my throat, but I am chewing hard and preparing to swallow. And if solicitors can manage to agree with the Bar, how can a mere Grayling stop us?

Together, we can win this. I emphasise: "together?.