I was just going to post a link on the wonderfully irrepressible social justice forum ilegal to The Law Society’s (‘TLS’) campaign pack on the recent ‘Transforming Legal Aid‘ *cough* proposals but then I began reading it and, suddenly, the flashbacks to two and a half years ago when we began fighting LASPO kicked in like some bad Apocalypse Now remix – if you were there (fighting LASPO, not Saigon) you’ll know what I mean: hotel room, spinning fan, booze, karate and blood. Well, it’s happening all over again…
To begin, read Tendering plans for criminal legal aid: Law Society statement, and note this Law Society statement:
The Treasury is requiring the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to make significant savings. We should be in no doubt of the reality of this and the question is not whether, but how those savings will be made.
I could stop writing this post now and leave it at that. When your representative body (they’re not mine, I’m an online freedom-fighting activist sh*t-stirring Deckard-type consultant with a vision of a better world, not an adviser) – sorry, let’s start that again: when your representative body shows that it hasn’t learned anything at all from the LASPO nightmare then I think you’re rather stuffed from the get-go. Consider the following two bullet-pointed statements further on into the Law Society piece:
And what might that mean? Allow me:
How very disappointing. I’m not going to get into my views on the way The Law Society managed and threw money at its exclusive (as opposed to inclusive) LASPO campaign but what I will say is that with friends like these, who needs Chris Grayling!
On to the Law Society’s ‘Criminal legal aid proposals – campaign pack‘ – I can’t see it on its website yet so no link, sorry. Anyway, clearly worried that you may naively be approaching this consultation with something akin to steely resolve and grit, section 2 is designed to get you gibbering. Titled: “Background to the consultation: harsh realities” it provides a slanted pro-austerity economics 101
Under the introductory sub-heading “Cutting the deficit“, we have:
As the IMF has written of UK public spending: ‘loose fiscal policy before the financial crisis, damage to potential GDP as a result of the crisis, and fiscal stimulus deployed to ameliorate the crisis have taken a serious toll on the UK‟s fiscal position.’ The result was that public spending was exceeding receipts by 11.2% of GDP in 2009/10 – the highest deficit in the UK‟s history.
Why is TLS propagating the austerity agenda? I never realised it was politically aligned! Whatever your views on ‘austerity politics’ there is no acceptable reason for TLS to seek to align itself behind just one perception of the current economic situation. Other than, that is, to justify its own inaction and reticence in standing up for its members, drawing a line in the sand and fighting for justice in the UK. You know, saying something bold, fighting against the propaganda and hype, saying something that the people can understand, something people can believe in and get behind. It’s about principles FFS!
As an aside, here’s an example of someone talking about principles to watch later, just to try and give some idea of what I think is missing from this, what does TLS call it, ‘campaign pack’
And herein lies the problem. TLS is once again approaching a consultation as if it were, indeed, a consultation in the true spirit of the word. It isn’t. If LASPO showed us one thing it showed us that the coalition will prosecute its campaign of self-serving economic destruction regardless of anyone’s concerns. It will implement what it set out to implement regardless what alternatives are tabled, what discussions take place and whatever ‘indications’ or whispered ‘possible concessions’ Ministers and their MoJ instruments might nod in your direction throughout the process. Please don’t fall for it again!
There is only one path. Only one flickering light of hope. The absolutely one-and-only way to succeed against this ideologically driven nightmare of a government is to stand up, challenge and then fight it; then, just then there might be a chance. Anything less is 100% destined to certain failure. As Kyle Reese eloquently put it:
Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
Stand by your colleagues in the legal profession, whatever your discipline, the past and whatever your differences. Put even politics and personalities aside and remember why you became a ‘lawyer’, in the broadest sense of the word. Accept that some will invite you from this path, some will mock you, some may insult you, some may even try to reason with you or try to deal with you. Stay true. Remember why you became a lawyer, in the narrowest sense of the word: to do your part and fight for justice. It was always part of you and it’s still part of you now. You know what’s right
Fight for it.
Stand by these brave individuals in the legal profession who fight not only against the gradual erosion of justice in the UK but also against the prejudice and inaction of those others and those bodies who should be fighting alongside them, for them
Whoever you are and whatever you do, you may not even realise it yet but they’re fighting for all of us. It’s not the lawyers the government is attacking! Their habit of defending your rights and ensuring justice just happens to be in the way of this slavering-dog-of-a-coalition getting at you and me. It’s all our rights that are being assaulted and any attack on UK justice, by any government, is everyone’s battle. Your battle. My battle. For us here now and for the later generations depending on us. You know what’s right
Fight for it.
SIGN IT: Save UK justice e-petition
VISIT IT: Save UK justice website
LIKE IT: Facebook page