Chris Grayling is a terrible lover. No, stick with me for a moment whilst I rephrase that, Chris Grayling is like a really terrible boyfriend. I feel like Bridget Jones in the throes of a romance with the Hugh Grant character. His communications regarding Legal Aid are like being dumped by letter by a University sweetheart who tells you she has met someone called Barry and although she thinks you are really sweet “can you just go back to being friends next term because that would be really nice” and “she just hates the thought of upsetting me”, like that’s going to happen after you have spent the whole of last term following her around and forging tickets to get her into the sold out Law Soc Social… Anyway, back to Grayling.
Reading his letter, his foreword to the response and his parliamentary statement it was as if he knew he was being a cad (I am choosing my words carefully now) and wanted to try and appear, well, all nice. When he wrote “please also be assured that I am not singling out legal aid – the savings from this area are consistent with those for the Department’s budget as a whole” he may well have just said “look its not you, it’s me.” And when he stated “when the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked for further savings from my Department in the Autumn Statement in December last year, I was very clear that we should not seek any further savings from criminal legal aid” he was effectively saying, “come on Jones, I’ve changed, I really have, I’m a one woman man from now on.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Ever been told whilst being dumped that you’ll look back one day and thank him/her for breaking up with you? Well Chris gives you “the review led by Sir Brian Leveson will increase the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system which will bring benefits to everyone within the system, including the Bar.”
It was not just the letter that had overtones of the insincere, self justification of the break-up letter. The Foreword to the response brought you “the Government will review both a year after implementation of the respective new arrangements”. I cannot be the only one who thought about Ross from friends hysterically repeating “we were on a break“.
The terrible thing is that I also have a vision of a chat-up line amongst the platitudes and excuses. “I have genuine respect for the traditions of the independent Bar, and the high quality advocacy that you provide” had all the hallmarks of the I-will-still-respect-you-in-the-morning precursor to a one night stand *shudders*.
So there we are. I guess I should now confess that I have had two glasses of wine, have lost three pounds and smoked no cigarettes this week (I do not smoke and have embarked upon the 5:2 diet, were today not a fast day, the wine consumption would have rocketed). When it comes to the dating game, Chris and I were just not meant to be. I can see now that the break-up is going to be acrimonious. In the future I can see myself in the street, outside the pub, high heels in hand and mascara staining my face as Chris shouts “Get over it, I am with the PDS now and I really think we have a future together.” The big question is whether Nigel Lithman is about to do a Darcy and punch his lights out in a Greek restaurant?