Last night Sean Jones QC launched an appeal to raise money for refugees via Save The Children. His suggestion was that lawyers gave an amount that equated to a billable hour. You can find a link to the Just Giving page here.
The target was £5,000. That was soon revised to £7,500. The reason it was revised? Well only a few hours later the total had reached £25,000. And continues to rise.
The word has quickly spread through social media. And lawyers, rather than being the snakes, sharks and fat cats that we are often said to be, have responded in a very human way.
This seems to represent the view of a significant number of people. This embodies a desire to help rather than to ignore. This is a view that seems to have been provoked by the pictures of the little boy on the beach, about whom I have already written here.
I have seen the emotional response to the death of this little boy be described as “virtue signalling”. This seems to be a derogatory term used to describe what is an entirely understandable human emotional response as being, in someway, narcissistic. That it represents people wanting to show they care rather than actually caring. That people seek praise for being compassionate.
What a load of tosh.
There is a lot of news in the world and a lot of that relates to human suffering. It is a sad truth that sometimes it takes more than words and statistics to awake the human mind and heart to the plight of others. That the world wakes to the problem as the result of a single event is not something to lament. It is something to rejoice.
Actions like this Just Giving page is not virtue signalling. It is about the individual reacting in a way that they can. It is about the view of a section of the public being a little out of step with the perceived view of the public.
There is no big single answer to the crisis that has developed. Most of the big answers are only achievable by the politicians of this world. All we can do in the mean time is to help. Hopefully those acts of kindness will signal to the politicians that charity, kindness, humanity and understanding are virtues that we still cherish.
And do you know what? I do not mind signalling that virtue. And did so by immediately giving my fee for my mention today to Sean’s page. You can donate too if you like. The link is here. And in the time that I have taken to write this blog the total now nudges £30,000. Well done Sean and well done the lawyers. And anyone who thinks it is about being seen to be compassionate rather than actually being compassionate can be treated to some singularly unlawyerly language.
PS – five hours later and it has reached £50K. There are lots of lawyers out there……