Tag Archives: lawyers

A Letter from Dave (and Alan) about Ed (and Alex)

I got a letter from the Prime Minister yesterday. This is not an everyday event in the Hamilton household. This caused a stir of excitement. The Prime Minister! Writing to me!! Whatever could he want? He is a very important man, and here he was, taking the time to write to little me. 

When I say take the time to write, the letter was in fact typed. This was no personal “black spider” correspondence type scenario. But it was signed. The personal touch there. Well, I say signed, closer inspection revealed that the signature was what some term a “facsimile” and other people call a “fake”. 

Nonetheless the Prime Minister was writing to me, Jaime Hamilton. Which was how the letter started. “Dear Jaime Hamilton.” Using both my names. Not the cosiness of just “Dear Jaime” nor the more formal “Dear Mr Hamilton”. Even the man I spoke to the other week about cancelling my Sky gave me the choice. As I have never met the Prime Minister I guess this was a hard decision for him to make. I mean Jaime is a funny first name. He may not even know whether I am male or female. Tough call for the man. Not that Prime Ministers should be beyond tough calls. The funny thing is most correspondence I receive addressed “Dear Jaime Hamilton” are usually emails informing me of the fact that the sender has £17 million he has to move out of his country and, should I care to let it rest in my bank account for a few hours, I could keep the odd million or so. All I need to do is give them every detail of my bank account. 

I was sure this letter was not going to be so full of empty promises and fanciful financial shenanigans. 

So the letter began, in bold type no less, “The Conservatives’ number one priority in government has been to get Britain’s economy back on its feet.” This made me burst into a spontaneous round of applause. Not because of the sentiment expressed, but because of the impeccable use (and non-use) of apostrophes. Bravo PM. 

I actually did not agree with the sentiment. I kind of think that the government’s number one priority should have been to keep me and my loved ones safe in a well organised, free democratic society. But my new penpal and I were not going to fall out about that. 

Our Glorious Leader went on “We’ve come a long way since 2010. And now, thanks to the hard work and determination of the British people, we are making our way back:” I was beginning to get confused. We had come a long way and now we were turning round and heading back again? Was this a day trip to Whitby on a wet Thursday? 

He wrote some more about the deficit, taxes and jobs. They were down, they were up, and when they were up they were up and when they were down they were down and if Miliband had his way they would be neither up nor down. Or something like that. And then “And the choice you face now is whether we stick to a plan that is working, or turn back”. Oh come on, Grand Old Duke of Chipping Comfort, you told me three sentences ago we are now making our way back having come a long way and now we have to decide whether to go back again? Make your mind up. One of your predecessors was famous for not turning. You, however, are making me dizzy. Are we going to Whitby or not?

The Prime Minister needed to move the correspondence forward. We needed to re-centre on our relationship. Concentrate on why it was that the PM had singled me out for this letter that also came with the personalised reference number CHEA6600024298. And was promoted by someone called Alan Mabbutt. I am not sure who Alan Mabbutt is or why he was promoting this billet-doux. 

Now for the “ask not what can your country can do for you but ask what you can do to give me Chequers” moment. 

Apparently, the Prime Minister told me, my constituency was one of just 23 the Conservatives need to win to keep Ed Milliband out of Downing Street. This confused me. I thought he needed 326 seats to get his majority. Turns out he only needs 23. Whatever the maths, this was his point “So today I am writing,” he wrote, as you may have guessed from the fact it is a letter and he used the words ‘I am writing’, but I digress, “to ask for your support to finish the job we have started.”

He promised me more jobs and better wages. This is where the spell was broken. He did not know me at all. He had no idea I was a criminal lawyer More jobs? Tell that to the hundreds of solicitor firms his Government is about to put out of work. Better wages? Cut after cut has decimated the professions. 

So as he blathered on about Ed Milliband and Alex Salmond I really stopped reading. Because the best our Prime Minister could come up with to persuade me to vote for a candidate he did not even give a namecheck to, was the prospect of a Scottish bogeyman giving us Sassenachs another Bannockburn. I want vision. I want a fair society and a democracy that shines out to the world. I want better than “Our country simply can’t afford the chaos of a Miliband-led government with Alex Salmond pulling the strings for the next five years. The only way to stop that happening is to vote Conservative.” 

Of course this is not the only way. The other way is to make sure everyone votes for someone other than a Conservative. If you want to know a bit more about that kind of thinking, sign up up with the Vote4Justice mailing list by clicking here. And consider how your vote impacts not just on big business, not just on the bottom line. But on society. 

The letter that began “Dear Jaime Hamilton” was just another piece of correspondence that promised me untold riches if only I would help the author out with a spot of local difficulty. 

My response “Dear Dave, Jog On.”

 

The Westhoughton Question

Deep in the bowels of the Ministry of Justice this conversation has not happened, it is completely imagined….

A young civil servant bursts into The Lord Chancellor’s office. He clearly has news….

Civil Servant Minister, I have news. (see I told you he had news) The Northern Circuit has just voted in favour of independence.

Lord Chancellor What are you talking about?

CS The lawyers. Up North. They have voted to go independent. They want to break away from the MoJ, the LAA, the lot.

LC I’m sorry?

CS They reckon they have had enough of decisions being taken in Westminster and the Temple that impact upon them. They began the “Bugger Off” Campaign.

LC What makes them so special? Anyone would have thought that the Trade Union movement and Socialism had its roots up there.

CS Err, it kind of does. They have always been a bit, well, awkward. And the lawyers are no different. What with their “No To QASA” meetings and badges.

LC We’ll judicially review it….

CS I’m not sure we can.

LC Why not? I always have my decisions overturned by it.

CS I think you need grounds. Like lack of consultation. And it looks like they consulted a lot before they made their mind up. They consulted, they revealed all the evidence and they voted. Fairly.

LC That sounds a bit….. amateurish. Much safer to make your mind up first.

CS Well they have consulted and they have decided they want to go it alone.

LC How do they think they can survive without us? What have they contributed to the legal scene?

CS Leveson.

LC What’s that?

CS Lord Justice Leveson

LC What about him?

CS He came from up that way. The North.

LC Well okay, other than Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division and famed for the press thingy, other than him, what have the North ever contributed to the legal scene?

CS Mr Justice Edis. He prosecuted the phone hacking case. You’ve just appointed him to the High Court Bench.

LC Okay, other than Lord Leveson and this Edis fella who prosecuted one big-ish case, what has the North contributed to the legal wealth of this country?

CSMr Justice Henriques, retired now. He prosecuted Shipman and was the Judge in some pretty big trials.

LC Okay. Stop. I get it. I’ll just say they seem like a pretty sexist lot up there with all there Mr Justice this and their Lord Justice that…

CS Well they also produced Dame Janet Smith who did the Shipman Enquiry and then, if you think about it, there was Rose Heilbron who was one of the first two women to be appointed King’s Counsel in England, the first woman to lead in a murder case, the first woman Recorder, the first woman judge to sit at the Old Bailey and was also the second woman ever to be appointed a High Court judge….

LC Other than a few Judges what have the Northerners ever done for us?

CS Viaducts.

LC Sorry?

CS Viaducts. They have good viaducts up there. I suppose you could say that was actually the Romans…..

LC You’re not helping now. I’ll have to send Jeremy to sort them out. He is from up that way.

CS Jeremy?

LC You know, the new A-G. He’s from the North.

CS He is from the Midlands, isn’t he? I am not sure that counts as the North to Northerners…

LC I’ll send Buckland then. He has an accent.

CS He’s Welsh….

LC Is he? But he’s in Parliament here. With me. In England.

CS And?

LC And he’s foreign.

CS I am not sure that is going to placate them.

LC Right, make them all Judges.

CS What?!?

LC (The Lord Chancellor enunciates his words slowly and deliberately) Offer… to… make… them… Judges. It usually works to quell trouble.

CS There is over a thousand of them. A thousand members of the “Bugger Off” Campaign. And you want to make them all Judges?

LC Well maybe Judges of the First Tribunal Tier or Parking Adjudicator. Anything. With a pension. They love a pension.

CS Well it turns out that it isn’t just the North….

LC What else is there?

CS Well this morning, outside Newcastle Crown Court, there was a horde of barristers, with woad on their faces and one was giving this speech, “dying in your bed many years from now,” he was shouting at the collected lawyers, “would you be willing to trade all the briefs from this day for one chance to stand here as middle aged hacks and tell our enemies that they may take our uncontested divorces but they will never take our red corners!”.

LC That bloody Ian West….

CS But what are we going to do?

LC Make them a lot of promises. Of stuff that we can’t do until after the election. Then either we will have lost the election and it will be someone else’s problem or I’ll be in the Home Office and it’ll be someone else’s problem.

CS Yes Lord Chancellor.

LC The last thing I want to see is an independent Bar….