I’ve been tracking the Coalition’s war against the professions for quite a while now. I guess you must have been too. In these pieces, written almost a year apart, we can remind ourselves how medieval politicians are; why dequalifying the professions is a bad move; and why Cameron & Co are really no better than 21st century witch doctors. I’ve also watched, miserable, as the Welfare State has been dismantled pillar by pillar (more here, here and here) out of rank and disagreeable prejudice.
The latest example is complex in its detail (.pdf file) but simple in its impact:
The Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA) has read the consultation on competitive price tendering (CPT) produced by the Government ‘Transforming legal aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system’ and this briefing is our initial response. A formal fuller response will be made shortly.
Here is point 1 of its response, to give you a flavour of what’s going on:
A. Why the proposals are socially divisive, dangerous and against the public interest.
1. It transforms people into mere economic units by denying them the simple human dignity of choice. These Stalinist proposals to require people to abandon their freedom of choice and to force them to be represented by a lawyer allocated by an impersonal call centre are deplorable. Winston Churchill said: “The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country’. Clients are people and if they are legally aided when accused of crime they do not cease to be such. The process of arrest and prosecution are demeaning enough without this added humiliation of denial of choice. In contrast, unlike the majority of the community, the political and wealthy elite who will of course retain the economic ability to purchase their choice of legal representation. It is a socially divisive and shameful proposal. We cannot believe that were a politician, MOJ civil servant or wealthy person accused of a crime they did not commit would be content with being represented by a solicitor randomly allocated by a call centre. But the ‘little people’ (Including low paid, the youths, the students and most people who will qualify for means tested legal aid in the Crown court) are to be denied the same choice even when as tax payers citizens will have paid through taxation for the right to be legally aided.
What’s clearly happening here is yet another example of prejudice-based governors ignoring the opinions and sidelining the intelligences of evidence-based professionals. From teachers to GPs to nurses to lawyers, before and again now, it’s apparent that evidence-based professions pose a serious risk to the incompetent unprofessionalised politicians. As I tweeted some minutes ago, here, here and here:
@geektrev It’s OK. I managed to get there. :-) I wrote a lot a year or so back on destruction of Legal Aid as pillar of Welfare State.
@geektrev Think it’s part of deliberate wider deprofessionalisation of society (teachers, doctors, nurses etc).
@geektrev Evidence-based professionals present a threat to prejudice-driven politicians and need to be neutralised. That’s what’s happening.
So none of this surprises me, and none of this confuses me.
A century ago, there was nothing more difficult to deal with for the professionals of learning than the self-taught man or woman with a chip on their shoulders.
Today, there is nothing more difficult to deal with for the citizens and subjects of an educated state than a self-made politico or politica with a driven belief in their own prejudices.
And that’s essentially what’s happening as we witness so many generations of structures being destroyed before our very eyes; as we witness aghast the collapse.
Anything we can properly do to halt this careering towards a 21st century Dark Ages? Perhaps not. Perhaps we are hardwired quite otherwise. But, even so, even assuming there is nothing more to be realistically done, I do suggest at the very least you bear witness to what is happening – I do suggest you sign this petition:
Save UK Justice
Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
The MOJ should not proceed with their plans to reduce access to justice by depriving citizens of legal aid or the right to representation by the Solicitor of their choice.
If a government which claims to act out of a desire to create more societal freedoms finds it necessary to intervene from a prejudiced standpoint in the workings of society’s fundamentals – from the NHS to Legal Aid to social care to education – then surely we need to draw in the most vigorous terms the rest of our nation’s attention to the contradictions involved.
You cannot create a civilisation of the free based on top-down reorganisations mandated by throwbacks to foolish and primitive times – times which never existed, even as the self-interested rose-tinted spectacles claim to demonstrate they did.
You cannot create a civilisation of the free based on such prejudice – or, indeed, on such back-scratching self-enrichment.
Perhaps it’s time we realised a civilisation of the free isn’t, actually, the goal of these leaders – leaders who, in any meritorious field of endeavour, would be considered to be on the worst side of incompetent.
Puts quite a different slant on everything, once you accept that to be the case.
Don’t you think so?