Direct Action? The view of a Legal Aid Barrister
The article is thought provoking and well written. There are the obvious risks which are associated with this type of action which is why many leave their views firmly seated in the robing room. Raging against the machine is not for the faint of heart. There is no doubt that this is something which requires the resolute and unyielding support from the majority over the minority.
@Notabarrister sums up my thoughts nicely on my next point. Strengthen your arm with proposals for realistic changes that would add value to your arguments. A complete backlash is risky. Go armed with real solutions to the real problems the bar faces.
Change should elevate from the bottom and gravitate to the top, after all the front line is where the action happens. Do not let your views be swept by the wayside. If you can show a dedication to taking all steps possible leading up to the final foray then this will inevitably gain you brownie points. If not negotiate……mediate…but do not abdicate. Thus when the inevitable ensues you will be in the best position possible to gain the support and respect which you are rightly due.
The problem with rallying public support is this: most people who need the help are either incarcerated or lack an understanding maybe due to these issues being slightly inaccessible to the ‘lay man’ – the sophistication and eloquence of the arguments are in most part only palatable to the highbrows or potentially people who have the pre-requisite knowledge or a good education. This would also have to be coupled with good common sense. Indeed remember who is in need of these services.
Could the arguments be simplified into bite size chunks. What is it, who is it going to affect and why? Similarly would the average person identify with a petty thief or support the ‘savings to the tax payers pocket line?’ – and on another note we all know why most of these crimes occur – poverty – unemployment – lack of opportunity – (this is only grazing the surface) anyway follow the yellow brick road …… some crimes are committed out of necessity, even though they aren’t morally correct.
Due to the recent failings and unease relating to the current scandals dogging the media my suggestion on this point is to find some common ground. With the waves of austerity sweeping in I foresee that the strongest argument relates to the figures.
A before and after campaign could be enticing. Case studies, real peoples stories – these need to be heartfelt, after all with more people losing their jobs a ‘what if….’ campaign could be effective..? Contrasting the same story in a before and after fashion. This could appeal to the middle classes. Not all of the accused are guilty after all… maybe choose a range of people from different walks of life. The business man…. the battered wife etc.
Go back to basics and re brand the bar or redefine and clarify what is at the heart of this debate. Are the values of yesteryear still relevant? Why do you go to work every day? You have to show honesty in your approach. “we are the protector of the people” etc. Just a suggestion. Show that you aren’t the soulless creatures that lurk in the shadows. People need to identify with you.
Make a change….be radical…within limits…, the pool of talent within your ranks is maybe unsurpassable…prove you’re worth your salt.
The future depends on you…..and it won’t be easy but nothing can change without a bit of faith. Advocacy is after all part and parcel of your day job.
I have such a lot to say, however I feel that I have addressed the most imminent and pressing issues that were at the forefront of my mind.
In the words of Mariah Carey – ‘There can be miracles, when you believe…’ (keeping it real – smiles). I hope this makes sense I feel like I have ranted a bit. Everything contained is just suggestible so maybe something could be of use?
Let the onslaught ensue…