PICK A PATH
There is no right answer to the ballot question. The points of view for and against the deal are, as the contributions to this blog demonstrate, sincerely held and equally valid.
I participated in a meeting of the Northern Circuit on Saturday at which speeches from both sides of the debate were given equal prominence, delivered with equal commitment and received with equal appreciation. Not for a moment that I believe most people present did not have firmly held opinions one way or the other. But the issues were aired publicly and forcefully in a civilised way.
I recognise and appreciate the arguments eloquently advanced by contributors such as my fellow Circuiteers Simon Csoka and Jaime Hamilton, together with others, which will be familiar to readers of this blog and Twitter.
I see and have articulated, along with others, the factors which underpin the decision taken by the CBA Executive and my own view.
We have embarked on a ballot in which every member of the CBA has the opportunity, (and I would say the obligation), to contribute to the direction in which the CBA will move forward. Those members who fail to cast a vote will waste their chance to help to shape our future. Everyone who does vote, in whichever way, is expressing a unity of purpose with the rest of the CBA and, I believe, a commitment to abide by the result of the ballot, whether that be ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
And isn’t that a re-statement of our most effective weapon? That, contrary to the long-held view of the outside world, the criminal Bar will never be able to act together, we have shown, through a refusal to work on VHCC cases at the new rates and the No Returns policy, we can demonstrate a unified common aim.
The result of the ballot will determine the direction of our next steps. However we cast our individual votes, the most important demonstration of our strength will be when we put aside the debate of the past 12 days and move forward behind the leadership of the CBA as the ballot has determined. Our ultimate goals remain exactly the same. This debate and this ballot are about choosing the path to take to achieve those goals.