“Now listen to this,” said David to Chris
I want you to take over the law.
It’s easily done,
You’ll have some fun
And there’s some things that I need you there for.
Our voters think that long spells in the clink
Should be handed out far more.
So fill up the jails
In England and Wales
Then we’ll sell them all off to Group 4.
Other than that, you have quite a free hand
To change whatever you find
But I am intending
To cut public spending
So please do bear that in mind”
Chris Grayling sat down with Dame Ursula Brennan
And they wondered what cuts should be made.
“I know,” said the Dame “let’s do more of the same,
Let’s cut some more off Legal Aid”
This was a ruse that seemed to enthuse
The newly promoted Grayling:
“The criminal bar earns too much by far
And the current model is failing”
Dame Ursula said: “You have to be cunning
You must leave nothing to chance.
A consultation is what you need
With the outcome known well in advance.”
“Good thinking” said Chris, “I’m happy with this
We must make sure we do not fail.
To ensure our success I’ll speak to the Press
I’ll start with the Daily Mail.
“Can you believe it? Can it really be?
Some of these lawyers earn even more than me?
What a scandal, an outrage, an utter disgrace
We must cut and cut hard to put them in their place.
“If the criminals confess their guilt
We’ll pay a small remittance.
But if they choose to fight the case
We’ll pay their briefs a pittance.”
The responses came to the Minister’s office
Just as they had expected.
All concurred, the scheme was absurd
And had to be rejected.
“Just do it again” hissed Ursula Brennan,
You don’t even need to amend ’em
Just ask exactly the same things again
Like an EU referendum.
So once again the dreadful plan
Went out to consultation,
And back again came the answers clear:
“Your plan’s an abomination.”
Just a few thought otherwise
Mainly in Grays Inn:
“We don’t think that you’re atrocious
We think your as good as Grotius,
“To show we support your noble venture
We’re making you an honorary Bencher.”
That was indeed a signal honour:
Just imagine how he felt
Sharing it with Roosevelt.
Emboldened by this accolade Grayling thought he had it made:
“Enough reports and consultation, now’s the time for confrontation.
Now’s the time to cut your fees
I’ll start with VHCCs.”
At this the bar went quite beserk.
“If you won’t pay us, we won’t work.
It really is quite absurd;
So we won’t read another word,
“We won’t open up a file
We won’t lift a finger while
You’ve issued an instruction
For the Bar’s complete destruction.”
“That doesn’t bother me at all
I really don’t care less.
I’ve seen the future, and it works
It’s called the PDS.
My Public Defender Scheme’s
A better way by far
Though it’s somewhat more expensive
Than an independent bar.
I’ll pay them if they don’t work
And I’ll pay them if they do,
With a final salary pension scheme
That really suits them too.
I’ll pay them for their holidays
I’ll pay them when they’re sick
And if their eyesight’s failing (I want them at their best)
I’ll even pay for them to have a free optician’s test.
And should it cost me twice as much
There’s no way I’ll begrudge it
Because the money won’t be coming
From the Legal Aid Budget.
And when at last we have destroyed
The independent Bar
What the country is left with will be better then by far.
I’ll control the prosecutions, the defence and the rest
And of course that’s much better for the Government knows best.”
The Bar stood firm, or most of it,
And rejected Grayling’s shilling
But one, called Bull, said,
“Oh alright Chris, I for one am willing.
“I’ll do just what you say Sir,
If there’s cash then I want oodles,
Who cares if that means that I will then
Become one of your poodles?
“I’ll defend the murderers, the burglars and the thieves
I’ll do the rapes and riots and the VHCCs
And if you really want me to – this through gritted teeth –
I’ll get out of London and live in Pontypridd.”
(To be continued ….)