The Ballad of Chris Grayling (Part 1)

“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 ….)

Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

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