Winter fool

Off the back of Lord Young’s remarks about people never having had it so good and with the cold weather taking over, the ever-sensitive HeadofChambers thought he’d organise a ‘Champagne Winter Fuel’ party last night at his London club.

It was funded by the winter fuel payments for those of his friends who qualified. Despite the general disapproval of chambers for an event in such spectacular bad taste, it did lead to some debate about the merits of the system itself.

‘It highlights how absurd the benefit is,’ said TheCreep.

‘More like universal benefits as a whole,’ said BusyBody. ‘I mean why should QCs like OldSmoothie get anything off the state when the money could be better spent improving the services for those who can’t afford to pay?’

‘The problem is,’ said OldRuin gently, ‘that in reality that would just marginalise the whole system.’

‘Not if it was top notch and left the rich wanting to buy into it,’ answered BusyBody. She was on a roll. ‘Call it a tax on the rich if you like but it’d solve the debt crisis in one fell swoop.’

‘I’d support anything if it reversed the cuts in legal aid which are on their way,’ said UpTights.

‘You would say that when a chunk of your income comes from it,’ said OldSmoothie. ‘Hardly the most impartial observer.’

‘Oh do shut up you old fool,’ said UpTights. ‘I honestly don’t believe that even you came into the profession without a single ideal, at least at the time. A thought that somehow with all our training we might be able to help. But soon if you’re poor and get sacked, evicted or divorced then you’ll be on your own.’

‘Well all I can say is that I’ll be giving my winter fuel payment to the local legal advice centre in my village in Hamshire,’ said OldRuin. ‘It’s hardly going to change the world but it might at least provide an example.’

With which he looked pointedly at HeadofChambers and for the first time since I have known him showed a look of disgust as he marched out of chambers tea.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

December 2, 2010 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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