Monday, January 14, 2008

Paper money

Find the link between:
  1. 30 January 1972
  2. 29 January 1998
  3. 922
  4. more than £174m
  5. some time into 2008.
Now, that was easy, wasn't it! Well done! Of course the connection is
  1. Bloody Sunday, because, on
  2. 29th January 1998, Tony Blair announced the setting-up of a inquiry into those events. The Inquiry under Lord Saville (top right) heard
  3. 922 witnesses. The whole cost is now
  4. £174M, and still counting; and Lord Saville is promising a report
  5. still some time ahead.
In Malcolm's book, that amounts to a crying disgrace, not just because of the disproportionate legal costs, but because justice deferred (as it has been for three-and-a-half decades) is justice denied.

Michael Mansfield, QC, regularly appears on television. At the moment he is usually seen walking into the High Court. He is counsel to a foul-mouthed shop-owner, for whom he eloquently speaks at a farcical Inquest into the death of a not-so-young woman and her Lothario lover. They died in a car-crash, not wearing seat-belts, driven by a drunk, at illegal and reckless speed.

Let us recall that the louche Michael previously took £682,378 for representing the families at the Saville Inquiry.

He was either hard done-by or too busy elsewhere, because his take was modest compared to Arthur Harvey (£1,226,257), Seamus Tracey (£951,140), or even Lord Gifford (£718,830). Good to see real socialists there, getting their snouts in the trough.

On the other side, Edwin Glasgow represented the MoD at a cost of £4,054,187 million. Even he was out-classed by Christopher Clarke, QC, counsel to the inquiry, who was worth every penny of his £4,488,266. Furthermore, Mr Clarke, once of Brick Court Chambers, is (as of January 2005) His Honour Mister Justice Clarke.

A firm of solicitors, Eversheds, were paid £12,673,056 for taking witness statements.

Malcolm did a quick sum of the total legal expenses of the MoD: £31,637,893. Call it the lottery winnings for a calendar month?

And what, exactly, has the great British public got to show for all of this largesse? Well, there's a couple of new hotels in the City of Derry, built on the back of accommodating the cohorts, before the caravan returned to London. Beyond that: sweet ... damn ... all.

No doubt, in the course of time, all will be revealed.

But Malcolm has to admit amazement at the precision of these busy and important personages. He goes into a Supermarket, reaches the till, and is able to guess (at best) within a few pounds the cost of his few purchases. They prove their infinite superiority by being able to cost their time to the nearest pound in four million.

Malcolm asked whence came this astonishing numeracy. He was told that barristers count the smallest billable moment as six minutes. So a thirty-second telephone call is billed to the client at six minutes.

Keep your hand upon the dollar
And your eye upon the scale

Which leads Malcolm to the story of the barrister, who dropped dead at 39. When he reached the Pearly Gates, he expressed his miffedness.

He had, he declared, lived a good and sinless life. He had worked hard and supported a family and two cats; he had been charitable and done good works. Yet, here he was, ripped from mortality with no medical reason, in his prime. Why?

"Well", said the recording angel, "we're working from your claim sheets, and, according to them, you're 120!" Sphere: Related Content

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