My life in a Banana Republic:December.

Jambo!

I have observed the silence because, since your summer, I have been in my homeland.

A man such as myself , with many Degrees from the Queen’s University is well respected and much sought after in my country.

My Uncle, who is Prime Minister, appointed me Minister for the Environment. In this way I was able to look after our oil interests and the family coal fired power station, built on the lands of a rival tribe.

But I was restless, I sought a new challenge.

Imagine my excitement when I saw an advertisement for a CEO of the Community Research and Action Program. I leapt at the chance. There was much assessment and interviewing. I sensed that the two tribes were at war when I was asked if I knew the Great She Elephant or the President-for-Life. I said no and consequentially received the post.

It is most satisfying and my eyes have been opened wide. No procurement rules are obeyed. You can sell your land to the government for a new road, then when a judge forbids the road, the government gives you the land back and puts up the fences again. You get an incentive to burn as much wood as you like. Men roam the streets with large bags of cash. No wrongdoing goes beyond a committee, which buries it. In fact, I have learned a new word. Largesse. It is never off the lips of community workers, who are often former  or part time warriors. My friend , Dingle, says that Largesse is the new opiate of the masses.

This is certainly true. I have only met one politician who is not availing of this thing. That is Jim Allister. He is a grumpy man who is constantly revolted by sodomy. Jim would not fit in my country. He does not have fun or Largesse. That is why he frowns so much.

On the opposite hand, I saw Emma Aardvark Lyttle Pengelly in Templepatrick Evergreen on Saturday. She was munching her Greggs pasty and having fun. Maybe she gets  a lot of Largesse.

I have written to my Uncle to give him some tippings on what he calls Pork Barrel Politics. He is behind the times. Largesse is the new Pork Barrel. Northern Ireland is open for business!

And I am revelling in the CRAP.

Jambo!

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Lawyer, represent thyself!

Dear Reader,

You might expect that a doctor could diagnose  his own complaint or that an accountant would never go bankrupt, or that a lawyer would never fail to make a case for himself.

How often is the opposite true.

The criminal lawyers in Northern Ireland make the point, rightly, that the new legal aid fees do not allow them to properly represent their clients.

Put another way. If they were to carry out, diligently, all the work necessary to give their clients a proper  defence, the lawyer would be working for minimum wage , or less.

The same situation obtains in England. There, many senior legal figures  have spoken out. Here, Mr Justice Weir ,tentatively,  put his bewigged head over the parapet.

Ford has a budget and says that it is not his role to provide work for lawyers. True. But it is his role to see that justice is served.

Justice is something that happens to others until you are arrested.

But I digress. The Bar is at best lukewarm to the issue. You see, the fat cats and the civil lawyers are rather like the public. It’s not going to happen to them.

Worse, the lawyers who are supposed to defend the accused and make a case for them have made a pretty poor case for themselves, when compared to the junior doctors.

As some might say, in that case, they deserve all they get [or don’t].