Some Experiences I Had at the Bar (with reference to a recent book on the justice system in England)

I see that The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken (or, as The Guardian online has it, “Brokem“) is published:

I have no idea who “Secret Barrister” (apparently a criminal specialist) is; in fact I block him (or her) on Twitter simply because he (or she) seems to be friendly with some Jew-Zionists and others who have proven themselves to be hostile to me. It will be recalled by some that, though I ceased Bar practice in 2008, I was nonetheless disbarred in 2016 (!), after a malicious complaint by a pack of Jews calling themselves “UK Lawyers for Israel”. The main facts can be found here:

I should add that I have not read the Secret Barrister book.

My Bar pupillage (on-job training year, in my case mostly in 1992), was largely criminal (the rest being mostly civil and public law). Prior to that, I had done –and was only able to do– unpaid “pro bono” work, such as helping an eccentric small publisher to win a libel perpetrated on him by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the famous Russian author having claimed via innuendo that the plaintiff –now “claimant”– had acted as an agent for the Soviet K.G.B. We won £10,000 and costs; if anyone is interested, the case was Flegon v. Solzhenitsyn and was reported on the front pages of the more serious newspapers.

I did no ordinary criminal cases after the mid-1990s and –as mentioned– ceased Bar practice entirely in 2008, and so have no direct knowledge of the damage done to the justice system in England and Wales by reason of post-2010 “austerity” (that being the subject matter of the Secret Barrister book), but my observations more generally may be of interest.

When I was at the “Bar School” (the Inns of Court School of Law in Gray’s Inn, at the time the only place where the academic part of Bar training, culminating in the Bar Finals Exam, could be undertaken), the legal scene in London was vibrant. The pre-recession late 1980s saw major newspapers ( Times and Independent especially) carrying dozens of display ads weekly for lawyers of all types and levels of seniority. In the private salaried realm, pay for employed lawyers went from perhaps £25,000 for very junior to £100,000 and even £200,000. I knew a Bar student who needed to get a salaried job on Call to the Bar. The Crown Prosecution Service, founded only in 1986, offered him £26,000 a year as starting salary, quite good by the standards of many non-legal employees at the time. I have no specific knowledge about the salary which his equivalent might be offered today, but I doubt that it is much more, despite inflation in the succeeding 30 years.

As to those I knew who went on into private Bar practice, I followed their progress from afar, mostly from the USA. One got into criminal chambers doing fairly heavy criminal (including white collar) crime: fraud, armed robbery, serious violence. The frauds paid especially well and my friend was, by the early 1990s, making well over £100,000 a year as junior Counsel often led by a “silk” (QC). This was, to me, a stunning amount for a young man in his mid twenties from a no more than average academic background (a comprehensive school, a law degree from a provincial university) to be making, but in his milieu it was accepted as the norm. I mention all that because it was at that time that the newspapers started to report on the amounts some barristers were making from legal aid fees. Indeed, it was about then, or not very many years later, that a handful of barristers paid via legal aid were starting to break through the million-pounds-a-year barrier.

As to others I knew, they were doing well too: an appearance in the Mags (magistrates’ court) might only pay a couple of hundred pounds, but that has to be set against the fact that many “ordinary people” were paid that much, or less, for a week of work, as opposed to what might well be, in terms of time in court (leaving aside preparation, waiting, travel) only half an hour or less in some small magistrates’ cases. I joined the throng in 1993 and, though scarcely in the stellar league (much at the Bar depends on the quality of the chambers you are in; chambers supply almost all of your work), made a reasonable living, anyway. I do recall one brief I had, an “old-style” committal for trial in a modestly-large multi-handed (7 or 8 defendants) cheque fraud case, at City of London Mags. It went on for a few days and I remember even now that my fee for that was £5,000, which for me at the time was a windfall very gratefully received (it could not happen now and of course I recall it mainly because of its rarity. I did not get the expected £20,000-£40,000 Old Bailey trial, because the Nigerian solicitor gave “my” trial to a recently-Called young Nigerian woman barrister who just happened to be a daughter of his friend…but that’s another story).

Scroll on a decade or so to the years before the Conservative Party victory of 2010. I had made my last appearance in court in late 2007 and had done only privately-paid civil work, no criminal (except for the odd regulatory violation committed by large companies); in fact, I had also spent years overseas in various parts of the world, from the Caribbean to Kazakhstan. During that time, legally-aided Bar fees in England had generally not kept pace with inflation. For example, back in about 1993 I had appeared on a Mention at a Crown Court, this being more or less what it sounds like: the matter is listed, the judge examines any issues arising and makes any directions necessary, then it finishes, about 5 minutes or ten minutes after it started. A silly thing and it paid £46. I read recently that now, 25 years later, the fee is still less than £50! It is said that the same is true of many fees for criminal and family work.

Apparently, about 258 courts have actually closed in the past 8 years. This means that parties have to trek quite far to their cases. Some people are poor, cannot afford fares and may not have a car. Unjust in itself.

It was in the fake “austerity” atmosphere after 2010 (which in fact started before 2010, under the equally “ZOG” Gordon Brown government) that the Jew-Zionist “Conservative” MP Jonathan Djanogly commented, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary (a junior government post), that the UK justice system was “the most generous in the world” []. This laid the ground for the Ministry of Justice becoming a prime target for “austerity” cuts. Djanogly himself left government in 2012 and his political career has stalled, permanently.

I want to be clear. I have little sympathy for the Bar, meaning barristers, as such (and less for solicitors). I think that those who made good and often very good livings out of legally-aided work (criminal, family and other) were lucky when compared to many people in the UK who work at hard, boring, maybe dirty jobs, often for a pittance. Many at the Bar still are fortunate. Having said that, any decent public service or arm needs to be properly funded, whether it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, SIS, NHS or Ministry of Justice. There are arguments to be had about some aspects of MoJ funding, as about priorities too, but as the book in question seems to be saying (from reviews seen), the justice system (and that includes prisons, probation, forensic science etc, as well as courts and legal services) is now under very serious strain.


The Rise and Fall of the Pseuds

From 2005 through to 2008, I worked as a practising barrister in England, but spent about half my time in Brittany, commuting on a twice or thrice-monthly basis by sea and air. I did not keep in close touch with UK political affairs. I used my TV in France only for DVDs and videos and had no Sky service. The brief triumph of BNP candidates Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons in the European elections was heard by me via BBC World Service and Radio 4 (which can usually be picked up on or near the coast).

In mid-2009, having given up Bar practice in early 2008, I returned to the UK. I started to take great interest in British political life. One aspect surprised me particularly: the rise to –brief– prominence of persons whose connection to politics was slight. Not so much “commentators” (their usual self-styling) as pseudo-commentators and pseudo-“activists”. One of these was a young woman called Alexandra Swann (on Twitter, @alexandralswann, not to be confused with @alexandraswann, an American blogger). She was (for her “15 minutes of fame”) a UKIP spokesperson:

and the msm started to take an interest in her. For a few months she seemed to be on TV constantly, pontificating (albeit risibly) on social welfare, employment, all sorts of things. UKIP gave her 10 minutes in which to speak at its 2012 Conference:

The Guardian –of all outlets!– gave Alexandra Swann op-ed space, calling her “the new face of UKIP”. She was also called, by others,”the future face of UK politics”!

In fact, she described herself as “libertarian” and had been an office-holder at one time in “Conservative Future”, the more or less defunct Con youth wing (the Scottish section even had to cancel its conference, when only 6 people applied for tickets!). Like so many youthful “libertarians” (she was 23 years old in 2012), she had a wealthy father to help her out should she be unable to stand on her own two feet in the approved Ayn Rand manner. Indeed, she was, at the time, still a student, working on a politics-oriented PhD at Sussex.

In fact, it was around that time that UKIP started to split internally between the members who were basically pseudo-nationalist Conservatives (fiscal Conservatives who were anti-mass immigration) and the more social-national UKIPpers who might (and did, briefly) appeal to voters in the Labour heartlands of the North.

Two years later, Alexandra Swann had left UKIP:

She was so politically-unaware that she thought that UKIP should ditch its anti-immigration stance and become a party of Ayn Rand “libertarians” (liberty for the wealthy and austerity/repression for the poor, as I see it). She was not alone in holding such attitudes: some who held elected positions were not far from her in this; one could mention Daniel Hannan MEP, Douglas Carswell MP etc as “fiscally conservative, socially-liberal”. Those far more seasoned (not to say educated and intelligent) figures likewise at least pretended to think that a “small-state” national conservatism could be popular. Needless to say, the idea is anathema to me.

Since that time, Alexandra Swann has retreated into private life and (her tweets have recounted) has even had a job or two, as well as becoming, presumably on a small scale (via family money? I do not know, but how else?), a buy-to-let parasite or “residential real estate investor” if you prefer. I should add that the lady blocks me, though I have never tweeted to her. She must have disagreed with a tweet of mine which was critical of her smug “entitled” attitudes…

What I am writing about here is not this one now-obscure person, Alexandra Swann, as such (she was, in the end, too silly and inconsistent a figure to be taken seriously even in Britain’s decadent political/msm milieu), but as a symptom of a time when the mainstream media promoted almost anyone, especially those thought to be travelling along the “welfare reform”, “austerity” line. A pretty face and youth helped but were not essential. There were others after 2010 who were trying to become media talking heads and/or political stars. Some even became MPs.

There was Louise Mensch, who caught the wave early. David Cameron-Levita-Schlumberger placed her on the “A” List, as a result of which she was briefly an MP, though she resigned for “personal reasons” later (by which time various stories about her behaviour had surfaced, not least the fact that (as she admitted), “hard drugs” had “messed with” her brain…


Louise Mensch could be seen on TV constantly in 2010-2011, supporting the evil policies of the “Conservative” government of Cameron-Levita (and not only on Sky News, but Newsnight, at the time still a programme of some weight).

Since her resignation as MP, Louise Mensch has tried and failed at various commercial social media and Internet activities and was for a few years a columnist for the Sun “newspaper”, until she “left” in 2017. I always wondered why Murdoch paid her (assuming that it was a paid job). It seemed bizarre that a woman who constantly gets basic facts wrong could be a columnist even for the Sun. She still tweets, though: prolifically and sometimes –though unwittingly– funnily. She blocks me on Twitter…

I should add that Louise Mensch has been gunning for me for years on Twitter and elsehow. She loved it when the Jew Zionists managed to get me disbarred in 2016 (I suppose that she thought that I was still in practice and that I would suffer as a consequence) and (together with or parallel to the same Zionists) tweeted directly to me that she was going to get me chucked out of the New York Bar too. She is married to a wealthy Jew. Her desire to extract the “pound of flesh” from me was patent! For the record, the New York Bar does not police its members’ opinions on politics (there’s this thing called the U.S. Constitution…) and I never heard anything more about her complaint against me (if it was ever made) or that made by some London Jews (who threatened me with the same). In fact, I have never practised in New York anyway, and whether I belong to the NY Bar is a matter of supreme unconcern to me.

There were many others around 2010 (in fact from 2009) and in the succeeding years who were to be seen on Sky News and BBC News newspaper reviews, on Question Time and BBC Daily Politics. Some found niche positions in small publications or online, but most have almost faded from view. One is the egregious Caroline Criado-Perez. Like several others of the type now under discussion, she seems to have come from a rather wealthy background, so it scarcely matters to her from an everyday point of view that she dropped out of university in the first year (her Wikipedia entry –pretty obviously mainly drafted by her– mentions her “working in digital marketing for several years”…well, it may be true…).

It seems that some silly and malicious people emailed or tweeted to Caroline Criado-Perez in a threatening way (three were even convicted), allowing her to claim a kind of martyr status for a while. I personally have no objection at all to women of note (no pun intended) being depicted on paper money, but to agitate for that (which had already been done anyway) hardly counts as a career…

Caroline Criado-Perez had an OBE bestowed upon her for her “activism” in getting Jane Austen on a banknote (though Elizabeth Fry had been on banknotes for years). She has now agitated for a statue of a Suffragist in Parliament Square. She still seems to regard herself as a kind of full-time or other “activist” though her Wikipedia entry says that in 2013 she was “in process of completing” a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. Roll over,  Einstein! I have no idea whether she will now get a CBE for having asked that a statue be erected; maybe not.

I have never tweeted to Caroline Criado-Perez, but she must have seen me criticize her on Twitter or, more likely, not take her seriously on Twitter, because she too blocks me…I have only seen her a couple of times on TV and she seems quite pleasant in her interview manner, but “pleasant” alone just does not cut it in these times.

What strikes me about the three women above is how adept, at least initially, they were at self-promotion. Also, how, in the end, self-promotion is not enough. 2010 and 2012 were different to 2018. Times are becoming serious. Yes, you could get on TV shows if you were a pretty girl willing to address (however shallowly) important issues; yes, you could maybe become an MP if you had the right help and image; yes, you could get an OBE for something like demanding that a certain type of person be put on a banknote. However, that’s where it finishes. The pretence of gravity is not the same, ultimately, as gravity. If you are shallow, or ignorant, or a one-trick pony, the more serious times will not carry you along but will dump you as irrelevant.

My intention in writing the above was not to criticize those mentioned but to characterize a time, a time that is pretty much gone now. The new time demands serious people with the ability to think and act seriously. This is no longer the time of the dilettante.