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who_runs_this_place [2013/12/30 16:18]
dan [The Secret Services]
who_runs_this_place [2016/05/03 09:52] (current)
will [Lawyers]
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 Who Runs This Place?: The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century by Anthony Sampson, 2005, London: John Murray Who Runs This Place?: The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century by Anthony Sampson, 2005, London: John Murray
 +
 +The London //​Guardian//​ published a [[http://​www.theguardian.com/​uk/​2004/​mar/​28/​britishidentity.bookextracts|4,​500 word extract of this book]] in 2004.
  
 The following "​Veracity Index" published by MORI is often referred to: The following "​Veracity Index" published by MORI is often referred to:
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 ======Lawyers====== ======Lawyers======
  
-The legal profession is more complex and obscure to the layman than most, and requires more basic explanation of its intricacies. ​ But as a whole, the political influence of the legal profession is in long-term decline. ​ Forty years ago it had much greater collective power to block change than today. ​ At the broad level, it is also worth noting the stark difference in public trust and appreciation between lawyers (who have long been seen as untrustworthy and unaccountable) and judges (who are perceived as vastly more trustworthy than, say politicians or ministers).+The legal profession is more complex and obscure to the layman than most, and requires more basic explanation of its intricacies. ​ But as a whole, the political influence of the legal profession is in long-term decline. ​ Forty years ago it had much greater collective power to block change than today. ​ At the broad level, it is also worth noting the stark difference in public trust and appreciation between lawyers (who have long been seen as untrustworthy and unaccountable) and judges (who are perceived as vastly more trustworthy than, saypoliticians or ministers).
  
 Solicitors naturally come under the most criticism from the public as they deal most directly with them.  The number of solicitors in the UK has increased alarmingly by more than four times since the early 1960s. ​ They are also the section of the profession most influenced by the American culture of enormous, escalating and illegitimate fees, particularly in the corporate sector but increasingly in billing government as the importance of human rights cases has grown. Solicitors naturally come under the most criticism from the public as they deal most directly with them.  The number of solicitors in the UK has increased alarmingly by more than four times since the early 1960s. ​ They are also the section of the profession most influenced by the American culture of enormous, escalating and illegitimate fees, particularly in the corporate sector but increasingly in billing government as the importance of human rights cases has grown.
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 Somewhat unusually when compared to other professions,​ these enormous fees do not last long, as top barristers are expected to become judges in mid-career --- involving a pay reduction of approximately seven eighths and a great increase in respect. Somewhat unusually when compared to other professions,​ these enormous fees do not last long, as top barristers are expected to become judges in mid-career --- involving a pay reduction of approximately seven eighths and a great increase in respect.
  
-> The transformation of a barrister into a judge is the most extraordinary of all professional promotions, like a tadpole becoming a frog.  The competitive ​an talkative advocate who thrives on one-sided arguments is changed overnight into the silent figure of authority whose duty is to discover the truth and reach a balanced judgement.+> The transformation of a barrister into a judge is the most extraordinary of all professional promotions, like a tadpole becoming a frog.  The competitive ​and talkative advocate who thrives on one-sided arguments is changed overnight into the silent figure of authority whose duty is to discover the truth and reach a balanced judgement.
 > ---p187 > ---p187
  
-Judges are also selected by the lord chancellor. ​ They have retained their reputations with the public much more effectively than politicians and show an independence from political pressure, but "that independence carries a serious limitation"​ --- elitism ​--- in 2003 "98 per cent were male, 84 per cent went to Oxbridge and 78 per cent had a 'full house' --- white, male, public school and Oxbridge."​((p187.))+Judges are also selected by the lord chancellor. ​ They have retained their reputations with the public much more effectively than politicians and show an independence from political pressure, but "that independence carries a serious limitation"​ --- elitism.  In 2003 "98 per cent were male, 84 per cent went to Oxbridge and 78 per cent had a 'full house' --- white, male, public school and Oxbridge."​((p187.))
  
 The institutions of juries and magistrates both predate British democracy by some distance. ​ The right to trial by jury is often considered one of the first targets of a tyrant in power, after subduing parliament. ​ "By 1998 only 7 per cent of cases were allocated to juries, but the New Labour government sought to reduce them further."​((p185.)) ​ The desirability of juries has long been debated. ​ Some lawyers look down upon their lack of professional knowledge, whereas they are popular with the public precisely because of their immunity from lawyers'​ ways of thinking, and it is not uncommon for jurists to complain about the incompetence of barristers. The institutions of juries and magistrates both predate British democracy by some distance. ​ The right to trial by jury is often considered one of the first targets of a tyrant in power, after subduing parliament. ​ "By 1998 only 7 per cent of cases were allocated to juries, but the New Labour government sought to reduce them further."​((p185.)) ​ The desirability of juries has long been debated. ​ Some lawyers look down upon their lack of professional knowledge, whereas they are popular with the public precisely because of their immunity from lawyers'​ ways of thinking, and it is not uncommon for jurists to complain about the incompetence of barristers.
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 > As Henry Fairline, the journalist who first popularised the word ['​Establishment'​],​ argued: 'Men of power need to be checked by a collective opinion which is stable and which they cannot override: public opinion needs its counter; new opinion must be tested. ​ This the Establishment provides: the check, the counter and the test'​. ​ In fact the heads of Britain'​s established institutions were far from cohesive, and common backgrounds often concealed deep rivalries and differences. ​ The old universities,​ the law lords, the Lords, the Commons and the Church all inhabited very separate worlds with different interests; and many people saw this diversity and pluralism as providing the sturdiest shield for British democracy, perpetuating an informal separation of powers... > As Henry Fairline, the journalist who first popularised the word ['​Establishment'​],​ argued: 'Men of power need to be checked by a collective opinion which is stable and which they cannot override: public opinion needs its counter; new opinion must be tested. ​ This the Establishment provides: the check, the counter and the test'​. ​ In fact the heads of Britain'​s established institutions were far from cohesive, and common backgrounds often concealed deep rivalries and differences. ​ The old universities,​ the law lords, the Lords, the Commons and the Church all inhabited very separate worlds with different interests; and many people saw this diversity and pluralism as providing the sturdiest shield for British democracy, perpetuating an informal separation of powers...
-> The law lords could deliver devastating judgements on the government'​s abuses of power, which no minister could suppress. ​ The House of Lords, for all its natural conservatism,​ could still produce original and independent views to compel the House of Commons to think again. ​ The prestige of the monarchy, with all its pomp and ceremony, prevented the prima minister from acquiring too much splendour. ​ The 'wise men' of academia could provide a much longer historical perspective than short-term politicians. ​ Civil servants were bound by their own professional standards to resist party-political corruption.+> The law lords could deliver devastating judgements on the government'​s abuses of power, which no minister could suppress. ​ The House of Lords, for all its natural conservatism,​ could still produce original and independent views to compel the House of Commons to think again. ​ The prestige of the monarchy, with all its pomp and ceremony, prevented the prime minister from acquiring too much splendour. ​ The 'wise men' of academia could provide a much longer historical perspective than short-term politicians. ​ Civil servants were bound by their own professional standards to resist party-political corruption.
 > ---p355 > ---p355
  
 Whether ideal or not, these institutions were able collectively to represent alternative interests and provide a counterweight to the power of government and the prime minister, and the continued assault on 'the Establishment'​ that had largely succeeded in reducing these institutions'​ power by the 1970s created a vacuum that the '​anti-Establishment'​ voices had no idea how to fill (not wanting even to admit that the Establishment'​s power was in decline, too useful a rallying cry was it proving). Whether ideal or not, these institutions were able collectively to represent alternative interests and provide a counterweight to the power of government and the prime minister, and the continued assault on 'the Establishment'​ that had largely succeeded in reducing these institutions'​ power by the 1970s created a vacuum that the '​anti-Establishment'​ voices had no idea how to fill (not wanting even to admit that the Establishment'​s power was in decline, too useful a rallying cry was it proving).
  
-> Blair was determined to reform old-fashioned institutions,​ but he seemed less sure of what to put in their place. ​ He expelled the hereditary peers from the House of Lords, but opposed ​and elected chamber. ​ He announced the abolition of the lord chancellor but had not worked out an alternative. ​ He made an issue of top-up fees for students, but gave no clear picture of what kind of universities he wanted. ​ The old guardians of institutions,​ with their self-serving rituals and resistance to self-regulation,​ were easy targets, like fox-hunters,​ for any politician in need of a popular vote.  But working out a more democratic alternative was more difficult.+> Blair was determined to reform old-fashioned institutions,​ but he seemed less sure of what to put in their place. ​ He expelled the hereditary peers from the House of Lords, but opposed ​an elected chamber. ​ He announced the abolition of the lord chancellor but had not worked out an alternative. ​ He made an issue of top-up fees for students, but gave no clear picture of what kind of universities he wanted. ​ The old guardians of institutions,​ with their self-serving rituals and resistance to self-regulation,​ were easy targets, like fox-hunters,​ for any politician in need of a popular vote.  But working out a more democratic alternative was more difficult.
 > ---p359 > ---p359
  
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