Tuesday, March 10, 2009

C is for the "C" word

Divided by Law is in dire straights. With so much to give the legal world it could be all over. DbL is dying: currently swinging on a proverbial rope...

When starting out there was no intention of following the law path to sold souls and cold contract drafting for corporate machines. No intention at all. It was academia for academias sake. But then a light appeared! "law can actually help people": family law opens up to mediation, ADR, saving people from domestic violence; discrimination and employment law liberates people and opens up a multiculture of social justice; immigration law, human rights law. Law can save lives, maybe its worth getting on this law path. So thats what happened.

Get a training contract? No way, not with Halliwells, DLA, not with linklaters, not with any of those huge international monsters. Is that law? When people think of solicitors they think of these places - they haven't heard of Hackney community law centre or Rotherham legal advice centre. "But you haven't got any experience" they said, "and you look like a school child, our clients would laugh their way out of the office". When really you carry a glut of work experience in all kinds of things: McDonalds, cold store factories, glass factories, post offices, universities, newspapers, secretaries, receptionists, data entry, aluminium loading, bar working. All of it, but no law. The LPC covered that? Eloquantly paid for by working on a production line with a plethora of industry workers [whispering in your ear for employment law advice; which was duly given].

If you cant get a training contract get a paralegal job. No? If you cant get a paralegal job get some legal admin work? Still no? If you cant get legal admin stuff get some vaguely law related monkey work? OK - 5xGCSEs A-C will get you a data entry job for legal claims. Success? - no: a-levels, degree, lpc and the 2 years office work experience cancel out the 5xGCSE A-C and bar your access. You would have committed a year to them but they didnt believe you. "Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?", "firing you for age discrimination", "that's ok i was going to offer the job to my nephew anyway". Nepotism.

One way or another you have to get on the right ladder. The law ladder... think DbL, you can do this... Volunteer? But daddy wont pay your rent for you. You cant even afford to take a week out to volunteer for a charity. Your on the poverty line and have tied your own noose around it ready to jump.

Now you have forgotten the law, forgotten everything you learnt (except how to moan, obviously): you work so hard you can't stay up to date with it... How many hours a week do the WT Regs say you should do?... cant remember, look it up when you get home... Think DbL... blawgs might help? nope - no-ones reading yours mate. Sell your body to pay the rent and volunteer at the CAB by day? Forget about everything - your time is up:

Social mobility? You're having a laugh. First in the bloodline to go to university, first in your village to get a post grad qualification. Lauded for it - inflated ego. God complex: further to fall - tumbling down. Credit crunches, lose the job, cant pay the rent, leave the city, sleep on your parents sofa, ask for your paper round back: the ultimate regression, blame the recession. The most intelligent bartender in an English town - where having a brain makes you inferior and the degenerated society you came from doesnt accept you anymore. Back to trashy nightclubs on 2for1 fridays. Northern spirit. 15 year olds drinking stella at the working mens club stare you out.

It turns out you did sell your soul after all - you were going to save these people, to save the world: now they're not worth saving and you cant save yourself. Your spirit is broken and the last thing to go is the pride.

This is the lost generation.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

B is for Blears' Britain

See here. And here. And find a transcript here.

Or dont bother if you prefer to apply heavy pinches of salt onto your political debate. Instead you could read this blog which has been commenting on vaguely similar things for the past couple of months...

Hazel Blears' talk has been branded as "outspoken" and "radical" by various media types. The basic issues are: Cutting down on political correctness; Promoting democratic based "equality"; Majority rule = majority control; Extremism being removed from the definition of "minority"; Creating a definitive "dividing line" between good and bad minorities; Clarity; And redefining extremism.

It's very hard to distinuish the Opposition-style manifesto rhetoric from the equality realities from the do-able measures. For instance: political correctness is causing the lines of justice to be blurred. True enough; but we all knew that anyway. And opinion of such things is subjective.

She is right though: The save the underdog approach of much liberal left thinking should indeed have its limits - but then in most educated lib-left circles it already does. We should be even more aware of the sensationalists: The people who prefer to point the finger rather than suggest an alternative. People who blindly criticise the exception provisions in HR legislation without thinking through the realities.

Overall I think what she says if good, although much of it is clearly rhetoric. She refers to Lenin's "useful idiots" (bear in mind that this works both ways). Avoidance of polar debate. Realisation of a spectrum. Avoiding an 'all for one or all for the other' attitude. A "plea for enhanced literacy" on discourse over political Islam. "Moral clarity". etc etc...

Political rhetoric it certainly is but it does carry a much needed message for the assumers and labelers who are bringing multiculture to its knees. We all knew it, now we just need our leaders in-the-know to start daring to say so.

From a political perspecive the talk was released at the same time as this. Highlighting much of the irrelevance of labours action for equality from an economic perspective. So as for Blears' Britain I'm not so sure, equality will develop according to the majority and the majority is more likely to be affected by a crunched credit system than a politician - however reasonable.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A is for ADR

As mentioned previously it has fast become clear that I'm unable to keep up with the current affairs commentary style of blawg so I have decided to steal a nice idea from Barmaid – BVC and all that. Which, in fairness is a pretty standard blogging thing anyway so I wont feel the guilt but will thank her all the same.

My A is for and Apathetic Apologist-Advocates: Ace in the Art of Ardent Augmentation.

And with that stream of Arbitrary Alliteration out of the way I’ll venture to explain. I overheard two males on the tube the other day debating the Arab-Israeli conflict. Although I’m now quite tired of the debate in general this was a fascinating example of powerful Argumentation. The point being that neither side in such a debate is absolutely correct and neither is absolutely wrong so the debate hinges around small victories and clever use of debating skills. Neither male knew that much. The Argument fast became about winning and losing; and no longer sought to calify, justify or expose viewpoints. Fact became irrelevant and were challenged with no saving evidence. Now lost in an academic debate, which the two were not prepared for, the point of the argument became hazy. The parameters had not been defined and soon the only thing each party knew they were fighting for was a specific side. The original purpose was lost. Now one party had to defend the Zionists, while the other pleaded for the Palestinians. And so a pride war emerged, a dangerous pride war over an issue that a history of diplomats have not even been able to resolve. Never had such an incendiary matter been placed between these two young gents. Voices were raised, emotions stretched: neither seemed bothered about the political issues any more. There own social politics were taking hold of their reasonable arguments turning them into sensational assertions of right and wrong. Pride was at stake. Intellectual pride: not only of their convictions but of a whole divided humanity leaving humility totally forgotten.

Soon things became clear. They had set out seeking a resolution. Now they found that to compromise would be to admit weakness; and inevitably lose. Therefore no resolution could be reached. This was an Argument, not a debate, but could it ever have been Amicable? If both parties Altruistically followed a few simple rules they would have solved their personal Arab-Israeli crisis.

I’m fortunate enough to be well informed on ADR, but I have no experience in it and would be fearful of trying to resolve a dispute which is brought down to this level. Am I equipped for angry, proud, vehement, semantic arguing, truth twisting, fact challenging, perspective ignoring debaters? Maybe. A true Altruist-Advocate realizes that dispute resolution has absolutely nothing to do with right and wrong, pride is irrelevant. You’re victory is in resolution, you’re pride is in saving everyone’s face not just your own. To turn a horrific battle on its head with reasoned logic or even Aggressive Argumentation may seem like a success – but to win over the stubborn opposor with fair compromise is where the real victory lies. But this all falls down to a painful cliché: that it is easier said than done.