Turns out I’m a ‘lefty lawyer’ who’s ‘woke’

Fortitude and Truth flanking a recording angel, Old Bailey, London
Image by Citizensheep is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As Johnson’s latest slogan was unveiled as ‘build back better,’ it fleetingly occurred to me that perhaps the Conservative Party does not comprehend that it has been running the country for the past ten years, arguably, well and truly into the ground. Therefore, this latest three-word slogan is potentially an attempt to distance itself from its own negative impact on the UK.

However, there was then the obvious attack on human rights lawyers, which is much more deserving of attention than the latest attempt at propaganda slogans, particularly as it was as clear an attack on the legal profession as that horrid front page spread calling judges enemies of the people for merely doing their jobs.

The government is meant to act in the best interests of the UK and not solely its own political party, or solely on behalf of voters who supported Brexit four years ago. Judges are meant to decide cases in accordance with the law, and lawyers are meant to work in their clients’ best interests and not that of the state (the duty is to the court and to their client, not to any political allegiance). Political motivation does not enter the law. Meanwhile, as we are currently witnessing, some politicians seem intent on disrupting the law.

For a party who used (as one of its many slogans) ‘party of law and order’, it clearly has no respect for law and actively embraces disorder.

As much as the devil’s advocate in me would like to tell you lawyers are all lefties, as I do like a good hippy, I’m afraid I just don’t know either way: the average lawyer is so distracted by doing their daily work that they rarely discuss who they voted for or what their political views are. I can reveal that I personally believe in justice, ethics and balancing people’s rights fairly with the promotion of a healthy economy and I’m happy to challenge any government (regardless of politics) which harms a member of the public. 

As the daughter of two former NHS nurses, and having struggled financially for many years as a result of my commitment to serving the public over dedication to my own personal income, I take particular offence at the latest smear by Johnson and his band of merry media men branding me “a lefty human rights lawyer” and “woke” (which I interpret as better than being unconscious, therefore I am unsure why it is an insult). Contrary to the image portrayed in the media that human rights law is limited to immigration, or limited to the legal protection of refugees who are fleeing war zones, human rights law impacts upon every member of the public and potentially most, if not all, areas of law. The most obvious human right is the right to life, and I believe that we all need that one.

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How dare Johnson, who attended Oxford and Eton (costing up to £42,501 per year), label me or any lawyer for merely undertaking their job? At least lawyers must meet minimum requirements, adhere to ethics, and are regulated, unlike politicians. It is a pity that MPs do not have to adhere to the same professional requirements, because this country would not be in such a mess if they had to face consequences for their actions as in any other professional job.

What is Johnson’s aim?

If lawyers were not ‘lefty’ before Johnson’s barrage of abuse, then I suspect his latest spectacle will be the best advert Labour and the Lib Dems have had for years. What is the opposite of ‘lefty’, ‘woke’, ‘human rights’ and ‘do-gooders’? Is the Conservative Party confirming that it is far right? Considering Johnson’s inability to make admissions, I doubt that was his intended aim, though it is rather unfortunate that it is the natural conclusion to draw.

This latest attack on the legal system has not been thought through. Lawyers cannot challenge the government without cause (a cause of action in law) and it would be unethical to try. Therefore, the conclusion must be that Johnson intends to remove the right of the public to hold his government to account, which places everybody at risk, and/or remove existing human rights, which will affect us all. It is an extremely dangerous path that we are now on. In fact, history has informed us that attacks on judges, lawyers or the legal system are the actions of a fascist regime. I am certainly ‘woke’ to that.

One has to ask oneself: if it came down to it, would you prefer to be in the company of lawyers who will challenge the government and hold them to account (even if we are sometimes a little annoying), or would you prefer that we – lawyers – are silenced by the state?

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