Last week’s mass non-attendance, walkout, training day, protest – call it what you will, anything but a strike – suggests that lawyers are getting better at militant action.
The morning stay-away was widely reported by an unusually sympathetic media not just throughout Britain, but further afield in Afghanistan, China, Russia, the US, Canada and Iraq. Criminal Bar Association (CBA) chair Nigel Lithman QC was apparently quite a hit in the Baghdad Gazette.
Taking nothing away from the current CBA leadership, the roots of the day’s success could be found in a meeting held last year between Lithman’s predecessor Michael Turner QC and the militant leader of the RMT rail union, Bob Crow. Turner was introduced to Crow by Labour MP Karl Turner (also a barrister), as Turner QC was keen to get advice on protest tactics.
It seems though that Crow did not need to teach Turner much – though he may have advised against barristers telling the man off the telly that they earn only £80K a year.
But following that meeting, Obiter is reliably informed that Crow jocularly remarked of Turner: ‘He’s a bit extreme!’