Buongiorno … Io sono un cardinale…. I am in a state of retirement I think you say here… but I keep my hand in with the money laundering and the odd exorcism. I am pleased to be invited by my cousin Charon QC to do guest post…. or Papal Bull as he call it….
I take as my theme the Ten Commandments and try to make it of interest to your profession of law… I call my sermon… THE LAW DELUSION as homage to the heretic Dawkins.
Urbi et orbi……
Imagine a field full of valuable diamonds or gold owned by the people… let us call it call it common land…. imagine then… if a very small section of the people, with expertise in that gold or diamonds, helped themselves and built great structures and wealth from those resources – but did not pay a penny to the people to use them…we would call them carpetbaggers or, at worst, thieves….or if we want an even more topical insult we would call them them bankers.
You don’t need to imagine this field because there is such a field. it is not filled with gold or diamonds. it is filled with laws – statutes and caselaw handed down by the judges. The law is your law. You have paid for it with your taxes. It belongs to the country, not to individuals. Yet we have a group of people, they are called lawyers – who have built their entire wealth, their worldly structures, their regulators on your laws and they don’t pay a penny in royalties or fees to do so. As an aside – using something you haven’t paid for in criminal law is theft, but there is no theft here – bankers would call it short selling.
I digress for a moment… as I cast about for the loaves and fishes of intellectual sustenance….
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
I have always been puzzled as to how God managed to create this without light – but this may explain a few things about our flawed world. As you know he then said let there be light..and there was light. As you all know, God went on to create many things, including whales, winged fowls, and a host of other most useful things we can eat – although pork and prawns are off limits to some religions – which is just fine, as all the more for those of us in our church.
God then went on to create man and woman….but, try as I can, I can find no reference to him creating lawyers….so where did they come from? They came in the form of the serpent…and the rest, as you know, is history.
So let me return to the first question: Why don’t lawyers pay to use the resources upon which their wealth, their firms, their chambers, their great edifices of state – The Law Society – the Bar Council – are based? I think the secular state and Mr Osborne, he miss a trick here. Perhaps they should pay? Perhaps they should pay a fee every time they quote a Statute or cite a case ? Why not? – it would raise money and cut your deficit and stop you being called a third world country by my fellow cardinal who has gout and couldn’t make it over to Britain with Paparazzi last week.
Ah… but then legal fees would go up, the lawyers would say in unison like a hydra – for there is nothing quite so united as a group of lawyers when it comes to their own self interest and well being.
So we come to the fees. There are some lawyers who barely earn enough to live on doing great work – family law, criminal law, the bottom end of welfare law and the like – starved of fees by successive governments red and blue and now yellow and blue… YET… there are lawyers who can command fantastic sums of money for what is, in essence, a truly fantastic conjuring trick – interpreting the law for the benefit of their client. Law is not difficult. It is created by human beings, by politicians and, where there is a lacuna, by judges.
Law is not that difficult intellectually – let’s be reasonable… compared to medicine, physics, chemistry, the discoveries of DNA et al…..putting a man on the moon, it is way down the scale of human achievement…… think of law as the rules of Monopoly…rather than the invention of the game itself – that was the clever bit… law isn’t clever… it is a necessary by product of man’s desire for ritual, for regulation and self preservation… the first laws… let us call them Commandments in the modern parlance – were very primitive structures and most law develops from them… I won’t kill you if you don’t kill me has the merit of providing for both the criminal law and the law of contract with a useful and profitable line for ambulance chasers… or what we call personal injury lawyers in the modern parlance…..
There were 10 commandments in another man made construct called the Bible….. let’s have a look at them…and see how many of these 2000 year old laws are still with us today… but wonderfully constructed so as to form an entire law industry….and bolster the needs of the ruling class, which, of course, includes the Church.
ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’
What this really means is this…. It would be most inconvenient to our ruling structure if you came up with your own mumbo jumbo – so we will stop you by having a law against it…..
TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’
We want to retain all intellectual property rights in our establishment – think of it like merchandising for a modern day X-Factor……. Simon Cowell would be daft to let any old Tom Dick and Harry make X-Factor nonsense based on his idea – and he doesn’t, and nor do we… so no unlicensed graven images… etc etc thank you.
THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’
Having set up ourselves as authority – and creating a most useful metaphysical manifestation of this authority…. we aren’t going to be that enthusiastic about you mocking it – that would undermine our power and authority… so that is Commandment Three.
FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’
We, the ruling class, would like a day off… and we would prefer it if you weren’t out there running riot and thieving… so you will bloody well take a day off and not do anything which would cause you to do something stupid so as to disrupt our ruling class day off.
FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’
We like family values.. and it has the merit in a Big Society – an idea which your prime minister has nicked from us…..it is so much easier from a Law & Order perspective if parents take responsibility for their progeny…we want to cut back on policing and prison places.
SIX: ‘You shall not murder.’
Obviously we don’t want potential tax payers murdering each other.
You will note that the Commandments say ‘You shall not murder’…it says nothing about ‘Us’, as a state or government, murdering… Sometimes we have to go to war – it may be oil, for treasures, for territory – and it would be most inconvenient to us if people popped up claiming that we do is illegal… so it isn’t ever illegal for us to do it…. despite what foreign office lawyers and judges say. The great office of state, to ensure that this does not happen, shall be called… The Attorney-General… who is fallibly infallible – another neat conjuring trick to ensure that, being trained in the law, he can give an opinion, change his mind and then not be held to account for doing so.
SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
We think it only right that people should form stable relationships and not behave like premier division footballers and go around shagging tarts. The ‘You” , of course, means You… not us. It is almost compulsory among the ruling classes to commit adultery – but we do it discreetly and have no need of superinjunctions because no-one would ever talk.
EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.’
Again… you will note the use of the word ‘You’… We, in parliament, in government, in authority are privileged... possibly… although there is a break away organisation, designed by a rogue Lord Chancellor on the back of a fag packet, called the Supreme Court – which could cause us some trouble on that one. Not a problem… we have come up with a plan should the Supreme Court prove to inconvenient to our interests….we’ll cut the budget by 40% and that will keep the buildings in good order but remove the inconvenience of the judges sitting and finding against us. Also, as you will appreciate, but probably not appreciate, we have to steal some of your money to run the place. We call it tax. Naturally, there are exemptions for us – we call this off-shoring or non-domming. To be honest, we don’t actually care that much if you do steal from each other, because we can fine you or put you to work in hi viz jackets. What we are not at all keen on…. is you stealing from us.
NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’
We are quite keen on libel and privacy law so that we can suppress inconvenient sentiment and intrusion into what we are up to – even if it is true…so we shall devise a libel law to be the envy of the world and invent superinjunctions – so that you will think not just twice about stepping out of line… you won’t think of doing it at all… and if you do it… no-one will know that we have stopped you doing it… because we have the SUPERINJUNCTION….
TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.’
Here, we in the ruling class have been genuinely altruistic and have done something to keep you all secure.
From this rather crude analysis you can see how all law is derived. It is all a delusion. Here endeth the lesson…. In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti – I have left a small Visa card reader by the door… I take Amex, Visa and Mastercard. Please remember, next time you write to your politician, suggest that they bring in a tax on Law…. let the lawyers pay a bit for their wealth!
I have a policy of not editing guest posts. Clearly, I shall have to think carefully before allowing Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo to post again….mea culpa