The effect of the cuts on legal aid will be to deny many people justice and the spectacle of bewigged barristers standing in the freezing cold and rain outside courtrooms for the first time in 400 years is astonishing audiences on television from around the world from as far afield as China.
It deals with a situation which we were taught only existed in places like Italy where the Mafia once put a man into the Prime Minister,s office or in America where the fictional “Godfather”, Vito Corleone and “Tony Soprano” the New Jersey Gangster played by the late James Gandolfini, held sway, based on the lives of 2 people and one gangster who is still alive today.
In Britain we were told,this sort of thing did not happen, our crime figures had integrity, policemen were “Dixon of Dock Green ” figures, paternalistic, avuncular, plodding but reassuring figures incapable of lying, cutting corners or engaging in skullduggery who kept us all safe.
There were a few “rotten apples” but essentially the system is something that works.
Those views now look misguided and complacent to the point where root and branch reform is needed along with tougher sanctions for intimidating judges and juries, our own version of the “Untouchables” to put the “Godfathers”out of business and behind bars along with all those who are colluding with them from positions of trust.