Imagine for a moment Mr Gove waking up tomorrow morning. He's met the ghost of Christmas future. He's seen good honest criminal lawyers' kids starving. Many queue at the new Lincoln's Inn food bank.
Bob Cratchet QC's family are starving. No money for the meter. He leaps from under his goose down filled quilt. He realises the Ministry has been wrong. He's seen the effect of his predecessor's dual contracts and the savage cuts in Legal Aid. He phones the lawyers reps and tells them-cue cheering in the background- he's ditching the new contracts and the 8.5% cut. Back to normal. Nice thought.
But the problem faced by the profession would not be resolved. Everyone knows what it is. Too little work for too many lawyers. The MoJ/LAA website shows just how seriously the work has declined since I retired as a criminal solicitor 10 years ago. Whatever happens, that problem will have to be faced sooner or later. The Ministry has tried-under Labour- Price Competitive Tendering- and now it's Dual Contracts. Both intend to nudge suppliers to consolidate. One failed; I suspect the latest iteration will. The solution? I've no idea, but those siren voices who say 'let the market sort it out' are unlikely to have the answer.
Perhaps we are looking at a Greek bail-out. We are doomed to revisit this until the money just runs out!