If politicians were more like lawyers

Inspired by Queenie's comment on the Jo Swinson thread about Keir Starmer not being a favourite for Labour leader because he's "too much like a lawyer and not enough like a proper politician".

Now, call me biased but I think we would be in a better place right now if our politicians were less like politicians and more like lawyers.

A good lawyer would never have carved his manifesto commitments into stone, but put them in a Word document peppered with caveats. A good lawyer would not have had a referendum between remaining in the EU and leaving the EU without coming up with a nice defined term to explain what "leave the EU" actually meant. A good lawyer who wanted to avoid a leave result would have required a supermajority, or a majority of the eligible electorate rather than just those who voted in order to change the status quo. A good lawyer would have understood what the single market and customs union actually are before making promises about leaving them or remaining in them (delete as applicable). A good lawyer would have got their head around the Good Friday Agreement.

Basically we should just sack the politicians and put the lawyers in charge.

Only a lawyer would be arrogant to think this.

I suspect doctors, accountants, businessmen, teachers etc all have a variation on the same thought, but only a lawyer would conclude it was correct.

Kind of what pride said

Lawyers have a very inflated sense of what they know and how well they understand the world. I think pretty much nothing would be different. Although I do like Keir.

Because if there's one thing the general public definitely think it's "why aren't there more lawyers in Parliament?"

LOLZ

So many lawyers think law is an immoveable truth rather than some negotiable opinionwork

Forgetting also that the referendum question and the rules governing the referendum were set out in a statute drafted by government employees who arrogantly assume themselves each to be "a good lawyer "

Probably is tbf, most law firms have office politics that make the commons seem like a soft play area.

And... and... wtf was there not a requirement for a supermajority in the first place?  Stunningly bad decision by Cameron.

I think politicians could do with being more lawyer-like (or any profession where you have to actually analyze things instead of just saying what you reckon based on not very much at all) but not to the extent where they become crippling indecisive, like many lawyers are.

Because if there's one thing the general public definitely think it's "why aren't there more lawyers in Parliament?"

I think if we have learned anything from this debacle, it's that the general public are wrong about most things, so that kind of supports my point.

Forgetting also that the referendum question and the rules governing the referendum were set out in a statute drafted by government employees who arrogantly assume themselves each to be "a good lawyer "

You have no idea how this stuff works, do you?

I think if we have learned anything from this debacle, it's that you think you're cleverer than you are and your distain for the general public marks you out as a condescending cow.

I don't really care if you think I'm condescending. It doesn't change the fact that the average person is poorly informed and gullible, and can't be trusted to make important décisions like whether or not to leave the EU.

are many lawyers 'cripplingly indecisive'?

while lawyers do tend to be arrogant, we have bloody needed the Starmers and Grieves lately

I'd like it if politicians were more like George Carmen QC, on the basis that he is dead. I think many of the public would agree with me.

Setting stuff pout in stone is not a good thing for a politician.  You need a bit of wiggle room in reserve for when things (inevitably) do not go your way.

I'd like it if politicians were more like George Carmen QC, on the basis that he is dead. I think many of the public would agree with me.

Yes, I think that's fair.

You need a bit of wiggle room in reserve for when things (inevitably) do not go your way.

Exactly.

Indeed, Raab, ex Linkies, is possibly the most dunderheaded and intransigent of the current crop

Indeed, Raab, ex Linkies, is possibly the most dunderheaded and intransigent of the current crop.

Lawyers are sneaky, formalistic and pedantic. Give me a dodgy politician any day.

Teclis19

Sep 19 13:33

And... and... wtf was there not a requirement for a supermajority in the first place?  Stunningly bad decision by Cameron.

==

Because there wasn't in any previous governance referendum - be it Welsh or Scottish or regional or alternative vote or even the 1975 Leave/Remain one? The only reason you want one now is because you lost?

Their obsession with form over substance is probably their worst quality, of many.

A good lawyer would not have had a referendum between remaining in the EU and leaving the EU without coming up with a nice defined term to explain what "leave the EU" actually meant. 

"Leave the EU": means the UK's proposal to leave the EU, which shall be effected within a reasonable time following the referendum on reasonable terms to be agreed between the UK and the EU, each acting reasonably and in good faith. 

Keith Vaz

Fiona Onasanya

Tony Blair

Michael Howard

Mark Field

Valerie Vaz 

Emma Thornbury

Anna Soubry

Charlie Elphicke

Stephen Barclay

Dominic Raab

These are the kind of MPs Lady P admires most.

Queenie E19 Sep 19 13:50

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are many lawyers 'cripplingly indecisive'?

 

I'm not sure...

Don't forget the Scottish hate-gnome and Shouty Chakrabarti

Obadiah - your drafting comes unstuck as an agreement to agree...

Indeed, Raab, ex Linkies, is possibly the most dunderheaded and intransigent of the current crop.

Raab is a failed lawyer.

"Leave the EU": means the UK's proposal to leave the EU, which shall be effected within a reasonable time following the referendum on reasonable terms to be agreed between the UK and the EU, each acting reasonably and in good faith. 

Is this your way of admitting that you are a crap lawyer?

Cash is an absolute throbber but at least has the distinction of understanding the legal underpinning of the place, contra many alia.

Of all the peioploe, I'm surprised it's Lady P saying she admires the secretary of state for exiting the EU and wishes more MPs were like him.

Their obsession with form over substance is probably their worst quality, of many.

Maybe you just aren't a very good lawyer or don't work with very good ones.

The substance is important. The reason we're in the mess we're in is because politicians have no substance.

When I'm negotiating

When I'm negotiating terms and someone else wants to put in a clause I think is meaningless, I repeatedly ask them to explain what it means until they either drop it or agree to better wording which actually means what we want it to mean.

When I'm negotiating terms and someone else wants to put in a clause I think is meaningless, I repeatedly ask them to explain what it means until they either drop it or agree to better wording which actually means what we want it to mean.

 

You waste time over meaningless provisions?  Sounds great.

Better to waste five minutes getting rid of it now than a lot more time and money arguing about whether it means anything in court later.

Pridemouth - not at all I just think it’s odd to not require a supermajority for these sorts of things.

Anyway you’re kinda wrong, previous referendums relating to devolution in 1979 have required qualified majorities albeit not supermajorities. 

Northern Ireland referendums are even weirder.

But there is plenty of precedent for changes to simple referendum rules in the UK, according to Vernon Bogdanor anyway and he tends to know what he’s talking about from a constitutional sense.

Obadiah - your drafting comes unstuck as an agreement to agree...

Au contraire, it's simply what a definition of leave on the referendum ballot would have looked like if drafted by a lawyer. It does not profess to be an agreement in and of itself.  

Is this your way of admitting that you are a crap lawyer?

The sad thing about the legal profession is that I do consider myself a pretty crap lawyer and yet still better than the vast majority of individuals on the roll.

The sad thing about the legal profession is that I do consider myself a pretty crap lawyer and yet still better than the vast majority of individuals on the roll.

Have you considered a career in politics?

Have you considered a career in politics?

Yes, but firstly I would be too reasonable, sensible and honest. People wouldn't like that sort of thing these days. 

And, secondly, my views on the general public (who I would have to meet were I a politician) are generally summerised by two lines from The Thick Of It:  

I just find myself thinking they're from a different fucking species; you know, with their T-shirts and weird trousers and tabards. Why do they wear clothes with writing on them? And why are they so fucking fat?

Look, there's no point in asking people what they think. They either don't know what they think or they think that you should bring back hanging for traffic wardens

Better to waste five minutes getting rid of it now than a lot more time and money arguing about whether it means anything in court later.

 

I thought you said they were meaningless?  Do you mean they might not be now?  

You can't always predict how somebody else might interpret something later down the line. And a lot of the contracts that I negotiate have a first stage dispute resolution process which ends with the other party getting to make a decision, and if you don't like it you have to spend money going to court or arbitration.

Better to be crystal clear IMO. It's up to the person who wants the clause in to explain what they think it means and defend their wording. (They usually can't.)

What do you actually do Lady P, what is your life experience... ...you post like God and perhaps you are, but I need more information to make up my mind.

Erm you don't have to be God to know that this is a shit show brought about by a combination of dishonesty and sheer stupidity. 

Every fucker in public office in America is a lawyer and they're even more demented than we are. 

Just to repeat, the Foreign Secreteary and the DexEU Secretary are also both lawyers.

From what I can make out both completed training contracts but neither actually practised as a qualified lawyer. This point isn't as clever as you seem to think it is. 

If you put the lawyers in charge, they'd then be politicians, so they'd act like politicians.

Not that lawyers act any better than politicians anyway. Most lawyers are dicks and, as Rhamnousia says, way overrate their capabilities.

"I think if we have learned anything from this debacle, it's that you think you're cleverer than you are and your distain for the general public marks you out as a condescending cow."

 

Mate

Get a grip on yourself.

Lawyers may be self regarding dickheads, but the man in the street is a clueless red-faced retard and this becomes clearer by the day.

The thing is, if (many) lawyers are tedious pedants who obsess over details, it's undeniable that we need more people like that in the government. We are where we are because no one in the government does details. 

“the man in the street is a clueless red-faced retard”

^ Laz’s next campaign slogan ^

Tbf, this is one of the reasons why neither Laz nor I will ever go into politics. Too much evidence of us posting on the internet about how stupid the general public are.

The extremist views you both hold are probably more of a hindrance.

I, however, don't hold any extreme views.

the resident anna-h7ers default to disagreeing with her mindlessly non shocka. says it all that they’re exclusively male brexters

taking a step back, it’s pretty obvious anna’s right but for the wrong reasons:

- nothing of substance would ever get agreed because lawyers can’t agree the big points without clients taking a commercial view

- all the minor points would probably really well dealt with, but no-one would givva shit

- the public would hate politicians even more

and this would probably be a good thing because as far as I can tell most political interventions other than the really obviously sensible ones cock stuff up

 

and of course frothy male brexters would continue to blame everyone but themselves

The extremist views you both hold are probably more of a hindrance.

Believing that that's not a good idea to upend the political and economic status quo without having even the vaguest plan for where to go next is not an "extremist view" - it's plain common sense.

HTH.

nothing of substance would ever get agreed because lawyers can’t agree the big points without clients taking a commercial view

What of substance has been agreed with politicians in charge?

It's quite obvious that with someone like Keir Starmer in charge there would have been some substance by now.

I agree with Lady Penelope's original post.

??? at 14:06 on 19 Sept listed some bad eggs, but they would be in a minority if there were more than enough good lawyers committed to public service. Instead we've got upper-class yahoos and nouveaux riches ex-bankers (as well as ex-City trainees good at pagination and bad at geography) with one thing in common: a crude anti-intellectualism mixed with racism and xenophobia.