You could get away with this sort of thing in small jurisdictions — before YouTube
A televised debate descended into childish one-upmanship after Gibraltar’s Chief Minister tells his lawyer opponent “I’m a silk you’re not!”, having bickered about who has the most legal experience.
Fabian Picardo QC, a barrister and the current Chief Minister of Gibraltar, was taking part last week in a political debate with fellow lawyer Daniel Feetham, who is leader of the opposition Social Democrats party.
During the discussion, which was held in front of a live audience, both men argued over a multi-million pound case involving a contractor and the government.
As they wrestled with the facts, the men — who both used to work at Gibraltar-based corporate outfit Hassans — tried to outdo each other with the length of their legal experience.
Feetham begins the embarrassing exchange, proudly trumpeting:
I am litigator of 22 years experience
Oxford University-educated Picardo responds:
And I am a litigator of 21 years experience.
Noting his crucial year of additional expertise, Feetham hits back:
That’s not an area where you can safely battle with me.
Realising perhaps that he may be coming up short in the eyes of the audience, Picardo snaps:
I’m a silk and you’re not!
The full debate is here, but a shortened clip of the exchange can be viewed below.
The QC line seems to be an odd thing for Picardo to rely on to prove his legal brilliance because, according to Feetham, the chief minister is a “political silk”, which Legal Cheek understands to mean that the title was awarded for his time in political office and is honorary.
Unfortunately, the audience’s cheers for Picardo’s somewhat childish retort reduce the impact of Feetham’s point.
As Picardo continues to grin and enjoy the moment, Feetham — who studied history at Reading University, before completing a law degree at Manchester University — makes it known that he would never accept silk from the Foreign Office, explaining:
Silks are won in the courtroom.
Picardo and Feetham face each other in Gibraltar’s general election next week.