Working class hero leads strike against government legal aid cuts from the tee

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By Judge John Hack on

Picket line or round of golf? Picket line or round of golf? That’ll be a round of golf, then …


It ain’t easy being at the forefront of the workers’ struggle. As anyone who has warmed hands over a brazier on a frozen picket line will attest — industrial action is not for the faint hearted.

And here’s Franklin Sinclair tweeting evidence of just how tough it is to battle against the Ministry of Justice’s criminal law legal aid reforms.

Crime specialist lawyers up and down England and Wales have been striking since the beginning of July in a bid to force Justice Secretary Michael Gove to rethink a range of cuts and reforms they maintain will drive many smaller law firms to the wall.

Yesterday Sinclair — the managing partner of one of the country’s largest criminal defence specialist firms, Manchester and London-based Tuckers — tweeted this image of himself making the point about the government’s callous cuts to the members of the Loch Lomond Golf Club.


Now Scotland might not be in the jurisdiction affected by the MoJ’s plans and it’s not likely that club members will ever require legal aid. Annual Loch Lomond membership fees are reported to run to an eye-watering £55,000, and even a single round is understood to cost 600 nicker.

So what is Sinclair playing at, apart from overpriced golf? Well, for starters, he’s clearly daring the club’s crusty ruling elite to act up over his fashionable modern golf clobber. Not even the late Payne Stewart would have dared to match this pink ensemble.

Of course, Gove was born and raised in Scotland, so perhaps Sinclair’s round was a bid to ingratiate himself into the affections of the Lord Chancellor. After all, every Scotsman is given a pair of plus fours at birth.

Or perhaps Sinclair just enjoys livening up what many consider to be a sport with excitement levels tantamount to watching paint dry on a winter’s day. He has, after all, got form.

Here’s our man at Dunham Forest in Cheshire (green fees a much more reasonable £49 on a weekday). Lime helps to camouflage the golfer on the fairways and greens.


And here’s the working class hero at West Lancashire Golf Club (weekday green fees £95 a round). That orange and salmon look really is something to die for.


Meanwhile, back on the picket line (no doubt Sinclair has been in mobile telephone contact from the clubhouse with those at the coalface), the MoJ has already notified some law firms that they have failed to bag legal aid contracts.

The Law Gazette reported yesterday that Whitehall bureaucrats have put their skates on and released disappointing results early — they had been scheduled to alert firms of tendering outcomes next month.