£20 million down, £80 million to get through, Alexis Jay’s ‘loyal staff’ audition for the role of legal advisor…
You put your left boot in
You take your left boot out
You do a lot of shouting
And you shake your fist about
You light a little rumour
And you scuttle out of town
That’s what it’s all about.
Ms Raccoon has endured another night in the unpleasant surroundings of our local accident and emergency unit. In the time between when I left home and the highly regulated ‘time within which patients are seen’ (only starts counting when you are taken out of the ambulance) and returned to their own comfy bed – around 12 hours in total – I was several moves behind time on the #CSA inquiry. The NHS may be the envy of the world, but it doesn’t move fast enough to keep a blogger up to speed on IICSA…
On Wednesday, Sean O’ Neill in the Times announced that Ben Emmerson QC was ‘poised to resign’ from the £100 million Jay Inquiry into child abuse.
Somebody fed him that story.
The following day, somebody from the Inquiry team refuted that story.
Suggestions in the press that Mr Emmerson was considering resigning after raising disagreements over the future direction of the Inquiry are untrue. They are not a matter on which he has advised the Chair or Panel.
They went on to airly suggest that in fact Mr Emmerson, far from honourably resigning, had been suspended from his position as chief legal advisor.
The Inquiry has recently become very concerned about aspects of Mr Emmerson’s leadership of the Counsel Team. He has therefore been suspended from duty so that these can be properly investigated.
That press release was unsigned. It also proved to be the first Mr Emmerson knew of any suspension. He quickly responded with a statement from his own solicitors: Bindmans.
Bindmans LLP are instructed by Ben Emmerson QC, read statement below: pic.twitter.com/8mKoLyHALM
— Bindmans LLP (@BindmansLLP) September 28, 2016
We had only got to 11pm….
Bright and early the next morning, Thursday, we had a ‘first person’ press release, unsigned but almost certainly from Alexis Jay herself, accepting Ben Emmerson’s resignation, with no mention of any suspension, and wishing him well.
There is no truth in suggestions that he has resigned due to a difference of opinion with me about the next steps for the Inquiry.
This was linked to a copy of Mr Emmerson’s resignation letter dated 29th September – Thursday Morning…
Then it emerged that Elizabeth Prochaska, the inquiry’s junior counsel, had resigned on September 15th, a fortnight earlier. She follows in the footsteps of Hugh Davies, QC who quit back in December last year; and a triplicate of senior judges who have preferred to spend more time with their family…
Now Ben Emmerson, who is said to have a ‘forceful and abrasive’ personality, as befits a highly successful counsel who has cut his teeth on the finest opponents in legal la la land, is known to prefer a formal evidence based approach to giving formal recognition to ‘survivors’ stories. Fact checking, querying whether the Archbishop of Canterbury really did ride into view on a Unicorn whilst Ted Heath castrated you in the forest. Boring old fashioned stuff like that.
Whereas Alexis Jay, from her social work background would like to see a ‘greater role for forums, focus groups and expert seminars’, that can give survivors the ‘closure’ that comes from ‘being believed’ without any nasty ‘triggering’ that could arise from a ‘forceful and abrasive’ barrister who might have the temerity to ‘put to you’ that unicorns don’t actually exist.
To sum up – in the past 24 hours, we now have a £100 million pounds allocated to an inquiry devoid of judges, and minus some of the best legal brains in the country, firmly in the hands of the social worker Alexis Jay, and an inept crew who believe that victims are ‘stake-holders’ (steak-knife holders would be more appropriate for some of them) who can be persuaded to down their social media weapons and abide by a ‘code of conduct’ when put in the same room and plied with prawn sarnies.
A ‘code of conduct’ may work very well with the shiny suited and gell haired officers of ‘renewable obligations’ – they can generally be trusted not to pull each others pigtails, nor plaster the internet with snatched images of other participants, nor issue threats to their hated adversaries, nor ‘borrow’ details of whatever they have heard in that room, nor score points by revealing who was present and who wasn’t…nor have a group of banner waving ‘supporters’ waiting outside the building.
But the so called ‘survivors’ of ‘VIP’ abuse and ‘Satanic’ abuse? All together in real time with a pile of prawn sandwiches?
The Jay Inquiry. Otherwise known as the world’s most expensive group therapy session.
Who will be next to flee the foetid fiefdom?