|Art by Sugabelly|
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
8 STRIKING SIMILARITIES BETWEEN A PRESIDENT AND A LAWYER
Here a few pointers…
1. FUSS and Her BOTTLE!
Now, we all know that lawyers incline towards Minority Protection. (This may be because the majority largely ignores them). It may also have its root in a certain Company Law case- Foss v. Harbottle. The Presidency also toes this line.
Copy: Huge security details around a select tiny group of persons and places whenever the country heats up. Also, when a disenchanted minority agitates and becomes too much of a threat; they are immediately compensated beyond what is available to the majority. Now you may notice that as a result, a new attitude is developing towards the State: Create a big Fuss, and Her bottle (of goodies) will be availed you. Sadly, the majority remains timid, and the more militant minority groups earn the negotiated attentions of the State.
2. THERE IS FACT AND THERE IS TRUTH
Ask the lawyer; Fact is different from Truth. However, they co-exist in a complex relationship that is complementary and at the same time self contradictory; a bit like those two hilarious creations of Lewis Carroll- Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Yes, truth is reality. But fact is proven reality. (The ‘proving’ process of course is won by the party who makes the louder noise). A few handy illustrations: A full year after the Fuel Subsidy crisis, SURE-P has failed to materialize. (truth). The Government has not relented in its concerted efforts to provide succour from the stings of the Subsidy removal (Fact). There is no security for the common man (truth). The presidency has developed partnerships strategically positioned to arrest insecurity (Fact). Good arguments create facts. Bring in a number of witnesses (read: propaganda); and you have a water-tight case. Truth therefore fails to mature to fact when it is not presented in a visible medium of argument. Thus, if the holders of the truth are voiceless; sorry, they lose!
3. ACTION means “WORDS”
To the lay man, Legal ‘action’ sounds like an affirmative activity; for example, punching a defaulter in the eye. But it actually means a battle of words, complete with opposing counsel and a public gallery. Presidential action is the same; a plethora of words. Copy: “The Presidency shall take urgent action on the Benin-Ore Road.” This translates as- we have instituted a committee to chair a public hearing to discuss the initial report on the issue. In the law courts, during legal action, counsel debate and adjourn to make further findings. And this may last forever. Presidential action functions in no less a manner- The committees adjourn and retreat to some cosy island to work out forward looking modalities. Afterwards, members of the opposition are invited to a press conference to continue the debate. The decision is summarized in a report and another retreat is organized for a follow up summit to develop a viable Action plan.
4. GROWTH is measured by Number of JUNIORS.
As a lawyer, if you run a scanty office, you have gone nowhere at all. Nobody cares about how efficiently your small establishment operates. On the day of reckoning, you would not smell the juicy plums of SAN-ship. Therefore, the more juniors you have milling about your office, the more visibly effective your Firm is. Let them swarm around, even if they just help carry your briefcase and dust your files. The ideal Law office should be an unending buzz of motion. Hemmingway failed this one when he said – never mistake motion for action. He did not recall that motions are the fulcrum of legal action. Now the Presidency’s operations are a perfect clone of this scenario: Once you are elected(?); employ an unprecedented number of ministers (Make sure to double the figure of the last regime). Carve out more commissions, agencies and department. More juniors! Of course, each department should have a Special Adviser who has a PA. A typical chain of command should run: The Chief Assistant to the Personal Assistant to the Special Adviser to the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on blah blah blah…
5. NEVER MISS THE RIGHT “PARTY”
The fearful warning issues to every aspiring lawyer: You will never be called to the Bar if you ever miss dinner, or any like designated social gathering of the Legal Council! Yes, even if you make a First Class grade, missing one Dinner is enough to mar you. Yes, the Council does not give two forks, literally. The Presidency has the same orientation. You can achieve all you will in professional service, business, or politics, but if you miss out on the right Party, forget it. Awards and medals will always flow, but do not ever stop to imagine that you will make the Honours list. Merit and Positions go to those who are present and registered in the designated Parties. Otherwise; you are not fit and proper...
6. ALWAYS ANNOUNCE YOUR APPEARANCE, FEARFULLY
Boldness is the mark of the good lawyer. Thus, when they appear in court, they do not timidly mumble their names. No, they stand up with all the majesty they can muster. They sweep their flowing robes in a swish of flamboyance (maybe knocking up the heads of a few poor counsel sitting nearby) and pronounce their names in that slow and deliberate manner that jars a sense of their fearsomeness into the minds of the litigants huddled at the public gallery. The Presidency announces his appearance no less vigorously. The wailing sirens are usually not enough, and must be accompanied by menacing soldiers with furiously contorted features, wielding clubs and SMGs. Did the good Machiavelli not say that it is better to be respected than to be loved? The masses can borrow a leaf: To feel the sweetness of power, you need to inspire fear… not love.
7. NEVER ACCEPT A DEBRIEFING!
It is a mortal sin for a Lawyer to have a record of debriefing. No, you must follow a client to the bitter end. At some point in your relationship, the client’s willingness or otherwise, no longer matters. The lawyer thus becomes a necessary aspect of his life, and upon expiration, his Brief is renewed for another tenure till death do them part. (Yes; death; because judicial decisions can always be appealed against, again and again). If the client proves unduly troublesome, the lawyer simply inserts the necessary ‘claws’ that ensure a carry-over of pending issues to a compulsory next term. Now, need we illustrate how this applies to the Presidency? One Term is never enough. And who gives a damn what the voters think?
8. And FINALLY…
The presidency is at liberty to experiment with the nation’s economy as it pleases. After all, Lawyers assure that - the worst possible scenario for capital offences is… debt.