It’s been a bit “Alice in Wonderland” around here lately. I last posted on 22 February and it was like the moment when Alice ate the cake. Quite apart from my sudden and unexpected monstering for succombing to temptation, I feel as if I have been caught in an interminable caucus race ever since. I could indulge in some extended metaphorical comparison between Alice’s incomprehensible experiences in Wonderland, with impenetrable rules, bizarre notions of justice and undeserving authority figures and the experiences of the litigant in the family justice system – but I fear I might never emerge from the rabbit hole.
So back to the caucus race. Debate continues to rage, or at least continues intermittently, on the seemingly interminable and rather circuitious comment thread on the 22 Feb post. I appear to have delighted and outraged in equal measure (although the outraged have been both more persistent and more vocal). I confess that I am considering closing comments on the post, not to shut down discussion but to move it on. It’s been interesting (in places) and it will result in further posts on the several topics that it has generated, but comments are a pain to follow and not a great format for articulating considered views (particularly since my blog theme doesn’t nest comment threads). There are some things that have given me pause for thought and I shall go away, cogitate (as work commitments, the demands of small children and energy levels permit) and write. But not in haste.
But I’m also thinking I need to draw this chapter to a close because I want my life back now please. I’ve spent 2 weeks diligently moderating comments, editing where necessary for legal reasons, and responding to most of those comments. It’s been quite wearing to be the focus of so many people’s loathing of lawyers in general and family lawyers in particular, to be the cipher for their anger – those who have commented in support have generally done so from a position outside family law or anonymously, which I think says a lot about the way in which widespread hostility to legal professionals has stymied necessary and healthy public debate about family justice, debate that needs to involve both users and professionals. Anyway, I hope I have taken it all with reasonably good grace. I wish others would join me in trying to participate in debate (by which I really do mean debate not proselytising) but this last two weeks has worn me out and I’ve had enough of Wonderland for now. It’s no wonder others in my profession avoid such engagement – we get enough conflict already.
‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first—verdict afterwards.’
‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’
‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.
‘I won’t!’ said Alice.
Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) ‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.