Legal Widow

Monday 1 May. Thousands are massed in Trafalgar Square, among them a small delegation from The Firm.

Chalmers: What do we want? An end to exploitation. When do we want it? Within a structured timeframe allowing for full appeal!

Henderson: For god’s sake Chalmers. Stop acting like a lawyer. We’re trying to blend in.

Pratchard: I never had you down for the demonstrating sort Henderson.

Henderson: For a start, it’s not Henderson. Today, my name is GaiaLove. And secondly, I was quite the student firebrand in the 60s – I organised the “Make War Not Love” march. Only recently I spearheaded the controversial “Re-Arrest The Guildford Four (They Must Have Done Something Wrong)” rally.

Pratchard: You’re not particularly anti-capitalist are you?

Henderson: All part of my cunning plan Jack. Look and learn. Hey, errm, comrade. Fancy some gear, mate?

Protestor: Groovy.

Henderson: Excellent.

Protestor: No. That’s my name. Groovy. You cats seem a little out of place. Who are you?

Henderson: I’m GaiaLove and this is… quickly, make up an appropriate name.

Pratchard: I’m errm, Mr Pinochet.

Protestor: Far out Grandad. You’re one spaced dude.

Henderson: Yes, we’re here because we hate capitalism, its merciless exploitation of the third world, the destruction of the environment, the way young children are kidnapped and made to work in quarries near Barnsley as politicians say nothing because a brilliant lawyer managed to hush the whole thing with injunctions and cocaine.

Protestor: Eh? What was the last thing?

Henderson: Anyway, we’re here to stop all that. We want direct action. We want the capitalist state crushed underfoot and the streets of London to run with blood. Are you with me?

Protestor: Yes! Let’s do some gardening in Parliament Square then paint a moustache on Churchill.

Henderson: I actually had something a bit more violent in mind. Look around at the blood lust in these people’s eyes.

Chalmers: What do we want? An end to pollution. When do we want it? In your own time, I’m not dictating the agenda!

Henderson: Apart from him. Let’s smash up the City.

Protestor: Look, there’s a McDonald’s.

Henderson: Why do you want to smash up a McDonald’s?

Protestor: I don’t. I fancy a McTriple with cheese.

Henderson: Look, Groovy. It’s Armageddon time and if you’re not with us, you’re against us. You know where we should start – with the lawyers. Those parasites underpin the whole corporate system with the self-serving justification of legality. I know just the place to start – Clifford Chance.

Protestor: Clifford Chance?

Henderson: Yes. The biggest law firm in the world. Look, I’ve brought a brochure. And some cuttings – just look at that client list. We could cause millions of pounds worth of damage if we get to its computer system. Here’s a map. Then when we’ve finished with them it’s off to Slaughter and May.

Protestor: Slaughter and who?

Henderson: I’ve written out a list of firms to put out of business. Herbert Smith, Linklaters, DAC – actually, on second thought we don’t need to bother with them – Olswang, they really got on my tits with their oh so effective branding…

Protestor: Hey GaiaLove, we don’t like rules. Let’s just attack one law firm to send out a message. Let’s go for this one in big bold letters right at the top of the list – The Firm.

Henderson: I knew I shouldn’t have printed it out on headed notepaper.

the lawyer 8 may 2000