Life in London for a new arrival isn’t complete until you’ve experienced the joy and frustration of a tube strike. Today, Wednesday 5th February 2014, there’s another one.
I live in east London and find myself off to Court in Snaresbrook on the fringes of the Essex wastelands (or Far East London as an estate agent would have it).
Not crossing London and going against the traffic makes travel easier. Not easy mind, it just means that there’s a fighting chance of getting where you’re going, albeit that the TFL journey planner was as optimistic as a Croydon list officer.
Whilst waiting at the bus stop, joining the miserable huddle watching rammed buses sail past, my mind turned to thoughts of the tube strikes of yesteryear.
One of the changes is this – there must have twenty or so taxis going by (no jokes about the cab rank rule) unhailed by me. Time it was that I would, out of a sense of professional pride if nothing else, have forked out the twenty quid for one of the special black buses with the yellow lights.
It sums up for me much of what has changed in the last few years. When a good year is a pay freeze and the pay cuts have stacked up at about 30% in the last few years, the inclination to fork out money that is better spent on the tax bill is just not there.
I’m not sure if we were ever respected professionals, but when the MoJ (and increasingly frequently the Courts) treat us as a minor irritation in their grand plan to be swept away if possible, excuse me if my sense of professionalism is on the wane.
One example of countless others – if you’re going to drag me, unpaid, to court for a preliminary hearing which I have said is not needed, and then not accept my statement that there’s not enough paperwork for me to offer proper advice to my client, then you’re not treating me like a professional.
Fine, but don’t expect me to behave like one. I’m not going to bust a gut to get there, if you have to wait, so be it. Just be grateful that I spent last night reading all the papers rather than working to rule.