Watching weekend TV has me returning to one of my favourite hobby horses – no win, no fee lawyers. Today’s trigger is particularly galling, as it involves somebody who has built a reputation on helping the needy fight the system and over the last 25+ years, has become the champion of children through a telephone help line called Childline. Even worse is the cynical use of the same format Esther Rantzen used in her highly successful TV show, That’s Life.
Esther Rantzen is now the ‘front-woman’ for a personal injury claims company, in other words, a bunch of no win, no fee lawyers. There are several other household names fronting TV ads for these ambulance chasers, but none has quite the gravitas of somebody who has a national reputation as a champion of exploited consumers and abused children.
My message to Esther Rantzen CBE is simple. Please find a different way of earning a crust Esther, preferably one that doesn’t ruthlessly exploit your good name with the public and thereby bring in to question your scruples.
Whilst I applaud the government’s proposals to make it slightly easier for teachers to do their job by restraining unruly or even violent pupils when needed, I fear this could prove to be yet another piece of bad legislation by a government that, like its predecessor, is often in too much of hurry to please.
To date I have not seen any proposals to prevent the restrained pupil’s parents, who can often be more badly behaved than their off-spring, from reaching for the Yellow Pages and setting the whole no-win, no-fee gravy train in motion.
What’s the point of telling teachers that they now have protection at one level, if in fact the education authority that employs them can still itself be sued by self serving parents? It’s also worth remembering that it is local taxpayers, through their council tax bills, who will ultimately be picking up the bill for the avalanche of law suits that are likely to follow as newly empowered teachers begin to flex their new found muscles.
Government now needs to finish the job by offering the local taxpayer protection from the often unruly and sometimes ‘violently’ greedy parents and lawyers, who could soon be stalking the corridors of town halls up and down the land.