People are not always entirely rational. Of course we’re not. We have a right brain as well as a left brain, or at least most of us do, and for some of us the emotional part seems to dominate quite a lot of the time. Nonetheless, sometimes our actions appear to make little sense whichever part of the brain is in charge.
A few weeks ago on a train to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference I found myself in a heated debate with two fellow travellers, only one of whom I know. I should point out this doesn’t happen very often, but party conferences do funny things to people, of which talking to complete strangers on the train is possibly the least weird.
Anyone watching the excellent BBC Four series The Strange Case of the Lawcan’t fail to have noticed the irony inherent in his premise that the English common law system can be traced back to the simple compensation culture of early Anglo-Saxon Kent. If anything should dispel the myth that we are slipping, or indeed have slipped, into an alarming spiral of moral decline brought about by an American-style propensity to sue for anything and everything, this should be it.
As you probably know, I am not a big fan of lawyers. But I do have to concede that sometimes lawyers are not the only people who make me angry. It probably isn’t too surprising that one of my targets today is the insurance industry. It’s probably slightly more surprising that the other is Which?, the consumer group that, arguably, made me who I am.
Since the government’s wholly unsurprising announcement that it is banning referral fees I have been wondering what I can write about this that hasn’t already been said (including by me in an earlier post). I’m certainly not going to attempt to explain the impact it will have on personal injury lawyers and claimants because I am not sure I really know.
Britain, we are constantly being told, is broken. It's not just the economy, although that's certainly pretty broken. It's not even that our politicians, journalists and bankers are morally bankrupt, although some of them certainly are. No, one of the main reasons Britain is broken is because we are in the fervent grip of a compensation culture.