Have you ever asked yourself why satire isn’t as funny as it used to be? Private Eye magazine scarcely raises a smile. The radio satire shows, such as the news Quiz or The Now Show make you groan rather than laugh.
Part of this might be attributable to the fact that most writers for these satirical outlets are not very funny. But I think the main reason is that the world has now stepped beyond satire.
Figures such as Donald Trump and Joe Biden are, literally, beyond a joke. In a more minor way, in Britain, the public stage is filled with clowns who do not have any concept of their own absurdity.
Jolyon Maugham KC, a Brexit-loathing barrister, is a case in point. If you invented him, readers would say that such a ludicrous figure could not possibly exist.
Take his behaviour on the morning of Boxing Day three years ago. After becoming aware of a disturbance in his back garden, Maugham paused only to don his wife’s skimpy green kimono and pick up a baseball bat, before rushing out to confront the intruder: a fox intent on breakfasting on the residents of his chicken coop.
Jolyon Maugham KC (pictured), a Brexit-loathing barrister, is a case in point. If you invented him, readers would say that such a ludicrous figure could not possibly exist
Take his behaviour on the morning of Boxing Day three years ago. After becoming aware of a disturbance in his back garden, Maugham paused only to don his wife’s skimpy green kimono and pick up a baseball bat, before rushing out to confront the intruder: a fox intent on breakfasting on the residents of his chicken coop
Mission accomplished, he took to Twitter to boast of his actions: ‘Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?’
Naturally, in a world where more and more people deplore cruelty to animals and fox hunting is vilified, his incautious boast prompted a social-media pile-on and guaranteed Mr Maugham a short-lived notoriety.
Indeed, it is largely due to this episode that anyone at all has heard of this preposterous individual.
But this week he resurfaced, thanks to the publication of his self-glorifying memoir. The reviews of this work must be among the most scornful ever written. One of them, by fellow barrister Adam King, likens him to TV’s Alan Partridge. ‘As with Partridge, so with Maugham: he is much funnier than he intends to be’.
Another drew attention to ‘his trademark self-pity, self-aggrandisement and capacity for tying himself into pompous knots’.
His response to one of his worst reviews, headlined: ‘The pompous bloviating of a Twitter KC’ — was to tweet that it had appeared in ‘the Brexit-supporting, pro-Climate Change, racist, transphobic, anti-abortion, supine to power Times’.
The list sums up rather well how Maugham, while believing himself to be independent-minded, in fact, subscribes to all the liberal claptrap of the age.
Soon after Maugham’s tweet, author JK Rowling joined in: ‘I’m sometimes asked how to handle bad reviews and usually answer along the lines of, ‘We’ve all had them and it’s never fun’. Sometimes you can learn from them. I find it helps to remember even Moby Dick got some stinkers.
‘In future, I’ll just say, ‘Never go full Jolyon’.’
Although Maugham’s pompous response to bad reviews and his self-conceit make him a figure of absurdity, he is not all that funny.
His memoir is entitled Bringing Down Goliath, as he prides himself on having founded the Good Law Project, an organisation which he sees as little David standing up against the giant Goliath: the plucky underdog taking on the might of the state.
On its website, Good Law Project explains: ‘Our mission is to use the law to hold power to account, protect the environment, and ensure no one is left behind.’ Not that this ostensibly selfless endeavour will profit from the sales of his book.
In February, Maugham took to Twitter to announce: ‘When I started Good Law Project I promised you my salary would never be above that of a backbench MP. I’m keeping that promise.
Soon after Maugham’s tweet, author JK Rowling joined in: ‘I’m sometimes asked how to handle bad reviews and usually answer along the lines of, ‘We’ve all had them and it’s never fun’. Sometimes you can learn from them. I find it helps to remember even Moby Dick got some stinkers
‘But I want to be transparent with you that the advance on the book — and any [of] the royalties if it ‘earns out’ the advance — will be mine.’
Fortunately for the Good Law Project, there are plenty of simple-minded idealists prepared to contribute generously to its campaigns. Over the past five years, with the help of his followers on Twitter, Maugham has raised over £4 million for Good Law Project, with the purpose, usually, of frustrating the process of the law, as enacted by the highest authority in the land — namely, Parliament.
The law may be an ass, but there is something more asinine, and that is a supposedly clever lawyer acting in this way.
Though his memoir gives the impression that Maugham, as a righteous lawyer, is always successful in his bids to block the actions of the unrighteous Government, his record is not wholly unblemished.
Last year, Good Law Project was ordered by the courts to pay more than £350,000 to the Government Legal Department to cover the expense of its failed claims. And even his successes have not always gone the way he would wish.
In 2019, to prevent further attempts in the Commons to frustrate Brexit legislation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament.
The Scottish Courts, in a case brought by Maugham, ruled that this action was illegal. And Maugham was obviously pleased with the decision.
The High Court in London had recently rejected a similar case — brought by Remainer activist Gina Miller — and two hours after Maugham’s victory chose to give its reasons for doing so.
The result was that Maugham’s efforts were overshadowed, much to his irritation: ‘The decision of Scotland’s highest court made barely a ripple in the national press,’ he said petulantly.
‘The BBC made room for a single interview with me on its news channel.’
More recently, Maugham made headlines with his declaration that he had joined more than 100 other lawyers in refusing to prosecute climate protesters or to act on behalf of clients involved in the oil and gas industries on the grounds that they are destroying the environment.
In a typically self-important article in The Guardian, he explained he had decided to do so despite the professional obligation that ‘barristers act for whoever seeks our services — in the same way taxi drivers in a rank take whoever is next in the queue’.
This so-called cab rank rule is designed to ensure that everyone can get access to the law.
Yet Maugham argued he could not support laws that permit new fossil fuel projects. ‘The law is not always right,’ he said. ‘Sometimes the law does not reflect the democratic preferences of the people.’
Not that this particular concern seems to have affected his determination to fight Brexit, for which 17.4 million people voted in the largest democratic mandate in British history.
I was actually among those who voted Remain. The majority of us who did so were not Euro-fanatics. We simply believed there were economic and cultural benefits to being a member of the EU, which just about outweighed the advantages of legal independence from Brussels.
But as well as lukewarm Remainers such as myself, there were the fanatics — such as Maugham.
Before the Brexit vote, they failed to persuade the majority to vote their way. After the referendum, they attempted to obstruct democracy by using the courts.
It was the people who decided on Brexit, and the people’s will has, ever since, been compromised by the likes of Jolyon Maugham.
They will do the same with other popular (and sensible) measures, such as the attempt to stop the illegal trafficking of migrants in small boats.
Maugham, the egotist with a fondness for dressing in a silk kimono, is biffing not just the unfortunate urban fox. He is trying to beat up the sensible British majority, too.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/columnists/article-12017931/A-N-WILSON-Jolyon-fox-killing-Brexit-loathing-barrister-ludicrous-man-Britain.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270