The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers

When Jack Cade in Shakespeare’s Henry VI part 2 is offering his credentials as a King  to urge a rebellion against the King the policies Cade offers are very modest. Seven halfpenny loaves of bread will only cost a penny under his regime a three hooped pot (used for measuring how much each drinker should drink out of a common vessel) shall have ten hoops; it will be a felony to drink small beer, money will be abolished (so buying bread for a halfpenny would not be possible) and everyone will dress in one livery. Dick the Butcher one of Cade’s violent henchmen) offers that the first thing to be done is to kill all the lawyers, and Cade responds that he means to do that.

Cade never achieved power and every politician, whether democratically elected or whether a tyrant or autocrat has never killed all the lawyers but used them in exactly the same way that all people use lawyers – to further their own ends be it for good or for bad.

 

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