You Cannot Melt Ice with Snow – The Ice Mountain that is Chris Grayling



I love to study body language and there is no better body language to study than that of Chris Grayling. This Ice Mountain of a man, appointed as Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice, has been the subject of criticism from lawyers, probation and lest we not forget those who have been sentenced at the hands of his department. Chris Grayling has caused a stand-off between the Criminal Bar Association of monumental proportions. Even the Yanks are writing about this. My time being in the cells ceased in the 70s. Mr Grayling is the most talked about Secretary of State for Justice in my lifetime and I am 55-years old.

Since his appearance on the panel of Question Time this week, I have seen cries of injustice that questions about the injustices of his axe coming down on the Probation Service and The Criminal Bar, were not put to him. Housing and immigration were the order of the day. The lawyers and Probation staff felt cheated. (From what I have been reading)

We know Chris Grayling is not a lawyer. He has a degree in history. He’s made history, I’ll grant him that. Grayling towers over people as his hatchet comes crashing down on legal aid and the ever controversial figures of re-offending. Controversy theories reign large – he must have something on Cameron to be able to cause collateral damage of massive proportions on the Justice System and not content with pissing off barristers and Probation staff, he’s happy to lock kids up in a modern-day borstal.

So what is it about Grayling that intrigues me? The MoJ have a frontman who is unshakeable. He has a photographic memory. I have watched him on various news outlets and the man never flinches. He is unemotional and chilling in his delivery.  A well-versed public speaker who is not stupid. He knows exactly what he is doing and as the MoJ shuffle their balance sheets, worrying about the cost of legal aid, who better to front out controversial changes than an Ice Mountain who raises an eyebrow and places his hands together, before he launches his missile attack on lawyers and Probation? I have respect for the legal profession and the Probation Service but the missile Chris Grayling has launched on them is huge and he simply, raises an eyebrow as our esteemed legal profession stand off against him and NAPO write daily on the hatchet job he has done on their members.

I am not in a profession. I am a former builder and have worked with people diagnosed with acute mental health illnesses. That took some doing and gave me a few skills to look at behaviours. Chris Grayling’s behaviours have caused the Masters of The Criminal Bar and they are no shrinking violets to stand up to him, but even the Masters of Inner Temples cannot shake the Grand Master who is without a doubt, The Ice Mountain that is unconquerable. One thing you cannot take away from Grayling is that he is an educated man, his use & understanding of words leaves everybody lost for words.

Public opinion is not divided on Grayling. He has obliterated it and everybody detests the man. One cannot even align him to Marmite. People don’t love or hate him, they just hate him. Grayling shows no signs of psychotic episodes, he is neither a sociapath or psychopath, take away the rage and contempt people have for him and look at the man, one could attribute him to an adored Mary Magdalene. The Criminal Bar and The Probation Service are the ones on the pilgrimage. Thou shalt not worship false gods.

The legal profession have their ice picks out and have chipped away at the base of the ice mountain. Despite the overturning on appeal of the halting of a major fraud trial, the legal profession chipped away at the ice mountain. Chris Grayling and the MoJ then used the little-known Public Defender Service and began to offer a recruitment process for lawyers. The Criminal Bar’s reaction to this was to dismiss any lawyer who went and got themselves a paid job.  Sadly the Probation Service have not yet used an ice pick, they have used a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

David Cameron may well be the leader of the Conservative Party, but Grayling is the Don. Grayling decides who lives, dies and who gets to be a volunteer for those pesky re-offenders who will be mentored by a range of private enterprises when sentenced to less than 12-months in prison or a community based sentence.

My opinions are entirely my own and without prejudice. Time to go and take my medication.

Author – JP Riley



  1. Doesn’t really make sense as a monologue or a critique.
    Grayling is quaking and been told by No 10 to shut down any future controversial policies, government is in purdah and should be focusing on rank and file support not fire fighting national hesdlines.
    When even the Evening Standard and Telegraph get on the anti Grayling gunboat, you know his power is slipping.

    Never underestimate the power of the pissed of public sector and M’learned friends. I’ll bet there is another u turn when barristers and probation strike and courts are left in chaos.
    The war isn’t over. Battles are soon forgotten.

  2. I do not see that Grayling is quaking. And if as you say, he is, then he puts on a superb front. Which is the whole point of my opinion. They are based on my observations standing on the perimeter.

    There has already been a Probation strike, yet the service is still due to split a week from now. These cuts were in place long before they hit the press.

    A u turn was done and the Criminal Bar agreed to the deal struck by Grayling and the MoJ.

    He’s ruthless, he’s cold and quaking is not the image delivered.

    Probation are already in check and in a week’s time, it’s checkmate and game over. The Bar are in a stronger position, much stronger as they hold stronger cards. There is no under estimating of M’learned friends here.

  3. Once they decided to join forces, it was game over for Grayling. No questions asked about legal aid, cuts in fees, privatised probation was not a coincidence. He’s been told to shut it.
    Expect major U Turns very shortly.

    Your piece is a non sequitur. There have been huge victories, QASA, Operation Cotton, banning Serco and G4S from being prime contractors. He is the melting iceman hotting it out in his little sweat box.

    1. By joining forces, do you mean, barristers, solicitors & probation?

      Probation – 30% left of a state-owned service will be remaining in a week’s time.

      The CBA had a vote on Grayling’s U turn. A u turn is simply going back to the original area and turning around. A temporary fix. A regroup.

      Operation Cotton was a short-lived victory. It was overturned.

      Serco & G4S are invited to tender for contracts despite investigations by the SFO.

      My observations are not based on a one-dimensional approach. I am looking from a multi-dimensional approach known as lateral thinking.

      The core of my piece started when researching NAO months & months before the media got a hold of this. This is about hedge funds used to dismantle state-owned services. Purely business. As we know, there is no sentiment in business.

    1. Cabinet reshuffle in the last 12 months before a GE is a load of spin. A few new faces, and a re-working of the mid-ranking Cabinet ministers, Clarke, Maude who might be moved on to make a bit of room for new blood.

      As for Grayling’s predicted departure, I would attain that comment to our first woman PM, Thatcher who never became the leader of the Feminist party. I’d lay my money on Grayling lasting longer than any Tory minister in the run up to the election. He’s being tough on crime, that’s a winner with voters, like it or loathe it…

      Observing a tyrant does not mean forming a critique…

  4. Interesting post & interesting responses.

    I do get JP’s angle. Grayling has made history. In more ways than one. He’s the first Secretary of State for Justice who isn’t a lawyer as opposed to Straw & Clarke. He’s delivered a holy mess, I find it hard to argue otherwise. He’s dropped a bomb and we are seeing the shrapnel. Probation and I have spoken with many of them, are suffering. In-fighting. I’m saddened to see the demise of a service that has a great record.

    As for our learned friends. They’re a hardy, pragmatic bunch in my experience, Grayling has caused a stir or three there. Grayling did back down when striking a deal. Even Cameron’s brother made a stand with Op Cotton. MoJ’s decision to expand PDS is a knee; jerk reaction to what could end up being more expensive than resolving the VHCC cuts in the first place.

  5. Summer cabinet shuffle guaranteed.
    NAPO are ongoing in their JR of TR, it ain’t over yet.

    CRCs in place from June 1. Still no contracts awarded to primes to sell CRCs to private companies. This will be delayed too.
    Operation Cotton is not over as far as appeal. Cameron QC considering Supreme Court and other remedies. Leveson is a government bag man who likes his pension. His hands were tied and his thumbs screwed.

    1. I agree there will be a cabinet reshuffle in the summer. If you’re correct, then I’ll eat my words that Grayling will be out. A senior cabinet minister being ousted 9/10 months before GE?

      Probation Trusts are closing down – Exit strategies for this have been in place despite the move from April to June, for some time. I also do not disagree that a fight is in place. But even you and it is clear you know your goods, have to admit that all Trusts are already wound down. Announcements on websites and media reports are clear on this. Prime contracts as it stands, JR pending, are “expected” to go ahead in October.

      I in no way underestimate Cameron QC, he knows his stuff.

      Back to Grayling. Let’s observe recent spats. Which ministers are involved? Nowhere has Grayling been seen to be involved in any spat. He merely positions the pawns and offers them as sacrifices until he says “checkmate, game over”

      I’ll say this UR&SL, it’s about the infrastructure of the business deals implemented and set in place but delivered amidst chaos. It is already done.

      The lashing back of NAPO and CBA, I agree with you.

      Observations do not indicate support of Grayling – I’ll stand by my original points that he has successfully achieved chaos in the justice system. The back-lash is a salvage operation and his deliverance is not that of man quaking in a sweat box.

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