The old cliché about a picture telling a thousand words took a very real form last summer with the photograph of a dead Syrian child face-down on a beach. The picture turned the vague concept of a “crisis” into something all too tangible and human, not least for Sean Jones QC of 11 King’s Bench Walk.
Sean immediately launched an appeal called Billable Hour. The idea was to ask lawyers and others to give the equivalent of one hour’s fees or their pay to help Save the Children’s work with refugees. Sean set a target of £7,000. Thanks to his vigour, his charm and his social media skills, as well as the rightness of the cause, he raised 2,736% of this.
Sean Jones launched Billable Hour 2016 on 1 September. As I write, the appeal has raised £31,376, or 448% of the original target, in twelve days. Some are substantial contributions. Some of the accompanying notes stand out – one is made “in memory of the late Dan Hollis QC”, and a judge gives “slightly more than one of my judicial hours”. The ones which touch me most are those representing, for example, a very low legal aid rate or the equivalent from some other area of life which is both vital and badly paid.
Let’s see if we can repeat last year’s total. The Just Giving contributions page is here. Our views on the causes of the refugee flood, and our opinions of the politicians who might have thought more carefully through the implications of their actions, are irrelevant.
Every cause, charitable or otherwise, needs merchandise and there is a Billable Hour T-shirt as modelled here by Sean Jones. Every one sold generates £4.50 for Save the Children. The time shown on the clockface is 6:30pm, the time at which the boy’s body was found.
What, though, is Sean Jones doing in this picture? I thought he was perhaps trying to get the attention of a barman. He might be hailing a cab, ice-skating, playing virtual darts or giving his best point to the Court of Appeal. Perhaps he is auditioning for a part in a play – A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to mind for some reason.
Perhaps he is just living up to one of the botches which Dragon Dictate made of my first draft of this. It had difficulty with “vigour” and came up with:
“Thanks to his figure, his charm and his social media skills….”.