It’s been a beautiful day here today: a day for drying washing, cutting grass, weeding rockeries, putting one’s face up to the sun, and chucking old growth onto the fire-pit. Tonight we had a sunset of warm pink and diluted blue that ended in a full-on Turneresque blaze on the horizon.
Sadly, it was also yet another day of telephone-yelling. And as always, the recipients were financial institutions, legal eagles and government bureaucrats.
Last year, my UK furniture went into store until such time as the main house here was ready to receive it. During the storage, the removal company had a fire….in which I lost two beds and two sofas, plus lots of bedding. In May 2014 I filled in the removers’ insurance company form, and being a generally honest sort of chap allowed for wear and tear in claiming a very modest £1200.
From May until October, I heard nothing. So I asked what was going on. It’s taken from then until now to finally get the loss adjuster to ring me and ask further questions. He only did this because, earlier in the day, I’d rung the removal company and suggested they tell their insurers that unless I had a cheque by next week, I’d be issuing a winding-up order. The loss-adjuster has tonight promised I’ll get the cheque next week.
‘ Loss-adjuster’ is a wonderful term, is it not? It suggests his job is to haggle about the loss in the insurance company’s favour. Twas every thus.
For a bloke lucky to be born erudite – and of an age confident enough to threaten bullies in a way likely to be effective – this kind of bollocks is second nature. But it isn’t to old ladies, struggling lower-end families, and commercially naïve government departments.
The second task of the day was to get an avocat to supply my vexatious plumber’s lawyer with photocopies of the quotation – and cheques of that amount made out to his braindead client. Thus, said client doesn’t stand a chance of winning his case: and said lawyer can forget the wriggle-out excuse of “I was falsely briefed by my client”.
The entire business model of legal professions across the globe is based upon the idea of getting people to argue about everything into infinity, and then claim they were only trying to ensure the triumph of justice. But as a British barrister of my acquaintance is fond of remarking “any correlation between the practice of Law and the triumph of justice is entirely coincidental”.
The final chore was to have another crack at being able to join the French Health Service (CPAM). Earlier on Moving Abroad: having renounced his right to use NHS facilities, our hero gave his British forms to the local health centre, since when all of them have gone missing. The CPAM’s English speaking helpine is very good at being variously accusatory, sympathetic, and promising to ring one back. They don’t ring back. The gp at my Health Centre is being less than cooperative about explaining WTF she might have done with the forms, and now she has fallen ill.
The general view is that I need to go right back to Go. Neither the Brits nor the French are willing to accept even a scintilla of responsibility for any of this cock-up; yet it is the citizen victim who is expected to start all over again. Such is the bureaucratic mindset.
If that doesn’t make your blood boil, think on this: it is illegal in France not to have either private or State health insurance. As a result of my law-abiding attempts to be legal, the functionaries in Britain and France have conspired through incompetence to render me illegal. I wonder, what chance might I have of making that the basis of my defence in the event of a prosecution?
Yes, that’s what I think too. But fear not, for there – on hand to help – would be the legal profession: they would, I do not doubt, relish the chance to turn the entire circus into a fascinating dissertation – one day to be written up in various legal journals…to the lawyer’s career advantage – but at the client’s expense.