Michael Mansfield QC talked in tribute to Michael Seifert
by Stephen Hewitt | Published 4 December 2017
On Thursday 16 November 2017 Michael Mansfield QC gave a public talk “What does it mean to be a socialist lawyer? A tribute to Michael Seifert” in the University of Law in Store Street, London.
Mansfield, President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, which organised the talk, shared memories of Seifert and how he had been influenced by him in a talk and discussion that spanned many topics.
A young woman also looking for Room 101 for the talk when I entered the building had told me that Michael Mansfield does not speak in public very often so it was a “rare treat”.
Mansfield spoke of solidarity and said that Michael Seifert was very good at making contact between people, especially in relation to Cuba. Solidarity “certainly in relation to Grenfell is extremely important”, he said. For some issues you need to connect with other countries. He mentioned pensions and said that for women of a certain age, born in 1954, it depends which half of the year. “I feel strongly about that.”
“The challenges are becoming more difficult” he said, before mentioning fracking, “which is something I feel strongly about.”
Crowdfunding was a positive development, “in the case of the fracking example it's made a huge difference” and he mentioned Polly Higgins and ecocide and said “absolutely staggered by the amount of money they raised”.
He spoke about an event in parliament which he had attended earlier that day, related to mental health. In the context of funding for it, he said “It's like everything else, take your eye off the ball and they'll get away with murder.” He also mentioned, more than once, “a palpable sense of rising anger from the public”.
- ClientEarth, a novel environmental law charity, discussed by its founder26 November 2017, Cambridge: James Thornton, Martin Goodman & Brian Eno in discussion
- Guardian article: Michael Seifert obituary (external link) Jane Deighton, Guardian, Wednesday 9 August 2017