Magistrates just like many especially in public service have to use the sensitivity of a spider`s leg to guard against false accusations of sexism,sizeism,fatism etc,and the bete noir of them all, racism.....Perhaps I should rephrase that, the bane of them all and the one ism that has caused the death of tens of millions and misery for millions. However like the unbridled prescribing of anti biotics the wider the term is bandied about the weaker is its application.

And so it was a couple of months ago when a  colleague was about to relocate to Wales and confided in me that after she had told a person summonsed into the courtroom from a support unit in our court office to go back from where he came from [the particular office] and get the correct information a complaint of racism was made insofar as the individual was Estonian and the implication was that he should return to Estonia. It is scarcely credible that this nonsense was taken seriously and that my colleague had to explain herself. Of course the matter was dropped and the complainant was pacified. But that we have come to such a state of intellectual fear in this country where even the most straightforward of remarks can be so misinterpreted and worse still the complainants are afforded the status of having been verbally abused to placate those who would foster a culture of perpetual conflict amongst us; not the perpetual conflict envisaged by George Orwell in "1984" but the perpetual fear of causing offence resulting in silence instead of comment and inwardness in place of social contact.