Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

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Monday, 9 December 2013


It seems that a week cannot pass without at least one serious scandal emerging from the kingdom ruled by Chris Grayling.  We are so tuned to such stories that the  “minor” ones, those which a decade ago would have been headline news on their own, hardly figure in the media. 

Behind its paywall in The Times today can be read the scandal of the re-hiring of 3,000 prison officers who were recently made redundant under MOJ schemes to cut its current expenditure.   It appears that London`s prisons are so understaffed  that officers have to be bussed in from other areas.  This debacle is exactly following the template of the NHS where agency staff  have to be recruited at inflated cost to cover the shortfall of  permanent staff made redundant.  Often those re-hired are those in receipt of their redundancy package. Of course those who decide these policies and their gofors who make the decisions are short termers who, two or three years later, appear in other guises and ruin other systems.   If this is the epitome of democratic civil governance we must have failed somewhere along the road.  Only when the population is confronted with the truth about the awful cost to us all of treating the totem of a “free” NHS almost as a religious necessity will sanity reign on government expenditure.  However like the avoidance of discussion on the decriminalisation or legalisation of hard drugs re criminality similar refusal or inability of any political party to face the financial albatross of the current structure of the NHS will bring us all to financial penury eventually.    

As per my opening paragraph one would have thought that  owing to police incompetence in not having records from their home country  foreign nationals convicted in our courts for the first time and often  sentenced as being of previous good character and wrongly obtaining reduced time in prison as a result would merit at least widespread media coverage and a discussion on NewsNight or Question Time. One would have been mistaken.  13% of prisoners are foreign nationals.  

 Public opinion on immigration is not necessarily based upon economists` estimates of how much they add to our gross national product  or how their being statistically “young” will pay for our pensioners` pensions thirty years from now;  it is how they are perceived as neighbours or workmates, as parents or colleagues.  At least a debate has been initiated on what was once a forbidden topic which thankfully assisted in costing Gordon Brown re-election as prime minister.

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