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.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


Last week I commented once again unfavourably about the goings on at the Magistrates Association. Now and again whilst I was a member I really didn`t give the subject a great deal of my time or attention.  I believe that that attitude of mine is echoed throughout J.P. benches across the country.  To quote from one of the very few items easily sourced from the ram shackle website of said organisation:-

"The Magistrates’ Association aims to represent the views of its members when developing policy or responding to consultation documents. Clearly, with so many members it is impossible to consult everybody and so, in common with similar bodies, the Magistrates' Association forms policy through the Council and its standing committees. The Council comprises representatives - branch council members - from each of the 58 local branches throughout England and Wales. Branch council members are appointed for terms of one year and meetings are held twice a year in May and December."

The largest trade union elects its council according to the following mode of representation as per its website:-

"UNISON branches are grouped into 12 regions which cover the UK. Each region has its own head office and a regional council made up of delegates from all branches in the region. As a union member you have the right to vote in elections to decide who sits on these committees and structures. You also have the right to stand for election to any of these bodies, at branch, regional or national level. All UNISON elections are governed by the principles of "proportionality and fair representation". This means the make-up all elected bodies in the union must represent the make-up of the membership – so you will often find some seats on committees etc. reserved for women or low-paid members, for instance, to make sure this happens."


Nowhere in Unison`s website was there any reference I could find on on line voting. The surest and simplest way to ensure a high turn out and a truly representative result when about 70% of the  adult population own a smartphone is to institute on line voting but that would not suit these two orgaisations.  They thrive on the lethargy of the majority of members thus allowing activists to pursue their own agendas.  It was precisely this lethargy and to a lesser degree intimidation which caused the collapse of the British car industry in the 1970s.  It was responsible for extreme left wing groups  taking over Liverpool, Lambeth and Islington councils around the same time.  It is certainly reponsible for the failure of the M.A. to follow its own doctrine of consultation highlighted above. In the not unlikely event of future scandals  involving a community rehabilitation company which has benefited the M.A. to the tune of £10,000 those responsible will wriggle and wiggle but not swallow the blame. If the M.A. wanted to truly represent its members its new website would have had within it a feature for on line voting and surveys for its total membership.  Only under such a circumstance would it be able to truly reflect members views and opinions.  Perhaps that`s why there is little likelihood of such a transformation in M.A. voting processes.  After all it took centuries for the abolition of rotten boroughs in England.

1 comment:

  1. Presumably with the decline in members of the MA, they will become even less representative?