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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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

MORE MUSINGS ON TUESDAY [2]

As recently as last September there was confirmation by the Ministry of Justice that a smoking ban in prisons initiated by Chris Grayling would indeed be implemented by his successor Michael Gove.  Well, as the song said, "It ain`t necessarily so". It appears that wiser counsel has now informed  Mr Gove.  Proceedings are under way to exempt prisons from the ban.  With the increased risk of suicide, murder, self harm and assault in prisons liable to disturb the daily life of a prisoner more than a whiff of cigarette smoke it is policy gone mad to prevent the activity.  Having the 80% of tobacco addicts in our jails deprived of their fix will surely exacerbate the aforementioned episodes of personal and institutional mayhem.

Police Community Support Officers are despised by many as merely plastic cut outs of police officers and supported by Police & Crime Commissioners, Chief Constables and the Home Office as a cheap method of having uniforms on our high streets.  The story continues: have the misfortune to have a house fire or indeed any kind of fire in Herefordshire and Shropshire and the newly designated Police and Fire Community Support Officer could be the individual coming to attempt to douse the flames. This is austerity in practice.  I am a capitalist by philosophy and practice but capitalism can thrive and a population can prosper from its application only when the benefits so apparent in the past can be applied over the public sector.  Rid us of our trained and dedicated firefighters, police officers, probation officers, district nurses etc and the siren sound of the Corbynistas will lure this country into a rerun of the 1970s only worse.

When outsourced or outreach quasi government agencies are in a barrel load of criticism and worse all those highly paid consultants dig deep into their reservoir of the pigshit they have for brains and spend fortunes redesigning logos and selecting a new title with which to brand the product.  Thus the UK Border Agency in 2013 begat UK Visas and Immigration and since 2013 airlines have had thrust upon them duties which the aforementioned organisation clearly was incapable of doing insofar as they were to face a fine of up to £10,000 for every illegal documented passenger flown to these islands.  Airlines are not the only targets that the government has chosen to do the job it has been incapable of doing for years.  Landlords now face a penalty of up to five years in prison for letting residential  property to those with no lawful right of residence in this country. But getting back to airlines: Ryanair, the airline everyone loves to hate, has won its case in Edinburgh after having been fined £4,000 for flying two passengers who landed in the city without necessary documentation. Anybody who has complained about the procedures flying into the USA including this blogger would rather have the efficiency of their Homeland Security than the cost cutting nonsense of this country`s supposed border protection.

After the denouement of the Criminal Courts Charge the message that the provision of courts civil and criminal and all else that constitutes a justice system in a democratic nation is a responsibility of that nation and society and not some sort of burdensome activity to be funded by users  has still  not permeated the myopic mindset of this government as it didn`t its predecessor.  Apparently the quest is in full flow to squeeze more from those who are convicted.  It has even been suggested that payment of fines could be outsourced.....just as inspections of disability are or the use of an extra bedroom or probation services with their mass redundancies under similar agreements with the likes of Serco.

To round off today`s musings the activities of some of my former colleagues cannot be left out.  The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office has published its first decisions of 2016.  Three J.P.s have been sacked for failing to sit for the minimum days required, five have  gone for various reasons including anti Semitic remarks and a further two have been reprimanded. C`est la vie.


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