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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.
Friday, 2 September 2016
UBER ENGLISH AND JUROR ENGLISH
Everyone has heard of Uber; many have used its services. Those who drive under its banner are nominally self employed and many are not native born Britons but incomers who are seeking to improve their quality of life by working all hours available. Those non native English speakers gradually improve their use of the language in the course of time. Three of my own grandparents were non English speaking immigrants who never lost their foreign accents but whose language skills were more than adequate by the time I was starting school. Their experiences were common to all who seek as adults to immerse themselves in the ways of their new homeland.
London`s black cab drivers and Uber aren`t exactly in friendly competition. It could be argued that the former`s virtually closed shop and higher charges than in almost any other international city brought the confrontation upon themselves. Be that as it may Transport for London who regulate taxi and minicab services in the capital have sought to impose minimum English language standards on those who drive for Uber. Legal proceedings have reached a stage where that decision has been allowed to go to judicial review. That background in connection to a quasi legal political blog is as follows:- there is no test of competence in the English language for those who are called upon to serve on a jury. I find this inexcusable with or without a comparison with TFL and Uber. Government obsession with so called "equality" or "discrimination" is IMHO to blame. We are not all equal and discrimination is in itself not a hanging offence. The meaning of the word has become so distorted that Wikipedia defines it thus:-
"In human social affairs, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit".
There are other wider definitions:-
difference between one thing and another: discrimination between right and wrong
the ability to judge what is of high quality; good judgement or taste
The political definition as epitomised by Wikipedia is considered as gospel by some. Without discrimination in its true wide definition the human race would have been extinct long ago. For government to fail to amend language competence for jurors who are not even required to be citizens of this country at a time when it has been shown that there are a million Polish immigrants and a similar number other foreign born who could be sitting in judgement in any crown court is an abrogation of its duty. Perhaps during all the complexity of Brexit negotiations within government some attention will be paid to this insidious anomaly.