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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


Those who forever and a day lobby for short prison sentences to be abolished have recently been able to lift up their eyes and gaze longingly at proposals north of the border to do just that. It is not a foregone conclusion. The protagonists of this policy change seem to be unable to consider that the situation with recidivism is as much to do with the dumbing down of the probation service since 2010 and the collapse of structures within the prison service over decades. How can prison governors fulfil their remit if they have barely enough to feed their charges never mind rehabilitate them? How can probation services do their jobs with political shenanigans in their recent privatisation and reduced funding combined with general uncertainty for those at the sharp end?

Sooner or later one government or another must explain to the great British public that prison services, justice systems, defence requirements must have much more money spent on them; not the euphemism "invested" as Labour politicians continually preach. That money has to come from increased taxation or reductions in the budget of the holy cow NHS.  Governments especially prime ministers are entrusted and enabled to lead we citizens but currently they are sheep being led by the nose. Perhaps that is why Jacob Rees-Mogg has emerged from rank and file Tories as a future PM.  He has shown his backbone by declaring his Catholic faith and consequences of that faith. If they are kept as his private  belief system just as MPs of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Jedi or no faith do there is no problem. Similar arguments against him were put to Jack Kennedy in 1960. He declared that the US Constitution would be his guide; not the Pope. The antagonistic sheer nastiness being directed at  Rees-Mogg from the left especially on social media is a disgrace to our values. It is illogical and all right thinking people should reject it.  Oppose him on political grounds but opposition because of his religion is a dangerous intolerant route to take with catastrophic destinations.   


  1. I haven't posted for a while but this piece just encapsulates the country we find ourselves in. I love this country and I loved being a magistrate for more than 30 years. Not because it meant I was entitled to any more respect in my community or amongst my friends but I took a pride with my colleagues that we were doing something useful and putting something 'back'. In all that time I don't think more than half a dozen ever went to prison from my court but, as you have said, we have most recently seen the decline of numbers of Magistrates (now down from 30,000 + 5 years ago to just over 16.000 today) the probation service decimated and more 'initiatives' introduced than I could possibly remember. From 1983 when I joined the prison population doubled from 40,000 to more than 86,000 and the rate of reoffending is still about 67%. We have 15,000 foreign prisoners that should be sent home but that is not happening. Sorry for the rant but there are occasions when I just want to let it all out and actually blame the politicians. So there...

  2. What baffles me about proposals like Sturgeon's is how she proposes to oblige convicts to perform community service, pay fines, engage in restitution processes, or whatever else is presented as an alternative.

    "Walking free" yet again and knowing that there is no ultimate sanction will surely engender even more contempt for the whole justice system amongst career recidivists.

    1. It's because the repeat offenders know the system, Fine £5 deduction from benefits, conditional discharge, try not to get caught for a period, even if you do not much will happen, unpaid work, just can't be asked so won't attend, suspended sentence what are they going to do if I get caught send me to prison for a year for shop theft. And the wheels on the bus goes round and round.