The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

So That's All Right Then

the age at which suspects can receive mandatory five-year sentences for possession of a weapon will be lowered from 21 to 17.

The Prime Minister denied the move was a knee-jerk reaction to the recent spate of shootings in London and Manchester.

This quote from a news report neatly sums up the breadth of the gulf between what happens on the street and the politicians' reaction to it. I do not doubt the PM's sincerity (although many do) but I do perceive the effect on him of a decade and a half that he has spent surrounded either with sycophants or with enemies, years which have served to erect a wall between real life and the political response to it.
Just imagine. We are in a run down flat in a run down part of South London. Four or five streetwise young men are there, perhaps gang members or perhaps aspiring to be gang members. Dope is smoked, perhaps a little crack too. The aspirants look wide-eyed at the seriously cool 19 year-old who has the £150 trainers and the chunky gold chains, funded like his other bling from drug dealing. The guy from three doors along has, they all know, a gun. It is produced from time to time with the reverence that in an older society was reserved for holy relics.
"Bad news, boys" says the senior. "We all gonna have to stop thinkin' about carryin' them guns, 'cos it's now at least five years when they get you".
So come on, Tony, what's the reaction going to be? Want a clue? Try derision. They don't see getting caught as a likely event because they are young and daft, just as we all were once.
There is no easy answer. Let us hope that the next generation of politicians understand that.