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.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Great Unsayables

In public life there are a number of Unsayables, and two of them have, in one of those delicious coincidences, cropped up today.
The High Court has confirmed, as we knew all along, that the decision to drop the corruption investigation into BAe and its Saudi deals was improper. We all know that the 'Security' argument that was trotted out to justify this was a thin smokescreen to cover a blatantly commercial decision. The Saudis seem to have leant upon the Government with a threat to stop buying BAe's weapons if the SFO had carried on with its probe into the vast 'commissions' that now nestle comfortably in Swiss banks. Great swathes of prime property in London have been bought with the bungs and kickbacks from deals with autocratic but oil-rich states.
Speaking personally, I would sooner accept a slightly less prosperous future for myself and my children and grandchildren in return for the ability to hold up my head and assert that British Justice is not for sale at any price.

The second Unsayable is about drugs in prison. Anyone who has visited a closed prison will have seen that the only way for serious quantities of drugs to get in is via bent staff. And so it appears to be. Why is this unsayable? Because the Prison Officers' Association is one of the last unreconstructed old-time unions, and any serious security clampdown would result in a potentially catastrophic strike in the prisons. It would be perfectly feasible to stop drugs getting into jails but the political will is lacking because of Realpolitik - just as it was with the Saudis.

One day, not soon, but nevertheless inevitably, Britain will have had enough of this weaselly surrender to the brutal forces of corruption, and take a principled stand. I can't wait.