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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's The Rich What Gets The Pleasure

I am not easily shocked, but the sheer scale and effrontery of so many MPs' plundering of the public purse is more than a disgrace - it's a bloody outrage. Some of our representatives are trousering up to a third of a million a year of our money, and then have the cheek to charge us for their household expenses and, for all I know, their bog-rolls. "It's all within the rules" the smug bastards claim. Well, it damn well shouldn't be. And by the way, who made those rules? Oh I see - it was MPs.
So what am I supposed to feel as I survey the steady stream of pathetic poor that passes before the bench? In recent months I have seen half a dozen nursing students prosecuted for failing to declare the bursary paid to them by the NHS, and continuing to claim the benefits they were getting before deciding to take up nursing training. I have seen a young single mother, abandoned by the father of her child, who stole a pair of shoes from Woolworths because she wanted her little boy to "have something nice". She finished up in court, with a criminal record for theft that will do nothing for her CV when she looks for a job in the future. You wouldn't have caught an MP in Woolies (RIP) or Primark would you? John Lewis is the least they would settle for - with our money. People drive tatty and uninsured old bangers because that's the only way to get to the site of the minimum-wage job they were eager to take. Wrong, wrong, and wrong, of course. I dealt with them all according to the law and within the Guidelines, but as I order a £5 per week deduction from benefit or any of the other tools at our disposal, I won't be able to stop myself comparing these offenders with the MPs who stay the right side of the rules that they wrote for themselves but who haven't even got the excuse of poverty for their behaviour.
Defoe has Moll Flanders refer to the wise man's prayer: 'Give me not poverty, lest I steal.' Well our MPs aren't poor, but many of them, while not exactly stealing, are certainly taking money that they should not, on any decent man's view be taking.
As ever, Shakespeare had it spot on:

A dog's obeyed in office.
..........Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.