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.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sticks And Stones

Some people seem to think that I have no feelings; that I am a cold and insensitive soul, immune to hurt and to obloquy. What they fail to realise is that under my sunny, hail-fellow-well-met-mine's-a-pint-thanks carapace there lurks a tender and vulnerable old chap.

A few of the people who post on the Mags' Association's members' forum get het up about this blog, and extend their hetupness to poor harmless old me.

Here are a few samples:
Bystander is quite vituperative in his/her disparaging commentaries on the MA (as increasingly on so much else, I'm afraid) and I mentioned this only because his blog is one of the most public fora in which such criticisms are aired. He's quite entitled to spit in his own soup, and I'd go to the barricades to defend his right of free speech, but I do find such 'holier than thou' preachers generally rather tedious.
(Editor's Note - the Oxford lexicographers say vituperative means "bitter and abusive" Bitter? Abusive? Moi?
It has been written on Bystanders's Blog that the MA is " generally run by those out for their own self aggrandisement rather than for the good of their members. It is a supine, useless 'club
I don't remember writing that
People seem very quick to blame, viz the well-named Bystander, but I don't see him or her offering his services/expertise or knowledge in the interests of the magistracy as a whole, or of the fight for local justice.
Now look matey, I'm not putting my magisterial CV on here, but I have done more in my two decades on the bench than many, possibly including you.
These are dangerous and challenging times, and one can either carp from the sidelines, as Bystander does, pontificating on the state of the world from a position of blithe anonymity (whilst slagging the MA off at every opportunity), or find one's own little way of helping steer the ship through the treacherous waters ahead. I don't know why Bystander is so bitter and twisted, but am damn sure it's not specific to the MA. As it is, I'm equally sure that were he/she to offer his services to the Association, they would be delighted to accept.
I must admit though that bystander does snipe at the MA on numerous occassions (sic) and makes me wonder if they (sic)have an axe to grind?
If Bystander is so great why hasn't he/she put up for office so that they (sic) can make changes to the MA themselves? I understand they must be a member of MA cause they have access to the web site??
........ Bystander (who has made much of his great friendship with the new NBCF Chairman) ........
I said in one post that I knew Frances Hoare. Suddenly this bloke thinks we're best mates. Give me strength.

I keep meaning to do a post about the MA. About 70-odd percent of JPs belong to it (including me) and it has a worthy history. The branches vary widely across the country, often due to geography. My branch is the Middlesex one, and meetings are usually in or near WC1. As I live to the West of London that is pushing an eighty mile round trip, so I only go to one or two meetings a year, and that is more than most people on my bench.. The committee and officers seem to be made up of the same faces, which is hardly surprising. Nothing actually gets decided at the AGM, as the Trustees decide policy matters.
The National officers have sharpened up their act in the last couple of years, mainly due to John Thornhill the chairman, who is an abrasive but effective man of the Liverpool persuasion. Press and PR are in better shape than they have been for some time.
Most of us realise that the organisation's structure needs looking at, and financially-driven reorganisation of courts and benches might provide the stimulus that is needed. Despite the views of the grumps on the Members' Forum I shall do what I can to help - in a non-vituperative way, of course.