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, October 09, 2011


John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, is a man who has had a lot of adverse stuff written about him in the press, and who has recently been embarrassed by some flamboyant behaviour on the part of his wife Sally. I mentioned his name to some friends today, and they all came straight back with sniggering remarks about his wife, several people mentioning that she is a good deal taller than her husband. The reason for my mentioning Mr. Bercow is that I recently went to the AGM of a charity at which Mr.Speaker was the speaker, being a local MP.

He spoke for about an hour without notes, and came across (as an experienced politician should) as reasoned and sensible, being able, in a non-political meeting, to avoid the tiresome point-scoring of party politics. One of his comments was that gibes about someone's height or appearance are the last acceptable kind of bullying. If you dismiss someone's views because they are black or gay or disabled you will rightly be thought a bigot, but making snide remarks about Bercow's height, or Eric Pickles' girth is fine.

Bercow, who can take a joke about himself. said that he is not the shortest Speaker, as he had found a couple from the 14th Century. Unfortunately their shortness resulted from their having been decapitated by the executioner.

Driving home, I mused that it is almost unknown these days for a politician to be listened to for an hour, allowing him time to develop an argument, since the soundbite culture means that most people never get to hear a political speaker for more than about 30 seconds.