- Unjustly treated Revd Paul Nicolson points to the mass-destruction perils of 'push button justice' over civil debt (1) and
- Alleged 'left wing bias' in schools and social work education
Magistrates are sworn to 'uphold the law' — whatever that law might be — and when Michael Gove was Justice Secretary [sic] he brought in legal charges that so disgusted some magistrates that they felt obliged to resign in protest to changes he sought to bring in regarding criminal courts charges. (4)
In my experience, when truly socially engaged professionals such as good Disability Employment Advisers have been faced with 'service constraints' that are against the interests of the people before them, they have sought employment elsewhere; what that leaves amounts to postholders that are purely 'functionaries' or mercenaries, serving really only as 'window dressing'.
Revd Paul Nicolson's court summons yesterday was in response to a civil debt rather than a criminal case, but I believe it does tie in with my point about 'service delivery'. Barrister Alan Murdie has written two Big Issue articles regarding the kind of justice meted out to Council Tax debtors:
- The great British council tax scandal – a Big Issue investigation (5) and
- Council Tax Scandal Part II: The Human Cost (6)
An eye-witness of yesterday's proceedings gives this account:
The Judge didn't allow an adjournment, despite RP [Revd Paul] needing more time to understand a council document, plus hadn't had a response from independent auditor. Judge stated his "hands are tied" and has "no discretion"...how can one 'judge' with such constraints? Council got eventually what they wanted, but look crumby!
Yesterday I wrote Paul that I regard him as a modern day Conscientious Objector. This was after I had blogged about the parallels between
- Paul's Guardian letter pointing out that people whose mental health had been severely harmed by benefit sanctions and the like being prescribed tranquilisers rather than a resolution of their sanctions by the Department for Work & Pensions, and
- World War 1 bullying of people into becoming 'combatants'.
It also strikes me that were someone to write someone else, "What words would you like to be your epitaph?" that query would be generally regarded as a death threat. Yet such a query can be an invitation to examine one's life and seek to live a better one.
Dude Swheatie of Kwug
PS: Meanwhile those who attack defenders of public spending and investment in society as 'politically motivated' while being keen to stand as Tory candidates in council elections (8) — especially when the defenders of public spending and investment invest their own lives in public service delivery — remind me of a Flanders & Swann comment in the 1960's that 'strictly non-political' translated in reality as 'very right wing'.