The Magistrates` Association has recently published its report “The Magistracy in the 21st Century”. This lengthy investigation into what the public thinks of the current system of lay magistrates` courts and options for the future is a worthy attempt to do what it now appears is the way politics and politicking works in this country and that is to find out what the citizenry thinks it wants and provide for those wants excepting those which are found to be unacceptable……eg membership of the European Union or restoration of capital punishment. For members of the M.A. the report can be accessed on its website. A summary is available here.
I will make only two comments. Much of it was centred on the concept of “local” justice which is to me flying in the face of reality, that reality being that the government is heading in the opposite direction in its restructuring of courts. My second observation is that it is odd that the Association did not wish to complement the report by ascertaining the views of its own members to exactly the same questions as were put to interviewees and presented at public forums.
Political pundits are scratching their heads over Boris Johnson`s defiance of public trends in retaining the London Mayoral for the Tories or George Galloway`s recent election win in Bradford. Perhaps it is down to leadership and personality; words which are not appropriate for most of our politicians or leaders of public organisations.