The Sketch: Cut out the middle man, let crooks be judges

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The Independent Online

We can understand what the Victorians were saying and writing but (ignore the sequence of tenses this proposition requires) Victorians wouldn't have been able to understand what we say and write today. The sentence, "We have to address the question of judicial diversity" just wouldn't make any sense to them. Maybe it doesn't make any sense to you. It sounds completely normal to me and that I find extremely worrying.

Bridget Prentice went on to muddy waters further by explaining, "It's important the judiciary shows as much diversity as the rest of society."

So what proportion of our judges are to be drunken solo mothers with breast cancer? How many crack dealers will we need on the bench, for fairness' sake? If criminals are to be sentencing criminals we're cutting out the middleman and devolving resources to the other side of the front line. It's interesting, at least.

Bridget said in a caring way, "We want to work with judges," leaning on the "with" in a particularly nauseating way, "to develop their careers." If she ever comes up before me (surely I'll get a turn on the bench) she'll get seven years in a crack house for her impudence.

And what about re-engaging people with the political process? There's a study going on at the moment. It's private. The public aren't being consulted on this one. It's desk research. The public will be consulted when there are proposals (as it might be said, "When we have decided what to do.").

Geoff Hoon's proposal for compulsory attendance at voting stations has been translated into compulsory voting. You say we can't blame him for that? I say: "Try harder!" The proposition now involves fining the criminals who refuse the responsibility of taking up their right. Harriet Harman is on the side of the angels. She's against compulsion. She says: "We've got to make sure people feel like voting." Ker-rikey! That's the most totalitarian thing I've ever heard outside a novel. It's just as well she's so pretty or we'd throw rocks at her.

Should we require people to present their National Insurance numbers to the polling officers for identification? It's fraught with danger. Bob Marris' son was given an NI number, and then his daughter was too. Do you know what? There was only one number difference between them. Think of the errors that could creep in. Think of the unfairness of elitist numerical hierarchies that prioritise 1 over 2. Numbers need to reflect the diversity of society more.

What else? Alistair Darling told the House that "destructive behaviour achieves absolutely nothing." My housemaster used to say things like that. He was wrong. Our destructive behaviour drove an entire generation of school masters to early retirement and ushered in the Age of Aquarius. I'm not saying that was a good thing but it was certainly an achievement, and we were only 17.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

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