I like the idea of workers banding together to get a square deal; it's just that I object to paying the dues if they are quite so embarrassingly bad at their job.
The picture I've uploaded comes from the flyer they send out to new Magistrates. Take a look and allow your mind to boggle. The picture seems to scream to you : " We have black people ! And women ! And some of us are young enough to have full bladder control ! Join Us !"
Inside the booklet are six reasons why you should join, which I will copy verbatim, rather than attempt to tidy their horrible syntax :-
(1) Do you want to be represented by a high-profile influential organisation and belong to an organisation that protects judicial independence ?
Well yes, that would be nice. It's a shame the Magistrates' Association isn't remotely that. Anyone who listened to a train-wreck of an interview on Radio 4's Today programme last week would have to agree.
The Deputy Something-or-Other of the Magistrates' Association was being interviewed by John Humphries, and he was making the point that even though cannabis was now a Class B drug, legally it wasn't being dealt with in the same way as the other Class B drugs.
Mr. Humphries : "I don't actually know what the other Class B drugs are - could you give me an example?"
Deputy Thingy umm'ed and ah'ed and then confessed that he didn't have a clue. At this point the only acceptable thing to say is "I'll get my coat ...".
However, he decided to make a funny and said that he wasn't a big Class B drug user.
Call me picky, but if I'm paying to be represented, I'd like the representative to be more knowledgeable, better briefed and more media-savvy than I am.
Incidentally, the drug he was looking for was "Speed" and he is a Dope.
There are other reasons quoted but I kept nodding off when I started typing them, and I wouldn't want to inflict the waffle on my readership. Hidden deep down beneath the turgid prose there are definitely justifications that can be made for a Magistrates' Trade Union :-
- We are vulnerable to political interference without the ability to defend ourselves.
- We deal with difficult issues and may need help at some stage in our careers.
- We have a shockingly poor image among the shockingly small percentage of people who even know what we do.
And anyway, I already have this blog if I want to get my message out.
And if I want my voice to be heard in parliament, I'll bribe a member of the House of Lords like anyone else.