Tuesday, 28 May 2013

For Sale: The Judiciary. Only one previous owner.

For Sale: The Judiciary. Only one previous owner

Every day there is another surreal, yet all too real, front-page headline that makes you despair before the back of your teaspoon has even begun to crack open your boiled egg.

Today it is the proposed privatization of the Law Courts, the running of part of our Constitution for profit by some inept, money-grabbing private company. It becomes increasingly apparent that we are being governed by a bunch of second-hand car dealers.  Am I being picky when I find Grayling's rhetoric abhorrent? Is he really talking about our Justice System?

"As in other areas we need to look at the way we deliver our services to provide a more efficient service that delivers access to justice quickly and effectively, while delivering value for money for the taxpayer. At the same time, we must preserve the independence of the judiciary which lies at the heart of our constitutional arrangements."

It's Tony Blackburn speak: constitutional arrangement type things.

Perhaps the whole of our Constitution should be privatized, especially Parliament. MPs could pay for tabling questions. The wonderful Parliamentary subsidised food and drink could be hiked up to real-life prices.  Offices and work stations might be rented along with the TVs in Members' rooms like those that patients pay through the nose for in hospitals.  And how about subscriptions for access to Hansard and Erskine May and an annual membership subscription for Strangers Bar, the Tea Room, Pugin Room, Members' Dining Room and access to the Terrace?  Savings could certainly be made if MPs received a pro rata salary taking into account almost a third of a year they have off in recess. And of course, who could do a better job of cocking it up than Capita?  Call them in immediately.  

The solution offered by problem pages in popular magazines seems as good as any here. Write down the pros and cons in two columns and see what evolves.  The pro seems to be a saving of £1 billion a year.  Such forecasted savings promised by profit hungry private companies can never be guaranteed.  Neither can the quality of the services which inevitably fall short of expectations though little remedy can be sought from watertight contracts.  And what a piffling amount of silver the government is talking about to put our fine, independent Justice system in jeopardy.

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