Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Perhaps the Most Vile Sentence Ever Printed in Any Governmental Document in the Entire British Commonwealth of Nations

"There is no justification for retaining working court dress on the grounds of tradition alone - our courts are not a tourist attraction."

— Lord Chancellor's Department Consultation Paper, 'Court Working Dress in England and Wales', May 2003

ukjudges2by Andrew Cusack

This sentence alone epitomises the noxious worldview of the modernist. It is a sentence that pronounces with totalitarian authority a ruling to which it allows no appeal. Tradition, they would tell us, has no inherent value in and of itself. It is nothing but a potential boon to the tourist industry – which is thoroughly reprehensible itself.

Yes, you heinous ignoramuses! There is a justification for retaining wigs and gowns in court on the grounds of tradition alone: thus it is, and ever thus it has been, and ne'er has a soul come to harm because of it! Fat, vile, impudent, ignorant modernist bureaucrats! I believe there is a tradition in the American South involving a self-appointed gang of citizens, a noose, and a tree with strong branches. I couldn't think of a more appropriate exercise of such a tradition than ridding us of the damnable soul – loathsome, worthless degenerate! – who composed that sentence with all its odious implications.

ukjudges1You may read the detestable 'consultation paper' online at what was the Lord Chancellor's Department but which has since been corporately rebranded by Tony and the gang as the 'Department for Constitutional Affairs' with its own catchphrase 'Justice, rights and democracy' (sic), lacking the Oxford comma. There are further contemptible utterances in the document; it is not for the faint of heart.


Prof. Iris said...

Oh come on. Tradition is all well and good, but it is not an excuse to throw rationality out the window. There are a number of legitimate concerns with British court dress and I think phasing the outfits into a purely "ceremonial" costume, worn only on special occasions makes sense.

For starters, there can be no denying that the costume looks, frankly, ridiculous. Grown men, and especially women, wearing these monstrous wigs look like fools any way you cut it. Even the photos you chose to accompany this post hardly look dignified, and those were taken at least 50 years ago, from the looks of it.

I have a hard time believing any criminal on trial would feel any sense of reverence for bewigged lawyers and judges. I know I would have to suppress a chuckle or two, trying to take seriously these 17th Century costumes.

Plus the wigs are heavy and uncomfortable and a lot of judges and lawyers themselves seem to have no interest in wearing them. And presumably it should be their decision to make. I think the quote is therefore entirely reasonable; no profession should be forced to continue awkward and unpopular traditions simply to gratify a certain segment of the population who enjoy the spectacle of watching other people wear fancy costumes.

Anonymous said...

A thoughtful rebuttal, but they are not "costumes", which implies something you would wear on Halloween or to a costume party. The proper term here is "dress", specifically court dress, which has historically given court proceedings under the British system a kind of official dignity not prevalent in the ("if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit") more debased American one. The fact is that the more people dress up for occasions, the more respectable they act in public, which is as true for the courts as it is for uniformed soldiers.

I know people are not conditioned nowadays to think that way, but I doubt very much that anyone attending court would be laughing at the dress. If anything they might feel intimidated by it, which is why the Lord Chancellor in his forward was talking about making users of the courts more comfortable. In my opinion that should not be the goal given the seriousness of the proceedings. It's all well and good that people should feel slightly ill at ease in that type of environment, particularly the alleged criminals under trial.

In any event, I admire the style and attitude of the author as much as the substance. It fits nicely with what we are trying to convey here. That said, I do appreciate your comment, Prof Iris.

The Monarchist