I remember, a few years ago now, an abortive attempt to be a local magistrate. I attended court, filled in the forms, attended initial sessions and so on. All the way through, I was told you have sentencing guidelines to follow. Until the second interview process.

When I am asked what do I feel is appropriate for offense X in situation Y. I ask what the guidelines say (to also better understand exactly how the offense should be classified). They say they don’t want me to go off the guidelines. I try to explain that I thought the whole point was to go off the guidelines to get a starting point, and then decide whether there are exacerbating factors or mitigating factors.

They say yes, in court, you’d use the guidelines. But we want to know what you think is appropriate. I say I don’t know what is appropriate because I don’t know what the starting point is supposed to be. They tell me to say something anyway.

So I am asked to guess, despite the fact that in court I wouldn’t have to. Later, I discover that my application ‘was unsuccessful at this time’, and can’t help think that was the reason why*… (although I’m quite happy not to be doing it now).

*although it could simply have been that I was white, male, and of the wrong age group or educational background to what they were looking for to get a representative sample. But if I knew WHY then I’d have known whether it was worth my while ever applying again…

Anyway, personal rant aside, I’d be interested in any blog posts on ‘the aborted politician’ if you don’t feel it would compromise your magnum opus any further 🙂