Does anyone in Britain remember Dr. Beeching? Well, of course. He was the bean-counter’s bean-counter. He was the man who pared back the railway branches so much that a gardener with shiny new secateurs would be hard pressed to prune anything else, or so the story goes. The village I grew up in has a Station Road but no station. This blog’s main photograph is from a disused railway station on the old Deeside line. Sure, some of the cuts might be reversible, but not without an awful lot of effort.
I have blogged before about the Scottish court closure proposals, suggesting they might be misguided under three broad headings of: 1) access to justice; 2) community vitality; and 3) the ability of other courts to take up the slack. I received some positive feedback to my stint on BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors which discussed the closures and (for balance) I incorporated Eric McQueen’s observations on that radio report into a subsequent blog.
Well, to quote Bachman Turner Overdrive, it seems you ain’t seen nothing yet. Apparently new “justice centres” are proposed which could (as reported on the BBC) see areas such as the Borders move all court business under one (Galashiels) roof.
Now, I am not sure if I am somehow falling into the trap of a romantic nostalgic so-and-so (for Scottish courts rather than railways), but even if I am what is proposed is not a parsimonious prune of the traditional court network. It might even be characterised as the Scottish court network’s very own Beeching cuts for courts. “Honestly, no-one will miss the wee outposts and everyone can drive to the big hubs anyway”. If this is indeed the proposal, it strikes me as staggering centralisation. I wonder where it will all end.