Monday, July 09, 2007

A Knotty Problem

Jeremy Paxman has been wondering aloud about the future of the tie (necktie to you in the USA) on the telly. It seems to me that there has been a rapid and accelerating decline in the wearing of ties, both on the television and in a business setting. I sometimes take the train to London and it is not unusual for me to be one of the few men in business dress to be wearing a scrap of gaily-coloured silk at my throat. Police officers rarely wear ties these days, which is understandable when they are wearing anti-stab vests but otherwise, in my view, unprofessional-looking. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis as the man said, but what will happen in court? Robed judges and counsel wear bands, DJs and magistrates of the male persuasion wear jacket and tie, as do solicitors and court staff. In a few years' time, as Paxo suggests, the tie may well appear to be an anachronism, as strange in its way as the barrister's wig is now. For myself I shall continue to wear a tie on the bench and on official business whatever happens in the world of fashion, because I believe strongly that formality of dress and behaviour is essential to maintain respect, and thus order, in the courtroom. One of my younger colleagues was grumbling about the jacket-and-tie rule recently, but he had no answer when I asked him if his confidence in the flight crew taking him on holiday would be improved by the Captain and First Officer wearing jeans T-shirts and trainers on the flight deck. In any emergency a uniform gives us someone to turn to for help and advice, as most of us will have experienced.

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