Monday, December 07, 2009

Little Temptations

I am as sure as I can be that my 29,000 colleagues are incorruptible in their day-to-day duties. Even a cynic would have to admit that the practice of sitting three people on a bench makes it all but impossible to suborn the court.

We still need to be careful about the little things, though. A few weeks ago an old friend approached me in the pub to certify a copy document - a simple and routine procedure for any JP. He handed me colour photocopies of two passports - I know both of the holders and I had not the slightest doubt that the copies were fine. "Can I just see the originals?" I enquired. "Oh, they aren't here. But you can sign anyway, can't you?" "Er- no" I said. "But why?" he asked. "You know me and you know these two". "Yes" I said, "but I have to sign that I have compared the originals with the copies, and I haven't". "Come on", he said, "does it matter?" "Well yes it does" I replied. "I kind of promised the Queen that I wouldn't tell fibs, even small ones. So no".
We left it there, and I was reminded of the time that another old pal, who had previously asked me, brought along his renewal form for a shotgun certificate. "But it's blank, Reg" I said. "Don't worry", he replied. "Just sign it and I'll fill it in later".
"No bloody fear" I thought. "Sorry, mate" was what I said, while asking the barmaid for a pen that Reg could use to fill in the form. It took him 15 minutes.

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