The Spectator

Letters | 24 November 2016

Also in Spectator Letters: Brexit, the NHS, educational standards, love at first sight, and rude names

Prisons and the public

Sir: Your leading article on the sorry state of our prisons (19 November) was very welcome. However, you refer to the ‘public demand’ for sending offenders to prison. I have to query this. I cannot think of any occasion when the public has been consulted on prisons or sentencing policy or on the exceptionally high cost of incarceration.

We currently have an unthinking and punitive culture, generated by tabloid newspapers and politicians competing to show how tough they are. It is hardly surprising that the coalition government’s search for savings targeted prison staff and community supervision, with results that can be seen today.
Peter Barker (former Senior Probation Officer in HMP Maidstone)
Snettisham, Norfolk

70 years of peace

Sir: Brian Thornton says (Letters, 19 November) that many of my generation who lived as children through the 1940s voted to leave the EU because they saw vital powers slipping away to unelected bureaucrats. I lived through the 1940s, remember my father taking me to the window and seeing London burning, and I voted to remain. I do not consider myself one of the elite; I read informed opinion and make my own judgment.

We have had 70 years of peace in Europe and I value that far more than I fear any alleged loss of sovereignty as a result of Britain being a member of the EU.

We should be proud of our achievement in helping to build the European Union in past years. Instead of working for change within the EU, we leave it as the result of a slender majority in the referendum. I fear for my grandchildren in 20 years’ time.
Ian Sutherland
Eversley, Hampshire

Russian lessons

Sir: The outrage of the metropolitan elite in the face of Brexit, Trump et al (‘The new normal’, 19 November) reminds me of learning Russian in the 1960s.

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