Readers' letters - April 21

TV presenter Ant McPartlin
TV presenter Ant McPartlin

Rich or poor – we need a level playing field

There is a well-known phrase used by the UK community in our legal sentencing system of “one law for the rich and one/another law for the poor.” This is generally interpreted as the rich defendant unfairly getting a more lenient court sentence than the poor one when found guilty of an offence.

Readers can be excused for questioning the reality of this saying in the case of Ant McPartlin, the television show presenter, who has been fined £86,000 and given a 20-month driving ban after pleading guilty to a drink driving charge.

I do not in any way condone Mr McPartlin’s conduct in committing this offence to which he pleaded guilty. I do, however, question the financial severity of his sentence in relation to the severity of the

offence.

The District Judge said she had to consider the “seriousness and gravity” of the offence, but noted that the defendant had shown “genuine remorse” and had taken “immediate action” to address his issues.

He was twice the legal limit for driving – fortunately nobody was seriously hurt in the incident.

The £86,000 fine is believed to be the biggest in British legal history for a drink driving offence. It is reported that Mr McPartlin is paid £130,000 per week for his TV work. Some readers may be of the opinion that he is easily able to pay his fine and should have been given a more severe sentence.

Others may think that the old saying of “one law for the rich and another for the poor” has been turned on its head by the severity of his financial penalty. It would be unthinkable to impose such a figure for this offence if committed by the average man or woman, whether they be rich or poor. The law should lay down a level playing field for all defendants in criminal cases – those found or pleading guilty should be sentenced on established legal guidelines for the severity of the offence and not on their bank balance and celebrity status.

Cyril Olsen

Address supplied

Powell’s views belong in past

Racism was rife in the UK during the 1960s with a colour bar and discrimination in housing and employment, and the 1968 Race Relations Act was brought in by a

Labour government to counter this racism.

Fifty years ago Enoch Powell made his speech against immigration and

Europe to a meeting of Tories in the West Midlands in what became known as his ‘Rivers of blood’ speech.

He was sacked by Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, but even today there are people who argue that “Enoch was right”.

Powell’s speech made racism look respectable and, in 1968, shortly after his speech, the far-right

National Front went on a march and, according to their organisers, gained eight new members on the back of Powell’s speech. We then saw an upsurge of violence against immigrants.

Powell was an opportunist who was hoping one day to lead the Conservative Party. He failed miserably.

Racism still exists among some people but we have made advances in race relations by being far more tolerant with each other than we were in the days of Enoch Powell.

John Appleyard

Address supplied

Clear recipe for NHS meltdown

When people ask why the NHS is busting at the seams, one has only to look into the net immigration numbers of people coming to the UK for the answer.

For according to the ONS in 2017, the population of the UK will grow by a further 7.3 million over the next 25 years and 80 per cent of that is projected through immigration (5.84 million) – a recipe for an NHS meltdown.

For although we know that our NHS is 35 per cent supported by people from other lands (EU and the Commonwealth in particular), the numbers coming into the UK are unsustainable and something has to change.

Dr David Hill

World Innovation

Foundation

Lucky to have our royal family

We all needed a reason to be more optimistic about our future in view of the Windrush migrants debacle, Corbynism, Daesh and possible Russian cyber attacks.

It was provided by the superlative ITV programme featuring the Queen, David Attenborough, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Angelina Jolie and her family.

Her Majesty the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is a brilliant idea.

How lucky we are to have a Royal family which really cares and another 91-year-old of quality in David Attenborough!

Surely there cannot be many republicans left in Britain in view of the royal family’s recent sensational revival after its earlier misfortunes?

I certainly hope not.

We should recognise our good fortune in having this fantastic family, which is revered throughout the world.

JD Clark

via email