Colston statue verdict gives dangerous excuse to break the law
SIR – As a Bristolian, I sympathize with the motives of those who toppled the statue of Edward Colston.
However, I am alarmed by their acquittal of the criminal damage charges (report, January 6). The verdict would appear to set a disturbing precedent: anyone has the right to destroy anything they disagree with.
SIR – I am appalled by the Bristol Crown Court decision.
Whatever the case or the circumstances, jurors must separate the possible dominant opinion from the prosecution and the evidence before them.
SIR – It is ironic that, 300 years after the death of Edward Colston, the people of Bristol, who have raised a statue to their benefactor by public subscription, are effectively having their decision overturned by a jury made up of the people of Bristol.
Black Lives Matter started out as a movement demanding fair treatment for blacks, but soon adopted political goals amounting to the overthrow of the free world.
In Britain, he confused cases of police brutality in the United States with the fact that some of the main British public benefactors in history derived income from slavery.
The jury that ignored the judge’s advice to make a decision based on the evidence showed how people were influenced by this argument.
River Thames Dutton, Surrey
SIR – Jury trials are fundamental for the rule of law and democracy.
William Blackstone, the 18th century jurist, wrote that he is our “most important guardian of both public and private liberty. The freedoms of England can only subsist as long as this palladium remains sacred and inviolable, not only against any open attack… but also against any secret machinations ”. Judges can make perverse decisions, which can be overturned on appeal. The verdicts of the jury, however, are sacrosanct.
There is no distinction in principle between the Colston decision and the one which acquitted Quakers William Penn and William Mead (Featured article, January 6). Verdicts that appear to contradict the judge’s instructions show the strength of the jury system. All jury verdicts must be supported, whether or not we agree with particular results.
His Honor Nic Madge
St Albans, Hertfordshire
SIR – The energies of the protesters would be better used to campaign against modern slavery and persecution. Trying to erase the past will not change history, nor will it help anyone who suffers today.
Helmsley, North Yorkshire
SIR – Now the man’s name will live in the “Colston Four”.
SIR – It seems that the question of whether Novak Djokovic has precisely the right papers outweighs the question of whether he is the best tennis player in the world (“Djokovic faces expulsion in visa row Covid ”, Sport, January 6).
Thus the bureaucracy suffocates a great sporting nation. I won’t be watching tennis, or rushing to Australia anytime soon.
SIR – I hope the Australian government will stand firm on the expulsion of Mr Djokovic.
It should remember the thousands of its citizens who followed the rules, and not leave some “Do you know who I am? »Circumvent these rules.
Wastewater in rivers
SIR – Orlando Fraser (Letters, January 1) says that if the Labor Party is to have any chance of winning over rural voters, Sir Keir Starmer must “commit to doing what it takes to clean up our rural rivers, which are dirty as a result of the ongoing national rejections scandal ”. I wonder if he realizes what a Herculean job that would be.
The problem is our own making. We continue to drain precipitation runoff through the same sewer systems that are used to collect and pump wastewater to sewage treatment plants before discharging the treated liquid into rivers or the sea. Unfortunately, while the maximum quantity of wastewater can be estimated with sufficient precision, that of precipitation cannot. Therefore, when the design load of treatment works is exceeded in times of heavy rainfall, the excess must be diverted elsewhere untreated – to streams, rivers or the sea.
In principle, the solution is simple – install separate systems for wastewater and precipitation – but it would be expensive. A wise first step would be for planners to require developers of new domains to install separate systems. Although most of them would initially have to join conventional sewers downstream, there would eventually be enough in place to justify the rehabilitation of existing facilities.
Dr Bruce Denness
Niton, Isle of Wight
Announce a triumph
SIR – My Triumph Herald convertible (Letters, January 6) was yellow. It was my first car and certainly the best. He has been to Ventimiglia twice and spent three happy months in the Algarve.
While in Italy, I had pneumatic horns installed on the car, but the Italian mechanic passed his and his sons. Every time I turned left there was a loud explosion.
SIR – In the early 1970s the Bond Bug was introduced as a groovy car to drive. As destitute students, my friend and I raised enough money to buy a Reliant Robin. It was black, so we painted it (by hand) orange to make it look like the room (we were art students).
As I went around a roundabout, the passenger door opened (Letters, January 6), so I grabbed the seat. However, for reasons I can’t remember very well, the seat was not secured to the floor. I fell.
SIR – I got my driver’s license at Lichfield in 1955 in a 1937 Ford 8 Model Y.
The steering wheel came off during the test, but after discussion I managed to fix it and was successful afterwards.
NHS phone fiasco
SIR – James Osborne (Letters, January 6) gives an example of ineffective management in the NHS.
My wife was in three NHS facilities for over a month, spending Christmas week in isolation, having been in contact with a Covid-positive employee.
Last Monday I was trying to find out where she had been transferred to at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton after being admitted via A&E the day before. It took over 40 phone calls, between 9 a.m. and 2.15 p.m.
The switchboard mainly responded, but when I was transferred to a station, there was no response. When I reached a human being, they couldn’t help me. At one point, I was told that my wife had been sent home. A nurse kindly gave 10 minutes of her precious time to physically search for her, but to no avail. I eventually found out that my wife was in the acute assessment unit, almost next to A&E.
The next day my phone rang from a number in Brighton. A doctor or nurse with an update, maybe? No: it was a robocall asking if my wife (still in the hospital) would take a survey about her A&E experience.
Balcombe, West Sussex
Dark days to come
SIR – On Tuesday I received a message from my electricity supplier asking me to register on a register of priority services. The purported benefits included 24-hour advice on power outages, assistance with accommodation and hot meals at such events, and advice on saving energy.
Is this – the first such message I have received since I became a homeowner 47 years ago – a stark warning that we are going to see blackouts in the near future? The government is playing with fire by ignoring public concerns about the premature elimination of our traditional power generation capacity.
SIR – I don’t see why a British citizen would need to use the Australian expression ‘no worries’, which is opposed by some of the permanently injured offenders (report of January 5).
The Scottish “nae bother” and the English “no problem” (which means that it is not worth it or not a problem for the speaker) are perfectly adequate. There may be Welsh and Irish equivalents, too, which I’m not familiar with.