Letter: Unfair to Straw

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The tenor of Jack Straw's comments on "Travellers" was certainly unfortunate. However, you might have mentioned the people who suffer from those who opt out in one way or another - as they are quite entitled to do as long as they can find a way of living that does not interfere with others who are entitled to enjoy similar freedoms.

You might also have mentioned those who abuse our democracy at the other end of the scale. Sometimes it seems that those with financial and positional influences are rather harder to budge. Jack Straw has made remarks about Freemasons, for instance, and it is quite clear that some influential figures have no intention of taking a hint ("Police chief defies Straw over Masons", 20 August).

Probably you are right - if you are Home Secretary, it is better to keep quiet. I happen to think that this is a shame, but that is just an opinion. What is not a matter of opinion is that the Home Secretary should act and legislate within government policy, and in the general public interest.

If I were asked to lay odds, I'd say that it is evens on legislation to rein in "Travellers" and 100:1 against action on secret societies.

ALFRED HAYES

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

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