Leading article: Historical injustice

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The Independent Online

It is reported that Billy the Kid could be on the verge of receiving a pardon from the Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson. Retrospective justice for semi-legendary figures is an intriguing idea.

And we see no reason why it should be limited to American folk heroes. Boudicca, of course, already has a statue on Westminster Bridge. But how about some sort of official recognition of the excellent community work done in Nottinghamshire by Robin Hood in the Middle Ages? That early social reformer, Wat Tyler, deserves a peerage. Likewise, is it not time for some recognition of the public spiritedness of Rob Roy and William Wallace? A good way, perhaps, to sell the Big Society in Scotland.

But let historical judgement be even- handed. Why not impose retrospective sanctions on those who turned out to be bad 'uns? Coming soon: an Asbo for Dick Turpin.