Letter: Here are the causes of crime

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Sir: On the Tuesday before election day, I visited my local magistrates' court and sat in on a number of cases.

Each case I witnessed had a common theme - young, uneducated people, pleading guilty to mainly petty criminal offences. The majority of the defendants were unrepresented, were either in low-paid employment or were without work and clearly had insufficient education to comprehend the language of the court. Each defendant could be regarded as a "child of Thatcherism".

This was not a scene unfolding in a depressed inner-city area; it was in the prosperous market town of Maidstone. Near to the court building was a political hoarding proclaiming, "Britain is Booming - Don't Let Labour Blow It".

As a Labour voter, I celebrated long into the early hours of Friday morning. I long and hope for a new start and a rejuvenation of British society. Whether I shall still vote Labour in five years' time will depend strongly on how successful the new government is in attacking inequality and deprivation and restoring pride and opportunity.

BILL STONEHAM

Maidstone, Kent

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