Letters: The judge and the brave burglars


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Tim Lott’s article in Saturday’s Independent is headed “It is possible to be a burglar and be brave. But we can’t stand a paradox”. I struggle to think of a set of circumstances that would justify a judge coming out with such a truism.

It is insensitive to victims of this crime, and could be regarded by future perpetrators as a judicial thumbs-up. It doesn’t matter whether you regard burglars as brave or cowardly. It does matter if people say things likely to massage their pesky little egos.

Ian Craine London N15


Being brave does not necessarily equate to doing something good, it means doing something that puts one in danger.  A suicide bomber is not good but no one would deny he is brave; to say he is a coward does not make any sense.

Judge Peter Bowers should not be punished because he fell foul of the TV news and tabloid papers and their dangerous and divisive social agenda. 

William Dunn



I agree with most of what Tim Lott says in his article. It is a point of view not widely understood in Western society. Is he a Buddhist? However, in my view it is not necessarily wrong to hold views sustained by some emotion. What is wrong is to persist in holding those views when facts render them wrong, or even suspect.

In the the curious case of the Judge, the Burglar and the Prime Minister, however, I entirely agree with what he says. We are all perfectly capable of making up our own minds about whether burglars are or are not “cowards” and we really do not need David Cameron to tell us what he thinks. It seems perfectly obvious to me that, of course it takes courage to burgle a house. Whether it is a desirable form of courage is another matter, but to call them all cowards is equivalent to calling all politicians brave men, when they obviously are not.

Peter Giles,

Whitchurch, Shropshire


Recruiting for the Scottish army?

Steve Richards (30 August) is right: it is a mystery why outside of Scotland there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Consider defence policy. The debate about the future of Scotland is a real opportunity for all four UK countries to think carefully about military options.

The Scottish National Party currently pledges to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland. Removal would not only affect them: other UK countries should be openly considering their positions on nuclear weapons.

The Scottish National Party also wants to restore the Scottish regiments. This would force a serious reorganisation of the British armed forces.

The issue of Scottish independence should be used in all four UK countries to bring to the fore the form and function of the military.

Alex May 



Mike Merchant (letter, 1 September) was right about Scottish independence. Indeed, the South Country (South-west, South-east, East Anglia) should consider its own relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom, since we seem to be paying for it.

In this context, it would be useful to know if London is a contributor, as we are led to believe, or a drain on the UK. It certainly sucks resources, in terms of talent and money, away from the rest of the country. The question is whether it gives back more than it takes.

Robert Craig

Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset