In the discourse about problems in the prison service there is a section of the secure population that has not been mentioned; women. Women make up small numbers of the prison population; they rarely riot or draw attention to themselves. The majority are not violent and are not a threat to society. Women in prison will spend Christmas in dismal, undignified conditions, away from their children and families. A sensible beginning to resolving the current problems within the secure estate would be to reduce the number of women sent to prison; these women are frequently victims of abuse, violence and poverty.
They could be rehabilitated in the community while caring for their families; fewer children would enter the care system and everyone would benefit.
In welcoming the attention suddenly being given to prison conditions and the sheer number of prisoners, one can only hope that specific thought will be given to addressing the disproportionate number of ex-Servicemen in custody-those who have gone from being "Hero" to "Zero" on the thud of a gavel .
John Scott Moncrieff
Why is Father Christmas not set to be on the New Year's Honours List?
Although probably too late for inclusion in the New Year's Honours list, may I strongly recommend an award for someone who gives his life's work to providing enjoyment to people around the world – particularly to the young, but indeed to all ages.
I refer, of course, to Father Christmas.
Year after year the list of (some) deserving recipients is published, much of it to the amusement of clear-thinking people, but not once have I seen even the smallest of baubles allocated to this great man. In the present climate of unrest and misery, millions would be uplifted to hear that he is not merely to become Sir Father, but indeed "Lord Christmas of Lapland and Plymouth Ho-Ho-Ho" (might there be a Lady Christmas as well?).
Typical of his nature, though, he would be sure to give due deference to his team of elves and reindeers.
It is time to cut off the oxygen to Farage's views
I couldn't agree more with the letter in the Independent about cutting down on the oxygen of publicity that allows Nigel Farage to peddle his hateful views under cover of his bluff-man-of-the-people schtick and racism disguised as a necessary national debate on immigration.
Seven times voters in different constituencies have had a chance to elect Farage as their MP. Each time when they had the opportunity to see Farage up close they elected someone else.
If the BBC still insist on his sinecure on Question Time and other similar platforms, despite the fact he no longer has an official status in UKIP, can I suggest that the addition of an actor's voice a la Gerry Adams in the 1980s would be a good idea, with Janette Krankie adding just the right note of gravitas to what he would be saying.
The SNP will never accept a referendum result that does not suit them
One thing is clear from the Scottish government’s Brexit plans: the Scottish National Party will not respect the outcome of any referendum that does not deliver the result it wanted.
Whether it was the No answer to the 2014 independence referendum, or the Leave answer to the 2016 EU referendum, Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP leadership almost immediately moved on to start thinking of ways of effectively overturning the result or otherwise engineering a re-run.
Will the First Minister guarantee that if she does call a second independence referendum and the result is to stay in the UK, that she will set aside any thoughts of a further referendum for at least a generation? Or did she say that once already?
The Queen is right – stay at home if you have a cold
I see that the Queen has once again demonstrated her concern for her subjects by cancelling a Christmas train trip for fear of infecting fellow travellers with her cold germs.
If only more sniffling members of the general public could realise that "coughs and sneezes spread diseases" and do likewise – especially at this time of year.
God bless you, Ma'am!
John Eoin Douglas
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