Friday, August 07, 2009

Train robber Biggs awaits release.

At last New Labour have shown an ounce of compassion and announced that they are going to allow the release of Ronnie Biggs.

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is preparing for his formal release from prison after being granted freedom on compassionate grounds.

Biggs is severely ill with pneumonia and Justice Secretary Jack Straw approved his release on Thursday after being told he is not likely to recover.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to sign-off Biggs's licence conditions later, granting his formal release.

The 79-year-old - in a Norfolk hospital - is said to be "over the moon".

Biggs's son Michael told the BBC he was "absolutely delighted" Mr Straw had reversed his decision on his father's parole, which he had refused last month.
I have never understood why we kept this frail old man in jail when it was obvious to everyone that he represented no danger at all to society.

He returned to Britain of his own volition, after a lifetime on the run, because he wanted to spend the rest of his days in his own country.

I remember on the day he returned, listening to the radio and wondering what should be done with him. Obviously, as he had escaped from jail, it would not be possible to release him instantly as that would send a terrible signal to everyone. But he was, by that time, already an old man; there was very little would be achieved by locking him up.

As I was pondering what would be the right thing to do, Ann Widdecombe was interviewed and she said, without a moment's hesitation, "Send him to jail for life!"

I remember thinking then that life is much simpler for right wingers, as moral dilemma's simply don't exist in their world. Everything is simply black and white. "He was sentenced to X amount of years, therefore, he must serve X amount of years." Right wingers, I realised, don't do nuance.

Anyway, I am delighted that - even though it's taken him longer than I would have liked - Jack Straw has finally done the right thing.

Biggs doesn't have long left, but I hope he recovers enough to enjoy that pint in his local pub that he left Brazil to taste one last time.

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