His moral stand is so refreshing

PUBLISHED: 13:31 20 April 2007 | UPDATED: 22:44 28 May 2010

Let s hear it for Alan Williams, the Ely magistrate who resigned after refusing to impose a surcharge designed to help crime victims. He described the £15 surcharge as morally wrong and refused to add it to the £150 and £40 costs already meted out to a ma

Let's hear it for Alan Williams, the Ely magistrate who resigned after refusing to impose a surcharge designed to help crime victims.

He described the £15 surcharge as morally wrong and refused to add it to the £150 and £40 costs already meted out to a man convicted of having cannabis in his car.

The surcharge, which came into force on April 1 and is now being applied by Fenland magistrates, was first announced in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act of 2004.

Money raised by these surcharges is intended to help victims of crime, particularly those who suffer domestic violence. Strangely ,though, there is nothing in the legislation to ensure that it is used for this purpose.

Does this remind you of the road tax - designed to pay for road maintenance and improvements? We all know, of course, it's nothing of the kind. It's just another tax,. If it were used for its proper purpose our roads would not be the crumbling mess they are today.

Even though victims should get all the support they need, Mr Williams was right. I suppose he had no option but to resign but I must be one of many who admire someone with nothing to gain taking a moral stand against something that is so obviously flawed and immoral.

I see the leader of our second biggest teachers' union is claiming that the TV programme Life on Mars will fuel homophobic bullying in schools.

Chris Keates, general secretary of NAS/UWT, reckons last week's final episode, in which DCI Gene Hunt used racist and sexist remarks, even calling someone a fairy, sent out a dangerous message to youngsters.

I have the greatest sympathy for teachers because of what they have to put up with in the classroom, but this claim is utter rubbish - a shield to hide behind.

The basis of the programme was not to glorify bad language, bad practice and bad procedure, but to satirise the seventies approach to policing compared with the political correctness of today.

If Mr Keates' argument is extended, he would presumably not want young people to watch the news, current affairs programmes, films and just about everything else on telly these days.

And what about Sherlock Holmes? Like DCI Hunt he was a flawed crime solver. He even took opium. But programmes about him are not accused of promoting drug taking.

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