Response must be proportionate

PUBLISHED: 12:15 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 11 May 2010

A FEW weeks back I wrote on this page about the case of farmer Tony Martin. You may remember that Martin is the man who went to prison after he shot and killed an intruder in his home. My opinion was that the courts were right to jail the Cambridgeshire f

A FEW weeks back I wrote on this page about the case of farmer Tony Martin.

You may remember that Martin is the man who went to prison after he shot and killed an intruder in his home.

My opinion was that the courts were right to jail the Cambridgeshire farmer but, judging by the correspondence I received, a lot of you disagreed with me.

And the case came to mind again when I was writing our front page story last week about the charges against Roland Digby being dropped. I feel Mr Digby's situation illustrates why Martin crossed the line in trying to protect his home.

I doubt many people have much sympathy with the little miscreants who pelted Mr Digby's house with apples. And similarly, I suspect most people would applaud him for taking the situation into his own hands when the police, he claims, didn't deal with the problem.

Personally I wouldn't usually condone vigilantism, but I think in this case that his response is proportional to the problem, and am pleased that, in Mr Digby's words, common sense has prevailed and he won't be prosecuted.

Obviously they are very different stories, but perhaps if Martin had made a more measured reaction it wouldn't have resulted in the loss of a human life.

With elections less than a year away, it's getting towards the time where politicians make a load of promises they probably won't keep.

The Conservatives have been at it this week, claiming that they'll cut incapacity benefit if they get into power.

While this may sate the appetite of those who would have us believe that the country is being bled dry by benefit fraudsters, I find it to be an approach lacking in any kind of compassion.

Whatever system you employ, people will still try to cheat it, so to try to eradicate that by punishing everybody, including those with legitimate claims, seems ludicrous.

It appears to me that this is a cynical, populist, attempt by David Cameron and his party to get a few extra votes at the expense of those who genuinely can't work. And that stinks if you ask me.

Expect a lot more empty, ill-thought out, pledges from our dear politicians in the coming months.

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