London Journal – Day 11 – Get Grapes Or Get Fame

One thing I have been regular about is listening to a late night radio show on Radio London (94.9 FM) with Tessa Dunlop. This is because that is what’s on while I type these blog entries. Anyhow, tonight I was doing just that and they talked with the director of an organisation which goes into prisons and recruits inmates to perform in theatre works. They do everything from acting to sound and lights.

The company, Only Connect UK, are about to produce their first show outside of the walls of a prison, The Grapes Of Wrath next week, in Kings Cross. Well, along for the interview with Ellen were Anthea McKenna and Josef Wilkinson, recent “guests of Her Majesty at HMP Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Holloway.” Tickets are for sale on their website, for shows next week. Right, I think, I’ll sign up.

Oops, doesn’t work. Website problems. I decide to write a quick note to the radio show to let them know. I include a comment on the death penalty, which is one of their topics du jour, following a couple of scandalous murder cases in recent weeks. Five minutes later they are reading my note on the air. That’s responsiveness for you!

Here is the note I sent:

Tessa, I love your show and am eager to buy tickets for Grapes, but the website is not working. Please let the good folk at Only Connect know that we are trying to support them, but their vendor are stopping us.

Cheers, and keep it up!

PS – As an American I can tell you that capital punishment is not all its cracked up to be. All people on death row have had their sentences delayed while we try to figure out how to humanely kill people. Something tells me this is a losing proposition. Lock people up and throw away the key, fine with me, but do not kill, not in my name!

That’s what I say and I’m sticking to it.


Update: After my letter was read they launched into a discussion the crux of which was that my “Throw away the key” argument was fatuous since it cost so much, £40,000 per year, per inmate, to lock someone up. Well, that is a tired old lament, and no argument at all for execution. So, I wrote back:

Subject: More death penalty prattle

Thanks, Tessa, for reading my letter. I must object, however, with your
response; that lock them up sounds fine until you have to pay for it.
Again, look to the experience of the US. Many jurisdictions have
stopped the death penalty for economic reasons, as the costs of the
mandatory appeals run to the millions of dollars per case. Even if it
cost £40,000/year to house these miscreants, that is still cheaper than
£1m to pay for the appeals and then maybe still keep them alive.

Well, interestingly enough that caught her attention. “He’s got a point. There really is no easy answer to this conundrum is there…”

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