George Tyndale : Ronnie Biggs should rot in prison
Ronnie Biggs is a despicable old crook who deserves to die in prison.
But Justice Secretary Jack Straw's decision to ensure he does just that poses one very large question.
What about the rest of them?
Biggs was given 30 years for his part in the Great Train Robbery back in the Sixties.
The irony is that under our laughable parole system all he had to do was behave himself, say he was sorry and in 10 years he would have walked free.
That would have been a quarter of a century ago.
Instead he escaped to Brazil from where he spent 30 years effectively sticking up two fingers to the nation he had robbed, rubbished and run away from.
He finally hobbled back in 2001 because after a series of strokes he was so ill he urgently needed medical attention he could not afford in South America.
Now 80, he's finally qualified to be considered for parole and, of course, it has been recommended that he be shown the prison door.
But Mr. Straw has rejected this recommendation on the basis that Biggs has shown no remorse and because he is worried about his potential to re-offend.
If Justice Jack believes that an 80 year-old stroke victim with a broken hip who cannot walk or talk is still a threat then what about the hundreds of other thugs, murderers, thieves and rapists who are set free from a prisons every day of the week?
And these after having completed just a third of the sentence they were given by the courts - sentences most of us believe are woefully inadequate in the first place?
That's not to mention the hordes of knife carriers, burglars and drug peddlers who get nowhere near a prison because they are handed nothing more serious than a caution, a fine or that let-off we call community service.
If Mr. Straw is right about Biggs - and he is - then how can be possibly begin to justify his abject failure to ensure that the rest of them get to serve the sentences they deserve?