12 JANUARY 2002, Page 30

Barry's bad taste

From Councillor John Whelan Sir: I find the description of parking wardens as 'vindictive black bastards' offensive (Diary, 15/22 December). Barry Humphries may be a national figure of fun, but there are limits to bad taste even where he is concerned.

Parking wardens throughout London have an unenviable job. They are reviled by the very people who often lobby local authorities for 'traffic-calming' measures and are the first to squeal when inconsiderate motorists block their opulent gravel drives or crossovers.

Secondly, is it realistic to expect the parking warden to know when a meter is faulty? Most of the time, meters are out of action because motorists, presumably not Humphries, vandalise the street furniture. The correct and sensible course of action is to report the fault and ask for the ticket to be withdrawn. Better still, don't take a chance in the first place.

Finally, there are proper procedures for appeals in such cases and even a right of appeal over the head of the local authority concerned. It seems a pity that you find it funny to stir up racial hatred against hardworking parking wardens who take enough stick from the public as it is.

John Whelan

Conservative leader, London Borough of Lambeth, London SE1 1