11 JANUARY 1992, Page 22

Expert witness

Sir: Mr Tom Benyon states (Letters, 4 Jan- uary) that I am the 'expert theological wit- ness for the well-funded Shopping Hours Reform Council' (SHRC), and that it is therefore 'not surprising' that I 'protest too much' about the motives of Dr Michael Schluter and Mr David Blackmore of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign (KSSC). The clear implication is that my own motives are suspect since I am in some way in the employ of the Shopping Hours Reform Council. III had been, I would cer- tainly have informed the Editor, and he would rightly not have printed the piece.

It would be interesting to know how Mr Benyon came to think I was a hack in the employ of the SHRC. He mentions the Torfaen case, in which I was an expert wit- ness for the defence. I was certainly observed on that occasion, by a KSSC rep- resentative, in conversation during a recess with a representative of the SHRC; repair- ing afterwards to the Court lavatory I was alarmed to be informed in sepulchral tones by the same KSSC representative (at a time when most men prefer to avoid conversa- tion) that resting on the seventh day was 'a Creation ordinance'.

This is one of the watchwords of the Sab- batarian heresy (Christians, of course, keep' Sunday because it is the first day of the week), and I took this as one more piece of evidence among many of the extreme fun- damentalist character of the KSSC. It is interesting that they left Mr Benyon to answer my piece; and that he has not addressed a single argument in it. In partic- ular, I should like to know why, if the KSSC's so-called REST proposals on Sun- day trading are the centrepiece of their pol- icy, Mr David Blackmore has been lobbying in the EEC, on behalf of KSSC, for the extreme German proposals which would make REST virtually impossible to imple- ment; and why they have not seen fit to inform their supporters of the fact.

William Oddie

6 Sunningwell Road, Oxford