20 DECEMBER 1975, Page 5

Death Penalty

Sir: Whilst finding your publication admirable in most respects, I was unable last week (December 6) to agree with your article 'No to the death penalty.' The writer of your article seeks to set himself on a moral pedestal above what he calls the "popular prejudice of uncertain morality", which according to the recent Harris Poll is held by 88 per cent of the electorate. You dismiss the claims of the pro-hanging lobby as being "a product of the human condition". You claim that the issue is "too grave to be. left to emotions" and arrogantly conclude by inferring that you, or rather those abolitionist MPs who voted against Thursday's Commons motion, have the monopoly of "morality and reason". What morality and reason was there in the cold-blooded, indiscriminate slaughter of a total of 50 human beings in 150 explosions during 1974 and 1975 in England alone? What morality and reason was there in the coldblooded murder of Mr Ross McWhirter? You say that the issue must be determined by "reason and calculation". Despite the myths circulated by the abolitionists the pro-hanging lobby is not incapable of setting aside emotion and coming to a reasoned conclusion, which is this: that execution by due process of law is a clear act of recognition that we as social human beings can no longer share with this species of murderers the small portion of the earth, the limited time that has been

• allocated to us.

That was the justification given by the philosopher Hannah Arendt for the execution of Adolf Eichmann; it is surely just as applicable to the present generation

of political murderers as it was then. S. W. Auisebrook 5 Coronation Avenue, Wilford, Nottingham