29 JULY 1972, Page 26

Pentonville five Sir. I am prepared to make a tiny

bet that within a matter of days the imprisoned dockers will be known as the 'Pentonville Five.'

Such is the feeble condition to which English culture has been reduced that neither the Left nor the Right — but particularly the Left — can do anything but ape American linguistic vigour.

It was not always so. Mencken complained that not a single idea was allowed to come into America until it had been examined, filleted and pasteurised by the English and then thrown to the Americans as one might throw a dog a bone.

A few years ago some of my countrymen took a decadent pride, as a corpse might take in its luminescence, in being Greeks to the American Romans. Even that Is now denied us, such are the depths to which we have sunk.

Steven Hamilton 69 Belle Vue Road, Wivenhoe, Essex.