The Moss affair

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Sir,
I am so disgusted and outraged by the recent action brought against Stirling Moss that I feel compelled to voice my feelings to someone who I hope will sympathise; namely yourself.

The whole affair stinks of vindictiveness and petty self-righteousness and confirms in no uncertain terms, that we are living in a Police State.

The double white line offence is, in any case, a very dubious one, and just why the hearsay evidence of one person against another should be deemed sufficient to deprive a chap like Moss of his chief vocation in life is beyond me.

By “double white lines” the law can be taken as meaning two solid white lines or one solid and one broken, painted in the centre of the road. Who decides where to paint the lines may I ask? Anyone who regularly uses the A6 Shap road, for instance, will realise all too well that at some points with the broken double line towards the car it would be impossible to overtake with even a Chevrolet Stingray. The converse also applies with predictable irrationality, and at points with a full line towards the car one could overtake at leisure with time and visibility to spare.

This gross inconsistency in the validity of the “double white lines” necessitates great discrimination if and when a motorist is al!eged to have infringed them. Each alleged offence must be viewed in the light of the prevailing circumstances, the type of vehicle involved and the quality of driver concerned. Stand up those who would consider themselves worthy to dispute the ability of Stirling Moss’s driving. Not that this is justification for always giving the Moss-type driver the benefit of the doubt. But I would like to hear Stirling’s side of the story, and very much doubt if any serious incident occurred at the alleged occasion.

I fail to see why the testimony of off-duty PC John Reynolds or his wife should be regarded as gospel, and worthy of the months-long vindictive tell-tale search which has resulted in this ludicrous prosecution.

I can well imagine that Moss may have been harassed and baulked by the slower driver, PC Reynolds and, consequently, alert for the first opportunity of overtaking when road conditions permitted, Moss in the following car would have everything completely weighed up. To take one hand off the wheel in the alleged circumstances to wave back the following car is a sheer fool-hardy better-than-thou attitude.

It would be interesting to know how many miles each of the drivers concerned in this incident do per year. When he was racing some years ago, Moss covered over 100,000 miles each year—more than many drivers do in ten years! Surely experience of this order should be taken into account on Moss’s behalf, plus the fact that he was one of the best racing drivers the World has ever seen. Has it not occurred to the powers that he that if “Mr. Average 9,000 miles per year” committed three offences in three years, this would be the equivalent of over 30 offences for the long-distance chaps.

The worrying aspect of this fiasco is not so much in bringing up an alleged case based on these inconsistent and arbitrary white “guide” lines, but mainly that the hearsay evidence and judgement given by one human being (albeit a Police Officer) and his passenger (whose testimony would be disregarded in case of accident!), should be held as valid with reference to something alleged to have occurred months before.

This sneaky, underhand stunt has split even further apart the rift between the persecuted motorist and the Police Force. Is it any wonder that the Police do not enjoy the public support and cooperation which a properly organised Force should have?

Big Brother is surely watching you, dear Motorist!

I. Wrigley.
Oldham.
[PC Reynolds seems to have very odd ideas about Police public relations. Moreover, according to all reports he seems to have broken the Law himself, by giving a hand-signal which had no connection with his own driving intentions. Crossing double white lines can be exceedingly dangerous but circumstances alter cases, which is the rule by which British Justice and Magistrates’ decisions used to be based. It would be interesting to know how policeman Reynolds’ Chief Constable views his actions and Moss’, if he chanced one day to be driving a car when the PC asked for a lift to escape a band of thugs intent on doing him in. One suspects that Moss would still provide a lift, which is what decent human behaviour is all about.—Ed]