“Before I came to this country from my small village, near Calcutta, my father gave me a warning! He said to be wary of the 3Ws when going to live in Britain: Weather, Wages and Women! My God, I wish I had listened to him!”, said the tall, thin electrician who was serving a lengthy sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure and had ended up in my English class to sit his Level 1 examination which, he hoped, would go some way towards meeting his Sentence Plan that, in turn, might result in his successful application for early parole. And before being sentenced, whilst he was a hard-working man, who was on very good money, which included London ‘weighting’, I had no idea which particular ‘W’ he had fallen foul to, but, I would hazard an educated guess that it wasn’t anything to do with his ‘Wages’, or indeed, the ‘Weather’!
During the fifteen years or so that I taught foreign nationals in prisons, I encountered hundreds of men, originating from all four corners of the globe, who had differing opinions and varying views about this country, which had, in effect, imprisoned them at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. And, having been sentenced, rarely, if ever, did I come across a foreign national who was a ‘guilty man’, who’d hold up his hands and say that he’d committed the crime for which he’d been convicted. Somehow or other, despite being ‘impeccably behaved’ in their own country – according to their accounts – the prisoner’s life had, apparently, started to unravel and spiral out of control, just as soon as they’d passed through UK Passport Control and set foot in this supposed ‘den of iniquity’, which, of course, the rest of us refer to, more realistically, as ‘Great Britain’! (Full story available for 99p using PayPal)