Saddam Hussein

Saddam.jpg

Blair silent about death of Saddam

What, nothing? Not a peep, not a dickie bird? How long can Blair maintain radio silence? If some soap star had popped her clogs or some Newcastle striker had gone to the great subs bench in the sky, then you may be sure that the Number 10 machine would have chuntered out some tabloid-friendly quote.

This is the Prime Minister who once used an official statement to call for the release of “Deirdre” from her fictional Coronation Street jail — and yet he won’t give the nation the benefit of his views on the death of Saddam Hussein.

You will note that in the case of all the soap queens and pop stars whose deaths were marked by Downing Street, Blair had no personal knowledge of them, let alone responsibility for their deaths. In the case of Saddam Hussein, Blair was not only personally implicated, but for better or worse he has implicated the entire country.


I can’t believe you missed the manner in which they bumped off the former Iraqi leader, but in case you are one of the few on the planet who does not have access to a television or the internet, it was a hellish business.

The viewer was led by cameraphone into some dark dungeon full of hooded men. There was a rope and scaffold, and the only visible face was Saddam’s, looking calm and dignified.

You could see flash after flash from the cameras and hear them goading and taunting a man on the verge of his death. He replied rather mildly.

Then there was a yammering of “Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!”, in honour of the fanatical Shia cleric, and a chanting of the name of the Prophet, and then — whoosh — almost in slow motion you saw him fall through the trap.

There was a great scuffling, and joyous shouts, and at last you had what they call the money shot: a man in death, his bloody neck at right angles.

Was this what we fought for? Is this really the lesson in human rights and Western values we hoped to deliver to the people of Iraq? This wasn’t justice. This was a sectarian lynch mob. This was a snuff movie.

How dare the Prime Minister pretend that it is somehow nothing to do with him? He was the only Western leader of any importance to join George W. Bush in the war to remove Saddam.

It was Blair who sent thousands of British troops to join the coalition, and Blair who authorised the spending of at least £5 billion on a war in Mesopotamia, and it was Blair who was therefore directly co-responsible for putting Saddam Hussein on the end of that rope.

Bush has at least had the guts to say something. Why not Tony? It is ridiculous to suggest that a silence is somehow tactful because this “is a matter for the Iraqis”.

The trial itself was a farce, and, as for the six judges who attempted to preside, their careers can be summarised like the wives of Henry VIII: assassinated, resigned, sacked, resigned, sacked, survived (for now). Seven of the other lawyers were murdered, including Saddam’s chief defence lawyer.

As for the suggestion that this was nothing to do with us, but “independent Iraqi justice”, what total and utter tripe. Let us leave on one side the laughable suggestion that “America and Britain do not intervene in the affairs of sovereign Iraq” (tell that to Saddam). At every stage the Americans were in charge.

Saddam was guarded by American soldiers, and ministered to by American nurses, and it was in an American helicopter that the “witnesses” were taken to the execution.

The Iraqis could have performed this job only with the active and intimate support of the coalition, of which we are meant to be partners.

Did we say nothing about the death penalty, against which this country now has a constitutional opposition? And how can Blair keep silent about that chilling note of Shia triumphalism?

This Moqtada al-Sadr is the leader of a vicious militia directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shias and Sunnis, as well as hundreds of British troops, and here they are — cheering his name in the death chamber, at the moment of Saddam’s execution.

Was that really our game-plan? You may recall that most Arabs are Sunnis, and deeply mistrustful of the Shias, and you may have noticed that we are ratcheting up the pressure on Shia Iran, and yet our crowning achievement in Iraq has been to hand it over to an Iranian-backed Shia militia.

Or am I wrong? If so, please could the Prime Minister get a T-shirt on and get out of that Bee Gee mansion and just for 30 seconds could he do what he normally does with such practised ease almost every day.

Come on Tony, give us one of your sound bites. What is your reaction to the Saddam snuff movie? It was Tony Blair who persuaded so many of us that Iraq would be better off without Saddam. Can he give a single piece of evidence in support of that claim?

Perhaps he can, even though 58,000 civilians have died, and 100 are dying every day; but we want it from the man himself. We don’t want to hear any more from Margaret Beckett, with her babble about opposing the death penalty and yet being glad that Saddam “has been held to account”. You can hold someone to account without strangling them in a dungeon, Margaret.

And we don’t want Prescott with his moronic complaint that the release of the snuff movie was tasteless, as though the content itself was innocuous.

I want to hear from Blair himself. What does it tell him about his legacy in Iraq, that the execution of Saddam was accompanied by sectarian taunts and shouts? What does that tell him about his defining political accomplishment?

“You can tell, by the way I walk, I’m a busy man, no time to talk”, sang the Bee Gees. Well, if Blair is so busy on his yachts that he has no time to talk to the British people, then he should stay in that Bee Gee mansion.

If he can’t articulate his thoughts — our thoughts — on the disgusting death of Saddam, then he has ceased to give leadership. His premiership is effectively over.

168 thoughts on “Saddam Hussein”

  1. The execution was a grotesque and terrible affair. This is a country that we supposedly liberated from a regime of violence and cruelty. So how do we send the message that such behaviour is wrong? By allowing the new regime to act just like the tyrant we deposed, stringing him up in the most sordid, ignoble manner imaginable.

    The mind-boggling hypocrisy of the death penalty has never been more evident. How can we extol the sanctity of human life within a civil society on the one hand, then declare that taking a life is acceptable provided it is done with the approval of a court? If anything this is more loathesome than any casual street murder. The idea that the state holds the power of life and death over us all is chilling. And if Blair believes that the death penalty is wrong in Britain, then he should say that it is wrong anywhere. His cretinous aversion to judging people subjectively is the cause of more discord and unrest than the codes of right and wrong that once held us together.

    So, yes, let’s hear what you have to say about this, Blair. Let’s see you confront the contradictions, obfuscations and dishonesties that hold your wretched dogma together. Let us watch it unravel so that better men might gather it up and consign it to the dustbin of history. You made your bed, now you should lie in it.

  2. Important points made about the various extremist nutters.
    Problem compounded by tv stations & their career-minded newsreaders insisting on leading with pictures of execution as if it was a soapy reality show eviction, and accompanying this with their corporate-coached hand gestures, whilst referring to their background graphics etc. ad nauseam. I thought the pompous Huw Edwards would start his ‘sneer’ and hyperventilate whilst excitedly inviting the ‘on-location’ reporters to say “thank you Huw”.
    If half as much energy was expended ridding British society of ongoing problems, then there might be some tangible improvement.
    Perhaps we can leave that with somebody capable like Boris.

  3. TAYLES!!!! said “he has ceased to give leadership. His premiership is effectively over.” Well it is isn`t it , is this supposed to be news ?

    Tayels – The mind-boggling hypocrisy of the death penalty has never been more evident. How can we extol the sanctity of human life within a civil society on the one hand, then declare that taking a life is acceptable provided it is done with the approval of a court.

    Tayles you are a splendid fellow and I admire you enormously. I feel a duty all the more keenly , to guide you gently away from the nonsense that in your youthful high spirits you sometimes talk. It is precisely because a value we place upon human life that the death penalty is right . I have already given my reasons and dealt with the execution and Western hand wringing on my blog . Still posted .

    I have yet to hear any remotely coherent reason for not having the death penalty .What do you suggest , a stiff talking to …sit on the naughty step ?Do you think it was pleasant when every single family in Iraq lost a member because of Sadamms misguided policies. How do feel about sitting through edited highlights of that?

    Would it be , in bad taste nice of Mr. Prescott to introduce an aesthetic theme ..perhaps some soothing music and mood lighting might have helped us all. I , by the way have no interest in watching and have not bothered.

  4. I have yet to hear any remotely coherent reason for not having the death penalty. What do you suggest, a stiff talking to…sit on the naughty step? – Newmania

    Well, my friend, I favour imprisonment. The cost and practicality is irrelevant. Build more jails and lock the scum away until they meet their natural end. My objection is to the fact that taking a life is wrong – arguably the most wicked act a human being can inflict upon another. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. The fact that the state performs the murder doesn’t change anything. I believe in objective, universal values, so it would be hypocritical of me to criticise a street murder on the one hand and support the death penalty on the other.

    Before we get into the whole abortion/war argument, I should point out that I don’t consider an early foetus to be a human life (semantics, I know) and war is a situation in which the normal rule of law has broken down, so a certain amount of death is inevitable, if regrettable.

    Trust me, I am hardly a hand-wringing liberal. I know the old arguments about the cost of imprisonment, but since I value the sanctity of human life, I can hardly abandon that principle over a question of cost.

    The death penalty is not justice; it’s vengance. The rule of law should be founded on a moral code higher than that of the criminals it seeks to punish. Any state that enforces capital punishment cannot make this claim.

    I guess this is one of those areas where we will have to agree to disagree.

  5. A blinder, Boris!

    Blair’s silence here resonates with the ear splitting screech of other silences – not least that of Sadam, silenced by Blair and Bush’s mob rule.

    What from of justice will be meted out to Blair and his pal Bush for their illegal invasion of Iraq and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and troops there? Both are as guilty as Sadam. Yet should they at last be brought to justice, they will receive the civilised treatment they failed to ensure Sadam received.

    It is, as you suggest, time Blair left his extended rock star holiday, relinquished his bogus title and elitist severance package and began signing on the dole. There to await another form of justice.

  6. TAYLE -Revenge is justice; excessive revenge is not.Also capital punishment is mountainously expensive to have as an option.( Appeals ?) Irrelevant as you say ;but it is.

    A punishment less than the crime is an act of forgiveness and forgiveness belongs to the dead and possibly their family. The state does not “perform murder” The state enforces jurisprudence and lawful punishment .Law is not vendetta and in this country we have been uniquely free of murder exactly because of Common law and a belief in its justice. That belief is eroding and murder is on the increase.

    Returning to Boris and Iraq ,( and leaving a humble and chastened Tayle ), , this is just piffle . Everyone knows the Conservative Party would have supported the US , they have admitted it . One hopes we would have sold ourselves less cheaply but we can only speculate. To suddenly get all sensitive when a man who should be killed many times over meets an unlovely end would be the height of hypocrisy.
    I don’t know what it is with old BJ but whenever he gets out of Europe he goes soggier than a dunked digestive. I recall his last effort on the Middle east was some utter drivel about giving nuclear weapons to Iran being a good idea . I think he loses all perspective in abject envy of the flak jacket clad “real journalists”.

    I was present at his PA, where he was absolutely superb, shortly after the Iran article .With suitable forelock tugging I asked him what on earth he was on about. He claimed to have got three quarters of the way through it and run out of time, with much hair tousling and embarrassed shuffling of the feet he mumbled he was..just floating the idea.

    It sank ; and so does this

    Perhaps not being allowed to say anything interesting about domestic policy leaves him slavering for controversy who can say ? What I can say is that when Boris starts getting pompous about a joke ,( Diedre …etc.), I wonder what the world is coming to.
    There isn’t even the, “anything to damage Blair “,excuse. Brown is almost certain to realign policy in Iraq the second he is there. I almost suspect our re appraisal is delayed in order to give him a good “new boy bounce” so all of this will be irrelevant politically.

    Boris Boris Boris have a look at the highly dodgy Smith Institute ,get us up to date on the boundary commission scam , take us on a trip down memory lane to Browns Trotskyite past …make a sandwich , I don’t care just don’t do this.

    PS-But I still want to keep my book and as I generally applaud the Borisan wisdom ,wish to remain whithin the broad tent. I just hate this article

    PPS …just kidding on the chastened stuff Tayle natch.

  7. Christopher Hitchens ;Is he a Liberal or a Socialist?..I do not think he has made a good point .He has made a bad one eloquently

  8. Newmania – I consider myself admonished; it was George Orwell who made the point, as quoted by the Hitch. You do keep me on my toes!

    Good post btw Boris!

  9. Newmania, as you rightly point out, I am far from bowed and chastened. You say that a punishment less than the crime is an act of forgiveness, but does this mean that you believe justice should come down to ‘an eye for an eye’? Does this mean that those who are guilty of GBH should be beaten about the head? Does a fraudster get swindled for his troubles? Of course not; we imprison people for varying lengths of time according to the severity of their crime. And murder, the worst crime of all, is no exception.

    What I suspect you really mean is that the punishment should fit the crime. But this is a subjective issue. I don’t believe that state-sponsored murder is acceptable, so it is never going to be a fitting punishment in my mind. Apart from the moral implications of capital punishment, there is the point that people have little chance of overturning an incorrect verdict if they’re dead. In America, people sit on death row for ten years or more before being executed, which gives them time to make a case for their innocence – but makes a farce of the argument that killing convicts saves the cost of imprisonment.

    Getting back to the execution itself, it’s true that the Conservatives supported the war and bringing Saddam to justice. Would the events have unfolded in the same way under their stewardship? Who knows. What we do know is that the farrago of Saddam’s execution has only succeeded in making him look like a victim and a martyr. It says something about the coalition’s loss of moral authority when a condemned monster shows more dignity in his final moments than his ranting executioners. It’s also a dismal comment on how the conflict and trial were conducted when Saddam ended up being strung up on the basis of a relatively obscure massacre rather than any attrocities conducted during the West’s period of support for him. The way that the sentence was eventually bundled through made the court proceedings feel like a showtrial and the execution a sectarian vendetta. It robbed the coalition and the new regime of any respectability and highlighted how the Iraqi state has collapsed into a struggle between Shia and Sunni forces.

  10. I expect our Tone was too busy getting some guitar-playing tips for his rendition of the Bee Gees classic ‘Tragedy’ at a forthcoming tear-soaked Number Ten leaving do. Date TBA, of course.

  11. I completely agree with Boris on this one. I’d only remark that in some estimates over 600,000 Iraqis have died, not 58,000.

  12. Let me say first that as a ‘hanger and flogger’lately i support the D.S. for murder but have no strong opinion either way as to whether Saddam should ve hung. (You could only kill him once for the thousands he d killed and to torture him first would be going too far!)

    I think the majority of Iraqis wanted him hung rather than imprisoned and I would nt deny his victims their choice.

    However, I m disappointed at the way they carried it out. Here you have the simple hanging of a hated tyrant and they cant even manage that with a modicum of decorum!

    Saddam looked pretty good stood up against the balaclava wearing hit-men beside him. Assuming they were members of the Mehdi army and not arabic speaking americans, what type of people were they? Had they been out torturing prisoners with electric drills the night before or shooting women in the you know what for the ‘crime’ of wearing western clothes?

    It just goes to show there s little to choose between the sides in this war. It does nt prove the Iraq govt. are nt Amerika’s puppets either-just that they are bad puppets!

  13. Idlex – I wouldn’t give much credence to those inflated death figures. These were published by the Lancet, who based them on a random sample of 1,849 households spread across the country and then extrapolated from the mortality figures in these households to the country as a whole. There was a huge degree of (unintentional) sample bias in their research, which renders their findings pretty much worthless.

  14. You say that a punishment less than the crime is an act of forgiveness, but does this mean that you believe justice should come down to ‘an eye for an eye’? (Tayles)

    I think this is precisely what newmania believes. In the computer games thread he set out an imaginary scenario where someone kills someone else in a little village, and then pleads for his life to the villagers who advance on him, and who end up killing him too. I set out an alternative scheme of justice here. Newmania did not respond, except to call me ‘clever’ and ‘crafty’. He seems to be entirely incapable of considering any alternative justice for the crime of murder other than execution.

  15. Tayles 3:02pm – good post Sir if you don’t mind my saying so.
    Etzel – am with you completely. For shame. Blair is like the drunken guest at the party – he’s stayed too long, done too much damage and is an embarassment.

  16. Tayles 3.02pm- Rubbish post,apart from the final paragraph. With your ‘liberal’approach i think you must be either a C of E vicar or a Tory MP !

    It never ceases to amaze me how politicians like Blair,Beckett, Prescott who are pretty cavalier regarding ‘enemy’ civilian deaths in the so-called war on terror (y’know the one thats never supposed to end!) come over all squeamish when it comes to imposing the same thing in their own countries (unless its Brazilian tube travellers BEFORE due process!). I suppose its because they are thinking of giving the prison population the vote, and hope murderers will vote for them- after all their victims obviously cant.

    I said this before on another comment topic but the Tayles/Target/ idlex axis did nt respond to my point.

    So why should Newmania respond to yours when he has already destroyed your religion-based arguments more eloquently than i could and you still rehash the same old stuff?

  17. Whilst we re on the topic of hangings…
    Perhaps Boris will tell us (now he has had personal experience of murder) if he favours a referendum on its re-introduction. If not, why not?

    BTW. Tayles, on the civilian deaths/ sampling technique. I doubt you would question those death figures so much if they were occurring in some officially designated enemy state. How do we ‘know’ that Stalin killed 20 million or that 30 million died under Mao, or Tony Blair ‘know’ of 300,000 mass graves in Iraq under Saddam for example?

    I m not saying any of these figures are right/wrong. Just that the deaths in Iraq have for years been happening too fast(apparently)for ‘the coalition’ to count them.They should make some effort to find out before they rubbish anyone else s death figures.

  18. None of this surprised me in the slightest. It’s the Middle East, not Middle England, and our standards of ethics and justice don’t work there. Did anyone really expect a “neutral” execution? The netrality of the trial, debateable as it was, was more than we had a right to expect. What we saw last week was back to business as usual.

    As for Iraq’s future… the borders are arbritrary, decided by Britain and France (the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916), cobbled together from three tribal areas… so why does it have to stay together in its current form? Let Iran have the Shiite area if it wants it.

  19. Well written, Boris. The way certain elements of the media had an orgy of triumphalism over the hanging of an old man was grotesque. They’re as bad as Blair.

  20. What did everyone expect a hanging in the Middle-East to look like? I was surprised they used the long-drop method myself.

    In fact both the scarf they put round his neck and the images of the execution suggest that they used a longer drop than they were used to and were worried that his head might come off.

    Out of all the hangings being carried out in that part of the world this was probably one of the very cleanest.

  21. Tayles/Target/ idlex axis (Insomniac)

    Never heard of it. Is it a bit like the Axis of Evil? i.e. neither an axis, nor evil.

  22. Tayle you may have impressed the girls with your manly and yet fetchingly sensitive ways but it will not work on me .I find it a tad ..Blairy .

    I told you that Capital punishment was a prodigiously expensive judicial option ,not visa versa .You had already noticed , correctly , that cost was irrelevant . I think you have just got in a muddle here. Easily done , have a look back and you will see what I say is right . Guilt be upon you.

    An eye for an eye was never a law . Quite obviously if an innocent man and a guilty man both end up the same ( minus one eye ) then the justice has not been done. At the time the tarrif was more like a life for a teacup . The proverb roughly refers to a proportionality. It doesn`t work well if you think about it too hard. I would forget it ; your comic suggestions are misconceived because you are to literal.

    Proportion between crime and punishment is difficult. Jurisprudence is separate from but related to moral values . I was trying to bring this out in my previous post (Idlex !). We cannot risk sadism and obsession , I think , this is what you have confused with revenge. The difficulty of establishing proportion in relation to corporal punishment is such , that I am against it, in practice. Here , I am thinking of your GBH example .You obviously think it shocking that the criminal should suffer much as a victim. Weird.

    In principle I have no objection to physical pain being involved in punishment if it is merited .Allowing for the possibility of redemption and reform I would be against permanent damage even in theory.. See ,I can be a soppy to .

    I believe people go to prison to be punished not just conveniently removed from the streets .That incarceration is now only a punishment for the law abiding is wrong . The courts should administer “just ” revenge .You seem to disagree but this hiding from justice allows the innocent to suffer more than the guilty . Is this really where you stand Tayle , time to man old chap

    Proportionality issues largely disappear when a life , a thing of infinite worth , is taken. The much abused possibility of diminished responsibility will make us cautious , and certainly I would not advocate capital punishment for all murders. (Idlex) Again you will accuse me of sham perp- empathy but there we are. For those prisoners currently on real life sentences I would , more or less support the rope . Hog roasts and jugglers would be fine by me by me as well , virtue is nothing to be ashamed of.
    In common with most vibrantly youthful people you have not yet remembered what death is . It is both more serious and also a lot more common than you might imagine. The modern delusion of immortality is behind much of the odd thinking on the subject.

    From here you change the subject to one or strategy and propaganda. You think Saddaam is a Martyr well I `m not sure that a people slaughtered as the Iraqis have been , by Saddam and each other , are so delicately constituted . The people ululating will be sending a video of an tourist being decapitated next week and their feelings are chiefly paraded for Western consumption . I don’t care much about the trial’s methods .Saddam was guilty a thousand times over. He was found guilty and he was hanged. The Arab world may not be as impressed by our decadent hypocrisy about our defence as you think..

    The regime has no more or less respectability than it had before .The real reasons we went which have nothing to do with moral authority whatever that might be. (see previous blogs) I think your view of foreign affairs is naieve . Both Boris and Blair , oh horror , share this half baked vision of a new ,”white man`s burden”, exporting courts and democracy to the benighted Arab . I think it is arrogant and dangerous . Iraq was a defence miscalculation to some extent and we should be getting out . You seem to think we are responsible for the Iraqi civil war . I do not , and so on.

    .Tayle , you have a Liberal Empire view of foreign affairs which I can only call Blairite I share none of your assumptions and would have to go a long way to get back to where you are here . I have gone on to much already.

    You Tayle are Blairite . Take that!

  23. Ho ho ..just got the “Axis of Evil” Idlex and Insomniac…There is nobody evil here of course but it did make me laugh.(Almost as much as Tayle finding himslef the Liberal ..thats a first)

  24. Whilst we re on the topic of hangings…
    Perhaps Boris will tell us (now he has had personal experience of murder) if he favours a referendum on its re-introduction. If not, why not? (insomniac)

    I’m opposed to the death penalty, insomniac, and I’m happy for this issue to be submitted to a referendum. I would, however, make it a requirement that those who vote for capital punishment must be prepared for their names to be placed on the register of official executioners. Anyone who is not prepared to execute a condemned person cannot be allowed to vote for the death sentence.

  25. …and should anyone who cannot shoot another man stone dead have to vote for the abolition ofthe army Flo?
    ( My link is relevant to your point)

  26. So why should Newmania respond to yours when he has already destroyed your religion-based arguments more eloquently than I could and you still rehash the same old stuff? (insomniac)

    You’re attempting to rely on the sort of extreme sceptism, or bogus scientific rationality, which kept Descartes awake at night and almost tipped him off his trolley.

    With respect, Insomniac, you are wrong. Newmania did not demolish or even dent the case for God’s existence. Nor, I believe, will you succeed in doing so. For if this universe is not held together by a priori Reason (loosely, Reason that is independent of it, which precedes, shapes and orders it), then it is simply a random cluster of atoms which bounce about in utter chaos – and we are nothing more than clusters of -reasonless – atoms bouncing around in a skin.

    If there is no God – and I mean by God the underlying rationality ordering the cosmos – then there is no rationality, no basis for science or knowledge in any shape or form. And Reason itself collapses.

    This is what Kant found when he reduced reason and rationality to features of humanity’s shared categories of understanding/ conceptual apparatus and consequently brought about the collapse of the Enlightenment – by making Reason humanity’s shared delusion. This is what David Hume found when he tested Kant’s findings to destruction without factoring God into his calculations and brought about the collapse of the empirical wing of the Enlightenment. It’s what Descartes first recognised, then avoided, by turning from sceptism back to God.

    Einstein set himself head and shoulders above all of them by factoring the crucial role of God in the cosmos into his equations.

    Where does the rational order of our cosmos, measured by the laws of science (and Einstein), derive from, insomniac, if there is no underlying rationality of the cosmos – no God – to set this awesome, rational mechanism in motion?

  27. FLO..because you think it is wrong for killing to happen on your behalf unless you can do it yourself. Therfore anyone who cannot kill should not be protected by the army.To be honest I though it was pretty clear.

    Your list of philosophers and the existence of god (or not) is not especially important to this thread for me…but I `ll answer it later anyway.

  28. ..fascinating discussions swinging from one axis to another…

    Keeping these axes aside I think we are all well-centred on this blogosphere topic.

    The next newmania post should be interesting about philosophers…

  29. When you stop to consider Saddam Hussein’s downfall, from president of Iraq to the gallows, the inescapable conclusion is that his demise was not because he had WMD, but rather because he didn’t. Tony Blair knew full well that Saddam couldn’t use biological weapons; several thousand US/UK casualties in one attack would have stopped the invasion in its tracks. Heavy casualties being the Western democracies’ soft under belly. So when Blair and his cronies told the Commons and the nation, “Saddam has WMD. Trust us, we have the intelligence. But to disclose it would compromise our sources:” He was lying. And now his credibility is totally blown. Why would he do this? Just to please Bush? I keep returning to the notion that the CIA blackmailed Blair to get his full-hearted cooperation. But whatever they had on him it must have been pretty damn devastating. Because Blair took the UK to war on the basis of lies and deceit. That’s treason in my book. But because every event is media driven, if you get away with it at the time, you get away with it forever.

  30. I used to believe in the death sentence, but now, given the appalling state of our ‘justice’ system, I wouldn’t like to chance it.

    You only have to think of recent cases of mothers accused of killing their babies who were convicted on the strength of now thoroughly discredited ‘expert’ witness testimony to see the cracks in the capital punishment argument.

    Rather let all murderers rot in jail than let one innocent person take the drop.

  31. Phew! So much abuse to deal with, so little time. Let’s take it from the top.

    Newmania – My poor fool, it’s you that is in a muddle. My reasoning is immaculate, whereas you seem to be dodging the issue of your contradictory and, dare I say, hypocritical opinions. You agree that killing someone is wrong, but apparently you have no problem if it is done by a retributive state. As Helen Prejean said, “Alowing our government to kill citizens compromises the deepest moral values upon which this country was conceived: the inviolable dignity of human persons.”

    I fail to see how my consistency makes me a Blairite. Indeed, I think that NuLab’s obsession with protecting people’s self-esteem has created more egocentric sociopaths than the judgmental ethos that preceded it. I am all for calling a spade a spade, giving tougher sentences, and building more prisons to stick our criminals in. I just draw the line at killing them. I believe that a small state is desirable, so bestowing it with the power of life and death over the public is totally against my desire for a more lassez-faire society. Oh yes, and it’s Tayles not Tayle.

    Flo – If there is no God – and I mean by God the underlying rationality ordering the cosmos – then there is no rationality, no basis for science or knowledge in any shape or form. And Reason itself collapses.

    The idea that reason depends on the existence of some higher being that assigns meaning and order to the cosmos is nonsensensical. Assigning circular arguments, existential questions and mystical ponderances to the simple business of logic and rationalism is a philosophical trick to give weight to the likelihood of a God, and to justify belief in Him.

    Asking where it all came from without God is like asking how anyone could win the lottery without it being a fix. Simply pointing out that we do not currently have a satisfactory explanation for things is no reason for belief in the supernatural. Throughout history, phenomena that were previously attributed to gods and spirits have been found to have perfectly logical explanations. Surely this leads us to reach the the cold, bleak prognosis that there is no God.

    The religious reject this idea, claiming that it’s just a theory. This is a valid criticism: it is a theory, albeit one with a billion times more credence than the story of religion. I know its hard for the faithful to accept that they believe in nothing at all, but the fact is they do. But then I suppose that since you can’t disprove what doesn’t exist, I’m wasting my time here.

  32. Flo , firstly as I explained the existence or not , of god is not at all central to capital punishment I said ….
    “Justice is a word for rightness and has no meaning outside system of belief including right and wrong. Such a system may have religious underpinning but it is not necessary. The wish for and sense of good is in our hearts whether or not God put it there .
    An injustice or crime , imbalances the “Scales of Justice “. Our wish for goodness makes us want to correct this balance and the meaning of the traditional Scales is the difficulty of weighing and measuring this response . It does not mean it is easy to decide ; quite the reverse . If we do not allow this model though , we are left with “convenience “. In that case all those I dislike may expect to be bagged up and fed to the pigs by tomorrow . Why not , if there is no such thing as justice ?”

    . I think you have misunderstood what insomniac was saying which relates to religious reasons for being against capital punishment , not per se the existence of god . I do not try to demolish such a belief and I am by no means a convinced atheist myself. You might say I have been having a crisis of faith in atheism for the last few years . So your comments are both irrelevant here and arguing with a nonexistent position. On the other hand to borrow a religionist argument , “why not”?

    Claiming Einstein as evidence of god`s existence or indeed any argument along the lines of “a clever famous person once said ” is a deeply specious activity. He has been claimed In greater numbers since his death by religious apologist by reference to his poetic use of religious terminology He was probably some sort of weak deist at best but at this level of attenuation religious belief and atheism are awfully hard to distinguish.
    This is a selection of quotes to give you an idea , you could pick others that would assist you but at that point my case is made.

    EINSTEIN:
    I am a deeply religious non -believer. This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

    I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

    The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

    I am not going to address the supposed collapse of the enlightenment or the history of philosophy according to Flo ,…did it ? . Lots of clever people are also atheists, so what ? Your argument is that god must exist because without god nothing would have set the universe in motion and it would be chaotic and meaningless.
    The universe need not have been set in motion, this idea is an old one and comes from an age before the mathematical concept of an infinite series was conceived of . Now it has been the argument can be seen as an illusory one . You say the material of the universe required a guiding intelligence to give it “shape” in some nebulous way but that is only an assertion . I refute it by the following cunning means ” Oh no it isn`t” . You have only in essence said this .”Cooo Lumme , look at this universe thing its full of morals and reason and rainbows and thoughts and sun and …oh everything ! It couldn`t have organised it self into this could it ..I mean really could it ?”

    Yes is the answer and if you invent a big designer you have to explain who designed him . You get nowhere and never can requiring god to explain th e existence of anything or the organisation of anything.
    Your reference to atoms is only superficially tempting …atoms goodness that sounds chaotic. We do not have a GUT (grand unifying theory ) yet by that doesn’t mean there won’t be one you are only making an emotional pleas to the strangeness of the sub atomic world . It is strange and religionists use that to make the following argument .

    ” You say gods existence sounds magical and against common sense but look at how weird sub atomic physics is and that is truer than common sense.
    Therefore things that sound weird are more , not less, likely to be true ”

    I will endeavour to make the evident good sense of my answers less apparent so as to satisfy this need for oddness.

    From what I can tell Flo you are some sort of mystical deistic something. This is word away from a personal god , a god that answers prayer , a god who knows who I am , a god that I might worship .It seems a harmless philosophical view . It affects nothing and requires nothing . I can’t see the point …

    I SUGGEST A RETURN TO THE THREAD leaving Flo to take a long introspective walk in the countryside , reconsidering her core beliefs .I’m here for you Flo if you want to cry it all out ………..

  33. , “so little time.”
    Obviosuly. I am happy to leave it there.

    I didn`t mean to be abusive of course.

  34. Newmania – I’m not quite finished with you yet. A couple of more things you said need addressing…

    I am thinking of your GBH example. You obviously think it shocking that the criminal should suffer much as a victim. Weird.
    Do I think they should suffer as much, or in the same way? Well I believe that they should suffer, but I don’t support a like-for-like means of punishment. The thing is, a civilised society deems certain acts to be crimes because they transcend a particular code of humane, upright behaviour. Maintaining that code is intrinsic to the moral authority of the state and, therefore, it must strive to be a paragon of virtue and decency. It must set higher standards than the criminals it chastises and to this end it must seek civilised forms of punishment rather than barbaric ones. Once the state starts applying double standards or allowing corruption to creep into its operation, it loses the authority and credibility required to apply the rule of law. The most obvious example of this would be if the state take a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach – capital punishment being a perfect example.

    You think Saddam is a Martyr
    I think that’s how his sympathisers and anti-Westerners will see it, yes. Personally, I think he was a monster.

    I think your view of foreign affairs is naïve. Both Boris and Blair, oh horror, share this half baked vision of a new “white man’s burden”, exporting courts and democracy to the benighted Arab.
    I don’t think it’s right or feasible to impose democracy and change on other countries in this day and age. Therefore, I don’t view the developing world as the white man’s burden. People have got to bring change from within for it to work. Iraq has shown us this, if nothing else. I think it’s true to say that the Iraqi civil war came about as a result of the war, so we are indirectly responsible, yes. This is not to say that I oppose wars per se. If you are not willing to fight for what you believe in, then you are guilty of moral cowardice. Blair apparently believed enough in democracy and the rule of law to try to export it to the Iraq, but now that he’s there he won’t stand up for those beliefs. Frankly, I’d rather he had called for the rule of British law on Iraq rather than avoiding any criticism of the medieval statute book that has placed Saddam’s tyranny. Better still, he wouldn’t have set out on this ill-advised crusade in the first place.

  35. Ok-I think capital punishment is moral . If not I would not be in favour of it .Your problem creates itself.
    I think foreign policy is primarily about “defence”. Thats what I pay for.I recognise your stance and I would be repeating myself to continue.

    Tayles with an S.

    Cheerio

  36. Ok-I think capital punishment is moral. If not I would not be in favour of it. Your problem creates itself.

    On the contrary, you’ve created your own problem. If you think capital punishment’s okay, what’s your objection to murder?

  37. ….that the victim (remember him ) is innocent chiefly, but I have dealt with personal justice as opposed to legal justice regarding lynch mobs and vigilante`s at me.

    I `m not making any money here Mr. T so I`ll have to give you the last word. I `m assumning it will be something like .”I see the error of my ways …I `m so ashamed…forgive me ” .

  38. So many posts, such a small brain to absorb them.

    From the moment Saddam emerged from his dugout, there was never going to be a satisfactory outcome. He was tried in his own country by his own people (ok, ok, I’ve heard all the arguments about Anglo-American muscle being exerted; shall we say the closest approximation to his own people available in the circumstances), was found guilty and hanged. If he had been tried under international law at The Hague, been found guilty and kept in jail, it would be seen as a massive western conspiracy and Saddam would be languishing as a permanent reminder to those seeking revenge for his capture and imprisonment.

    It’s easy to criticise. Can anyone suggest a better way his prosecution and dispatch could have been handled?

  39. Some people here have said that the death sentance is not justice it is vengance, but is there really a clear cut difference. Why is locking someone up for their entire life justice, but killing them vengance? Is it just that imprisonment allows us our chance at revenge, while allowing us to retain the moral highground? If we believe that the death penalty is a deterrant (and for most murderers I believe it is) then surely by refusing to bring back the death penalty on the grounds that it is vengance or barbaric then we are allowing innocnets to be murdered just so we can pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how moral and civilised we are. Is this not just as much a self serving form of justice as vengance

  40. Is it just that imprisonment allows us our chance at revenge, while allowing us to retain the moral highground? – K

    Death and imprisonment are both punishments, which everyone here agrees on as important. I don’t think there’s anything sanctimonious in opposing execution, but I agree that holding the moral high ground is vital to a society with any pretence of moral respecability.

    If we believe that the death penalty is a deterrant (and for most murderers I believe it is) then surely by refusing to bring back the death penalty on the grounds that it is vengance or barbaric then we are allowing innocents to be murdered just so we can pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how moral and civilised we are.

    There’s little evidence for this. Murderers are not known for their self-control. The consequences of their actions (ie death at the hands of the state) are rarely considered, since they do not kill with the expectation of being caught. As henry Ford said, “Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty.”

    I find it curious that advocates of capital punishment think that a reluctance to be as remorseless and inhumane as a murderer means that you are some kind of bleeding heart liberal who wants to set criminals free.

  41. I find it curious that advocates of capital punishment think that a reluctance to be as remorseless and inhumane as a murderer means that you are some kind of bleeding heart liberal who wants to set criminals free.

    Tayles, state-sponsored murder is a highly emotional concept and an inaccurate description of the death penalty.

    Murder in its criminal form takes place for entirely wicked reasons – greed, vengeance, uncontrolled anger etc.

    The execution of someone by the state is endowed with at least some purpose – deterrence, protection of the innocent, exemplary punishment, the ultimate public expression of dislike for wrongdoers.

    This is not to make a case for the death penalty but to caution against misusing words which are generally accepted to have one specific meaning.

  42. TAYLES SAID-I find it curious that advocates of capital punishment think that a reluctance to be as remorseless and inhumane as a murderer means that you are some kind of bleeding heart liberal who wants to set criminals free.

    I think thats a fair point. I see capital punishment as applying to small number of cases and odddly enough , my reasons for wishing to have the “option retained” are rather like yours for not wishing it to be. Moral, and symbolic of morality in the justice system.
    It is not a social measure the numbers involved would be tiny. I think , on the otherhand in comparing the death penalty to “murder” you are ignoring very obvious differences that rather devalue your case.

    Does the victim not appear in your thoughts . No doubt he does but I cannot see how. He is innocent and dead.

    I must admit that for most of my life I have thought much as Tayles and have only lately wondered if something that seems so reasonable might actually be , in a deep sense, wrong.

  43. K – Nice

    tayle: ( On murderers) The consequences of their actions (ie death at the hands of the state) are rarely considered, since they do not kill with the expectation of being caught.

    Tayle the vastly more important consequence of their actions is the death of an innocent person.I accept a dimuinished responisibility plea as valid although it is abused beyond all reason in our courts.

  44. Does the victim not appear in your thoughts . No doubt he does but I cannot see how. He is innocent and dead. – newmania

    Indeed the victim does appear in my thoughts. He has suffered the most terrible fate, but killing his murderer will not bring him back. It might restore a perverse sense of balance, I suppose, but it degrades the dignity of the justice process and leaves everyone concerned further seeped in blood, including (indeed, particularly) those who are purporting to take the moral high ground.

  45. “I find it curious that advocates of capital punishment think that a reluctance to be as remorseless and inhumane as a murderer means that you are some kind of bleeding heart liberal who wants to set criminals free.”

    That s probably because its true- because so many politicians lie about their true position. They told us and still tell us “lock them up for ‘life’ instead and you will not have the risk of executing an innocent by mistake”.

    It then turns out by ‘life’ they mean typically 10-15 years imprisonment and then a period of laughable ‘supervision’in the ‘community’.
    They really think to lock most murderers up until death is ‘inhuman’ (and too expensive).

    Obviously they are bleeding hearts and liars as well because we all know that only the most notorious killers stay inside for the rest of their lives.

    If the policy most MPs asked SAY they support was in place, then early release for ‘lifers’ would not take place or at least be the exception and not the rule. (But they usually try to hide behind ‘ the independence of the Judiciary ‘ when these sort of contradictions are pointed out.)

    BTW The death sentence is NOT a punishment. The whole point of punishment is to get the offender to mend their ways. They can t do that (or further harm) if they re dead!

  46. Auntie Flo (or uncle Bo!)-
    I meant religion-based arguments against the D.S. not religion-based arguments against -religion!

    I m not an atheist just a heathen. I think a non- religious-based morality is not only possible but essential.

    I ll gladly join your register and will send my C.V. to you on the day of the referendum! Its one of the few jobs i d consider at the minimum wage actually.

    (I would ,of course, have the right to resign the post at any time should i think a particular ‘hangee’ did nt really deserve it.)

    So go on then. I could do that! GISSA JOB.

    (Don t any of you guys have jobs to do BTW- hanging round here all day debating existential questions?!)

  47. Well said Boris. Not vastly different to what I wrote about this appalling lynching. Blair’s silence on this matter is of course totally unacceptable and I wonder how much longer he can continue saying nothing about this. I hope pertinent questions are asked in Parliament when it resumes.

  48. The whole point of punishment is to get the offender to mend their ways. – Insomniac

    I’m not sure it is the whole point. I think the point of imprisonment is to punish criminals and deter crime. I don’t necessarily believe that prison can or will make criminals change their ways. After all, 70% of prisoners are convicted of another crime within two years of being released. But so what? The purpose of prison is to reduce offending, not to prevent reoffending. It does this by deterring people from committing crimes and by preventing them from doing so while they are inside.

    The high recidivism rate doesn’t demonstrate that prison isn’t an effective deterrent. After all, prisoners are, by definition, people for whom the threat of prison is an insufficient deterrent to crime. That prison doesn’t deter those who end up inside tells us nothing about how much it deters the rest of the population and how much it reduces crime.

    Being convicted of a crime can increase the chance of committing further crimes and suffering further convictions. This helps to deter many from committing crimes in the first place. Far from being counter-evidence to the deterrence value of prison, recidivism is part of the deterrence mechanism.

  49. Don’t any of you guys have jobs to do BTW – hanging round here all day debating existential questions?! – Insomniac

    The film industry hasn’t really returned to work yet, so I’ve got time on my hands. Anyway, I honed the ability to flit between work and diatribe about ten years ago in the Yahoo chat rooms! Does wonders for your multitasking and typing skills, you know.

  50. Insurance is full on and I cannot spend this sort of time much.

    That last post was a bit “New Tayle-lite ” . What makes you so sure that criminals are not making a judgement or risk and reward in much the same way as anyone else? You have no idea .Life options and economic choices are part of it and as out petty crime rate is going up whatever way you look at it prison doesn’t work. .I think the failing police are more of a problem really and this has nothing to do with the death penalty which is not a “social policy”

    The last paragrapoh in particular is …an interesting approach.Cough splutter..!!

  51. What makes you so sure that criminals are not making a judgement or risk and reward in much the same way as anyone else? – newmania

    Pay attention at the back! I said that prison clearly isn’t a sufficient deterrent to those who end up inside, otherwise they wouldn’t risk the chance of ending up there.

    Once convicted of a crime, it becomes harder to go straight, if only because employers are reluctant to hire people with criminal records. This makes recidivism more likely, which adds to the overall deterrent of prison. Looking at how much of deterrent it is to criminals is sample bias. We need to look at how it deters the population as a whole to measure its effectiveness. Clear now?

  52. Death and imprisonment are both punishments, which everyone here agrees on as important. (Tayles)

    Not me. My notion of justice is compensatory rather than punitive: if X causes injury to Y, he should compensate Y. This also applies to murder, where relatives are compensated for the loss. In Anglo-Saxon times there was a fixed ‘blood price’ or ‘weregeld’ to be paid in the event of causing death. And very sensible it was too.

    The idea of punishing people really grows from the notion that when X injures Y, X is in some sense ‘morally evil’, and merits punishment over and above simple compensation for the injury caused. However, we are never able to make such judgments about anyone, because we have no knowledge of anyone’s intentions or motives. We only actually know (perhaps) what they have actually done. Everything else is speculation.

    Accordingly I make no judgment about Saddam Hussein. I am in no position to call him (or anyone else) an ‘evil man’. I’d simply want to determine, in court, what injury he caused. Unfortunately, we will now never know. In this sense alone, justice has not been done.

  53. I believe the death sentance is a deterrant. Not to the archtypal serial killer like Rosemary West or Bundy, but to the groups of young people who go around beating anyone who looks at them the wrong way to death, or to the thug who decided to rape a person and then kill them as a silent witness is in their minds a poorer witness. Lets face facts in today’s Britain there is not much difference in the time spent in prison for a violent crime such as rape or assult as there is for murder (especially as most murderers get off with a manslaughter sentance) so there is not much motive for letting the victim live, but since it is harder to catch a criminal if the only witness is dead (especially if the body and/or murder scene is not found) there is a great motive for killing the victim. I think a few years ago Ian Duncan Smith tried to discuss bringing back the death penalty for child murderers for this very reason. Does anyone really believe that six or even ten years in prison on a manslaughter charge is a deterrant to killing? In some European countries the maximum a person can recieve in prison even for kidnap and murder is twelve years-is that any less barbaric than the death penalty.

  54. Idlex – Sorry, it was presumptious of me to speak for everyone. However, picking up on your point about compensation, would the knowledge that someone is rotting in jail for their crime provide a kind of compensatory satisfaction for the victim or their family, I wonder.

    I would say that the idea of justice in the form of financial compensation is a cultural issue and one that that is more in keeping with a time when the loss of a relative meant a life of penury. Nowadays people seek a moral resolution rather than a pragmatic one.

    As for moral condemnation, you seem to be implying that evil is a subjective issue, i.e. if we don’t know what the wrong-doer was thinking, how can we tell if they are evil. The rule of law is objective, so the measure of evil is consisent regardless of people’s motives. This is as it should be.

  55. This is what really annoys me about those who strongly oppose the death penalty.
    In Britain something like ten thousand people a year die from hospital caught infections and no one cares or really does a thing. Hundreds (I have seen estimates of two thousand) of elderly people die in the UK each winter from the cold. Hundreds of people are murdered by people who should already be in prison, but have been freed because of lapses in security, sentances that were too light (I mean six years for manslaughter because you battered a women around the head with a hammer, come off it), poor policing etc and everyone sighs and says how terrible these things are, but no one really does or says anything. Thousands of people in the uk dies because of a lack of hospital treatment (on the NHS it can take months even to get diagnostic tests for cancer-no wonder there is a high death rate) And yet when there is talking of making some killers face the death penalty everyone is lining up to campaign on their behalf? Why? Why is it ok to fight for the life of someone who killed a child, but to care about the life of other would-be victims or to express outrage at a murder means you are mocked as a tabloid reading vigilante? If life is so precious why spend time saving the life of one individual, who has already shown that they do share your value life, when the time could be spent trying to save hundreds or even thousands of lives of people who will benefit society as a whole?

  56. idlex,
    Compensation for injury is one thing although why should the victim be made to accept payment from their attacker instaed of getting to see their attacker jailed? If a person was raped letting the rapist go free because he can pay the victim for what he did to her/him would only add to the victims anguish and would not be a detterant to the criminal against future crimes.

    Also, in the case of murder the victim is dead and can never be compensated. The crime was agianst the victim and their life should not be cheapened by having a price put on it. They deserve justice. Allowing murders to walk free because they have money is the ultimate state sanctioned murder. Why should someone be allowed by the government to pay to murder an innocent person? My existance is not for sale, yet if this notion of justice was bought in it would be, as would the life of every other person.

  57. Aside: can this be true: Lord Falconer has stopped police releasing wanted photos of two criminals on the run because it might breach their human rights?

  58. Because Blair took the UK to war on the basis of lies and deceit. That’s treason in my book. (Andrew Milner)

    Mine too, pretty much. And I find it astonishing that MPs of any party tolerate this man as Prime Minister after what he has done, and have not impeached him (only 150 or so MPs had signed up for his impeachment the last I heard).

    This is an awful precedent that Blair has set: you can lie your country into war, and cause the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of British soldiers, and then just walk away from it all. The worst of it, in some ways, is that he appears on television never every day lecturing people about this, that, and the other. It’s sickening.

    Boris wants Blair to speak out about the death of Saddam Hussein, else he ceass to show leadership. Blair ceased to show honest leadership 3 or 4 years ago when he lied this country to war. Why on earth Boris expects him to show ‘leadership’ now is beyond me.

  59. would the knowledge that someone is rotting in jail for their crime provide a kind of compensatory satisfaction for the victim or their family, I wonder. (Tayles)

    I suppose that if they took sadistic pleasure in the suffering of someone else, it might. I would take no such pleasure. I’d want full compensation for my injuries.

    I really do not see what is the point of locking people up for years, when it does neither their victim, nor them, nor the rest of society any good whatsoever. The only justification I can see for imprisoning anyone is that they pose a continuing danger to society, and can’t be allowed onto the streets, quite possibly for the rest of their life.

    And the only justification for execution that I can see is that society may not be able to support the burden of keeping someone alive in prison for the rest of their life. In that circumstance, execution is the only alternative remaining.

  60. < I’d simply want to determine, in court, what injury he [Saddam] caused. (idlex)<

    He was found guilty of ordering the killing of over 100 people, it’s a capital crime in Iraq. His trial might have been in a foriegn language, you may have been unable to understand it. How does this mean that ‘justice has not been done’ though? Because you didn’t hear the evidence yourself?

    It beats me why Saddam is jerking so many tears. Out of all the people executed worldwide last year he was surely not only one of the most deserving but also got a relatively swift dispatch. Last thing I heard the Iranian’s were dangling sixteen year old ‘adulterers’ kicking and screaming from cranes with thin ropes.

    In Singapore they’ll string you up first thing on a Friday morning for having half a kilo of cannabis. In China they now have mobile ‘execution vans’ that drive around the country to adminster lethal injections to everyone from tax cheats to serial thieves.

    Saddam’s execution might have been rough by our standards, but over the pond the Yanks are still bodging their lethal injections. It can take thirty or more minutes of probing away with the scalpel to find a suitable vein in some of the junkies they dispatch over there, that’s before they even begin administering the drugs. Doctors aren’t allowed to execute people in the good old US of A, you have to make do with the death-row guards attempts at amateur surgery.

    I sincerely doubt that many Iraqis liked the idea of Saddam languishing in some cosy Spanish prison, on four meals a day for the rest of his life, following a lengthy trial at the Hague. Sure, Iraq should get better gallows and a better hangman if they want to continue with their use of the death penalty. I don’t however see why they should change their laws regarding capital punishment to suit a few wishy-washy Europeans.

  61. Compensation for injury is one thing although why should the victim be made to accept payment from their attacker instaed of getting to see their attacker jailed? If a person was raped letting the rapist go free because he can pay the victim for what he did to her/him would only add to the victims anguish and would not be a detterant to the criminal against future crimes. (k)

    I guess it depends what sort of rape you’re talking about. In the case of a repeated and violent offender, and a menace to society, I think there’d be a good case for locking them up for a long time, or otherwise rendering them incapable of rape. Otherwise not.

    As for anguish, in the case of rape or any other crime, I can’t see whether this should be taken into account, or indeed how it can be taken into account. Any anguish will be a subjective response, and will vary from person to person, and from case to case. If I get robbed of £100 at knife-point, my response may range from complete indifference at one extreme, to being traumatised for life at the other. But neither response necessarily follows from the act of being robbed (or raped), and if there is no necessary and unavoidable psychological consequence, such consequences should be disregarded. And even if a court should want to take anguish into account, how can it ever know how much anguish has resulted? It can’t look into the victim’s mind, after all.

  62. He was found guilty of ordering the killing of over 100 people, (Steven_L)

    But he was not tried for his suppression of the Kurds, or of the marsh Arabs in the South of Iraq, nor for the Halabja massacre. In these matters, no justice has been done, no blame apportioned. They will hereafter remain contentious issues, never having been investigated.

    It beats me why Saddam is jerking so many tears.

    I don’t think it’s tears. It’s just the grim sense that the trial was a farce (see Boris above) and the process of execution a disgrace.

  63. Idlex-Restorative justice is a good principle for some crimes, but no-one cant raise the dead and most people would have a problem paying it back if they for example,looted millions from the pension fund.

    Tayles- I hope that if you make films they are a bit less frustating for the audience than reading some of your posts.

    You go round and round with your clever arguments but the excellent points made by K above and the Newmania comment he reposted for you at 11.06, pretty neatly sum up the justice of the DS and you dont seem to have answers for either of them.

    I thought at first you might be part of that axis-of- evil commonly known as the Tory party but now i m not sure. Are you a member of the SPGB perhaps? Because I think you are one of those curious people who just feel compelled to win arguments, even if that means you must keep banging on long after everyone else has left for the pub!

    Unfortunately i cant type as fast as you.

  64. < ‘But he was not tried for his suppression of the Kurds, or of the marsh Arabs in the South of Iraq, nor for the Halabja massacre. In these matters, no justice has been done, no blame apportioned.’ (idlex) <

    But above you said that:

    < ‘This is an awful precedent that Blair has set: you can lie your country into war, and cause the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of British soldiers…’<

    How can you state this as a fact when it has not been proven before any court of law that Blair lied or caused any deaths whatsoever? You simply assume because he was the head of state, because he gave the orders to go to war, because to your knowledge no WMD were found and to your knowledge people have died that he is guilty of what you suggest. You then go as far as accusing him of causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands as if it were a proven fact. All your evidence has come from the media, not from the official findings of any court of law.

    By this logic, we have seen through the media that the Halabja massacre took place. We know Saddam was head of state. So by your very own logic it’s prefectly acceptable to assume that Saddam was guilty of these deaths. Furthermore the correct punishment under Iraqi law has been handed down to him aleady. Job done?

  65. Idlex
    When I refer to rape I mean the kind where someone has sex with another person against their will-there is no other kind.

    So are you telling me that if you son was raped, the fact that he would have to face the possibility of seeing his attacker, say in the local pub, laughing with his friends about how that was the best x thousand pounds he ever spent would not add to the anguish. Why should an innocent person be turned into a prostitue because a certain type of person does not believe in imprisonment. Many people as it is are prepared to pay a good deal of money to see innocent people (men, women and children) hurt, raped and murdered are you telling me that they would be deterred if the state then took a fee if they were caught as opposed to entancing them to imprisonment.

    Locking someone up does the victims a great deal of good-when was the last time you heard of the parents of a murder victim campaigning for the murderers release. Knowing that the murderer was out enjoying living his/her life nowing that as soon as he saves up another bit of money he is allowed to kill again would destroy the family of the victims. By only allowing a fine as punishment the state is giving permission for violent crime. Surely the rosemary and fred west case demonstrates how ineffectual a fine is as a punishmnet.

  66. All your evidence has come from the media, not from the official findings of any court of law. (Steven_L)

    There are the Hutton and Butler reports. There’s plenty of documentation in there which show that Number 10’s office pressured intelligence services to make Saddam’s threat seem more certain and imminent than it actually was. The ‘dodgy dossier’ was a 10-year-old thesis pulled from the internet by Number 10. The case for war was manufactured by Number 10, and Blair runs that office, so he is responsible for the deception. In the subsequent war, thousands of Iraqis died, as a consequence of this deception (and the accompanying US deception).

    The absence of WMDs was confirmed before a Congressional committee in November 2004. I’m not going to go and dig it all out for you, but there’s plenty of official documentation out there.

    As for Halabja, I’ve not see anything other than media reports. But there is some suggestion (e.g this recent one) that an investigation was conducted by US intelligence which concluded that the deaths were most likely caused by Iran – Halabja being between Iraqi and Iranian lines at the time. But it’s not available, and may be no more than a rumour. Quite possibly Iraq and Saddam were to blame. Whatever way, we won’t know, because there’ll never be a trial.

  67. When I refer to rape I mean the kind where someone has sex with another person against their will-there is no other kind. (k)

    Well, yes, that’s technically true. But there’s surely a world of difference between a rapist abducting and subjecting a woman to repeated violent sexual assault, and a married couple in bed together and the wife saying “No” at the very last moment?

    Or maybe you think they’re both equally terrible?

  68. seeing his attacker, say in the local pub, laughing with his friends about how that was the best x thousand pounds he ever spent would not add to the anguish. (k)

    Is this any different from seeing his attacker, say in the local pub, laughing with his friends about how that was the best couple of years he ever spent in prison?

    At least in my example, my son would have got a holiday in Disneyland. With your preferred imprisonment option, he’d have got nothing.

  69. They are both rape, but as one has involved multiple rapes, kidnap, threats and violence the sentance should be harsher as more crimes have been committed. Besides as it is normally only stranger rapes which are able to be proven the husband and wife scenerio is a rare case to recieve even a trial let alone a guilty verdict unless violence has been used. But that is beside the point in this example. In both cases why should people be allowed to commit a crime against an innocent person just because they can pay. The Mother of Lucy Blackman is said to be distraught that her daughters killer may recieve a lighter sentance because her husband and his new wife recieved money from the millionaire murderer. Rosemary and Fred West were let off with a fine after they attacked a young woman, perhaps if they had been made to serve a prison sentance instead of paying the state money, several young women would have been able to live their lives.

  70. Actually victims of certain, such as rape and murder, crimes all get compensation.

    But even if they did not, the fact that you would allow a person to pay you off so they did not have to go to prison is disgusting. The idea that a parent would like to make money for a vacation out of their childs suffering rather than see the attacker punished is sick, sick, sick. Imagine teling a child that the person who hurt them is still free and not being punished, because they parent wanted more money. It would make the child feel as if they had been sold. And to think most people are angry when an MP is caught in a cash for questions scandal

  71. My notion of justice is compensatory rather than punitive

    Not for the first time, I find myself agreeing with Idlex. Maybe it’s an ageing hippy thing.

    But I also favour ostracisation alongside compensation. Names and faces published regularly in the local paper, distinctively dressed work squads sweating at a socially useful task like clearing litter or painting signposts, under the supervision of some bastard seconded from the army. That human rights careerists find the idea unacceptable makes it all the more appealing.

    Ostracising the criminal is a cathartic act for both the wrongdoer and the wronged. Loss of the concept of shame has, in my view, been one of the main reasons for the breakdown of law and order in recent years. If criminals can feel no shame it should be brought upon them. Pulic ridicule is the one thing that might force them to reconsider their ways. It could even have worked for Saddam – if he was alive to see it.

  72. The idea that a parent would like to make money for a vacation out of their childs suffering rather than see the attacker punished is sick, sick, sick. (k)

    I think quite the opposite – and that it is this constant, almost pathological desire to punish people that is really sick, sick, sick.

  73. Maybe it’s an ageing hippy thing. (PaulD)

    Maybe. It might also be because in our day, schoolteachers would hand out beatings with canes, rulers, belts, slippers, and even chair legs. Those were punitive times, and some teachers were almost psychopathic.

    I was subjected to quite a lot of it, and yet was one the ‘good boys’ (of course). The really bad ‘uns gotten beaten from pillar to post. I found the whole thing nauseating in the end, with its accompanying climate of fear. I remember being given six of the best for failing a chemistry test, and wondering in what way it would possibly improve my chemistry (answer: none).

    Now things have swung the complete opposite way, and any schoolteacher who touches a child is likely to be had up for assault, and quite possibly child abuse. And even though I hated the whole business, I sometimes wonder whether it’s all swung way too far. I think there’s probably a good case for a good clip round the ear now and again. Perhaps young Steven_L and k (and maybe even newmania) are products of this new school environment, and hated the indiscipline as much as I hated the discipline, and are part of a new emerging axis of punishment, and in a few years time, schoolteachers will be back flogging children half to death, and it will all have come full circle.

  74. If my ears did not deceive me, I heard Blair say yesterday, when questioned about his silence on Saddam’s execution, that he’ll “find a way to talk about it next week”.

    Surely Mr Blair can’t be lost for words, he who always has a soundbite to fit every occasion? May I suggest: “He was the people’s dictator”. Well, on second thoughts …

  75. “extol the sanctity of human life within a civil society on the one hand, then declare that taking a life is acceptable provided it is done with the approval of a court?”

    I suggest before advocating the sanctity of human life by blocking execution, some sensible plan being implemented for parts of the world where over population due to negligent mass produce and barriers to a decent humanly living have unsanctified human lives more than any other vicious action or belief. Priorities count!

    I suspect Saddam’s execution was a strategic decision to calm Sunnis uprising, as long as he was alive there were possibilities for him to return to power.

  76. idlex
    So it is sick to punish people for committing crimes and threfore sick to deter criminals, but it is good to allow anyone who can afford it to commit crimes so long as they can pay the victim for th pleasure. Apart from anything else what if the victim is not in need of fincancial help, I mean you said that it would be worth letting a person who hurt your child escape a jail term if he paid for a holiday in disneyland, but to may people that is nothing so should those who attack either the financially fortunate (or in fact those who have taken vows of poverty) be sent to jail and only those who attack the not so well off escape with compensation? Then again what if the attacker does not have the money to pay for their crime, would this then mean only th poor would get jail terms. Perhaps Steven_L and I are crazy, radical, young things with our notions of punishing people for murder, but your system would send us back centuries to a time where only the rich had any human rights.

  77. Idlex-
    Paying off murder victims families with blood money is often the lesser evil in cultures with a tradition of family vendetta. Where there is little prospect of prolonged incarceration of offenders and they are thought not likely to reoffend the parties involved can save everyone a lot of bother by agreeing to a payment.

    How would this work in our society with its extremes of wealth distribution? What if the murderer is penniless and on the social and whats wrong with revenge anyway?

    I think the comments in my last post ( to Tayles in the 4th para) should have been addressed to you.

  78. K said-Perhaps Steven_L and I are crazy, radical, young things with our notions of punishing people for murder, but your system would send us back centuries to a time where only the rich had any human rights..

    Thanks K I notice that of the axis of punishment I am omitted from your list of “radical young things” .I shall assume I have entre to the “radical old things ” club. I have read The Idlex notion of saving up for a rape and perhaps winning a couple of murders in the lottery with great amusement . I cannot believe he is serious .
    There is a creeping loss of confidence in the whole concept of punishment as right and just and I fear ghosts of the Idlex caricature are stalking our prison service and the courts .
    In reality it would be exceedingly difficult to get a Jury to convict with the rope swinging in front of them but I think the inability of the modern to face moral decisions that are uncomfortable may change . Part of that Conservative revolution may be the reintroduction of the death penalty . I see this as only part of a cultural shift I believe is happening now. When Tony Blair pulled the clause from Old Labour`s paper Tiger at Balckpool he was pushing an open door . Socialism was by then a walking cadavre and only retained as a tribal myth. Cameron`s rapprochement with the Liberal centre ground can only go so far. There is a young and rising new right that are much in evidence in our local party , in journalism and the media. It is very much alive and kicking and will set the agenda for this country in the future . Gordon Brown would rather sink the place than allow that to happen so there is a lot at stake .

    We may be in an election year.
    (see Iznewmania)

  79. Newmania
    I only ecluded you as you were not accused one hundred percent. Of course you are a member of the young radical things club ! If it makes you feel better I am not sure I can consider myself to be young anymore-I have finally reached the age where I complain about the music tastes of those who are younger than me 🙁

  80. AGE-

    Last night at a “Putting the world to rights” meeting at the George with my chum Croydonian
    http://www.croydonian.blogspot.com/
    …I heard these words from a girl ” You are actually literally older than my father”. Judging from some further suggestions she made this is not quite such a cause for concern as I imagined. As a happily married chap , of course , I was un moved but the old ego is pulsing with new life today.

    So no K pity not required just for once .

    BTW visit Croydonian a super blogger and fine fellow.

    Back to death then ….sigh…..

  81. The Idlex notion of saving up for a rape and perhaps winning a couple of murders in the lottery with great amusement . I cannot believe he is serious . (newmania)

    This is the caricature of my views presented by k, rather than what I actually think. I’m simply interested in moving away from a punitive system of justice towards a compensatory or restorative system of justice.

    Restorative justice doesn’t necessarily mean pulling out a wad of notes. That’s just one option, in which the rich would be able, as k points out, to get away with murder. I should add that the rich can get away with murder in our present system of justice as well, if – like O. J. Simpson et al. – they can get themselves some expensive lawyers -.

    One system might be PaulD’s suggestion of work gangs. If compensation was required to be made through a system of this sort, then the rich would not find their wealth much use (although they would probably find some way round).

    As for Insomniac’s point that someone may be unable to pay compensation, either monetarily or through work, then in these cases I guess society as a whole might be required to provide compensation – although in this route everyone is diminished a little.

  82. I think that underlying my whole approach is a rejection of black-and-white notions of Good and Evil. Blair once described the war on Iraq as “quite literally, the forces of Good against the forces of Evil.” I’m sorry, but I completely reject this sort of simple-minded view. I don’t think that either Bush and Blair are Good, nor that Saddam Hussein was Evil.

    In part I think this sort of thinking is dangerous, because once one has identified oneself as Good, then it follows that whatever you do, it also will be good, even if it involves torturing people, destroying entire cities, and randomly shooting people on the streets.

    And I also think that once one has identified someone as Evil, one becomes permitted to do absolutely anything to them, including torturing and murdering them because they are regarded as the embodiment of an Evil which much be extirpated from the world.

    Instead, I simply think that the various people acting in the world are simply doing so from different sets of beliefs or convictions, which they have acquired in one way or other. There’s nothing Good or Evil about it. The good or evil is to be found in the outcome: how many people are made happy and prosperous, how many beggared and murdered.

    I think the notion of punishment is very much wrapped up in viewing malefactors as Evil (and in need of punishment/ torture/ death). It’s because we see people as evil that we want to punish them. But once one steps outside that mentality, and regards them as people acting according to some set of beliefs, one must become concerned with the consequences of their actions, not with them. And one pragmatically seeks, in the case of injury, compensation rather than punishment.

  83. Idlex said “My notion of justice is compensatory rather than punitive: if X causes injury to Y, he should compensate Y. This also applies to murder, where relatives are compensated for the loss. In Anglo-Saxon times there was a fixed ‘blood price’ or ‘weregeld’ to be paid in the event of causing death. And very sensible it was too.

    The idea of punishing people really grows from the notion that when X injures Y, X is in some sense ‘morally evil’, and merits punishment over and above simple compensation for the injury caused. However, we are never able to make such judgments about anyone, because we have no knowledge of anyone’s intentions or motives. We only actually know (perhaps) what they have actually done. Everything else is speculation”
    and
    “At least in my example, my son would have got a holiday in Disneyland. With your preferred imprisonment option, he’d have got nothing”

    The way I have presented your views is exactly how you, yourself, have presented them. Now you get worse “perhaps society as a whole should pay the compensation”.
    So you have come up with a wonderful way to obtain both justice and deter future criminals. Instead of the system we now have where victims of crime are awarded financial compensation from the state and the criminal goes to prison and you would improve the system not by ensuring that the criminal recieves a longer jail term, but by making them pay the compensation instead and if they were really poor making the state pay the compensation! The idea of work gangs is at odds with that which you have actually stated which was “if X causes injury to Y, he should compensate Y” unless you are suggesting that a criminal should perhaps do work for the victim which I cannot see being acceptable to the victim or the victims family.
    You also make the mistake of thinking that people are imprisoned for being evil, which is not true. People are allowed to be as evil as they want and it is not illegal unless they carry out an illegal (an, yes, normally, evil) act. I would never punish a person for being evil, but I would have them punished for carrying out an evil act.

  84. Idlex is obviously signed up the cultural relativism agenda by which female mutilation , not circumcision there no such thing , is forgiven if you happen to be part of the right culture . Moreover the sky may drops from its appointed place to rest on the forest canopy and our origins are in the faeces of a sacred turtle I find such doubts do not trouble me overly . There is nothing wrong with the perp weeding a few gardens in addition of being justly punished but it is not a replacement .

    BTW did you all see this?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/01/05/do0502.xml

    I have no doubt that in some cultural relative way these people are entirely rational and good.

  85. Newmania:

    “Part of that Conservative revolution may be the reintroduction of the death penalty.”

    Then I hope to God there is a thorough and complete overhaul of the justice system to go along with it.

    In criminal law, there have been far too many miscarriages of justice for me to rest easy with the notion that there could be a return to capital punishment.

    Our civil system is literally the best justice money can buy.

  86. Turkey Twizzler
    Our justice system is awful and does not really deserve to be called justice. One person can be sentanced to four years in prison for lying about an affair in court and another person can recieve an eight month suspended sentance for assulting a small child. That is not justice.
    Our government will pay whatever it costs to do their best to ensure that British people who commit horrendous crimes such as gang rape and murder in foreign (non-american though)countries escape punishment, but will also pay millions upon millions and sacrifice the lives of thousands to make sure that a foreign leader is hanged (as Blair had now decided that the main reason for the war in Iraq was not WMD, but the removal and trial of Saddam). How is this justice?

  87. The idea of work gangs is at odds with that which you have actually stated which was “if X causes injury to Y, he should compensate Y” (k)

    Why? He could be doing work to earn money? Or working indirectly to compensate in some other way.

    Now you get worse “perhaps society as a whole should pay the compensation”.

    Only in the case where individual compensation is impossible.

    Idlex is obviously signed up the cultural relativism agenda by which female mutilation , not circumcision there no such thing , is forgiven if you happen to be part of the right culture . (newmania)

    Oh, utter tosh.

  88. Idlex,
    Victims already get compensation.

    If a criminal is too poor too pay or is able to decalre themselves bankrupt then you think they should avoid punishment and the state should pay the compensation as in the current situation. So basicly in your system the only difference would be that the criminal avoids a jail sentance.

    Working indirectly to compensate? How exactly, either they are working for the victim which only an idiot would support or they are working for the state (i.e community service) and the victim is not the one recieving the compensation.

    What if the victim thinks the best sort of compensation is their attacker serving a jail term. I do not know anyone who has sunk so low that they would rather have money than see someone who has committed a serious crime against them or a loved one escape jail.

  89. IDLEX said- I simply think that the various people acting in the world are simply doing so from different sets of beliefs or convictions, which they have acquired in one way or other. There’s nothing Good or Evil about it.

    Idlex I often talk utter tosh its true but I `m not sure exactly what else to make of this remark. If you remove , as you seem to want to , the responsibility of the murderer , for example , for the murder. Then why should the “proactive victim” suffer at all . He simply is unlucky enough , according to you , to be born a bit more prone to axing old ladies in the head. . In fact far from punishing him as he is clearly most unfortunate himself ,suffering as he does from murderitis , we should endeavour to make it up to him .Lets all dip our hands in our pocket and pay for him to qualify as a lawyer , have a house ,make a living from the crimes he committed .The old lady is not quite up to receiving compensation.Been quite poorly actually.

    I wonder if you would allow us to detain this subject of our deep sympathy until we were convinced he was not a danger. I hope so , but after that , why should he not perform a useful role taking the government to court to acquire voting rights for prisoners.

    This is not , as you have no doubt guessed , an invention.This man exists and the details I quote are true and you could chat to him now were I to give you the link to his blog. I will not and I suggest staying far far away.Seriously.

    The Idlex model is with us now to an alarming extent and it must be challenged.

  90. I did not ask you if you thought it compensated, I asked you what you thought should happen if the victim believed a jail term was the best compensation.
    You may be happy to let a person who abused your child escape a jail term in exchange for a holiday in a theme park, but what if the parents of another child wanted to see the person who hurt thier child punished should they be made to accept a fee for their childs suffering instead?

  91. K-There is a simple answer to this . The concept of justice has seeped out of our courts and penal systems and we are now concerned mostly with “compensation” rehabilitation” and other convenient “-ations” . Idlex seems to feel we are going in the right direction , I do not.
    On the other hand if anyone I care about is ever injured and justice is dead ,I will be able to acquire a gun and shoot the criminal myself . I promise you I would do exactly that under extreme circumstances The good news is I can expect to be rehabilitated rather than punished . There will be noone to compensate and my revenge will kick start my “healing” process.

    Personally I prefer jurisprudence however imperfect but if the courts will not attend to justice then you can be sure others will.

  92. Newmania
    I went to a talk on safety for women where two police officers were giving advice. Both of them told the large group of women assmbled that if they wanted justice their best bet was to seek it outside the justice system.

  93. I did not ask you if you thought it compensated, I asked you what you thought should happen if the victim believed a jail term was the best compensation. (k)

    I suppose they would probably feel pleased at the suffering of the prisoner. But I do not see this as either compensatory or restorative justice: I see it as revenge.

    And is mere imprisonment going to be sufficient for them? They might, in many cases, really want the condemned to be executed.

    And indeed they might furthermore wish that before being executed, the condemned have their eyes gouged out, their fingernails ripped out, while being administered with electric shocks to their genitals, while being ladled with boiling oil.

    This is, after all, where vengeance ultimately leads. We have a long history of cruel and unusual methods of execution. Burning at the stake. Hanging, drawing, and quartering. The list is almost endless of the barbarous deaths we enjoy inflicting upon each other.

    Incidentally, in a link I put into a reply to Steven_L upthread about the Halabja massacre, its ‘liberal’ author said that he didn’t want Saddam Hussein executed, but to be kept alive so as to suffer as long as possible for his crimes. For him, this seemed far the far more painful and preferred option.

  94. Not answerng the question again idlex.
    In you new method where jail terms were dropped, and only the present practice of compensation to the victim remained what would happen to the criminal if the victim requested a jail term?

  95. Idlex I often talk utter tosh its true (newmania)

    True. But good to see you openly admit it at last.

    …but I `m not sure exactly what else to make of this remark. If you remove , as you seem to want to , the responsibility of the murderer , for example , for the murder.

    No. I don’t want to remove the responsibility. I perfectly accept that murderers are responsible for their murders. All I am suggesting that we might consider some other legal recourse than imprisonment, execution, or slow burning at the stake.

    IDLEX said- I simply think that the various people acting in the world are simply doing so from different sets of beliefs or convictions, which they have acquired in one way or other. There’s nothing Good or Evil about it.

    You don’t appear to have understood what I meant by this. And it is simply that one should not be overly concerned with whatever motives anyone might have had for doing something, but entirely with the consequences of so doing. The crime lies in the act, not the thought.

    The Idlex model is with us now to an alarming extent and it must be challenged.

    Whatever model you may be considering is very definitely not mine. I am in no sense any sort of mainstream thinker of any political complexion that you have ever encountered.

  96. what would happen to the criminal if the victim requested a jail term?

    Do the victim’s requests count? If they do, and the victim requests it, then a jail term should be applied. And if the victim requests execution, then execution should be carried out. And if the victim requests that that the guilty man have his eyes drilled out with Black & Decker drills, it promptly should be done. And so on, whatever the victim wants.

    But should we be so concerned with what the victims want? What is their special claim to respectful attention?

  97. If only the victim’s opinion matters, then what need is there for courts, lawyers, judges, and juries? Why not dispense with the whole of the law, and simply set the victim on his/her assailant?

    Indeed, you both already seem to be considering exactly such a demolition of tiresome and obstructive laws that prevent you from nailing him to a cross.

  98. Working indirectly to compensate? How exactly, either they are working for the victim which only an idiot would support or they are working for the state (i.e community service) and the victim is not the one recieving the compensation. (k)

    I spoke recently to a young lad who had been given CS (see what company I keep). He found the whole thing a joke. He was put in a group whose task was to clean the pews in a local chapel. On the first day, everyone hung around for the morning because the supervisor had not thought to bring any cleaning materials. Next day, the supervisor disappeared half way through, so they went home early. And after that he looked in for an hour in the morning and left them to it. Surprise, surprise, they all knocked off at lunchtime and got ratarsed down the pub.

    This is why I favour the boot camp approach to punishment/restoration in suitable cases, coupled with ostracisation of the criminal.

    Trouble with the present system is that offenders are treated like Dresden china because everyone is fearful of human rights. Also, local councils who can help provide the opportunities for work-gangs, are afraid of litigation arising from health & safety rules and/or the accusation of using cheap labour at the expense of employees. Humbug.

  99. You go round and round with your clever arguments but the excellent points made by K above and the Newmania comment he reposted for you at 11.06, pretty neatly sum up the justice of the DS and you dont seem to have answers for either of them. – Insomniac

    Rubbish. As far as I can see, the arguments in favour of capital punishment are as follows:

    1) Deterrent – There is no evidence that it acts as a deterrent. The states in America that have the death penalty are among the most violent. There is no reason to suspect that murderers consider the possibility of capture and punishment in their equations.

    2) Fitting punishment – This is a subjective issue. As I have made clear already, I think that giving the state the ability to kill civilians is dehumanising and hypocritical. I am baffled by the idea mentioned elsewhere that enforcing the death penalty demonstrates how much we value human life. That’s like a wife murdering her husband to save him being killed in combat. Those who favour capital punishment talk about how much they value the sanctity of human life. If this were true, then the possiblity of an innocent man being executed should be so abhorrent as to make the death penalty unthinkable.

    3) Cost – The idea that executing people is cheaper than prisonment is absurd. Condemned prisoners spend years on death row. Justice should not be a bugetary concern.

    I thought at first you might be part of that axis-of- evil commonly known as the Tory party but now i m not sure. Are you a member of the SPGB perhaps? Because I think you are one of those curious people who just feel compelled to win arguments, even if that means you must keep banging on long after everyone else has left for the pub!

    If you mean that I’d be better off backing down and allowing my opinion to comform with the majority’s, then you’ve got the wrong man. I believe what I believe and I’m willing to argue about it. In my experience those who cry “boring!” when faced with a differing opinion are having trouble properly justifying their own. If that makes me curious, so be it.

  100. < ‘Perhaps young Steven_L and k (and maybe even newmania) … are part of a new emerging axis of punishment …’ (idlex)<

    Punishment works. Personally I would advocate the use of a little-known punishment called ‘picquet’ on the various petty criminals we are so ineffective at dealing with as a society.

    It’s simple, you hang the offender by their thumb, with their opposite bare foot resting on a sharpened wooden stake. Then you leave them for 24 hours. To take the strain off their thumb they have to stand harder on the spike, to relieve the pain inflcited by the spike on their foot they have to stain their thumb.

    It causes no lasting harm, it’s cheap and by all accounts it’s mighty effective at teaching people to behave themselves.

  101. “Then the possiblity of an innocent man being executed should be so abhorrent as to make the death penalty unthinkable.”

    This is the main (really, only) reason I am against the death penalty. People have been jailed for murders which they did not commit, so for me the risk is too great. At least if a person is falsly imprisoned they can be released. I think the best way would be to have life imprisonment where life actually means life not five years in an open prison where you can study for a degree free of charge.

  102. For the love of justice and respect for human dignity as it appears you all genuinely feel for, please support my return visa to oxford, advocate for my rights as a single parent to return to human status. In fact I am confused whether I have any right besides being a mother (not by the book but according to unwritten laws). Please help me to save my children that are being destroyed in the hands of perverts who are running this country with unbridled control over people’s lives. Reading words of Magna Carta is the reason to continue hoping for justice as I have been deprived from my property, outlawed, destroyed and practically under house arrest to avoid plots and organised defamation. They will never leave my children alone unless I surrender to this vulgarity. I long for your support as a human being.

    Article 39, Magna Carta – “No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.”

  103. Newmania said-
    “This man exists and the details I quote are true and you could chat to him now were I to give you the link to his blog. I will not and I suggest staying far far away.Seriously.”

    That fellow was interviewed by the Guardian a few weeks ago,yes? – battered his landlady to death “…..feeling guilt/ remorse is just a middle-class thing is nt it?” But did nt he turn himself in right away ? (Probably because he could nt see what the big deal was.)

    Come back and dont be a spoilsport Newmania- post the link.

    also said-
    “..if anyone I care about is ever injured and justice is dead ,I will be able to acquire a gun and shoot the criminal myself . I promise you I would do exactly that under extreme circumstances The good news is I can expect to be rehabilitated rather than punished . There will be noone to compensate and my revenge will kick start my “healing” process.Personally I prefer jurisprudence however imperfect but if the courts will not attend to justice then you can be sure others will. ”

    Good on yer mate.

    K said-
    “I went to a talk on safety for women where two police officers were giving advice. Both of them told the large group of women assmbled that if they wanted justice their best bet was to seek it outside the justice system.”

    Nice to know there are still a few honest coppers!
    also said-

    “Not answering the question again idlex.”

    I think the idlex/Tayles axis just enjoy stirring up (as opposed to stringing up) the young whippersnappers on here.

  104. Tayles –
    Its not that you are boring, just frustrating. If you and idlex want a discussion then you should respond to and not ignore earlier points that dont suit your case. This is the last try i ll have in responding to you- and if you evade direct answers again to launch into another diatribe I will conclude that you are either a wind-up merchant or just another M.P.!

    1) Deterence- Agreed it might only work in a minority of cases (what about the situations K highlighted earlier?) and then not for everyone. States in America, even those without the death penalty, regularly hand out ‘life without parole’ and sentences of hundreds of years for a single individual. Thats hardly the case here (and would never be- as the same bleeding hearts would also oppose that too).

    2) .You- ” I think that giving the state the ability to kill civilians is dehumanising and hypocritical.”
    Where is the ‘Sanctity of life’ here then chummy? Blair launches invasion of Iraq despite (perhaps because) it is no threat to UK and our civilians. He knows thousands of innocents could die but decides to go ahead anyway as he thinks we ll still kill less than Saddam and the blood price will be worth it.. A trade-off was made in other words. I assume you are not a pacifist and know that mainly civilians die in modern wars. ‘The War on Terror'( or TWAT ) is not a war but a policing action- like that shooting on the tube perhaps.
    Thats the 3rd time i ve made a similar point here-(See my comment 4/1/06@ 7.43pm. 1st part of 2nd para) Care to respond this time?

    3) On costs- Rubbish! It costs approx. £37K per year to keep 1 person in jail. People make appeals on their convictions and sentences now. Who says the appeal process need go on endlessly? Saddam appealed once, failed and was hung a few days later. You say-“Justice should not be a bugetary concern.”- but similar life and death decisions are made by NHS consultants every day of the week. Think what your “justice money” could achieve if the money keeping British fiends alive was ring- fenced for the 3rd world. How many AIDS treatments, wells dug, cataract or hare-lip operations? Another trade-off then. Also, how can the religious and liberals claim a monopoly on compassion and then completely disregard the anguish caused to the victims, families, friends and ride roughshod over their wishes ?

    As K said- “Our government will pay whatever it costs to do their best to ensure that British people who commit horrendous crimes such as gang rape and murder in foreign (non-american though)countries escape punishment, but will also pay millions upon millions and sacrifice the lives of thousands to make sure that a foreign leader is hanged (as Blair had now decided that the main reason for the war in Iraq was not WMD, but the removal and trial of Saddam). How is this justice?”
    Regarding the above- see here http://www.politikerlede.com/murder.htm and its no better here-
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=410320&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true#StartComments

    Turkey Twizzler said- “Rather let all murderers rot in jail than let one innocent person take the drop.”

    Thats the only good argument against the DS but for the trade-off one against in 2) But before we agree to differ Tayles- As money is obviously no obstacle to your ‘justice system’ -Would you agree that its better that 10,000 killers stay inside forever than risk one of them killing an innocent on release? (Auntie Flo and Idlex might also want to answer this) and- How much income tax would you be willing to pay yourself to acheive that aim? Would you let Harry Roberts out now that he s done 40 years jail and at 70 years old, 10 years more than his minimum tariff?

    Apologies if i skim read over your previous posts and missed anything ( as you must ve with mine ) but i didnt see any answer earlier as to whats wrong with ‘revenge’ anyway?

    Tayles you said- “If you mean that I’d be better off backing down and allowing my opinion to comform with the majority’s, then you’ve got the wrong man.”

    Oh, so courageous and principled you are! You do at least admit that “stringing ’em up” IS the will of the majority then?

    Go on admit it you are an MP! ie You are someone who believes in democracy only where it conforms to what you already think should happen. You think we plebian riff-raff are bound to Lord Acton’s reactionary opinions forever- as to your superior intellect and morality in being able to ‘represent’ the views of us, the baying mob of constituents, better than we know to ourselves.

    [Ed: apologies for delayed posting live as link refs held it up for pending approval]

  105. After fat thug Prescott tested the waters last week, & McBroon again over the weekend, it seems Nulabour have worked out what the focus groups expect their opinion of Saddams excecution should be. Bliar will no doubt make some mealy-mouthed, insincere hand wringing accompanied non-statement sometime next week, to the extent that whilst it’s terribly naughty for the Iraqis to bump off Mr Hussein like that, we should remember that

    1. He was also a very naughty man, and so the same standards of justice don’t apply to him as apply to, for example, Robert Mugabe (another very naughty man, who doesn’t have any oil) who is being allowed to starve his countrymen to death, presumably because he doesn’t have any of the poison gas Saddam used on the Kurds to hurry the process.

    2. It was entirely the Iraqis decision, and he had nothing to do with it at all, and he’s sure the judicial review of the leaked vidoes will drag on until we’ve forgotten the whole thing, Oooh look, I have a new policy on rowdy youths in crap cars who play their stereos too loud.

    Bah. Anyone catch fool McBroon bleating on about how his forthcoming administration will be more ‘Top Down’ – by which I think he means Stalinist? At least he won’t last long.

  106. I think those who are against the death penalty simply because it is taking a life should remember one thing: a murder victim has no choice in their fate, whereas a murderer has chosen to commit a crime that carries the death penalty, so in effect has chosen to die. If a would be murderer does not want to face the death penalty then they can avoid it by not carrying out a murder.

  107. Read your links insomiac. I notice that all four are green jackets. I think that the Louise Jensen case is defnitly one that Brown should be made to amswer to in the house of commons. Heres a feew questions that I would like to see asked…

    “why did labour fight for the release of these men at the publics expense yet sacrifice thousands of innocent lives to hang Saddam”

    “why can labour afford to pay well over a million to ensure that three british soldiers who kidnapped, gang raped and hacked to bits a young woman were not only released after just ten years, but also recieved pocket money while in prison and extra help now they are back in the uk, yet cannot afford to give soldiers equipment that will save their lives or decent accomadation?”

    “How could labour be so sanctimonious about denmark allwoing a few offensive cartoons when labour had fought and fought for the release of these three British men who had killed a young Danish woman?”

    “why is it that a person can steal underwear and be made to registar on the sex offenders list, yet another person can commit gang rape and murder and avoif any form of registration just because they committd the crime aborad? Apart from the fact that this is racism, the sex offenders registar is either for the publics protection or it is not and by allowing sex offenders to live in britain unchecked because of the geography of their crime, labour are making a mockery out of the system.”

    The miscarriage of justice that was the Louise Jenson case is certainly one that the tories and lib dems should bring up. Not even labour could put a good spin that one and the case can be used to highlight many of labours doubl standards from the wars in afghanistan and irag to womens rights, to the sexual offenders registar, etc. If anyone really wanted to make labour really hated this case would certainly do it.

  108. Thanks for your input, Insomnia. I wasn’t aware that I was evading some killer points made elsewhere, but I’ll try to answer them now.

    1) Deterence- Agreed.
    Thank heavens for that. Let’s move onto point two.

    2) Where is the ‘Sanctity of life’ here then chummy? Blair launches invasion of Iraq despite it is no threat to UK and our civilians. He knows thousands of innocents could die but decides to go ahead anyway as he thinks we’ll still kill less than Saddam and the blood price will be worth it. A trade-off was made in other words. I assume you are not a pacifist and know that mainly civilians die in modern wars. Thats the 3rd time i ve made a similar point here. Care to respond this time?

    Gosh, I didn’t release I had ignored your comments not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. I humbly beg your forgiveness. I mentioned earlier (I don’t expect you to have picked up on this, because we clearly have a one-way relationship) that I believe that the normal rule of law ceases to exist during a state of war and the purpose of armed conflict should be to restore it. The death of civilians is a regrettable but inevitable consequence of war and should be avoided where possible. I am no pacifist (in fact, I tried to become an office in the Royal Navy as a young man) and I believe that we should fight for what we believe in; but I am no fan of interfering foreign campaigns. Our forces should act in a defensive capacity wherever possible. And they should fight to uphold law, order and freedom. It should be obvious that a sentence of death passed down in a courtroom is a world away from bloodshed on a battlefield.

    3) On costs – Rubbish! It costs approx £37K per year to keep 1 person in jail. People make appeals on their convictions and sentences now. Who says the appeal process need go on endlessly? Saddam appealed once, failed and was hung a few days later.

    You seem to be suggesting that once someone is condemned, their execution should be bundled through as quickly as possible. Obviously not all cases are as cut and dry as Saddam’s. And besides, political expediency demanded his swift demise, so it is hardly representative. Quite clearly, you would happily sacrifice a few innocents for the sake of the majority being dispatched as quickly. So much for the sanctity of life. That’s just penny-pinching sadism. Those who support capital punishment claim that they care so much for the sanctity of life that the death penalty is the only fitting punishment. Putting aside the impenetrable hypocrisy of this view for a moment, surely someone who cares so much for human life that they’re willing to kill for it (?) would never support a system that might allow an innocent person to be executed by mistake. If they do, then seeing criminals put to death satisfies something a lot more dark and primal in people than they are willing to admit.

    You say-“Justice should not be a bugetary concern” but similar life and death decisions are made by NHS consultants every day of the week.

    You’re creating a false dichotomy. You’re assuming that I agree with the organization and decision-making processes in the NHS, which I don’t. Your principles should not be for sale, but ultimately we sometimes have to make trade-offs. However, willfully killing people because it’s cheaper than banging them up is not an acceptable trade-off in my view. There is a world of difference between allowing someone to die and calculatedly executing someone. The former would be avoided if at all possible, whereas you would happily see the latter enforced under the right circumstances.

    Think what your “justice money” could achieve if the money keeping British fiends alive was ring-fenced for the 3rd world. How many AIDS treatments, wells dug, cataract or hare-lip operations? Another trade-off then.

    Again, you assume that I support the idea of the West spoon-feeding the Third World. I don’t. I see what you’re getting at, though. Yes, it is another trade off. Just like the money spent on a mission to the Moon might have built ten hospitals. Or the way that arts funding could be spent on housing and welfare. We want/need all these things and sometimes our priorities cannot be as focused as you suggest. £37,000 a year to keep a prisoner is only a lot of money if we consider it bad value for money. Personally, if that’s what it costs to keep a criminal out of my community, then it represents good value.

    Also, how can the religious and liberals claim a monopoly on compassion and then completely disregard the anguish caused to the victims, families, friends and ride roughshod over their wishes?

    This is a curious point. You seem to be suggesting that my objection to the death penalty shows disregard for victims and their friends and families. This would only be the case if my principles meant that their desire to see the murderer executed was causing them further anguish. It would be impossible to satisfy the inflamed feelings of those with grievances. Maybe they don’t want the murderer killed; perhaps they want him tortured and mutilated. Should that desire be satisfied? I say no. Victims do not have the power of infallible truth. In fact, they are likely to have a skewed take on things. Train crash survivors are unlikely to have a balanced view of how safe it is to travel by train. The parents of drug victims do not have a level-headed view on the pros and cons of drug legalization. Equally, victims of crime are not automatically experts in jurisprudence and are the wrong people to be making cool-minded, impartial moral judgments. If you think that justice should be about emotionally-charged vengeance, then you are calling for the rule of the mob.

    Our government will pay whatever it costs to ensure that British people who commit horrendous crimes in foreign countries escape punishment, but will also pay millions upon millions and sacrifice the lives of thousands to make sure that a foreign leader is hanged. How is this justice?”

    I agree that it’s hypocritical, but for different reasons to you and K. If Blair and his cohorts oppose the death penalty at home, they should have applied their principles universally. They should have said that they think that public executions are reprehensible and that they disagreed with the sentence passed on Saddam. This is what I’ve done and I’ve come under fire for it. Hey ho.

    Turkey Twizzler said- “Rather let all murderers rot in jail than let one innocent person take the drop.” Thats the only good argument against the DS but for the trade-off one against in 2) But before we agree to differ Tayles – As money is obviously no obstacle to your ‘justice system’ – Would you agree that its better that 10,000 killers stay inside forever than risk one of them killing an innocent on release? How much income tax would you be willing to pay yourself to acheive that aim?

    The basis of our legal system is that you should be punished for the crime that you have committed, not for what you might do in the future. The idea that the state kills people is abhorrent enough. But to kill someone for what they might do in the future is something from an Orwellian nightmare. If someone still poses a risk to society, they should not be released. It’s as simple as that.

    Whats wrong with ‘revenge’ anyway?

    Revenge is not a noble sentiment. It’s understandable, but the reason that we don’t let the victim’s family in the prisoner’s cell with a baseball bat is that we believe that justice should be a dignified, equable affair, which represents the higher moral standards that society expects of its citizens. A justice system based on ugly, brutal retribution, up to and including the killing of criminals, hardly reflects a morally upright society and reeks of double standards.

    Oh, so courageous and principled you are! You do at least admit that “stringing ’em up” IS the will of the majority then?

    Of course I do, but it doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it. The majority of people are perfectly capable of being wrong. If the majority of people thought that race discrimination was a good thing, should that particular opinion be satisfied?

    Go on admit it you are an MP! You are someone who believes in democracy only where it conforms to what you already think should happen.

    I am no more a supercilious, self-styled saint than you are a blood-lusting savage. Frankly, your inference is presumptuous and ill-informed. Of course, I believe in democracy – and I believe that people get the country they deserve. However, I also believe that we elect officials to manage our country for us and sometimes they have opinions that do not reflect the majority view. At the risk of sounding elitist, sometimes this system prevents us for introducing rules and regulations that satisfy our basest instincts. One of the advantages of having a representative government is that we have our beliefs and opinions challenged by people with a more measured or informed take on things. A system that merely responded to our narrow, fickle beliefs might not be for the best.

    If I’ve failed to answer anything, then I beseech your forgiveness and beg you to let me know where I have transgressed.

  109. A murder victim has no choice in their fate, whereas a murderer has chosen to commit a crime that carries the death penalty, so in effect has chosen to die.

    The most heinous crimes are committed by sociopaths, who have no sense of consequence. They do not choose to die. They don’t think beyond the satisfaction of some immediate compulsion.

    This doesn’t excuse their crime, of course, and doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be severely punished; but under the circumstances, the more calculated act of killing falls on the state.

  110. IS TAYLES THE DEVIL?

    Tayles- You has consistently ignored points that have been made in this thread. Busy I daresay and I am today. Its not a big deal.

    Deterrence- we have no way of knowing there are so many variables in the figures. It would deter me but I don’t see that as central.
    Cost -No not again I can’t stand it. Round and around Idlex might like this as an alternative punishment. It isn’t to me important and we agreed this along long time ago

    The central problem is the injustice of a life taken, the life of an innocent victim, perhaps more than one , perhaps in appalling circumstances. Families wrecked forever and a world that could have been, containing as it did , this good person , never to be. Your view seems to be that although in some circumstances death might be justice, and clearly it” might” be ..it would sap the “moral authority of the state” . The state is right , according to you , to let the perpetrator off , on the victim’s behalf , on behalf of the family and in despite of the clear and apparent injustice heaped upon the innocents.
    I have accepted , ages ago , that there are difficulties costs and risks associated with this rightness but to actually abandon justice as the central concern , at all times, of the courts and penal system is crossing a line that should not be crossed. The ,”moral authority”, of the courts and state cannot be assisted by a lie. If it is clear that social convenience , comfort , cowardice and an inability to decide outweigh the need for justice their authority will be ceded as it has been .This central moral problem has been discussed at length and in my view you have not responded at the depth the arguments have been made.
    . To abandon the option of the death penalty , with all its difficulties , is to signal abandoning a belief in justice and therefore punishment. That both of these concepts that underpin all actions of the courts have , in fact , been abandoned , gives this discussion its wider context. Do you not see this and do you not see the decay of these values and the effect ? I think K has magnificently given examples but we are all aware of the process.

    I `m not convinced you have understood what is at stake. You don’t appear to see the problem of the absence of capital punishment . You are still talking about revenge and jurisprudence as if the relationship between the two had not been deepened on several occasions. This is unreasonable
    On your side it is also true that uncertainty and the soul corrupting effect of actual complicit acceptance of judicial murder we err very much on clemency .”We” do not , for example torture Rose West as she tortured her victims, “we” would only conceivably have an option kill her , and only once . I would have considerably more safeguards and great difficulties in practice . It is the symbolic moral line that we are holding against the tempting claims of moral ease and social convenience.

    I can see that there is a case for drawing the line before the death penalty, as I would draw the line a long way before strict justice. I would like to see from you , some understanding of the costs and risks of taking such a view ,at least. Of the violent barbaric affront , by stealth of course, to the very principle upon which our whole valuable system of jurisprudence rests .

    If there are two words that sums up the degradation of our institutions the Blair government and much of what I detest about the Mandy Blair BBC establishment project they are

    SPIN and STEALTH.

    This avoiding of the real question this endlessly recasting debates away from the discussion and back to the slogan is horribly symptomatic of the same decay

    TAYLES is , in short , the cloven hooved , pointy tailed , black tongued devil.

    I fear him

  111. Newmania, my friend, I cannot see why I am getting such a hard time for not falling in line with the majority view. It’s not as though I am some lily-livered liberal. I just think that killing people is morally abhorrent and should be avoided where possible. Furthermore, I keep being accused of avoiding people’s questions. I can honestly say that I’ve tried my best to answer them all, but if I’ve missed a few, then I’m sorry. Let’s see what you’ve got to say this time…

    The central problem is the injustice of a life taken. Families wrecked forever and a world that could have been, containing as it did, this good person never to be. Your view seems to be that although in some circumstances death might be justice, and clearly it “might” be, it would sap the “moral authority of the state”. The state is right, according to you, to let the perpetrator off, on the victim’s behalf, on behalf of the family and in despite of the clear and apparent injustice heaped upon the innocents.

    First of all, I don’t remember saying that death might be justice in some instances. At least, not in a trial and punishment context. But the real problem here is that your argument begs the question – i.e. it takes for granted the very issue that is under debate. You begin your argument from the starting point that any punishment less than death is letting the perpetrator off. Of course, if we both agreed that anything less than execution was tantamount to letting the criminal off scott free, then you’d be absolutely right. But this is precisely the point over which we disagree! You can’t demonstrate that capital punishment is wrong by invoking an argument that assumes the idea that it is right is a given! Overlooking this gaffe, you don’t explain why killing the perp represents justice. You speak about the loss of life and the misery of friends/family, but killing the murderer won’t bring the dead back. Perhaps you mean that balance must be restored: an eye for an eye and all that. Surely this is a subjective issue. I believe that this damages the humanity, integrity and authority of the legal system because of its inherent double standards. You have no such compunctions: the state can kill as it sees fit and you would see no contradiction or hypocrisy. While I have been asked time and again to explain my view, I’m yet to see a satisfactory explanation for the hypocrisy inherent in the pro-death standpoint.

    The “moral authority” of the courts and state cannot be assisted by a lie. If it is clear that social convenience, comfort , cowardice and an inability to decide outweigh the need for justice their authority will be ceded as it has been. This central moral problem has been discussed at length and in my view you have not responded at the depth the arguments have been made.

    Not sure what your point is here. Maybe it’s in the bit below. Let’s take a look…

    To abandon the option of the death penalty, with all its difficulties, is to signal abandoning a belief in justice and therefore punishment.

    Again, you seem to start from the preconception that a failure to impose capital punishment shows a disregard for justice. You seem married to execution as a fundamental means of punishment, as if an unwillingness to kill a man from his crimes means that you are setting him free.

    I’m not convinced you have understood what is at stake. You don’t appear to see the problem of the absence of capital punishment . You are still talking about revenge and jurisprudence as if the relationship between the two had not been deepened on several occasions.

    Hogwash. If you think that capital punishment is pivotal to maintain a stable, dignified society, then you must have pretty odd views on what is required to bring the best/worst out of people.
    On your side it is also true that uncertainty and the soul corrupting effect of actual complicit acceptance of judicial murder we err very much on clemency .”We” do not for example torture Rose West as she tortured her victims, “we” would only conceivably have an option kill her and only once.

    So you draw a moral line between torture and killing? If you concede that it is dehumanising to torture criminals, then you should be able to understand that I am applying the same principle to execution. For me, the calculate, clinical nature of state execution is repellent.

    I can see that there is a case for drawing the line before the death penalty, as I would draw the line a long way before strict justice. I would like to see from you , some understanding of the costs and risks of taking such a view ,at least. Of the violent barbaric affront, by stealth of course, to the very principle upon which our whole valuable system of jurisprudence rests.

    Again, if you think that we need the death penalty as a bulwark against barbarism and chaos, then you have a very different outlook on life to me. Nothing I have read here leads me to believe that it will help. In fact, it only adds an element of legitimacy to the business of killing.

    TAYLES is , in short , the cloven hooved , pointy tailed , black tongued devil. I fear him.

    Then I fear you, because you’d probably have me put to death. And quickly too to prevent a retrial.

  112. You have , in my humble opinion , missed the point pretty much entirely.
    I leave you to the deep moral abyss in which you have chosen to make your home….

  113. What is this point I keep missing? Please explain in simple terms, because I am clearly too stupid to see it.

  114. “The most heinous crimes are committed by sociopaths, who have no sense of consequence. They do not choose to die. They don’t think beyond the satisfaction of some immediate compulsion”

    I do not believe this is trye. Simply because very few murderers actually admit their crime, instead they deny they ahd anything to do with it and they try to cover up their crime. If the killers of Amanda Dowling really had no sense of consequence then why was her body buried and made difficult to find. Why do many killers burn their clothes and other evidence? If the killers of Jamie Bulgur really did not realise that they had done something wrong why did they try to make the crime look like an accident-if you have not done anything wrong you do not try to hide the fact.
    The simply fact that a killer trys to hide their guilt proves that they are aware of the consequences. I think the reason why there is such a rise in violent crime is not because of a lack of a sense of consequence, but the exact opposite: a knowledge that there will be very few consequences. A teenager can beat someone to death and the chances are they will be released very qucikly after serving only time for manslaughter and that is only if they are even caught. Todays violent criminal can commit their crimes safe in the knowledge that even if they are caught they will serve very little time in a cushy prison (even open prison) where they will have access to many luxuries that they could not have ever afforded in the outside world. I did hear somewhere that the cheapest way to get a degree is to commit a crime and do it is prison, I do not know whether this is really ture (perhaps something we should ask Boris in the forum), but it goes to show something of the attitude that has spread across the UK in recent years

  115. I find it hard to believe that murderers do a pre-crime assessment and then go ahead with it on the contemplation of “what’s the worst that can happen?”. I think the situation is more complex that this. It’s true that the justice system in this country is too lenient, but it doesn’t follow that capital punishment should be enforced. Its effectiveness as a deterrent is extremely questionable and is outweighed, in my opinion, by moral objections. Theodore Dalrymple has written extensively on the mindset of modern criminals. As a doctor working with prisoners, he observed: “I am struck by the very small part in them which they ascribe to their own efforts, choices, and actions. I am fascinated by prisoners’ use of the passive mood and other modes of speech that are supposed to indicate their helplessness. They describe themselves as the marionettes of happenstance.”

    He lists numerous examples of prisoners who look to him to explain or cure their criminal tendencies, and describes the expressions they use most frequently. Describing, for example, their habitual loss of temper, which leads them to assault whoever displeases them sufficiently, they say, “My head goes,” or “My head just went.” Dalrymple attributes these feelings of passivity, entitlement and self-absorption on a number of factors: the enlarged constituency for liberal views, the widespread dissemination of psychotherapeutic concepts, and a widespread acceptance of sociological determinism, especially by the guilt-laden middle classes. On the latter point, he says, “Here the subliminal influence of Marxist philosophy surfaces: the notion that it is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. If this were so, men would still live in caves; but it has just enough plausibility to shake the confidence of the middle classes that crime is a moral problem, not just a problem of morale.”

    Dalrymple also considers the effect that the mass media’s constant rehearsal of injustices has upon the population. People come to believe that we actually live in the worst of times and under the most unjust of dispensations. Every wrongful conviction, every instance of police corruption, is so publicized that even those who have performed appalling deeds feel on a priori grounds they too must have been unjustly, or at least hypocritically, dealt with.
    In essence, the agenda of the liberal left contradicts Bacon’s dictum that “chiefly the mould of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.” For the sake of assuaging people’s feelings of exclusion, inadequacy and resentment, this ideology absolves people’s responsibility for their own actions. It defines down depravity, subjectifies the world and lays blame on a powerful minority. It’s little wonder then that the symptoms that Dalrymple outlines are so prevalent. We clearly need to do something about this, but the threat of execution will not alleviate the sense of impotence, passivity and blamelessness that these individuals possess and which drives them to their murderous acts.

  116. passivity and blamelessness seem to be another word for making excuses. of course I doubt that many killers think “whats the worst that can happen”, but the lack of detterrant is in-built in the mind. This attitude demonstrated in your posting shows exactly why, people look to make excuses for bad behaviour and of course the would be killers of the world believes this excuses them and it becomes a fatal loop. It is akin to when parents refuse to tell the child they are wrong for naughtiness if the child is tired, hungry, bored etc and so the child ends up believing that it is ok for them to do what they want so long as there is an excuse, In short they become adults possesed of a lack of self-blame and passivity filled with phrases such as “it was not my fault, my head just goes”

  117. For instance a child at a school does not think consciously I can do what I want I cannot be caned or expelled, but the subconcious knowledge is there and so children misbehave to a far greater degree than they did thirty years ago.

  118. < For instance a child at a school does not think consciously I can do what I want I cannot be caned or expelled (k)<

    Yes they do. One of my mates was about the cheekiest chappie you could possibly imagine at school. He go asked to leave a few weeks early from both middle and high schools. He openly admitted that that if they were allowed to cane him for it he would have behaved himself.

  119. I think most right minded people will be sensible of the cost of their actions and weigh them up. Corporal punishment certainly works. But not all people are right minded. It is my opinion that one cannot, for example, educate a paedophile out of finding children sexually attractive, just as you cannot alert an alcoholic to the error of their behaviour and expect them to say ‘oh silly me’ and not want to drink again. Whilst capital punishment undoubtedly is a deterrent, we must accept that there will always be murderers that will not be deterred by anything. Some people just like killing. Some people just like hurting other people and having aggresive physical control. In my experience those people are usually, but not exclusively, men. In todays society I think there is the perception that a strong man can do what he likes. There are no policemen on the beat and the law seems to be unreliable. So unreliable as to be a source of fear and real deterrent to any who would help. I have therefore to agree with the point that Tayles makes above, especially: “We clearly need to do something about this, but the threat of execution will not alleviate the sense of impotence, passivity and blamelessness that these individuals possess”

  120. TAYLES is , in short , the cloven hooved , pointy tailed , black tongued devil (newmania)

    A despicable example of demonisation. Shame on you. What century do you live in, the 16th?

    I’d like to remark that Saddam Hussein is a prime example of what happens when people are demonised. Up until 1990, Saddam was Our Man fighting Crazed Muslim Fundamentalists in the Iran-Iraq war. Iraq was about the most secular modern state in the region, and Saddam was praised as its enlightened ruler. Within days of his invasion of Iraq (given the nod by US ambassador April Glaspie), Saddam was utterly demonised, and accused of every imaginable crime (including killing Kuwaiti babies). Thus tarred and feathered, and utterly demonised, Saddam’s trial and execution was always bound to be a despicable farce.

    Demonisation of anyone ought to be condemned immediately and absolutely. It has no part in rational discourse.

  121. VOX POPULI, VOX DEI.

    Its all very well pondering on the rights or wrongs of hanging Mr. Hussein, but what should have happened to the naughty fellow if he had not hanged?
    If Ma’bood Faadhil had his way Mr. Hussein would have had a lengthy prison term, where he would become practiced in the art of table tennis, and where he would be rubbing shoulders with other incarcerated deposed tyrants, no doubt picking up tips and learning new wangles.
    Then what? Ill tell you! Up in front of a parole board of well intentioned but hopelessly out of touch middle aged liberals, and then released to some council estate in Hull, or some such place.
    I tell you its no joke having to live next door to a former tyrant. We had Augusto Jos Ramn Pinochet Ugarte on the estate a few years back, and no one from the authorities bothered to mention it to the residents committee. All we knew was that one day, an elderly gentleman in a sky blue uniform and a red, white and blue sash was off down to Freddy Tripp the butcher to buy a half pound of lamb mince.
    We didnt dare let any of our dissidents or leftists out to play for fear that they might be killed or tortured. Within weeks that Jorge Rafael Videla was round at Pinochets house, and the two of them could be seen drinking strong cider most of the afternoon. It was a disgrace. Other low lifes were attracted to the estate, like Jos Alfredo Martnez de Hoz, and Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli. Cashing in their giros, and then off for day trips to Aberystwyth with that Albano Harguindegu in his Hillman Imp, and all at tax payers expense!

  122. Tayles-
    Well at least you made an effort to answer SOME of the questions this time.

    However, your points on my replies to your earlier ones.
    1) Deterence, No- not totally agreed! Read it all,-and K s points about crimes such as those in my previous 1st link? In that case the time served for murder/ manslaughter turned out to be 12 out of a 25 year sentence. Likely prison time for abduction and sexual assault/ rape was 7 years served out of 14. Was nt it worth them killing the victim and risking the extra 5 years if they thought they could get clean away with it. (Their “pre-crime assesment” of that lasted approx.1 hour). The dead tell no tales. Its better to be known as a killer than a sex offender in prison and for future employment purposes (assuming these 3 even have criminal records recorded against them in the UK). The more and worse things you do the relatively less time you serve because lesser offences, ie kidnap, rape you then serve that time concurrently alongside the time for the killing itself- not consecutively as would be appropriate. Why dont you just accept that sometimes there is such a thing as an economically rational crime/ criminal instead of generalising that ALL such types are sociopathic?

    2)”I believe that the normal rule of law ceases to exist during a state of war and the purpose of armed conflict should be to restore it. The death of civilians is a regrettable but inevitable consequence of war and should be avoided where possible. I am no pacifist (in fact, I tried to become an office in the Royal Navy as a young man) and I believe that we should fight [ie KILL ] for what we believe in”

    This is what i meant we i said you did not read my previous (3) comments on this point. Do you think John Charles De Menezes was a ‘regretable but inevitable consequence of war’?. How about those targeted by the IRA? If these were all ‘war casualties’ could nt the same be said regarding those killed as part of the ‘Global War Against Murder’ (G.W.A.M.) as the innocent deaths in T.W.A.T. I believe that justice has presently ceased to exist inside my country and that some killing, though regretable, is probably inevitable and neccessary to restore a fear of the decent majority in the hearts of the ‘evil-doers’.

    3) Costs- “you assume that I support the idea of the West spoon-feeding the Third World”
    “Quite clearly, you would happily sacrifice a few innocents for the sake of the majority being dispatched as quickly. So much for the sanctity of life. That’s just penny-pinching sadism. ”

    How many appeals would you grant then ?.I think you answered your own point about “sacrificing innocents” and ‘penny pinching sadism’. Don t you make any distinction between innocent life and people guilty of horrendous crimes being ‘spoon fed’ in jail? Do you think the fiends mentioned in my links above deserve equal or greater human rights than the innocent children in poor countries denied life, clean water and eyesight.? Is that because they are ‘our boys’ and ‘charity begins at home’ for you? IS TAYLES THE DEVIL? (Newmania)- perhaps.

    “The basis of our legal system is that you should be punished for the crime that you have committed, not for what you might do in the future. The idea that the state kills people is abhorrent enough. But to kill someone for what they might do in the future is something from an Orwellian nightmare.”

    We re not talking about people not convicted here. Just people convicted and let out early. Are you happy with that? Personally, i think if they scraped the whole probation service and made the offenders do all their original sentence we could nt be any worse off than we are now in terms of reoffending and would probably be better off

    .” If someone still poses a risk to society, they should not be released. It’s as simple as that.”
    So do you think 70 year old triple cop-killer Harry Roberts should be released, for example? ”

    You also did nt answer my point about how much additional income tax you would pay if life did mean life for murderers. So from your responses (or lack of) i conclude you are defending the present status quo and not merely opposing the DS whatever the crime. And that is your problem Tayles. Whereas i would be willing to compromise, to drop the restoration of the DS and put up with higher taxes if a life sentence was made to mean what it says, you think the system is as good as it could reasonably be or you re not prepared to pay more income tax to improve it. You are a Conservative Tayles- you defend the tyranny of the status quo!

    P.S. I think you meant to say earlier that you tried to become an officer in the Navy. Maybe you should have tried the Royal Greenjackets. I hear they re crying out for recruits!

    NEWMANIA – “Tayles- You has consistently ignored points that have been made in this thread. Busy I daresay and I am today. Its not a big deal.”

    I meant to say has evaded points even though he still has time to write reams of stuff laying out his own views.

    Tayles-“If I’ve failed to answer anything, then I beseech your forgiveness and beg you to let me know where I have transgressed.”

    I have replied again at length to Tayles because he attempted to answer most of my points and has even shown contrition and under those circumstances i can be a very forgiving man.

    The way to discuss (Tayles) is to answer every time you see a question mark , then others can move the discussion along without having to constantly repeat themselves. You (Newmania) explain more eloquently and are a faster typer than me so i ll think i ll leave Tayles to you in future.

    BTW. Why not post that link you mentioned? Is it because it would delay your post . Surely there is nothing there to get anyone here arrested or banned?

  123. < Corporal punishment certainly works. But not all people are right minded. (Jaq)<

    That’s right, some people actually enjoy it. The re-introduction of the cane in our schools could concievably encourage misbehaviour by those with a fetish for receiving six of the best from their maths teacher.

  124. i think the Louise jenson case does highlight one important about the death penalty:if it was reintroduced it would not be used and more and more killers would get away with manslaughter sentances. These men had carried out a premeditated murder (they boasted about it in prison) yet were sentanced to manslaughter on very flimsy grounds on the basis that they would get a longer sentance if convicted of murder (and no insomniac they are not registered as sex offenders in the uk and even if they do have a criminal record here it would only be for manslaughter and an employer would be unable to know anything else as they were not actually convicted for kidnap and rape). I think it is fairly certain that there is no way a death sentance would ever be handed out especially if the crime was against as non-briton. The other side of the coin is that our current system has cheapened life so much that there is no real way to deter revenge attacks so will eventually lead to an unofficial form of the death penalty as for many loved ones of murder victims it would be worth spending five years in prison for manslaughter if it meant ensuring some form of justice however uncivilised.

    Perhaps the idea of life meaning life (perhaps even with solitary confinement for particulary sadistic crimes) should be the focus as this would not be such a moral deterrant to a jury as the death penalty so would surely lead to a fairer justice system.

  125. Boris: You have articulated everything I wanted to say in a most eloquent way. Blair’s premiership is bankrupt and redundant. The invasion in to Iraq – which I always opposed – passed through the House of Commons on a lie. A hundred people are dying in Iraq every day; the country is in the grips of a bloody civil war with no end in sight either for the Iraqis or our troops.

    This is what you get when a President of the United States is hell-bent on removing a dictator from power, without giving any thought to the history of the country he is invading. This is what you get when you ram democracy down their throats. I cannot see Iraq staying as one country. It was artificial anyway and it needed a dictator to keep it together.

  126. K SAID–
    “i think the Louise jenson case does highlight one important issue about the death penalty:if it was reintroduced it would not be used and more and more killers would get away with manslaughter sentances.”

    Maybe, I would make it a simple majority recommendation of the Jury. If judges continued to frustrate the popular will- sack and replace them (and take their superannuated pensions away too, that ll teach ’em). ‘Indepenence of the Judiciary’ ?- blather !

    As far as this case goes i think the original sentence was the right one. However, the so-called mitigating factors for reduction of sentence did not make any sense whatsoever and their automatic early releases less than halfway through (at the presidents whim) was even worse than the UK situation.

    “no insomniac they are not registered as sex offenders in the uk” Do you know this for sure? How?

    “..not actually convicted for kidnap and rape” 5 years abduction and 5 years conspiracy to rape (or sexual assault) but running concurrently to main sentence!

    The series of questions you were asking in the other post would be good aimed at John Reid but you re wrong if you think Labour is mainly to blame and that this case could be used to embarass them. ( They are already hated for many more justifiable reasons and are quite shameless! ) . Those appeals began just after their original convictions in 1996 and they were then thrown out of the army. Questions were asked of the then Tory Minister in charge Nicolas Soames, who stated their 3 appeals would be publicly funded until ‘all legal processes are exhausted’.

    However,I have realised that several things smell fishy about that case. What other former employer does that for its former employees and then gives them £20 per week each pocket money for all of 12 years? The prison is reckoned to be the best in Europe. Why did they have the choice to remain there and not be sent back into the UK system after late 1998 were they could have continued with later restrictions and monitoring ?

    It also highlights the weaknesses of the EU. Former felons now have the right to take up residence in whatever state they choose and yet we have even less input into these 26 other countries “Justice Systems” than our own.

    I would have writtern some questions to John Reid myself but i have realised that he has really got his work cut out and would be unlikely to respond in any way. The whole British system is in meltdown with overcrowding meaning some convicts considered dangerous are being sent to open prisons where they join with many domestic and foreign ‘absconders’- ie people they let out for the day who dont come back !. They dont even dare to count the number of these’absconders’ apparently! Did you see that recent Panorama program about the paedophile killer living at the bail hostel? What a farce that exposed!

    “our current system has cheapened life so much that there is no real way to deter revenge attacks so will eventually lead to an unofficial form of the death penalty as for many loved ones of murder victims it would be worth spending five years in prison for manslaughter if it meant ensuring some form of justice however uncivilised.”

    Yes, I wonder how Tayles and Idlex would react to that- especially if they were sat on the Jury when such a case came up? Its not that i m hardline on the DS but as i said before, the people who oppose it tend to be those who say they support whole life tariffs for murder as an alternative, but then find excuses not to in most cases (for all except notorious serial killers). Either “its inhuman to take away all hope of release” or “its not fair on the prison officers who have to keep them locked-up forever because they ll misbehave”.

    Anyway K , you might get more satisfaction writing to the Justice Minister at the address in the link mentioned (perhaps enclosing a small ,dead, furry animal) telling him you wont be holidaying on his small island as you dont feel safe- in view of the long standing lax attitude to rape and sexual assaults there and the other more recent cases of murder last August .

    Oh well , i m not losing any sleep. I can take care of myself.

    How do you do quotes on here BTW?

  127. I’m very glad you asked about the quotes insomniac as it makes it more difficult to read posts without them. However, it’s 3am. Allow me to get back to you.

  128. Insomnia,

    Looks like I’ve let you down again! Let’s go through your last mega-post with my finest of toothcombs and see if we can’t thrash it out once and for all. I’ll be careful not to miss any of those tricky question marks too.

    1) Deterence, No – not totally agreed! Read it all and K s points about crimes such as those in my previous 1st link. In that case the time served for murder/manslaughter turned out to be 12 out of a 25 year sentence. Likely prison time for abduction and sexual assault/ rape was 7 years served out of 14. Wasn’t it worth them killing the victim and risking the extra 5 years if they thought they could get clean away with it.

    This is a curious point. You seem to be changing the argument from one about the validity of the death penalty to one about the failings of the system of imprisonment. It may well be true that people get off lightly with their custodial sentences, and that greater consistency and firmer sentencing is required, but this does nothing to tackle the arguments for or against capital punishment.

    Its better to be known as a killer than a sex offender in prison and for future employment purposes (assuming these 3 even have criminal records recorded against them in the UK). The more and worse things you do the relatively less time you serve because lesser offences, ie kidnap, rape you then serve that time concurrently alongside the time for the killing itself- not consecutively as would be appropriate.

    Again, you seem to be having a different conversation with me here. I don’t remember saying that custodial sentences were fine and dandy or that they weren’t in need of revision. Can we stay on the page please?

    Why dont you just accept that sometimes there is such a thing as an economically rational crime/ criminal instead of generalising that ALL such types are sociopathic?

    The point I was trying to make is that those who kill without compunction or compassion, and those who do without worrying about the circumstances are sociopaths. By that I mean a person “whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience” (American Psychological Institute). I can accept that some people kill in cold blood as the result of calm, collected consideration, but the fact that they have no moral obligation to killing someone suggests sociopathic tendencies. More so, in fact, than those who kill on the spur of the moment and completely out of character. However, despite your comments about how you believe that our custodial system will let these calculating killers off the hook (I presume this is the reason for your sentencing comments) this still doesn’t provide any evidence that it is a deterrent, or that the deterrent it might offer trumps the other concerns I have – specifically the moral dimension, the hypocrisy and the potential for executing innocents.

    2) Do you think John Charles De Menezes was a ‘regretable but inevitable consequence of war’? How about those targeted by the IRA? If these were all ‘war casualties’ couldn’t the same be said regarding those killed as part of the ‘Global War Against Murder’ (G.W.A.M.) as the innocent deaths in T.W.A.T

    Again, this is not really anything to do with the validity of the death sentence, but I’ll humour you anyway. I think that the death of John Charle De Menezes was a regrettable result of a police force who were pumped up by the politics of fear, which had been mercilessly exploited by their superiors and the government. The IRA are terrorist murderers, pure and simple. I don’t agree that they are ‘war casualties’, but if the only way of stopping a terrorist from letting off a bomb was to shoot him, then I would have no problems with that. Before you start get excited, the issue here is preventing a criminal from killing. If we arrest and imprison someone, we achieve the same result. In certain life-and-death situations, we don’t have the luxury of this measured solution, so the bad guy must be ‘taken down’.

    I believe that justice has presently ceased to exist inside my country and that some killing, though regretable, is probably inevitable and neccessary to restore a fear of the decent majority in the hearts of the ‘evil-doers’.

    Again, you keep attacking my failure to address your concerns, but you and Newmania have totally failed to address mine. Yes, I know you think that making the bad guys face the ultimate punishment means you are tough and no-nonsense, but you have done nothing to tackle my points about the hypocrisy or the dehumanizing effects of capital punishment, or the possibility that innocents might be executed. I suppose that, in theory, the death pentaly might deter a murderer or two, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons of any system. After all, if we placed the whole country under house arrest, there would be virtually no crime at all. But would that be an acceptable option?

    3) How many appeals would you grant then?

    You’re begging the question here. Your question assumes that I favour the death sentence and that we are arguing over how many appeals the condemned should be allowed. I can’t answer this question without incriminating myself. It’s like asking me, “have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

    Don’t you make any distinction between innocent life and people guilty of horrendous crimes being ‘spoon fed’ in jail? Do you think the fiends mentioned in my links above deserve equal or greater human rights than the innocent children in poor countries denied life, clean water and eyesight?

    This is a false dichotomy. You are implying that the Third World is suffering because we don’t have the death penalty in Britain. Our failure to execute a murderer is not condemning a starving African to death anymore than the money spent on a youth centre does. Keeping criminals banged up is an essential use of public money. By your logic, we should kill off as many people as possible to save lives in developing countries. That is a cretinous comparison, frankly. Charity only cures the symptoms of poverty, not the cause.

    Is that because they are ‘our boys’ and ‘charity begins at home’ for you? IS TAYLES THE DEVIL? (Newmania)- perhaps.

    That comment is beneath contempt and has no place in a grown-up discussion. Frankly, you and Newmania should be ashamed of yourselves. My views on Third World aid are based on a genuine desire to give them progress and development, not turn them into a medieval heritage centre or maintain their lifestyle as part of some ‘ethical’ (i.e. mean-spirited, pseudo-Marxist) campaign against wealth and progress. You think that poor Africans choose to live primitively? They want to enjoy the rewards of a modern, prosperous society too. My views are born out of real compassion, not the self-serving or misguided conspicuous compassion that drives popular charity causes nowadays. They need capitalism and self-sufficiency, not patronizing liberal guilt. You can stick your wristbands where the sun don’t shine.

    We re not talking about people not convicted here. Just people convicted and let out early. Are you happy with that? Personally, i think if they scraped the whole probation service and made the offenders do all their original sentence we could nt be any worse off than we are now in terms of reoffending and would probably be better off

    Again, you’re going off topic. See my points above.

    So do you think 70 year old triple cop-killer Harry Roberts should be released, for example?

    Actually my comments answered this question indirectly, although you failed to realize that. If he still posed an obvious threat to society, then don’t release him. If he has served his time and is no longer a threat, release him.

    You also didnt answer my point about how much additional income tax you would pay if life did mean life for murderers.

    If life did mean life it would obviously pose new questions. Some murderers commit their crimes in the most desperate or confused situations. Many feel terrible contrition and, while they deserve to be jailed, they can probably be rehabilitated into society at a later stage having spent a large part of their lives inside and without posing a threat. On this basis, the only criminals who would be sent down for all-life sentences would be the nastiest pieces of work – probably those who would be executed under your preferred system. To get an upper estimate of how many people we might have on death row in this country were capital punishment reintroduced, allow me to indulge in some primitive maths. In the USA, there are about 3300 prisoners on death row. America has five times our population, so if we pro rata that figure to our own, we would end up with a figure of 660. The USA has about 3 times our murder rate, so if we divide that figure by 3, we end up with 220. I’m feeling generous, so let’s round that up to 300. But let’s say that we are stricter than other countries, and double that figure to 600. This is about 10% of the lifers in this country. At a rate of £37,000 each, the cost of keeping those 600 prisoners is £22.2 million per year. Divided between Britain’s 29.4 million taxpayers, that’s 76 pence per person per year to keep these men locked up. I don’t think that’s bad value for money. And before you start repeating your point about how it could be spent better, please refer to my earlier comments.

    So from your responses (or lack of) i conclude you are defending the present status quo and not merely opposing the DS whatever the crime.

    Well of course I am! My principles on the matter agree with the status quo, so I am, in effect, defending it. What a totally inane point.

    And that is your problem Tayles. Whereas i would be willing to compromise, to drop the restoration of the DS and put up with higher taxes if a life sentence was made to mean what it says, you think the system is as good as it could reasonably be or you re not prepared to pay more income tax to improve it.

    Sentencing someone to death is a pretty absolute resolution, and if I find it objectionable, there’s not much room for flexibility. If I conceded that certain crimes deserve death, then my whole stance would become a sham. I am just remaining as consistent as possible. Any why are you still banging on about custodial sentences as if that was part of our original debate?

    You are a Conservative Tayles- you defend the tyranny of the status quo!

    If I agree with the status quo, then I will defend it. I’m sure there are plenty of issues that represent the status quo that you also agree with, and I doubt you view them as a tyranny. On other issues, I am a radical. I find it amusing, however, that you consider a state that doesn’t execute its citizens as a tyranny!

    P.S. I think you meant to say earlier that you tried to become an officer in the Navy. Maybe you should have tried the Royal Greenjackets. I hear they re crying out for recruits!

    I’m a bit old for the military now, but thanks for the tip.

    I have replied again at length to Tayles because he attempted to answer most of my points and has even shown contrition and under those circumstances i can be a very forgiving man.

    How noble of you. I am honoured.

    The way to discuss (Tayles) is to answer every time you see a question mark , then others can move the discussion along without having to constantly repeat themselves.

    Duuuhhh, thanks boss. Me not understand.

    You (Newmania) explain more eloquently and are a faster typer than me so i ll think i ll leave Tayles to you in future.

    Run out of arguments? Bless.

    BTW. Why not post that link you mentioned? Is it because it would delay your post .

    Which link was that?

  129. Going back to the article.
    As Boris said Britain is against the death penalty and so it is illegal (or so I assume-corret me if I am wrong) for Britain to send a person to a country where they will face execution. So where does Blair stand from a legal point of view since he has argued that he went to war with the intention of making saddam stand trial and made no attmpts to ensure the death penalty was used. Surely that is against our constitution or laws. If Saddam had managed to escape to the UK we would have been able able to send him back to Iraq for trial unless we were certain he would not face the death penalty. Surely Blair should be made to answer why he failed to do this.

  130. < Surely that is against our constitution or laws (k)<

    Actually the European Convention on Human Rights outlaws the death penalty with the exception of ‘times of war’.

  131. He was a prisoner of war when the US captured him, but they turned him over to the Iraqi authorities as a wanted murderer. The Genenva Convention hasn’t been updated since 1949. To my knowledge there is no provision that precludes the capturing forces from handing POW’s over to a foreign government who might subject them to trial for other crimes and subsequently the death penalty. It’s the European Convention and our Human Rights Act that would stop us from doing it. Theorectically if Bin-Laben turned up in Birmingham, and the US wanted him to ride the lightening, we wouldn’t be allowed to extradite him.

  132. That comment is beneath contempt and has no place in a grown-up discussion. Frankly, you and Newmania should be ashamed of yourselves.?

    What did I do to earn the dark one`s displeasure?I don`t really think you are the devil incaranate Tayles…

    “If I conceded that certain crimes deserve death, then my whole stance would become a sham.”

    That is an interesting admission actually. A lot of people would claim that although justice is served by the death penalty , or might be on occassion , for other reasons it wasnt either workable or desirable. I have mentioned many myself . the most important would be

    1 The affect on the punisher and those who by proxy ,kill.
    2 The possibility of miscarriage
    3 The danger of the state misusing the power in the future
    4 The expense
    5 A general dislike of nastiness (?)

    Few would claim that solely in the interests of Justice, death is not the only possible punishment for crimes one might conceive of. Most of these have been committed.

    One innocent person is dead and his survivors are injured .One guilty person gets out and is very much alive

    The guilty person is far better off than the innocent one and that is not justice.The murder may be multiple or aggravated , take your pick.

  133. I don`t really think you are the devil incaranate Tayles… (newmania)

    Then why did you say so? It really is, as Tayles said, beneath contempt.

  134. Yes thats right Idlex my allegation that tayles was the ..” cloven hooved , pointy tailed , black tongued devil.”was entirely serious…?

    Are you ?

    I do hope not

  135. Newmania-
    I dont see why the Tayles / Idlex axis should take such offence unless they really believe in him,as apparently 2/3 of Americans do!

    K
    On the points related to the link before , did you see the lead news item tonight? You could nt make it up!

  136. It’s when the hunger or the homelessness or the loneliness of someone else becomes something that I feel for myself as an affront – something that makes me less of a person.
    Archbishop of Canterburry

    Yet again in my perpetual fight with EVILS I couldnot access my weblog to publish these impressing words in my space.

  137. Tayles- you say
    1) “You seem to be changing the argument from one about the validity of the death penalty to one about the failings of the system of imprisonment.It may well be true that people get off lightly with their custodial sentences, and that greater consistency and firmer sentencing is required”
    but then ” My principles on the matter agree with the status quo, so I am, in effect, defending it. What a totally inane point.”

    So you still don’t neccesarily accept that anything needs to be changed do you?. Despite there being final results, like those in the 2 links i posted, almost every week in the papers (sorry if this marks me down as a tabloid reading moron in your eyes). But tell me how you would improve the system and achieve that greater firmness and consistency of sentencing with these untouchable judges then. I m all ears.

    “….Again, you seem to be having a different conversation with me here. ”

    Maybe the discussion has moved on because you responded to my earlier points. We actually wandered off the topic of Saddam Hussein a while ago. Does nt mean i ve conceded anything- just agreed to differ.

    2) Still not sure you ve quite got my point. I ll grant you the law of armed conflict allows for the forseen killing of civilians as a side effect of aiming at a military target, as long as proportionality of force is observed. But this was not a defensive war but a ‘war of choice’, its what used to be called ‘waging a war of aggression’. The invasion of Iraq was not such a’ life and death’ situation for this country’s residents.I think that innocent lives were traded off over there for ‘the greater good of us all’ just as they might be if we executed the wrong person at home. ‘The War on Terror’ is just a convenient label to allow politicians to be able to get away with what they would not normally get away with in peace time.eg De Menezes shooting. The big boys make the rules. Legally the deaths in Iraq might be different – morally i dont think there is much difference between most of the civilian deaths caused by us there and any innocent on the gallows here ( sod the guilty ones). Would you be as supportive if Blair announced a domestic ‘War on Murder’ tomorrow and declared ‘the rules of the game have changed- we ll now shoot on sight all suspected murderers in London.’?

    “Any why are you still banging on about custodial sentences as if that was part of our original debate?”

    To make the point below and as i said its moved on.

    ME”Whereas i would be willing to compromise, to drop the restoration of the DS and put up with higher taxes if a life sentence was made to mean what it says, you think the system is as good as it could reasonably be or you re not prepared to pay more income tax to improve it.”

    Glad to see you ll pay all of 75p a year to keep some dangerous blokes locked up for longer. That does nt seem to be physically possible at the moment so i m not as optimistic of the numbers as you. (Why do we always make the comparisons with the US anyway, with its gun culture, generally much longer custodial sentences than here, and constitutional rights obsessions. Why never how the DS works in Japan or Singapore?)

    “My views on Third World aid are based on a genuine desire to give them progress and development, not turn them into a medieval heritage centre or maintain their lifestyle as part of some ‘ethical’ (i.e. mean-spirited, pseudo-Marxist) campaign against wealth and progress. You think that poor Africans choose to live primitively? They want to enjoy the rewards of a modern, prosperous society too. My views are born out of real compassion, not the self-serving or misguided conspicuous compassion that drives popular charity causes nowadays. They need capitalism and self-sufficiency, not patronizing liberal guilt. You can stick your wristbands where the sun don’t shine.”

    I dont ever wear wristbands – not really keen on any type of jewellry. I find such displays decadent and vulgar.I m all for promoting self reliance in Africa but while we just sit back and wait for capitalism to take root out there they ll just have to keep dying and going blind as you prefer to spend your 75p pa on Jeremy Bamber’s next appeal and Ian Huntley’s food bills than on some wells being dug. Some compassionate Conservative you are!

    And whats all this claptrap about pseudo-marxists. I prefer the traditional ones. At least Uncle Joe would know what to do with those pseudos and you too-Tayles!
    “Run out of arguments? Bless”

    No – But this is more of a a typing contest!
    I may not have been privileged to have honed my debating skills at the Oxford Union, like the Tory toffs, but i still think i d thrash your scaley tale in a stand up one-on-one.

    “Which link was that?”
    I meant Newmania’s

  138. So you still don’t neccesarily accept that anything needs to be changed do you? Tell me how you would improve the system and achieve that greater firmness and consistency of sentencing with these untouchable judges then. Maybe the discussion has moved on because you responded to my earlier points.

    It does look like we’ve wandered off topic, but you took us there when you began complaining about the inconsistent and feeble sentencing in this country. I wholeheartedly agree with you that this is a problem and we need to toughen things up. Perhaps we can discuss the best way of achieving this elswhere. But you invoked this point as an argument in favour of the death penalty. In other words: unless we hang ’em, they’re getting off scott free. You seem to be implying that my objection to capital punishment is based, in part, on the understanding that the current alternatives are sufficiently harsh to preclude its need, and that if you expose the weaknesses of sentencing in Britain you are advancing the case for the death penalty. Furthermore, you are suggesting that imposing the death penalty will compensate for the deficiencies in sentencing. Obviously it’s worth pointing out that, should it exist, only a tiny percentage of criminals would face death, so its enforcement would still leave the rest of the justice system in disarray. But the real reason why this is a redundant point is that my objection to capital punishment is not based on an assumption that current sentencing is adequate. If anything, your argument is self defeating, since it implies that if tougher sentences were imposed, your reason for supporting capital punishment would cease to exist.

    The invasion of Iraq was not such a ‘life and death’ situation for this country’s residents. I think that innocent lives were traded off over there for ‘the greater good of us all’ just as they might be if we executed the wrong person at home.

    Your point assumes that I was in favour of the invasion of Iraq, which is not necessarily so. If the dodgy dossiers were true and the Western world was under imminent threat of attack, there might have been a case for invading. After all, we couldn’t have just arrested the Iraqi regime and dragged them through the courts. However, we can do this in society. When a murderer is caught, he is locked away ‘for the greater good of us all’. This way there is no need to risk executing an innocent. Besides, the talk of needlessly trading off the lives of innocent people at home in order to maintain the image of a tough justice system nauseates me. I suppose you would happily be dragged to the gallows in the knowledge that your death is a helpful part of the propaganda war against crime? It just goes to show that your support for capital punishment is nothing to do with the sanctity of human life; it is a fundamentally misanthropic and sadistic desire to see those who displease you expunged from the earth.

    ‘The War on Terror’ is just a convenient label to allow politicians to be able to get away with what they would not normally get away with in peace time.eg De Menezes shooting. The big boys make the rules.

    Again, this is nothing to do with our conversation about the death penalty. For what it’s worth, though, I think creating a climate of fear gives politicians a sense of purpose and authority that they otherwise lack nowadays.

    Morally i dont think there is much difference between most of the civilian deaths caused by us there and any innocent on the gallows here. Would you be as supportive if Blair announced a domestic ‘War on Murder’ tomorrow and declared ‘the rules of the game have changed – we ll now shoot on sight all suspected murderers in London.’?

    Once more, you’re assuming that I think that invading Iraq was a great idea, that the War on Terror is a legitimate crusade and that the circumstances of war are the same as those in a civil society back home. The point here is that in war there is virtually no way of avoiding innocent deaths – although our forces show more care in avoiding them than some do. The same cannot be said for life back home. If we can avoid killing innocents, we should do so. One of the reasons we should be willing to go to war is to fight for a way of life that respects human dignity and the sanctity of life. We fight to restore peace and bring about a state of affairs in which these principles can be observed.

    Whereas i would be willing to compromise, to drop the restoration of the DS and put up with higher taxes if a life sentence was made to mean what it says, you think the system is as good as it could reasonably be or you re not prepared to pay more income tax to improve it.

    See my earlier comments. I never said that I thought that the current sentencing situation was perfect. It needs toughening up for sure, but you must totally misunderstand my principles if you think that there might be circumstances under which I would consider the death penalty as a means of doing this. I see capital punishment as state sanctioned murder, not a kind of lifestyle faux pas or some wacky policy that I’d rather avoid. Trying to get me to soften my stance on the basis that the current prison system is in chaos or by drawing comparisons with deaths in combat simply implies that I am insufficiently tolerant of murder.

    Glad to see you ll pay all of 75p a year to keep some dangerous blokes locked up for longer.

    Try to imagine some issue on which you cannot imagine compromising. For instance, your right not to be tortured by your neighbour. I don’t imagine that’s as issue you see much room for manoeuvre on. I suspect that wre you to contemplate the means of dealing with your sadistic neighbour, one of the options you probably wouldn’t consider is letting him to pop round occasionally with his drill and pliers. And if you had to fork out money to ensure that his power tools never got close to your body, this probably wouldn’t change your mind either. This would appear to be money well spent, and I don’t imagine that you would think of it in terms of denying Africans a dose of medicine or a square meal. By your rationale, however, any money in Britain that isn’t spent on the grim business of survival is a decadent waste and should be sent overseas. Your comparison is at best disingenuous and at worst witless.

    That does nt seem to be physically possible at the moment so i m not as optimistic of the numbers as you.

    If you have particular principles on something, you can’t just sell them down the river because you don’t foresee an alternative resolution. I’ve got two for you: build more prisons, and get prisoners working again to pay their way.

    I dont ever wear wristbands – not really keen on any type of jewellry.

    Well bully for you.

    I m all for promoting self reliance in Africa but while we just sit back and wait for capitalism to take root out there they ll just have to keep dying and going blind as you prefer to spend your 75p pa on Jeremy Bamber’s next appeal and Ian Huntley’s food bills than on some wells being dug. Some compassionate Conservative you are!

    This is an extremely short-sighted take on things. India, China and much of the South East Asia are dragging themselves out of abject misery by embracing capitalism and establishing property rights. Yes, it is not as easy road, but the price is worth it.

    And whats all this claptrap about pseudo-marxists. I prefer the traditional ones. At least Uncle Joe would know what to do with those pseudos and you too-Tayles!

    So you’re calling for my imprisonment in a gulag or perhaps my summary execution now? By pseudo-Marxist, I mean that there are plenty of apparently well-meaning causes, such as environmentalism, animal rights and charity organisations, whose motivation is, in fact, the same hatred of power and success shared by Marxists (Jeremy Clarkson alludes to this quite amusingly here and here). By extension, they have come to loathe the rich, the West, and finally mankind itself. Look beyond the excruciating sincerity and you will see the same veneration of mediocrity and low horizons, and the vilification of aspiration and excellence. Remember those kids that were bullied at school? They’re getting their own back.

    I may not have been privileged to have honed my debating skills at the Oxford Union, like the Tory toffs, but i still think i d thrash your scaley tale in a stand up one-on-one.

    I’m not sure if you’re accusing me of being a toff, but it’s an amusing accusation if you are. I didn’t go to university, let alone Oxbridge; and I’ve never been on a debating society in my life. Considering the wonky logic, argumentative gaffes, curious tangents, hapless question-begging and petulant name-calling that you have displayed here, I don’t think you’d need me to show you up in a proper debate. You’d do that yourself.

  139. Getting very emotional aren’t you Tayles ?I don1t do that a lot myself still… quite exciting

    TAYLES Said -Try to imagine some issue on which you cannot imagine compromising. For instance, your right not to be tortured by your neighbour

    I take it that this at bottom is where you sit Tayles and the problem with this is that you have also said ….

    “If I conceded that certain crimes deserve death, then my whole stance would become a sham.”

    So you feel it should be a perpetual and non negotiable right not to be killed on behalf of the courts as an expression of justice arrived at through due process. Unless you are going to be perversely obsessed with argufying then you must accept that this must on occasion be a dreadful injustice to the victim. Innocent, killed..and who knows perhaps tortured and abused over years …these are real cases. The guilty person merely sits in prison and there is no reasonable balance which is what we take justice to be.

    You have said this is revenge , as if justice might not include revenge. It is revenge but it is also more than revenge, for reasons I have examined at length previously. Some people would say I admit the victim and the family have suffered a grievous injustice and it isn1t good that we care more about the guilty than the innocent however the death penalty raises great difficulties.

    I summarised them as follows

    1 The affect on the punisher and those who by proxy ,kill.
    2 The possibility of miscarriage (of justice)
    3 The danger of the state misusing the power in the future
    4 The expense
    5 A general dislike of nastiness (?)
    6 The difficulty of weighing the right balance of crime and punishment

    So there is line to be drawn for these reason even if you accept , as I do , that theoretically there is no reasons why “torture” or corporal punishment , to put it less emotively might not be a reasonable judicial option.( I am against it for a combination of points 1,2 and specifically 6.)So I accept there is a line , a point at which stop because of the points above.
    The problem of balance disappears in the case of aggravated and cruel murder , for example as the punishment , death , is so much less than the crime.

    What is frustrating about the way you have argued this point is that you are determined not to accept that a problem exists if you do not have capital punishment , when it self evidently does. Someone like Boris would agree with what I say and yet be “anti” because of the sort of these problems (especially 2 actually). You go a great deal further and claim , apparently , that a monstrous crime can be adequately punished by a civilised sentence. It cannot.

    Your general theme is anti state and libertarian and that is why I generally agree with you . You perceive this “state murder ” as you , if I may say so, absurdly ,describe it , to be illiberal but , freedom is not an easy conceopt to apply when a persons right to be untortured and alive has already been removed by an evil man..
    I do not find being anti capital punishment a ridiculous point of view . I do find your reason for doing is ill-considered. You absolutely point blank refuse to admit there is moral problem means that you do not understand the implications of this debate .

    This following is not essential to the capital punishment argument but bears on strands of opinion that often accompany it .

    The death sentence is symbolic of retaining the focus of the courts on “justice” and refusing to accept the tempting claims of ease convenience , “humanity” rehabilitation and so on. Obviously there is a place for these considerations as I have accepted but I have come to think we have gone to far. The courts are a joke the penal system a holiday and the victim an uncomfortable embarrassment . Interestingly, the sort of Liberal wooliness that accepts this elephant in the living room is not Tayles. Your problem comes from a dogmatic notion of Libertarianism.

    Strange isn`t it that the state is the body which has removed capital punishment against the consistently expressed wishes of the people.

    Oh sorry for the grammar and so on if onkly Ruth kelly had been my mother eh ?

  140. Getting very emotional aren’t you Tayles

    On the contrary, I’ve been remarkably calm and logical. Although the foam is clearly visible at poor old Insomnia’s lips. It’s just getting a bit tiresome having to bat away accusations that are irrelevant to my argument.

    So you feel it should be a perpetual and non negotiable right not to be killed on behalf of the courts as an expression of justice arrived at through due process.

    That’s right.

    Unless you are going to be perversely obsessed with argufying then you must accept that this must on occasion be a dreadful injustice to the victim. Innocent, killed..and who knows perhaps tortured and abused over years …these are real cases. The guilty person merely sits in prison and there is no reasonable balance which is what we take justice to be.

    This is a bizarre point of view, but I’m guessing that this is the point that I am apparently failing to comprehend or respond to, so I’ll do my damnedest to answer it for you. If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that if it is unjust for a murderer to kill an innocent person, then a failure to mete out equal punishment to the killer demonstrates a similar lack of justice. Obviously killing someone constitutes a ‘dreadful injustice to the victim’. They’ve had their life taken against their will and what could be more unjust than that? However, the reason that I find you point bizarre is that it tacitly accepts that taking a human life is a terribly unjust act; so by extension it should be equally unjust to take another in response. This is the hypocrisy that I spoke about. Far from refuting my point, your call for revenge only confirms its veracity.

    You have said this is revenge, as if justice might not include revenge. It is revenge but it is also more than revenge, for reasons I have examined at length previously. Some people would say I admit the victim and the family have suffered a grievous injustice and it isn1t good that we care more about the guilty than the innocent however the death penalty raises great difficulties.

    Capital punishment is revenge, but then so is imprisonment in a way. However, by enforcing a humane notion of justice our society is demonstrating that it takes law and order seriously, while upholding principles above those of the savages that deserve to be behind bars.

    I accept there is a line, a point at which stop. The problem of balance disappears in the case of aggravated and cruel murder, for example as the punishment, death, is so much less than the crime.

    So what you’re saying here is that it is the intent rather than the act of taking a life which constitutes the crime? To coldly execute a murderer is justice, but to beat an old lady to death is a crime. I think you’ve touched on the real disagreement between us here. I think that taking a life where it can be avoided is morally reprehensible, whereas you are all for it in the name of balancing the books.

    What is frustrating about the way you have argued this point is that you are determined not to accept that a problem exists if you do not have capital punishment , when it self evidently does. Someone like Boris would agree with what I say and yet be “anti” because of the sort of these problems (especially 2 actually). You go a great deal further and claim, apparently, that a monstrous crime can be adequately punished by a civilised sentence. It cannot.

    Newmania, you are totally misunderstanding me. This is what’s getting me frustrated: a total failure to see where I’m coming from. I am not saying that our judicial system is perfect; nor am I implying that there isn’t a chance that capital punishment might provide a deterrent in some cases. And I’m sure that there are some unforgiving folk out there who won’t rest easy until the killer of their loved one is put to death. I don’t think that capital punishment would be okay if we could overcome a few practical problems; I think that capital punishment is state sanctioned murder. Calling for me to soften my stance and accept that, under the right circumstances, the death penalty is a sensible option is simply accusing me of being insufficiently tolerant of murder. To change my mind, you have to prove to me that capital punishment is, in fact, the moral equivalent of putting someone behind bars. The fact that the murder victim’s loved ones haven’t had their pound of flesh is irrelevant. Their suffering doesn’t make them experts in jurisprudence or the effectiveness of prison; and I don’t think their impartiality and emotion is the right basis on which to recommend suitable punishment. Justice should be fair, humane and blind. And incidentally, I don’t think the idea that having no death penalty is ‘self-evidently’ creating problem. The idea that it would be a cure-all cure is ridiculous.

    Your general theme is anti state and libertarian and that is why I generally agree with you. You perceive this “state murder” as you , if I may say so, absurdly, describe it to be illiberal but freedom is not an easy concept to apply when a persons right to be untortured and alive has already been removed by an evil man.

    Yes, and two wrongs don’t make a right. You cannot simultaneously revile and practice barbarity without being a hypocrite.

    You absolutely point blank refuse to admit there is moral problem means that you do not understand the implications of this debate.

    I think I’ve mentioned this above. You think that when someone is killed, the only way of assuaging the moral outrage and emotional pain that follows is to kill the wrong-doer. You keep accusing me of being blind to your point, but you are yet to explain this contradiction of principles.

    Oh sorry for the grammar

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Several generations have been betrayed by the liberal left in this country. Our schools have fulfilled the liberal educators’ every dream, abandoning educational achievement as their goal and systematically replacing it with nurturing self-esteem, leaving pupils unaware of their own ignorance. I did not go to university, but I was lucky enough to enjoy a private education, which did at least instill the notion of knowledge for its own sake, rather than the ‘instrumentalist’ approach of the modern left.

  141. “To coldly execute a murderer is justice, but to beat an old lady to death is a crime. I think you’ve touched on the real disagreement between us here. I think that taking a life where it can be avoided is morally reprehensible”

    So if it is wrong to take the life of a person who has chosen to take a life and thereby chosen to risk the death penalty (those who are mentally incapable do not recieve the death penalty)then by your own reasoning it is also wrong to allow a mentally capable person the right to choose to refuse medical treatment, or in fact do anything that might kill them. Should we also make suicide illegal, after all committing suicide is taking a life, the differrence is the victim has a choice.

    While I disagree with the death penalty for the reasons that newmania stated, I do believe it would solve the problem of deterring a criminal who has already committed a crime against their victim from murdering the victim in order to get away with the initial crime such as rape or sexual assult. I think IDS pondering bringing back the death penalty for child murderers for this very reason, the difference in the prison term for raping a child and murdering and raping a child is very little and only encourages murder. In the case we have mentioned above three fully trained british soldiers got twelve years (in a cypriot court , but the british government fought hard for such a low term) for kidnapping, gang raping and hacking to death a girl they had never met before where as a man in briton was recently told he must serve a MINIMUM of eleven and a bit years for raping two prostitutes. This sort of disparity is very common and only encourages murder of rape and sexual assult victims. However as tayles has said this problem could easily be addressed with a review of custodial sentances. I favour life in solitary confinment for the most sadistic murders.

  142. “This is a bizarre point of view” – No it isn’t ?

    “but I’m guessing that this is the point that I am apparently failing to comprehend or respond to,”

    Yes it is central point of justice .Without that you cannot proceed clearly to discuss the Justice system and it is with huge relief I wring at least that out of you.

    ” you are saying is that if it is unjust for a murderer to kill an innocent person, then a failure to mete out equal punishment to the killer demonstrates a similar lack of justice.”

    Well I would want to be a little more subtle about it than that , ( and this is old ground again), buts lets say when the crime is disproportionate to the punishment then there has been an injustice. Would you put a rapist on the naughty step for an hour .Of course not .Chemical castration? Perhaps that’s going to far, thus we decide through the process of evolving jurisprudence an approximation to impersonal justice. That is why it is not revenge and obviously this proportion is something without which we can make no sense of punishment at all. In fact this concept is indeed buckling beneath the weight of “empathy” distaste social convenience, and so on , but I digress…..

    “Obviously killing someone constitutes a ‘dreadful injustice to the victim’. They’ve had their life taken against their will and what could be more unjust than that?”

    Ooo I don`t know , terror torture sexual abuse starvation over along period finally death and many times ? There are many worse things than death and given that we are no immortal that is a handy fact.

    ” However, the reason that I find you point bizarre is that it tacitly accepts that taking a human life is a terribly unjust act; so by extension it should be equally unjust to take another in response”

    Really?
    And here is where you go , most obviously , awry. It is telling that in your version of the equation it is necessary to treat the victim and the perpetrator as if they were equivalent. Can you see that there us a difference between a guilty murderer and an innocent victim? Let us hope so although there is no evidence of it . Kidnap is wrong, Imprisonment for kidnap is not would you accept that ? I think you do admit it so you do accept this notion of proportion that is what we call justice. Then as we can imagine many crimes, for which this sense of “proportion” cannot possibly be met by a stretch at Butlins . It follows that justice can , on occasion only be served by capital punishment .

    Now I have already admitted difficulties of a conceptual and practical kind varying from this simple idea but there seems little point in reiterating. You feel , that execution following due process is the same as murder. You say it would be “it should be equally unjust to take another in response” . You do not see any difference at all.

    This strangely cockeyed equation of victims with criminals is not one I you would apply, I hope , in the case of fraud or some less unpleasant crime. No doubt you would want to sentence to reflect the suffering knowingly inflicted on others . Perhaps not but I hope so . I must assume then that you think there is some peculiar horror associated with the taking of a life which requires you to abandon the views you might normally hold . That the guilty should be justifiably punished in proportion for their crime. You feel that there is line to be drawn , I agree and would not support disfigurement or torture for example . . … You will not accept that there is anything to worry about in that we have, for whatever reasons, good or bad, abandoned or shall we say “adjusted ” the principle.

    My guess is that you are under the modern illusion of immortality and that the contemplation of death is something about which you are incapable of rational thought. It is simply to large a horror to think about .If you cannot think about it of course you will not be equipped to apply t justice in the caser of murder.
    ( Not that all murders are capital offences I am making a different point)

    It is also my guess that you are unlikely to admit to the growing doubts assailing you about the virtually indefensible spot you have pitched your tents in.

    I would prescibe a period of sollemn contemplation .After some years of reading and thinking you may attain the blisful state of understanding that I have be as clever as me . Then you will see that I am right.

    We`ll talk again in few years

  143. Crikey Newmania!

    Anyway folks – allow yourself to be introduced to BLOCKQUOTE. Remember that: blockquote As some systems just use ‘quote’ (and what’s the betting I get them mixed up?)

    Anyway: on this system you have to use the pointy brackets (next to the ‘M’ on my keyboard) but as they won’t show up in text I’ll use curly ones ‘{‘ and you just substitute pointy one’s.

    So the string you need to type to enclose quoted text will be:

    {blockquote}quoted text{/blockquote}
    Got it?

    and it should look something like this:

    My guess is that you are under the modern illusion of immortality and that the contemplation of death is something about which you are incapable of rational thought. It is simply to large a horror to think about .If you cannot think about it of course you will not be equipped to apply t justice in the caser of murder.

    This method can be used for bold: {b}text{/b} or italics {i}text{/i} etc. All you have to remember is to turn the formating on and off.

    Have a go but remember to use the Preview button first, before you post.

  144. If the only reason not to have the death penalty is because it is wrong to take a life then all forms of punishment must be stopped. Why is capital punishment murder yet arrest,imprisonment and fines are not kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail? Considering that hundreds of people are murdered each year by those who have served time for murder and “manslaughter” then the death penalty would have saved lives, even if it does not act as a deterrant, since it would most certainly have prevented the murderer from reoffending. Of course a system that somehow resembles justice would also solve the problem. The current system only enocurages vioence and by refusing to protect its people the British government is tap dancing on the edges of the european human rights act. This must change. We live in a country where even the prime minister openly disregards the law and faces no consequences, so how can we expect the uneducated thug predisposed to violence to stay within the law.

  145. So if it is wrong to take the life of a person who has chosen to take a life and thereby chosen to risk the death penalty then by your own reasoning it is also wrong to allow a mentally capable person the right to choose to refuse medical treatment, or in fact do anything that might kill them. – K

    The distinction here is that with murder and execution we’re talking about taking the life of another, as opposed to taking your own life. I’m actually undecided on the euthanasia issue, but if pressed on it I think I’d be opposed to it. On the one hand I support the freedom to do with your own life what you see fit, as long as it does no demonstrable harm to anyone else (outside of the grief it my cause loved ones, I suppose). On the other hand, euthanasia in particular cheapens and devalues human life. Everybody knows that doctors take humane measures to hasten death at the end, and we accept that individuals already are ‘free’ to die, since nobody can prevent a determined suicide. But asking the government to endorse voluntary euthanasia is another matter. This is not only about the individuals involved. However desperate some may feel, we should not give official approval to the notion that death is a solution to the problems of living.

    Even the most ‘responsible’ right-to-die organizations advocate suicide as a therapeutic answer to depression. Reports on the issue always confirm fear and depression, rather than pain, as the major role in assisted suicide requests. This is dangerous, but more than this euthanasia destroys the real, if abstract, values that connect us and make us human beings. Cowardice would become lionised as courage and the duty to make the most of what one has would become the duty to throw it away. The meaning of human life would be reduced to the physical, base animal instincts, trapped within the husk of the body. Human dignity would be reduced to bodily aestheticism.

    Should we also make suicide illegal, after all committing suicide is taking a life, the differrence is the victim has a choice.

    I thought it was illegal, although maybe I’m wrong. I wouldn’t want the government to endorse it by making it legal for the reasons above, but since you can’t legislate people into not attempting suicide it would be a bit pointless either way.

    While I disagree with the death penalty for the reasons that newmania stated, I do believe it would solve the problem of deterring a criminal who has already committed a crime against their victim from murdering the victim in order to get away with the initial crime such as rape or sexual assault.

    I can see the logic of this argument, but since my opposition to capital punishment is not based on its effectiveness as a deterrent, you will understand that I could never countenance this solution. Actually, overuse of the death penalty causes problems of its own. In the famous ‘Onion Field’ case of the 1960s a couple of guys kidnapped and killed a police office on the understanding that kidnapping was a capital crime.

  146. Tayles here is a question.
    If it was proven that the death penalty was a deterrant and a much greater deterant than life imprisonment and that no innocents would be mistakenly found guilty (this is hypothetical, so humour me here) would you support the death penalty?

    Surely, if you knew that hanging a convicted murderer would deter x amount of other would be murderers then to refuse to implement the death penalty would be knowingly allowing the murders of innocent men, women and children. Surely this would be putting our own morals above the sanctity of human life.

    using the sancity of human life issue against the death penalty is a tricky one because it assumes that guilt is not important. If, hypothetically, you were told you had to (you have no choice of refusing, again just humour me) kill either one individual or a group of five individuals then you would, I assume, pick the one individual since this would save the lives of four extra people. However, if you saw a gang of five people dragging an innocent person off the street (a child, say) to kill them and the only way to stop them was to kill all five of them, what would you do? Would you allow them to murder the innocent person in order that four extra lives could be saved, after all the sanctity of life and all that or would you kill all five in order to save the innocent?

  147. Newmania, you are hung up on this idea of proportion with regard to punishment. You seem to think that this is an irrefutable natural law, which trumps any objections I have to the death penalty. You accept that mutilating and torturing a criminal is unacceptable, but to kill them is fine and in proportion.

    Custodial sentencing has a sense of proportion too: murder carries a stiffer term of imprisonment than theft (or it should, at least). You may dismiss two decades in jail as a trip to Butlins, but that is more a call for prison reform rather than a case for capital punishment.

    It follows that justice can, on occasion only be served by capital punishment.

    You steadfastly refuse to understand my perspective. Let’s try a different angle. Urging me to accept that capital punishment is sometimes the only fitting punishment is like telling a vegetarian that eating turkey is the only way to do Christmas dinner. Does that help? If not how about this: it’s like asking a devout Christian to consider devil worship as a cure for their problems.

    In other words, no matter how much of good case you put for the death penalty being a proportional punishment, I ain’t buying it. And don’t expect an epiphany from me any time soon.

  148. Tayles here is a question.
    If it was proven that the death penalty was a deterrant and a much greater deterant than life imprisonment and that no innocents would be mistakenly found guilty?

    No more than I would support house arrest for everyone in Britain to ensure that little or no crime took place. My objections trump any potential benefits. I’m not trying to be some kind of pious prat here and I don’t have some illusion of immortality as Newmania suggested; I just want to live in a country where the government cannot deal out death to its wrong-doers.

    Everyone’s principles are for sale. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of any enterprise before coming to a conclusion. I could still have huge moral misgivings about something and acquiesce to it on the basis that its advantages outweighed its costs. However, there would have to be a truly astonishing and demonstrable benefit to the death penalty before I would budge on it. That, despite Newmania’s insistence, is not self-evident in this instance.

    If you saw a gang of five people dragging an innocent person off the street (a child, say) to kill them and the only way to stop them was to kill all five of them, what would you do?

    I’d kill them without a moment’s hesitation. This is the same situation as the police marksman who takes down a terrorist about to set off a bomb. If he doesn’t have the opportunity to arrest and detain them, there is no alternative. It’s regrettable, but what choice do you have? Contrary to Newmania’s suggestion, I can differentiate between the victim and the wrong-doer.

  149. Tayles,
    But surely if the death penalty was proven to be a detterant and there was no chance of innocents being found guilty then by refusing to implement it the government must be partly responible for dealing out the death penalty to hundreds of innocents.

  150. Dear Mr.Scaley Tayles (You old devil ),

    “It does look like we’ve wandered off topic, but you took us there when you began complaining about the inconsistent and feeble sentencing in this country. I wholeheartedly agree with you that this is a problem and we need to toughen things up. Perhaps we can discuss the best way of achieving this elswhere. “

    Glad you agree on that. Maybe, you could start another thread rather than clog up this one anymore.
    “your argument is self defeating, since it implies that if tougher sentences were imposed, your reason for supporting capital punishment would cease to exist.”

    Yes it would, if we could impose and make stick whole-life tariffs for every murderer of innocents.

    “Besides, the talk of needlessly trading off the lives of innocent people at home in order to maintain the image of a tough justice system nauseates me. I suppose you would happily be dragged to the gallows in the knowledge that your death is a helpful part of the propaganda war against crime? It just goes to show that your support for capital punishment is nothing to do with the sanctity of human life; it is a fundamentally misanthropic and sadistic desire to see those who displease you expunged from the earth.”

    Its nothing to do with image. I would nt happily volunteer to be ‘collateral damage’ in one of Blair’s wars either. Does that mean i have to be an absolute pacifist? If i harboured thoughts of ‘revenge’ against a sadistic murderer when i saw him walking early out of the prison gates whistling a merry tune would that make me momentarily as ‘evil’ as him?

    I think a lot of the arguing -past-each-other here occurs because you (and prob. Idlex) have a different conception of ‘evil’ from me (and maybe Newmania K etc). To you it is like some outside force that we all plug into from time to time- a religion based view, i think. To me there is no evil ( well social evils like poverty, yes) outside of what people choose to do in their lives ( humanist view?). Sometimes people reach a point of such malignancy and destructiveness that the rest of us decide they have to go- permanently, one way or another. I dont believe each life has equal sanctity, it depends whats been done with it.

    “Trying to get me to soften my stance on the basis that the current prison system is in chaos or by drawing comparisons with deaths in combat simply implies that I am insufficiently tolerant of murder.”

    To me you seem rather too tolerant of murder. Any legally sanctioned killing is not by definition murder (as you say wrt. Iraq.) But fair enough if you are an absolutist/fundamentalist on the DS. I never said it was good, just that i think it would generaly be the ‘lesser evil’ and preferable to the current situation.

    “Try to imagine some issue on which you cannot imagine compromising. For instance, your right not to be tortured by your neighbour. I don’t imagine that’s as issue you see much room for manoeuvre on. I suspect that wre you to contemplate the means of dealing with your sadistic neighbour, one of the options you probably wouldn’t consider is letting him to pop round occasionally with his drill and pliers. And if you had to fork out money to ensure that his power tools never got close to your body, this probably wouldn’t change your mind either. “

    If i had to deal with him i d definitely ‘get my retaliation in first’ and worry about the consequences later! But i think you are hinting that i am your sadistic neighbour. Well i would nt torture you or anyone else Tayles , even if you or the neighbour did it to me first.( Is that absolutist enough for you.?) I d just kill you (or him) after first giving a stern talking-to explaining why i (regretably) had to take that course of action. And, if you accuse me of being a foaming at the mouth sadist again i will come round and bite you!

    “India, China and much of the South East Asia are dragging themselves out of abject misery by embracing capitalism and establishing property rights. Yes, it is not as easy road, but the price is worth it.”

    Worth what price? In that of easily preventable child deaths today so that others can have ‘jam tomorrow’.

    “Considering the wonky logic, argumentative gaffes, curious tangents, hapless question-begging and petulant name-calling that you have displayed here, I don’t think you’d need me to show you up in a proper debate. You’d do that yourself.”

    If i ve wandered off the point its because i think your overall positions on these things are morally inconsistent and i ve been trying to get inside your thought processes ( not always an easy task ). You seem to want to restrict the terrain of the discussion purely to the question of the DS yes/no, right/wrong. You are probably used to winning the argument on that narrow point in your abstract philosophical way. I am talking ‘lesser evilism’ and trying to deal with the world as it is. This is not the Hutton enquiry. This DS discussion involves wider issues, as with the whole TWAT thing. But now at least you see how frustrating it is to try and answer my points and then have me wander off on a tangent without answering yours back.!

    “So you’re calling for my imprisonment in a gulag or perhaps my summary execution now? “

    I dont have a gulag to put you in Tayles. Regretably, extraordinary means may be the only ones available, so different rules apply in the early stages of the revolution!

    “I’m not sure if you’re accusing me of being a toff, but it’s an amusing accusation if you are. I didn’t go to university, let alone Oxbridge; and I’ve never been on a debating society in my life. “

    “I did not go to university, but I was lucky enough to enjoy a private education, which did at least instill the notion of knowledge for its own sake, rather than the ‘instrumentalist’ approach of the modern left.”

    Well bully for you then! I did nt do any of that.
    (except the instrumentalist bit unfortunately!)

    Heres your agenda.

    Tayles-“Remember those kids that were bullied at school? They’re getting their own back.”

    I m sorry you were bullied in private school Tayles. I ve heard a lot of it goes on there. So in the spirit of true Christian compassion and forgiveness (and because you have ground me down in the war of typing attrition ) I humbly offer you my other cheek for you to strike the final blow. ( Others can decide who ‘won’)

    JAQ- Thanks, I ll give that a go.

  151. Insomniac – you’re very welcome. But remember that using bold instead of blockquote is a bit like raising your voice. Not quite SHOUTING, but almost.

    Anyway, give it a go and if you get stuck, shout!

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