I would shed no tears if the two formerly British Jihadis who have wickedly wallowed in the obscenity of mindless murder were blown off the face of the earth, their ashes ground into dust and their souls cast into the pit of despair for eternity. I would have no qualms if they were shot by firing squads in Syria, perished in the heat of battle or died a painful death at the hands of the torturer.
But these are my gut and animal instincts born out of outrage and anger at the misery and horror that these two mutations of humanity took such joy. As someone who believes that the rule of law and due process is the cement that binds a civilised society I would not wish the state to facilitate the fate that my basest instincts desire. It is what separates us from them. It is that which makes us morally superior. It is what will make us victorious rather than vanquished.
I can see the dilemma that Javid faced. The public need to be assured that they will be protected from these sort of people. They need to understand that we don’t shoot first and ask questions later. They need to appreciate that we believe in due process and a fair trial for even the most flagrantly guilty. But deep down his inner Daily Mail knows that really they don’t. If these two monsters were released onto the streets of Barnsley they would be torn limb from limb and their bloodied remains paraded before the television cameras. Few would give much of a damn. A great day for British Justice. That’s if you prefer the rule of the mob to the rule of law. And if you think that I exaggerate, remember the crowds surrounding the prison van containing the two unspeakable children who murdered James Bulger. In your heart of hearts you know what would have happened if by some accident the van doors had swung open and those kids had fallen into the street.
I remember in the 1980’s the regular parliamentary debates on the death penalty. I won’t say hanging because some politicians helpfully put forward an interesting array of means of execution. One Tory backbencher, Peter Bruinvels, now a member of the Church of England Synod, was kind enough to offer his services as an executioner. These debates were depressing and unedifying spectacles. If we had a return to these grisly events under a Rees Mogg government I would expect to see Nadine Dorris doing her knitting whilst damp gussetly listening to a pro hanging speech by Boris. He would, of course, in his agony for the truth, written two different articles for the Telegraph.
Well, we abolished the death penalty in the early 1960s and the only thing that stops us re introducing it is the Human Rights Act, which Mr. Raab is very keen for us to repeal. Something to look forward to.
I am not going to argue the merit or otherwise of the death penalty, save to say that I have always voted against it despite my grand father being murdered when I was a child. Nobody is suggesting that Javid wants to restore it, although Priti Patel, that beacon of compassion, is very much in favour. The argument is whether he should have allowed the two Jihadis to be tried in an American court where the death penalty is available despite the conventions that we would only extradite if we had an assurance that there was not a chance of execution on conviction. It was an extraordinary and rather stupid decision because it actually puts British citizens at risk. The Jihadis relish martyrdom and they would be canonised by their followers. It would be portrayed as a heroes death and would be a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists. Martyrdom was always the most effective argument against the death penalty in the 80s because it would be a gift for PIRA.
Does anybody think these decisions through? Does anybody appreciate that the worst fate that we can offer these men is a lifetime in an Alabama jail? Answers on a postage stamp please.