Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

The Death Penalty is just plain wrong

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The Government’s introduction of an e-Petition service is on the whole a good idea, as long as the public respect their MPs’ right to decide if the motion should be debated in the House of Commons or not.  We live in a representative democracy as opposed to a plebiscite democracy. Our views are important and the e-Petition service creates another conduit for our voices to be heard but having a referendum on every decision the Government makes is a recipe for disaster.

The launch of e-Petition today didn’t go very well as the servers (at least I hope there is more than one and it isn’t just a PC under some civil servant’s desk!) crashed as thousands of people tried to access the site.  But as a preamble to its launch today, Paul Staines of political blog order-order.com  had created a petition calling on the Government to restore the death penalty.  This would not be an easy thing to do as Britain is part of the EU and is bound by the Human Rights Act which prevents the use of capital punishment in member states.

I personally think leaving the EU would not be such a bad idea but it certainly would not be so we could re-introduce capital punishment.

I am thoroughly against the death penalty as no one has any right to take someone’s life (unless in war according to the rules of engagement) and especially not the State.  If we are to live in a civilised society, the first rule is you don’t kill your own citizens. Never. Full Stop.

Other countries which have the death penalty are Iran, North Korea, Syria and China.  Who wants to be in the same club as them?  Now, of course, some USA states also have capital punishment and they are wrong as well.  The US is a great country but its use of the death penalty is a blot on its character as a country.

I’ve signed the petition to retain the ban on capital punishment in our country and encourage you to do the same if you agree with me.

If the e-Petition asking MPs to find a legal way of restoring the death penalty (i.e. leave the EU, opt out of the Human Rights Act etc.) is allowed by the Backbencher’s Business Committee to be debated on the floor of the House of Commons then I hope primarily MPs reject it and secondly that the debate is widened to include  sentencing.  At present, for crimes other than murder and terrorist offences, the sentence passed down by the judge is not actually the sentence the criminal will serve. An automatic minimum 50% discount for good behaviour is applied.  Then there is the home detention curfew scheme which cuts the sentence even further. So, for example, prisoners can be released in a matter of 4 months after being given 16 months in jail by the judge.  That makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.  When we read about sentences such as 16 months handed down to convicted criminals, we should be assured they will serve every day.  Whatever your view on the numbers of months which should be served for a particular crime the deterrent effect is minimal at the moment as a direct result of the automatic early release schemes.

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

One thought on “The Death Penalty is just plain wrong

  1. It would be nice to have some sort of moderation system to remove duplication. At the moment there are 41 different petitions on the site pro or anti capital punishment: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/search?q=capital+punishmentI don't suppose any but the most dedicated are going to go through them all signing the ones they agree with.Overall this concerns me because, like you, I support our representative democracy. If pro-hangers do manage to force a debate as a result of their petition, and the proposed measures are then rejected by MPs, that will be spun so as to further weaken general popular confidence in the parliamentary system. There are already far too many people who are disaffected with and disengaged from political processes.Onyour other point, use of early release schemes seems to be dictated by finances as much as anything. Longer terms actually served would require larger prison capacity, and all the other associated costs of keeping a prisoner. Even if there is an improved deterrent effect reducing criminality in the future, this will take a while to come through. I suspect that in the current economic climate nothing can be done. (And I would add the associated point that such short prison terms also provide no opportunity for rehabilitation.)

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