Monday, 23 July 2018

The Death March Sounds Again

By a stroke of the pen, Sajid Javid unilaterally ends the United Kingdom's very long-established opposition to capital punishment abroad "in all circumstances as a matter of principle".

Of course, there could never be a Commons majority to bring it back here, and the oft-cited polling evidence on the public view of it is now rather out of date, because no one would think to ask the question anymore.

But those cheering this concession to the United States, would you take the same view of extradition to face the death penalty in, say, Saudi Arabia? You might not have long to wait in order to find out. A strikingly high number of the world's relatively few remaining outposts of this practice are allies, and indeed paymasters, of the British Political Class.

Look at the list of countries that are known to have carried out executions in 2016: China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, the United States, Somalia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Nigeria, Palestine (all in Hamas-controlled Gaza), Sudan, Botswana, Taiwan, North Korea, South Sudan, and Vietnam. In which of these do British conservatives think that they would fare well?

If your answer is "the United States", then you do not understand what it is to be a British conservative. Indeed, in my experience (and it is not negligible), American paleoconservatives who look to Burke and so on tend to be highly sceptical of capital punishment, and are often opposed to it "in all circumstances as a matter of principle".

In that, they are most unlike Clinton liberals, and they are most unlike the Clintons themselves. They know themselves to be a potentially executable minority. Don't you?

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