Saturday, 2 October 2021
Hanging On In There?
Not even Priti Patel has called for the death penalty for Wayne Couzens. If Peter Hitchens does so tomorrow, then it will be hedged about with talk of "in better times", when he will claim that there were tougher safeguards against the possibility of wrongful conviction, and thus of wrongful execution.
He has for some time held that, since those provisions were "no longer there", then there could be no return to capital punishment. But he must know that they never were there for the sorts of people who ran very much risk at all of going to the gallows. What he means is that people like him are now in that category.
Consider that even after Couzens had pleaded guilty, then serving Police Officers appeared in court as character witnesses on his behalf. But at no point in any of the long criminal proceedings against me was any court permitted to hear from any of my character witnesses, who included past and present members of both Houses of Parliament, senior Catholic and Anglican clergy, distinguished academics, and prominent journalists. These days, they get in touch to make sure that I am standing for Parliament again. Indeed, I am.
Traditional conservatives have as much to fear as people like me, and that can be taken in several different ways, have always had. Most of them probably now realise it. As for the popularity of capital punishment, who knows? It has rarely been polled in many years, since the question itself is now considered to be as offensive as asking whether you would mind if your child married a black person, which also used to be asked and answered as a matter of routine. Figures pointing to majority support for the noose are so out of date that not even Priti Patel has called for the death penalty for Wayne Couzens.