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Guido Fawkes Loses The Plot

I’m not sure he ever had it.

I’ve just found out via Tim Worstall’s blog that Fawkes is campaigning for the return of the death penalty. I won’t link to his tawdry little blog, you probably know how to find it, I daresay.

Whatever libertarian-ish credentials he may have had (he wrote a pamphlet for the Libertarian Alliance about the right to dance while on drugs, or something), I’ve always suspected that the man was deeply unsound. I think this pretty much clears up any doubt. For all his railing against corruption, or whatever he thinks is corrupt, or whatever he does, it’s pretty clear that his only real aim in life is to be the internet age’s replacement for the yellow press, hence his writing in that fuckwit tabloid style and this bit is in red because I’m making a stupid point for my audience of whooping chimps to echo that he does, like the Sun or the Mirror with their it’s time to bring back hanging, drawing and quartering crapola. As such, he only attacks the press because they’re his competitors in the dimwit rabble rouser market.

So here he is grasping the “lynch mob? Over here guys! Follow me!” stylee that led us all via a sequence from naughty vicars to paedohysteria to phone hacking. Not surprisingly therefore, he’s twiddling the emotional dial by demanding it for “child killers” (inevitable Hindley and Brady/Ian Huntley duly follows) and “cop killers” to pull in the rest of the hang’em and flog’em vote.

Because giving an out of control State with an increasingly flawed legal system the duty to kill people, that’s really going to make life better, isn’t it Guido?

There haven’t been many indubitably beneficial achievements of the reform movements over the years beyond banning slavery and legalising sodomy, but getting rid of this barbaric mediaeval remnant, the death penalty, was one of them. I’ve said for some time now, we’re heading back into a rerun of the Victorian Era, but only the bad parts. This would appear to be another reflection of that.

The Scum says: Hanging’s too good for him.

14 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    Given the state of our legal system there’s going to be a lot of dead innocents if the death penalty is returned. Wasn’t that why the death penalty was dropped in the first place? Because mistakes were made?

    Perhaps we should do what the Yanks do. When they hand down a life sentence they mean life, not twelve or fifteen measly years and thousands in compo if they stub a toe.

  2. Ian B says:

    if the death penalty is returned. Wasn’t that why the death penalty was dropped in the first place? Because mistakes were made?

    That was certainly a large part of the reason. The law is in the business of making judgements with limited data within a prescribed time limit, thus it is impossible to envisage a legal system that does not make mistakes. That’s why a good one, like our common law used to be in many respects, tries to stack the deck in favour of the defendant.

    I always think of the law as like a rottweiler you keep in your home to protect against burglars. What makes it a danger to them is what makes it a danger to you, and you must never forget that. If it can rip a burglar’s throat out, it can rip yours out too, and you never can be sure that it won’t get confused and turn on you.

    I think of those in the hang’em and flog’em brigade who are happy to throw away legal protections because they think the law will only ever come to bear on others as rather like those people who insist that “oh, Gnasher, she wouldn’t hurt a fly” and keep saying it right up until little Gnasher dismembers their toddler.

  3. NickM says:

    Ian,
    I read a bit of Guido’s piece. You are right. It’s absolutely playing to the gallery. And that is the fundamental problem with the the “hang ‘em debate”. Every time there is a horrendous child murder it flows and every time there is a miscarriage of justice (or near enough – Trupti Patel springs to mind here) the ebb-tide sets in. Let’s name some names: Barry George (rounded up because he was a “weirdo” and had claimed to be related to Freddie Mercury), Derek Bentley (beyond dubious*), Ruth Ellis (manslaughter at best), Guildford four, Birmingham six, Maguire seven. Hell, as far as the press are concerned what about that the current case where Christopher Jeffries is suing because the press convicted him of murdering Joanna Yeates in Bristol because he was her landlord and “looked funny”. To say nothing of a certain case of a Brazilian sparks…

    All those are just one reason. I have others but that is alone sufficient.

    *(a) “common purpose”. (b) the undoubted ambiguity of “Let hi have it!”

  4. Norf says:

    Hmmm, three questions, two of which are easy to answer:

    1) Should the state effectively become a murderer by executing people?

    2) What if innocent people are accused of something they haven’t done?

    3) What are you going to do with people who keep doing something heinous after they have been ‘rehabilitated’ and released back into society after a spell in jail?

    So, while you easily can come to agreeable conclusions on the first two, there is a big issue in the third one. And, sorry to say, you see it happen. Indeed, we will see it with the religion of peace lovers who plant bombs to kill infidels. Once they eventually get out of prison, you think they will somehow have changed their views?

    No, I don’t think so either. But while you are being very understand ing and modern, please try to work out the consequences of any slightly ineffective rehab.

    As for Mr Fawkes, it was a strange post. He does well pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies of our political masters, but somehow gave way to a deeper felt personal view. I expect Cats has them too, but tries not to show them too often.

    Perhaps in the final analysis, the thing that offends is ‘playing to the gallery’ when the gallery may just be full of people who see justice too often being used to wipe up the stains and skidmarks left behind.

    Killing people who kill may be utterly wrong, but it is fairly certain that the really guilty ones won’t ever do it again.

    Discuss.

  5. Sam Duncan says:

    I’m not opposed to the death penalty in principle – if you commit the ultimate crime, it’s only right that you pay the ultimate price – but as Ian says, it’s just too dangerous. It’s not simply that we know mistakes were made; even if they hadn’t been, they could be, and if they are it’s simply impossible to put them right. You can say that you can’t give a man the years he spent in jail back, but you can give him the years he would have spent there had the injustice not been discovered. You can’t bring a dead man back to life. That’s enough to put it the whole idea beyond the pale.

    It’s similar, incidentally, to the reason I’m not comfortable with voluntary euthanasia, despite agreeing entirely with the arguments in favour (and seeing, recently, a friend’s father die after what obituarists would call “a short illness” during which he suffered greatly). A killer – another Shipman, say – could use his victim’s stated desire in his defence, or to choose victims. It would be extremely hard to prove, after the fact, that someone who had expressed a desire to have his life ended in certain circumstances didn’t wish to die at that particular moment. The danger isn’t perhaps as clear-cut as it is for the death penalty, but it’s there.

  6. NickM says:

    Sam I gotta disagree on the voluntary euthanasia front. Your argument is much the same as arguments for “gun control”. You’re saying ban the whole shooting match because it could be perverted. Sorry Sam but I’m not about to ban the game because some people play it like wankers.

    I watched my Grandmother (where do you think I get my more “salty” phraseology from?*) become a vegetable via Alzheimer’s. No fucking way I’m going like that! Incapable of speech, periodically hospitalized for malnutrition and dehydration despite the best her family (mainly my Mum, her daughter) could do.

    There is no fucking way I will become a travesty of Nick. The minute I don’t know that dy/dx of sin(x) is cos(x) pop a cap in me and load me into the wheelie bin for I’m done.

    Anyway my wishes are known well enough by those who know me that this is not an issue. Anyone can help themselves to my organs as long as they have a cat mooching round their gaff they don’t really like.

    And yeah, anyone can do this. They can make their feelings known.

    *In the mid stages of Alzheimer’s my Gran went to a very excellent day-care centre run by Gateshead council (yes, sometimes they get it right). She always seemed for want of a better word “energised” upon her return (though believing that her age (14 – she was about 79) it was wrong to send her out to do typing – she could never type for toffee). But lorks getting her on the minibus of a morning was a chore… She was OK if it was Keiron but if it was Vicky (a Dane who my grandmother thought was a lesbian entirely on the basis of her footwear) she’d make agro with the immortal phrase, “It’s neither fair nor right like the darkie’s left tit”. Christ. She’d run out the back door…

    Oddly enough Vicky actually is a lesbian (reality in general compromised, gaydar enhanced – go figure). Slightly less oddly enough with Keiron (an extremely nice, attractive, young Irish fellow) – my Gran thought she was going on a date. Like I said she had no idea of her own age. She often tried to bolt to to see her own Mother. Her mother died of cancer in 1936, forty miles away.

  7. tomsmith says:

    The death penalty isn’t wrong except when the state does it.

  8. Sam Duncan says:

    Point taken, Nick – as I say, I completely accept all the arguments in favour.

    It stings a bit to be put in the same category as the gun precautionists, but I think there’s a subtle difference between my position and theirs. It’s not simply a knee-jerk fear that aaargh-it’s-too-dangerous-the-doctors-are-all-going-to-murder-us-in-our-beds! After all, nobody’s forcing anyone to agree to be euthanised. If that’s your fear, just say you don’t want it.

    The point is that if you legalise murder (for want of a better word) under certain circumstances, those circumstances have to be totally clear: war, for example, or proven criminal guilt. And as we’ve said in this thread, the latter isn’t clear enough for many of us now. I just wonder whether the criteria for euthanasia are.

    Take, again, a case like Shipman, where a doctor is known to have had a predeliction for killing people in his care. Now, assume that some of those who died in suspicious circumstances had made a living will under a system that recognises them in law. It becomes extremely hard to determine whether those cases were murder or not. The prime witness – the only person who can attest to whether the act was voluntary or not – is, by definition, dead. Was the patient in a state under which he’d agreed to die? Who says so? The doctor, who we know has killed people who didn’t agree? You end up with a case not dissimilar – which is why I brought it up – to the Bentley one.

    I have to emphasize that I’m not dead-set against it – I can absolutely see the benefits – but I’m just not certain that it’d be all sunshine and rainbows.

  9. NickM says:

    Sam,
    Shipman acted alone. Indeed he saw patients (he was very popular as a GP because he was happy to do home visits) alone. It is like gun-control. You need safe-guards. In the case of guns something like a CRB check (OK, Nick, clearly you don’t need the M-16 for “doing” post offices) and for voluntary euthanasia more than one healthcare professional? Simples. Obviously, as with anything it will be abused. Everything is because the world is not perfect. But simple safe-guards will minimise the abuse. It’s like parenting, I guess. An incredible risk. And I mean “incredible” in the original sense. There are parents who are way too clingy because they don’t want to go to Soham so to speak. Well, the truth is roughly 3 children a year are murdered by persons unknown to them in the UK. This figure is pretty constant – has been since the fifties. Is that a justification for peadostyria? No. Bad things happen Sam. All we can do is our best but the fundamental freedom to exit this vale of tears if it becomes intolerable is too important to sacrifice because it might be abused. Indeed it works the opposite way. The bloke who after weeks of pleading by his wife to end her intolerable pain and gets the pillow becomes a criminal. That is not good either. But it is the law. Well, the law is wrong. Frankly in all opposition to euthanasia I detect a hint of Catholic masochism.

  10. MickC says:

    I don’t have a problem with the campaign. That’s what democracy is about. Its also no good decrying those who support the proposal-they are entitled to their view and to express it.

    It isn’t mine though and if it ever amounts to anything (doubtful but if it does, at least it’ll prove something can be achieved -just not the right thing) I’ll be campaigning against.

    The justice system in this country is a big enough disgrace already.

  11. Sam Duncan says:

    Oooh, now you’ve gone and done it, accusing me – me, mark you – of Catholic anything…

    Seriously, though, your argument could be – and was – used in favour of the death penalty: “Better one innocent man should die than a hundred guilty go free”. Yes, bad things do happen, and sometimes innocent people were hanged. The view taken by parliament until the 1960s, and probably still by the majority of people, was that this was an acceptable price to pay for justice in the majority of cases. There were safeguards – jury trial, appeals, the House of Lords; the sentence was never handed down lightly, especially towards the end – and they failed.

    Gun control? Disarming the law-abiding has clearly failed to reduce crime. Liberalising those controls may increase it as per the fears of the anti-gun lobby, it may decrease it. On balance I think better self-defence would lead to a decrease. Euthanasia would certainly reduce the suffering of many, but what effect would it be likely to have on murder by medical professionals? It can only stay the same or increase: I just can’t see how it would reduce it. So, is that possible increase a price worth paying? I’m not sure.

    Again, I emphasize that I’m not sure; I’m not strongly on one side or the other: if euthanasia were legalized tomorrow, I’d shrug and carry on, probably rather pleased for all the people whose suffering it would end. And of course, banning anything goes against all my principles. All I’m saying is that it isn’t simples at all, and I can see merit in both arguments.

  12. Sam Duncan says:

    I’d better add, before anyone jumps on it, that the utilitarian argument against gun control obviously isn’t the only one, but it’s part of the whole.

  13. Tennessee Budd says:

    A lot of people do need killing, & over here we still do so–just not often enough.

  14. Johnathan Pearce says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this blog to the extent that I think Guido – Paul Staines – is wrong. However, I am not sure what his motives are; he may be “playing to the gallery”, maybe not.

    I am not, in principle, opposed to the execution of a proven murderer. Justice must be done. The hard part, though, is that our legal system contains too many flaws, and the checks and balances of the Common Law have been eroded to the point where errors are bound to happen. I also think that the moral fiber of parts of the population are so weak that no jury would ever convict, even if the evidence was 100%.

    So while I am not as harsh on Guido as IanB, I agree that this campaign is wrong and deserves to fail.

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