Julie Burchill Julie Burchill

‘Hang ’em high!’ – leftists for the death penalty, re Pistorius et al

O, the fury of my Sisters over the risible punishment (I’ve seen longer sentences in Ulysses) handed out to Oscar Pistorius! I’m with them all the way on this one. On hearing that India had issued the death penalty to the four men convicted of raping and murdering a student in Delhi last year, my first reaction was, ‘Ooo, good ­I hope it’s televised!’ I have long been a supporter of the death ­penalty for any type of killing except the most self-defensive kind – and I see this as an important part of my identity as a feminist, especially. Two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners, and in my opinion, the more woman-murderers who are forced to meet their Maker, the better. Or indeed any killer (not counting soldiers, for any half-witted pacifist hoping to make a snarky comment) except, as I said, the most self-defending sort.

I’ve always felt this way, apart from a crazed period as a Liberal (ever the weirdo, I fancied Jeremy Thorpe) as an adolescent. Along with the great Nick Cohen as he extrapolated in his masterpiece What’s Left: How the Left Lost its Way, I consider myself in the vast majority of ways to still be, in my dotage, as left-wing as I was in my youth on issues such as tax and nationalisation. It’s a large part of the ‘left’, rather, which has actually moved right, to the point were it frequently supports homosexual-executing, woman-stoning, democracy-hating religious thugs. (See the recent refusal by the National Union of Students to condemn the Islamofascists of the Islamic State targeting the democratic, self-defending Kurds.)

But unusually for a Leftist, I’ve been in favour of capital punishment for all of my adult life. A good part of this may stem from my working-class origins – as with the wage-lowering effect of mass immigration, it’s easy to be liberal about something when you’re not damaged by it, and the vast majority of victims of violence (proportionally, even considering that they make up a larger part of society than the other classes combined) – especially murder – are working-class.

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