Popular Support for the Restore Justice Campaign

Pollster Anthony Wells has reviewed the polling evidence, all of which shows popular support for the death penalty everywhere in Britain, except in parliament.

A lot of readers are asking why the e-petition specifies child killers and cop killers. The reasons are two-fold, in the case of child killers some crimes are so abhorrent that society demands more than protection, it wants retribution. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady’s 13 minute tape of them sexually torturing 10 year-old Lesley Ann Downey, with the child’s endless screams and pleas for her mother, truly shocked a nation. Hindley and Brady tortured and killed five children for sexual kicks. Even after half-a-century of pampered imprisonment they proved beyond rehabilitation. In cases like theirs, where there is no doubt of guilt and after due process of the law, justice should not prevent retribution. Retribution is missing from the criminal justice system.

The Soham murderer, Ian Huntley and Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield, a serial killer, would both under this proposed legislation pay for their crimes with their own life. That is the wish of many victim’s families, in the words of Gemma Dowler they want “a life for a life”. So do the public…

When the public are asked about the death penalty the results have consistently shown a majority in favour, when they are asked specifically about child killers, the numbers change dramatically with a range of polls showing two-thirds to three-quarters in in favour. On this issue there is definitely a clear regressive majority in Britain.

It is a similar picture for cop killers, the public understands that the police put themselves in harm’s way on their behalf every day. If a criminal in the course of committing a crime kills a police officer it is invariably deliberate. Having the death penalty for cop killers will make criminals fear the consequences and give extra legislative protection to the police beyond a stab vest. Once again the public shows a two-thirds majority in favour of the death penalty for cop killers. Not because their lives are worth more than ours, it is because the police daily risk their lives to protect our lives.

The third common objection is that Britain is bound by treaties that prevent us implementing the death penalty. Some claim that the ECHR prevents us, actually the Covenant itself specifically exempts “a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law”, it is later protocols which were added on that prohibit the death penalty. The protocols can be of course de-ratified or Britain can withdraw from the ECHR. The e-petition calls on the Ministry of Justice to first review international commitments and prepare a legislative escape path before bringing forward substantive legislation. This is what a free and sovereign nation of laws does if parliament wishes to change course. 

The “Restore Justice” campaign website will be up and running by the end of the week, thousands have registered to support the campaign already. You can too, here.

Quote of the Day

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights says…

“Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.”

Saturday Seven Up

This week 109,924 visitors made 354,191 visits to view 545,103 pages – not bad considering parliament is in recess and politicians are off on their holidays.

If you want to read Guido’s round-up of the week’s news from behind the blog, subscribe for free to the Guidogram email here.

The top  stories  in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

MPs Back Campaign for Death Penalty Vote


The Sun
reports on the launch of our campaign to get a vote on restoring the death penalty. Thousands have already signed up online to support the campaign which we aim to officially launch next week.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: “It’s something where once again the public are a long way ahead of the politicians. I’d go further and restore it for all murderers.”

Fellow Conservative MP Priti Patel, backs the death penalty “It’s about time the public had a greater say on the issues that we debate. I’m not surprised that this issue has been raised. We need strong deterrents to make people think twice about the crimes they commit.”

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner says “Congratulations on your campaign. If there is anything else a humble back-bencher can do to help…”  There is, sign-up to support the campaign which launches next week:

UPDATE: David Nuttall, MP for Bury North and Chris Kelly, MP for Dudley South are the latest MPs to come out for restoring the death penalty.

Mirror Group Paid Blagger £442,878 for Illegally Obtained Info
65 Invoices Paid by Piers Morgan’s Daily Mirror

Guido has  – completely legally – obtained the raw data from the British Information Commissioner’s ‘Operation Motorman’ investigation.  A number crunching analysis of the data shows that between 1997 and 2003 Mirror Group newspapers were invoiced 948 times by “JJ Services”, run by Steve Whittamore, a notorious blagger who specialised in illegally obtaining personal information. For that six year period the total value of the invoices amounted to £442,878.73.

Many of these invoices are addressed to MGN Ltd, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror.  Nevertheless Guido has identified at least 65 invoices, totalling £20,333.31 which are directly to the Daily Mirror. These invoices are dated between 2001 and 2002. Piers Morgan was the Editor of the Mirror throughout this period.

On Desert Island Discs Morgan told Kirsty Young that, “Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves,” adding, “That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.” Almost half-a-million quid suggests that quite a lot of that went on.

The “blagging” invoices are for phone records, vehicle registration records, ex-directory numbers, to monitor mobile calls, obtain phone bills and get numbers called as well as paying off bent police officers to provide information. It could be medical records, criminal records or tax records. Blagging is a criminal offence punishable with up to two years jail time. Kate Winslet was blagged and the information was used by Piers Morgan, as he admits in his 10 April 2000 diary entry in The Insider:

“I got back to the office to learn that Kate Winslet, having indicated she would come to our Pride of Britain awards tomorrow, is now saying she can’t. Someone had got hold of her mobile number — I never like to ask how — so I rang her …. ‘Hello,’ she said, sounding a bit taken aback. ‘How did you get my number? I’ve only just changed it. You’ve got to tell me, please, I am so worried now’ ”

“Never liking to ask” is what is known legally as “willful blindness” which is when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable. Or contrives to pretend such. It doesn’t work in Court because the law takes the view that it is criminally reckless to fail to find out. That in a nutshell is what Piers is, criminally reckless…

Tom Triggered The Tale

There’s an interesting snippet from Tom Bradby’s diary in this week’s ES Magazine. The ITV political editor is mates with the Prince William, but Guido didn’t know that he triggered the whole sorry phone-hacking saga:

“The then News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman’s decision to write a story about me cutting a gap-year video for Prince William must now go down as one of the most expensive in history. Since very few people knew about it, I concluded that rumours I’d picked up about tabloid hacks accessing voice messages must be true and told William as much. Along with his Private Secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, we decided it might be an idea for him to do something about it.”

And the rest they say is…

Labour Wants Coulson Cake But Ate It

The Mirror and Political Scrapbook, with more than a little help from the Labour Party press office, have gone big on the story that CCHQ did background checks on people they put on posters as part of the election campaign. Seems pretty sensible to Guido, who would have pointed and laughed if one of them turned out to be a blunder…

The Tories claim using the company Control Risks was perfectly sensible and they use them to check out their staff. The checks were done with the full consent of those involved. There is growing speculation that they were the company alluded to by Dave in reference to who checked out Coulson in 2007. Talking of which, what were Labour cheerleaders saying just the other day about vetting? 

The Guardian and Alistair Campbell were particularly succinct in their cries of foul play. So lets get this straight, you’re not allowed to vet people, but then get slammed when you don’t? Imagine the Mirror front page if the poster boy or girl had a dodgy past. There is more to this story to come. Guido gave the the Labour Party a clear chance to deny they never did a background check on anyone they have used to front a campaign. Their silence is very telling…

Friday Caption Contest (Miliband Growing In Stature Edition)

How to Handle a Story

It’s rare that a press release makes Guido laugh. Normally it would take the fake exchange of kind words between a PM and a outgoing Cabinet member, but Louise Mensch’s hit the mark.  This allegation was put to Mensch, née […]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

John Stuart Mill on the humane liberal case for capital punishment…

“..the most that human laws can do to anyone in the matter of death is to hasten it; the man would have died at any rate; not so very […]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

Louise Mensch replies to allegations of drug taking:

“Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable.”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Piers In Parliament

Political Scrapbook have been analysising Piers Morgan’s 2003 appearance before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee:

He says he would like to be congratulated. As ever…[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Former Miliband guru Arnie Graf reveals Labour’s disconnect with the working class:

“On one of my trips to the U.K. in the autumn of 2013, I bumped into one of Ed’s strategists in Portcullis House. He asked me if I was assisting the staff on Ed’s trip that was to take place in a few days to one of the regions. I told him that I did not have knowledge of his planned trip.

He told me that Ed was going to give a talk at the region’s annual fund raising dinner and that prior to the dinner he had invited the media to join him at a local coffee shop to listen to a conversation he planned to have with a minimum wage worker. The point of the conversation was to show how difficult it was for a minimum wage worker to get on in life.

There was only one problem. No one had been able to locate a minimum wage worker for Ed to talk with.”

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