I might have known that within hours of the media reporting that Sajid Javid has dropped his objection to the death penalty for the two captured ISIS terrorists from the “Beatles” terror cell, we would be hearing about the fierce criticism his decision has attracted from other government ministers.
Of course it was too much to ask that just this once, we could all just celebrate the fact that these two men, responsible for the beheading of British and American aid workers and journalists, will never again set foot on British soil, and leave our American friends to deal with them in whichever way they see fit.
Instead we’re expected to be outraged at the idea that our Home Secretary is abandoning Britain’s traditional policy of not allowing prisoners to be extradited to countries where they will face the death penalty. We’re expected to remember that we have a higher moral code than those who feel death is a suitable form of retribution. “An eye for an eye makes the world blind” – so the saying goes.
Well, I for one am not outraged. To those who loudly proclaim on social media, “Not in my name”, my response is “Okay, do it in mine”.
I see no reason why the British taxpayer should pay for these men to try to defend their actions in court. Nor why we should pay for them to be kept in prison for the rest of their miserable lives. Nor why we should fund their inevitable appeals against such life sentences. In particular, I see no reason why these men should be given any chance to be put into contact with other violent offenders in prison, and to pass on their murderous ideology.
These men chose to leave the United Kingdom, to go over to Syria and to murder people in the name of an ideology. They were adults when they made that choice, and nobody forced them into it. And in making that choice, they turned their backs on Great Britain and its values, and renounced any claim to protection under British laws.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am not calling for the death penalty to be reintroduced to the United Kingdom. Nor am I arguing against Britain’s usual policy of not extraditing criminals to countries that would seek to impose the death penalty. But for too long, we in the United Kingdom have allowed our determination to hold ourselves to a higher moral standard, to be exploited by those whose morals are on a completely different spectrum. There is no victory to be found in smugly congratulating ourselves on our high moral code, while these animals slaughter our journalists and our aid workers abroad, and our citizens, our tourists and our children at home.
This is not bloodlust. I do not take grim pleasure in the thought of these men facing a firing squad, or a noose, or a needle. I wish, above all, never to think of these men again. I would like their names to be erased from history, and for no further time to be wasted on arguing about their fate. And I wish for any would-be jihadi reading about this case, to understand that anyone who holds our values and our way of life in such contempt, deserves not one second of our consideration.
Let them rot in a cell or let them die. Just don’t let them anywhere near the United Kingdom.