Mr. Blair, Friend of America

I have some comfort for John in the form of Tony Blair.

Americans appreciate Tony Blair, but not nearly enough.

As you know, I ain’t a fan of the death penalty. I even made a snarky remark about America and North Korea and their “Capital Punishment Club.” You see, America is such an easy target, and we chattering Europeans (and Canadians, it seems) just can’t get enough.

So, in strides Mr. Blair.

At Prime Minister’s Questions he was asked about America and the death penalty. His answer will please John, Stuart and others who welcome disagreement but loathe shrill anti-Americanism:

Dr. Vincent Cable (Twickenham) (LD): Is the Prime Minister aware that 97 per cent. of executions in the world take place in China, Vietnam, Iran and George Bush’s United States, which passed the 1,000 mark this week? Since this is an area in which the European Union has considerable moral and political authority, what role is the Prime Minister playing, as EU President, in exercising international leadership to curb this practice?

The Prime Minister: There is a difference between Europe and America on this issue—there always has been and there will be so long as the death penalty remains in the United States of America. When the hon. Gentleman puts the United States of America alongside China, Iran and so on, it is worth pointing out to him that the rule of law applies in the United States of America. Although I strongly disagree with the death penalty, I think that, if we are looking at human rights abuses, it is sometimes right to look elsewhere and at the severe human rights abuses that happen around the rest of the world, particularly in countries such as North Korea, where we never hear any protests at all.


One comment

  1. I have very mixed feelings on capital punishment. I oppose, I think. Although I am not certain that, philosophically, it does not work as a moral statement from society on the preeminent value of INNOCENT life. However, I am steadfastly opposed in any circumstances where there is not 100% incontrovertible evidence of guilt.I came across an interesting article a few weeks ago and I hope I can find the link. One of the many items it addressed was Euro-American differences over the death penalty. The article pointed out that in Europe, for centuries, death had been a punishment for political dissent, most notoriously during the French Revolution. While in America capital punishment has always been (at least officially) only utilized as retribution for crime… capital crime over the last century.Not drawing any major conclusions here but I think it’s an interesting insight into how Europeans became so allergic to it.


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