I was interested to read in the news this week that the last goverment's abortive attempt at "e-petitioning" is being resurrected in the form of a site, the idea behind which is that any petitions attracting in excess of 100,000 signatories will be considered for parliamentary discussion - a bit like a Private Members Bill by popular demand, as it were. As an exercise in 'Democracy in Action' I'm not going to knock it. The vote threshold should in theory be high enough to weed out the inevitable crackpots with bees in their bonnets... leaving, we're told, the restoration of the death penalty as the most-voted for subject for parliamentary discussion.
I'm old enough - just - to remember the last few instances of the death penalty being applied before it was abolished in the late 1960s. Over the years, there has undeniably been a measure of fairly widespread public support for its re-introduction, growing noticeably whenever a particularly gruesome or horrific murder is committed. The United States is the last remaining "civilized" country which retains it, albeit in diminishing numbers, and I don't think anyone in this country wants to see American-style 'Death Rows', where condemned prisoners spend a decade or more slowly exhausting a series of long-winded appeals processes.
So I doubt somehow that the petitioners have any realistic chance of seeing their aspirations put into practice. If on the other hand our Parliamentarians can be persuaded that some of the current sentences being handed down are woefully inadequate for the crimes that have been committed, then perhaps some good will come of it all.
Oh, and I daresay that exactly the same logic could be and will be applied to the restoration of caning in schools.