Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BBC - Let's Make the Death Penalty Humane

I had to switch off what is perhaps one of the most absurd/offensive pieces of television I have ever seen on the BBC. Next time you hear some frothy mouthed loony claim that the BBC is part of some liberal conspiracy, remind them of this little programme. Effectively, Michael Portillo seeks out a humane method of execution. Yes, you read that right, a humane method. The programme's central premise does not revolve around how the use of the death penalty is inhuman, rather how we can make execution more humane. This strikes me as a rather bizarre concept to say the least. There is no humane method of execution as execution is, by definition, inhuman. The BBC's own website reinforces the programme's central argument:

Former British MP Michael Portillo has talked to Outlook about a programme he has made for BBC television on the death penalty.

Portillo agreed to undertake 'near-death' experiments in order to ascertain which is the most humane form of execution.

Any programme that starts from that perspective is deeply concerning. Portillo himself says:

"I hoped that there might be common ground in looking for a humane, painless way to do it."
How about looking for common ground on banning this obscene practice full stop, rather than looking for a nice way to do it? Besides, as I said above, the terms 'humane' and 'execution' do not even belong in the same breath. Quite frankly, I find it deeply offensive to find a programme on the BBC that suggests that execution is acceptable and we just need to seek out a 'humane' way of doing it.
The BBC - supporting the executioner.