Tuesday, 9 September 2014

9th September 2014 - Of Games and Guillotines - Cockles and Caractacus

Thought for the day: "Broken pencils are pretty much pointless."

So a couple of days working on the videos from Herstmonceaux and some of them have come out quite well!!
The Ladies of the Harem of the court of King Caractacus went down well with the youngsters ...

On another note I see that the Guillotine was abolished on this day - what I was less aware of was that it was not abolished until 1981...  I know that the last hanging in the UK was in 1964, and that the death penalty was abolished in 1965, though this did not apply to Northern Ireland until 1973.....
Seems that in 2004 the 13th Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights became binding on the United Kingdom, prohibiting the restoration of the death penalty for as long as the UK is a party to the Convention.

But back to the Guillotine..
The guillotine had been proposed as a means of execution in 1789 by Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. The French Revolution marked the end of hanging by requiring all executions to be accomplished by means of the blade, rather than reserving it only for nobles. However, as beheading by a hand-held axe or blade was a comparatively inefficient and unreliable method of execution compared with hanging, the mechanical guillotine was adopted; it was also regarded as a more humane way to take the life of the condemned than earlier messy ways of execution. The device was first used on Nicolas Jacques Pelletier on 25 April 1792. Guillotine usage then spread to other countries such as Germany (where it had been used since before the revolution), Italy, Sweden (used in a single execution) and French colonies in Africa, French Guyana and French Indochina.

The last person to be executed in France was Hamida Djandoubi, who was put to death in September 1977. The death penalty was abolished in French law in 1981.  Hamida Djandoubi was a Tunisian immigrant who had been convicted of the torture and murder of 21-year-old Elisabeth Bousquet, his former girlfriend. Sounds like a nasty set of torture and murder...

But while the Death Penalty continues in the United States and various other countries around the world, it is now 50 years since the last hangings - At 8am on 13 August 1964, two men, convicted just a few weeks earlier of murder, were led to the gallows at separate prisons in Manchester and Liverpool. No one involved knew it at the time, but Gwynne Evans and Peter Allen were the last executions before capital punishment was abolished in Britain.

But while I talk of penalties and the law - I was in conversation last night with a friend who works in Swansea Prison, who had previously heard my stories of the the "Cockle Wars" in Ferryside - West Wales, and the time I was Chief Inspector with the dubious honour of being in charge of the policing of the small coastal town that was besieged with thousands of itinerant cockle pickers..... It seems that while in Prison a couple of the inmates were overheard discussing the time and commenting on the "copper" in charge who was a right *******  ...

I always thought I was such a nice and approachable fellow really !!  But I do recall thinking at the time that I was more like the Sheriff of Ferryside from a spaghetti western than a modern police officer!!!   But it worked !! and we had no serious troubles that time...

Back to the paperwork then ...
I should be able to cut through it fairly quickly if I start !!!
[See what I did there?  Here all Week]

Place of the day

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