THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Violence, lies and manipulation
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What rights are conferred by your son being murdered?

Jon Venables could be killed if his identity is revealed, key judge warns | UK news | The Guardian.

Any parent feels for Denise Fergus. We can sympathise with her unabated anger against the two young children (now adults) who killed her son. But her insistence that as James Bulger's mother she has a "right" to know what his killers are doing now is quite wrong. They are so loathed for what they did as children that, without new identities, they would have no chance of a law-abiding life. If charged with another crime, they would have certainly have no chance - under their real names - of a fair trial.

Their sentences are served. Perhaps some may feel they were not long enough. Others may feel they should have been executed. But they are entitled to the same chance to sin no more any of us would expect when we had paid the price of a crime. Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss's original order protecting their identity was therefore both wise and fair. We can forgive Denise Fergus for her anger and hatred. We can perhaps even understand why she wants her son's killers at the mercy of the mob. But it would be very far from justice.

Politicians have repeatedly exploited this tragic case. Tony Blair used it as his "broken society" moment; in effect blaming the Conservatives, not two profoundly disturbed children (and the parents who raised them), for Jamie Bulger's death. Michael Howard was no better. As Home Secretary, he gave in to a Sun campaign for their minimum sentence to be extended.  Lord Donaldson gave the civilised view of that incident when he described it as "institutionalised vengeance" by a "politician playing to the gallery."

Someone close to Jack Straw recently decided to announce that Jon Venables was back in custody. Why? There was no need disturb Ms Fergus's sleep or arouse the vengeful mob. Presumably it was an attempt to make political capital by associating the government with tough action against a hated individual. New Labour's political instincts have failed it again however and the gambit has gone badly wrong. I am sad that some usually-sensible voices in the British blogosphere are, in effect, siding with a lynch mob. They have been duped by cynical politicians and are playing right into their hands.