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British Expat Newsletter:
9 July 2003

Hello again, and welcome to those who’ve just signed up. Here’s what’s been happening.

This week

Ever fancy your chances as a hangman (or hangwoman, come to that)? Well, now’s your chance. The new state of Jharkhand in eastern India has twelve men on Death Row, but hasn’t had a hanging in its prisons since 1964. Up to 2000, the problem didn’t exist – Jharkhand was part of Bihar State and its prisoners were hanged at Bhagalpur prison. But to do this now would need an agreement between the two state governments, who aren’t on friendly terms. Rather bizarrely, the Jharkhand prison department has tried to persuade prisoners on life sentences to do the job (as, indeed, it had to in 1964) but has had no luck so far. I wonder why not?

Incidentally, you may not have noticed – since it’s been nearly 40 years since the last hanging in Britain – that the death penalty’s now been abolished altogether in the UK, with the lifting of the penalty for treason and for piracy on the high seas. Even so, the risk of execution still looms over some Brits, notably the two suspected Al Qaeda members held in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, the US’s toehold on Cuba. There’s already been a good deal of concern expressed – including by the UK government and MPs of all parties – that they’re being put on secret trial by a military tribunal, without the right to choose their own legal representation. It’s even been suggested that they face the choice of pleading guilty and getting 20 years, or risking being found guilty and facing execution.

What do you think? Perhaps you think that if they’re guilty, they should face the ultimate consequence of their murderous actions. Or maybe you, too, feel concern that two possibly innocent people face death on the basis of a trial of questionable legal status.

Meanwhile, last week’s British Expat’s forum poll on the redesigning of the Union Flag certainly provoked some strong feelings. So far most people have been pretty scathing of the campaign; the general view seems to be that the flag already adequately represents the UK’s diversity without having to resort to tokenism. Mind you, it’s stirred up some lively debates, too. One’s been about the status of the various nationalities within the United Kingdom – especially the common tendency for people to refer to the UK and the British as “England” and “the English”. Another’s been about the historical baggage which flags carry, for good or ill – where do you draw a line and start afresh?

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“The ugliest of trades have their moments of pleasure. Now, if I were a grave-digger, or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment.”
– Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857)

Joke

IN PRISON you spend the majority of your time in an 8’x10′ cell.
AT WORK you spend most of your time in a 6’x8′ cubicle.

IN PRISON you get three meals a day.
AT WORK you only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON you get time off for good behaviour.
AT WORK you get rewarded for good behaviour with more work.

IN PRISON a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK you must carry around a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself.

IN PRISON you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK you get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON you get your own toilet.
AT WORK you have to share.

IN PRISON they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK you cannot even speak to your family and friends.

IN PRISON all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON you spend most of your life looking through bars from the inside wanting to get out.
AT WORK you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON there are wardens who are often sadistic.
AT WORK they are called managers.

(Thanks to Squiffy for contributing this joke. He’s got so many jokes he’s now got his own House of Fun board on our forum.)

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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