I’m writing this on a plane and experiencing my normal involuntarily action on flights, of looking out of the window and humming ‘Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong.

I’ve no idea why it happens – and nor does the person sitting beside me who seems to be shuffling nervously. I guess anyone would if they have found themselves settling into a 9 hour flight beside an unstable, easy listening enthusiast.

I thought writing might reassure him that I’m at least partly stable, although this Blog doesn’t have a perfect history of demonstrating sanity.

Now, to the point – I have read in a magazine on the plane that Sri Lanka has just advertised for and recruited two new state hangmen.

I could blither on about capital punishment indefinitely but just let me say that if you think killing bad people is OK, you’re just stupid or wrong or both.  

Even if we did accept the premise that capital punishment is a just a neat way of tidying things up, consider that a number of capital killings were subsequently found to have been mistakes, and innocent people were killed.   

The US, which seems to maintain an enthusiasm for the death penalty that is almost childlike, spends more on the legalities and process of killing people than it would just to keep people on full life sentences in prison.   You can’t even justify it on the grounds of generally thriftiness.

Not sure what to call mistakenly killing innocent people, but since Republicans seem to be keener than Democrats they should do the spade work here and come up with a name. They also seem to combine a fondness for slaughtering with a tendency to elect startlingly stupid presidents, from Nixon onwards. I can hear the great George Bush, the younger/stupider coming up with Errornasia or something.

You can probably think of much better terms for it than that but I’m not presidential material you understand.   Mind you, using the term spade work in that context would have made George W proud.

Anyway, the Sri Lanka hang men news came across at first glance as bad news. However, it turns out they are just replacing the two current hang men who have been in office for decades.  One retired and the other was promoted.

Sri Lanka though has not executed a single person in the last 30 years. This is a good thing, but it does beg the question of how you justify a promotion – and what they were promoted to.

Having a position of senior hang man would seem a bit unnecessary in the circumstances. My Corporate experience does tell me that promotion isn’t universally based on results – but just having spent a few decades doing nothing apart from sorting your syringes and polishing your electrode does seem an easy ride by anyone’s standards.

I just re-read this before publishing and you must believe that I honestly didn’t plan any double entendre in the line about polishing your electrode.

It was all just part of the charming naivety that readers of this have mentioned in the past.

In fact the phase they used was just bloody stupidity, but that was a double entendre I think.