'Beware of what you wish for' has ever been wise advise. The government's plan to re-open petitions on the Downing Street website, with a commitment to allowing Parliamentary time for debate, potentially as either a government or private member's Bill, seems like good democracy at first sight. But imagine this.
Jihadist terrorists detonate an ANFO truck-bomb in Paddington. Amongst the 200-odd fatalities are an entire primary school class of 35 children. An online petition to Downing Street to restore capital punishment for terrorist murders rapidly gathers 12m signatures, and MPs, stunned and cowed by the depth of public reaction, pass an Act restoring the death penalty, effective for all new convictions even if the crimes were committed before the legislative date. The six Pakistani and Somali Jihadists convicted of the Paddington bombings are held in Belmarsh whilst their appeals are quickly exhausted. Balfour Beatty quietly build a new execution shed at the prison, and Britain's first Hangman for forty years, recruited by the Home Office, tests the drop. Between seven and nine on a Friday morning, the six terrorists are hanged. Their cremated remains are scattered within the prison.
By Friday evening, news is in that a British honeymoon couple in Jakarta have been kidnapped and hanged from a roadbridge. A British aid worker in Pakistan is shot. A bomb is detonated at the embassy in Yemen. Al-Jazeera broadcasts features on the Jihadist Martyrs almost constantly. The headline 'UK Executions' features on the strap lines of newspapers across the world; suddenly, we're in a new phase of conflict. In Leeds, three young female jihadists carefully strap their suicide vests under their Hijabs and prepare to catch a bus into the city centre.