The effects of a frightened establishment on justice and punishment can be remembered from recent history; after the 2011 riots we had a nine month stretch for looting a bottle of mineral water, five months for receiving a pair of stolen shorts - all sentences fully endorsed by the Lord Chief Justice who said "the imposition of severe sentences, intended to provide both punishment and deterrence, must follow". The public was torn between support for harsh measures and resentment at MPs who had recently been unmasked for stealing hundreds of thousands in the expenses scandal and who got off scot-free. So don't let any fool tell you that we don't have political justice in the UK.
Almost as soon as poor Jo Cox breathed her last yesterday the Home Secretary had already decided that Scotland Yard would take the case, and I've no doubt an officer of at least Commander rank will be tasked with interrogating Thomas Mair in order to secure the most severe sanctions using anti-terrorist legislation. He will be judged sane, of course, with no mitigation for either his health or environmental circumstances. Witnesses will be coached, the best prosecuting QCs engaged and the case listed before a judge with a reputation for excessive sentencing zeal. The poor sod's been trussed like a turkey already and to all intents and purposes has already started serving what I'm sure will be a 20 year minimum.
However unattractive a character Thomas Mair may be, however heinous and unforgivable the dreadful murder of a woman so gifted and accomplished, he remains entitled still to a just hearing, to fair treatment and to basic Christian dignity. No doubt he is already held in the fortress of Paddington Green anti-terrorist interrogation centre far away from the familiar accents of his home town - which he will never see again. And although my thoughts and prayers are with Jo Cox's husband and motherless children, I would ask you too to spare a brief thought for Thomas Mair. All the accounts of Jo Cox I've read and heard suggest she was a champion of fairness, and I'm sure, had someone else been Mair's victim, she would now. as his constituency MP, be fighting to secure the basic kindnesses for him.
Update - Sat am
This post was written before Mair was charged. I don't need to remind anyone that now the case is active the matter is sub judice and that s.2 of the 1981 Contempt of Court Act applies to comments. Pointless though it seems.