Friday, May 16, 2008

Convictism of Australia

Yesterday, bloggers all over the world united to shine the light on Human Rights, and the worldwide abuses thereof. I gladly participated. Even though we probably didn't even put a dent in the continuing saga of man's inhumanity to man.

One of the basic human rights, according to Amnesty International, is the right to ones own life, no matter what.

Much has been said and is still being said, about the fact that several of the U.S. states still put the most heinous of their murderers to death. Amnesty International, and many, many others stongly condemn this.

Of course, many people in those states wonder why there is not more of an outrage over the loss of the innocent victims' lives, rather than concentrating on preserving the rights of the murderer following his conviction. The opponents of so-called capital punishment argue that it is useless, that it does not deter murderers from committing murder. The states reply quickly: "It deterred THAT particular killer."

And the U.S. is alone in executing murderers, of the so-called civilized western countries. That makes them barbaric. Perhaps.

Britain is not totally without spot or blemish, at least historically. Few countries are. As an example, by the time of the American Revolution, in the 1770s, there were 222 crimes in Great Britain which carried the death penalty.

The subject of crime and punishment, and of basic human rights, is currently being taken up as a series of articles on one of my other blogs, and is out of the scope of BritishSpeak anyway, but I wanted to try and stimulate some contributions of uniquely British words that have to do with the category of crime and the justice system. I do believe there are enough specialized words to warrant making "crime and punishment" or "law and order" a separate category.

My collected words so far are beginning to form themselves into various categories, and I think I will begin posting word lists on this blog more regularly, in hope of stimulating additions to the lists.

If you are interested in Max's (Actually Yummy's) theories about crime and punishment, human rights in general, the "convictism" of Australia—and related issues—I encourage you to visit the blog Yummy Biscuits over the next month or so as it undergoes its third incarnation. 


  1. Well there you are. You see, we may have given them the chop all those years ago, but now we just bang them up in the nick for a long stretch. Even old lags who should know better do bird, no more than that. Of course they get up to all sorts of scams inside, but as long as nobody grasses, they'll get their jam roll.

    I'll take you up on the principle of the thing another time. Is convictism an American word? ;)

  2. Take a life, be prepared to lose yours.

    that's what I believe

  3. a.-Thank you for that little story. You probably didn't even now you were writing a little story, but you may rest assured it has already been stolen. :)

    Convictism is a British euphemism (though not an actual dictionary word) used to describe the aggressive populization of Australia in the 19th century with convicts transported there from Great Britain. it is not American, and the U.S. did not practice the convictism of any country. This term was taken from a (British) Wikipedia article.

  4. frostygirl, I think that would be reasonable. In my book, anyway. Many people wonder, though, whether the forfeiture of that life taker's own life should be put in the hands of a government. Therein lies the real dilemma, doesn't it? It isn't a dilemma to Max, since he believes a society inherently has the right to protect its citizens from harm, including the right to eliminate (not simply segregate) a danger altogether.

  5. A couple more: in the slammer, doing porridge. The latter term gave rise to a well known comedy programme.

    I know about the transport of convicts, I learnt my history with the rest of them, just never heard the word convictism before.

  6. a.-I know you know about transportation of convicts. And you know that I know you know. You know? The word was just on the top of the Wikipedia article. What do I know? You know? Just figured it was another example of your incredibly weird way of speaking.

    I will never use it again. Hell will freeze over before you see that word typed by me again.


    And slammer isn't British, it's American. You saw it in the movies. Or maybe even in a film.

    But I am in a benevolent mood and will therefore leave your "programme" and "learnt" be. For now.

  7. oh well, good for you, benevolent is it? hmmph.

    Hell will undoubtedly freeze over...



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