How many of those who instantly become consumed with moral outrage when the word ‘torture’ is mentioned would personally resort to torture if the lives of their own loved one’s were about to be forfeit?

Although I abhor the concept of torture I must confess I would, unhesitatingly, torture any maniac who had buried my children alive in an unmarked grave pending the receipt of a ransom I couldn’t possibly afford to pay. I assume all caring parents, other than the clinically squeamish and those consumed by moral self-righteousness, would do the same.

But what about the maniacs who have imposed a ransom upon our culture we can’t possibly afford to pay and who, right now, are busily attempting to assemble chemical, biological and explosive devices that could lay waste our cities and kill untold numbers of our children. Would I, as Leader of the Grumpy Old Men & Women Political Party, sanction the use of torture to prevent the potential destruction of our cities and all who live in them? Of course I would - and I’d expect any Leader of any Party, no matter how much they personally abhorred the concept of torture, to put the safety of the nation and the lives of decent hardworking folk before their own selfish views.

That doesn’t mean I approve of indiscriminate torture. The Home Secretary of the day should be held personally responsible for authorizing the very rare instances where torture was deemed appropriate. Hopefully, he or she would assume that responsibility despite the apparent lack of support from the public. That said, how many hypocritical members of the public currently displaying near hysterical levels of moral outrage at the mere mention of the word ‘torture’ would demand the Home Secretary sanction torture the instant it sank in that members of their own family were in the direct line of fire and risked being killed or horribly mutilated?

Don’t doubt it. Mass death and destruction by some terrorist group or another is going to happen. It’s only a matter of time. Somebody knows who and where these people are.

What are you going to do if you catch one of them?

A poll conducted by the BBC in 2006 established that most people opposed the concept of torture. I wonder how many of our troops currently being exposed to the constant fear/reality of death and mutilation would agree.