Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Prisoners' Votes

The Savile scandal has enabled the Tories to try to bury a lot of bad news. One was the backtracking on the culling of badgers and another appears to be a change in stance on the long running saga of prisoners' votes. On the face of it not much has changed, the government have until November 22nd to tell the ECHR how it intends to implement at least partial rights or possibly face compensation claims. Despite that, there has been fierce opposition to the proposals - Cameron said the idea made him 'physically sick' and Parliament comprehensively voted against any measures by 234 to 22 votes.

Yet the Guardian reports, that the Tories are to set 'cave in', given extra credence that it is being reported while news is dominant by other factors:
The government is planning a draft bill introducing limited prisoner voting rights to comply with the European court of human rights, despite fierce opposition from Eurosceptic backbenchers.

But embarrassed government ministers are likely to defer the hugely controversial announcement until just before a late-November deadline, allowing it to be made after the police commissioner elections on 17 November.
One would like to think this is merely another delaying tactic, though experience with Tories on anything Europe often tells us otherwise:
The political advantage of agreeing to publish a draft bill is that the government would not be seen to be in open defiance of the European court in that it would be taking steps with the court order to introduce legislation on prisoners' rights.

Yet, in practice, a draft bill might take years to reach the statute book, since it would require wide consultation and allow amendment by a joint committee of both houses. The two alternatives are to table a fresh Commons motion, or to publish a bill.
 And it would appear too that Labour are softening their stance
Labour does not favour prisoner voting rights but does not want to be seen to be ignoring the [ECHR].
So Parliament has spoken...and it means absolutely nothing at all. The irony in all of this is prisoners will still be just as disenfranchised after gaining the right as before it.


  1. As the late lamented DK would have put it "the unspeakable cunts" - sorry to lower the tone of your blog but sometimes only the real thing will do.

  2. And what is exactly is wrong with "being in open defiance the European court"?

    That's just where we should be imnshmo.

  3. One would like to think this is merely another delaying tactic, though experience with Tories on anything Europe often tells us otherwise

    Let's just say we wouldn't trust our lives to them.

  4. They should simply declare that all prisoners are entitled to vote. Their being locked up elsewhere does not affect that 'eligability'. However, as voting will require them to attend the polling station, it will not be actualy possible for them to vote. But as being locked up in prison was a result of their own choice of action that's their own problem.

  5. @cuffleyburgers Well I don't disagree with your sentiments

    @Weekend Yachtsman This is what is so insidious about being part of Europe - either EU or Council of Europe - it's creating a culture whereby lawbreaking by a Government becomes acceptable.

    Personally I think if the coalition can wriggle out of it on a technicality then all well and good. If not then at some point we have to apply it...which means if we don't agree then we have to invoke article 3 and leave...

    @James Higham Quite right

    @Woodsy42 Undoubtedly that will be breach of some other human rights law not mention electoral ones...but I certainly like the sentiment