Tuesday, November 02, 2010

voting with conviction

It is some years since the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that we should allow prisoners to vote.  The killer who played a major part in it is here.

Our government has tried to fight the ruling but it now seems it will give in, at least partly, not least to save having to award compensation to those in prison at the time of elections; those who must have suffered terribly from the loss of their basic human right of putting a cross against the name of a politician about whom they probably knew nothing  and cared even less.

It is slightly ironic that we have to worry so much about the human rights of a person who did not consider the human rights of the victims at the time of the crime and indeed may have committed inhuman acts, but then some rights are wrong.  It is likely that restrictions will be imposed, so that inmates who have committed the most serious crimes will still be denied their vote.

Is Britain the only guilty party ?  Well, no. There are plenty of European countries that don't allow prisoners to vote, some continuing the ban even after they have left prison; others that have such severe restrictions that in practice most prisoners are unable to vote.  And they will most likely continue as they are now. But when ECHR says jump we jump, eventually.  And jump we will.  Some politicians will be delighted; those who are prone to fiddling their expenses will be confident of gaining the support of their fellow criminals.



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