Thre\’s a solution here Dave

Senior government sources said Mr Cameron was “exasperated” and “furious” at having to agree to votes for prisoners, but the threat of costly litigation had forced his hand.

He was told that the Government faced a series of compensation claims from prisoners and potential legal action from the European Union if it did not agree to a change.

Let\’s just leave then, shall we?

8 thoughts on “Thre\’s a solution here Dave”

  1. Tim,

    I might be being really really thick here, but I’m struggling to get a clear view from the news.

    Are we talking about denying the vote whilst actually incarcerated or after release (whether or not on probation)?

    If the former, we need to leave and leave now. If the latter, what’s the fuss about? You serve your debt to society whilst your liberty is curtailed by virtue of being in prison. Once that debt is served and you are released, then yes, you ought to become part of civil society again until such time as you choose to commit further crime and are convicted of the same.

    Tim adds: Serving prisoners. We’ve never had the American rule that you lose your vote (or some other civil liberties) while on probation or licence. Only those actually bangde up under out system lose their vote.

  2. There’s a simple solution, which the Irish have adopted: “You have a right to be registered in the political constituency where you would normally live if you were not in prison. However, you have no right to be given physical access to a ballot box by temporary release or a postal vote or any other way.”

    Job done.

  3. I believe – though I stand to be corrected – that the “European Court” whose rulings the government is following is the European Court of Human Rights not the European Court of Justice. In reality the ECHR has no jurisdictional authority over the UK and the government can chose to follow its rulings or not. Now, our judiciary might feel that such is the moral authority of the ECHR that they feel constrained to apply its rulings under the UK human rights legislation. If so, damages awarded against the government (ie you and me) are at the discretion of the judges: they indeed might levy swingeing amounts. They might, however, award damages of 1p taking into account quite why the plaintiff lost the right to vote in the first place.

    The government’s decision has, of course, nothing to do with the LibDems’ constant struggle on behalf of two of their core constituencies, the criminal classes and, more to the point, the “reforming” fake charities.

  4. “serving prisoners”.

    Then they can very obvious fuck off. Together with any who mentions the phrase “inalienable human right”.

    It is a rather more important inalienable human right not to be deprived of one’s liberty to enjoy the queen’s peace generally, but that is precisely what is done by locking someone up in prison.

    I had to ask to whom this applied as it seems so blindingly obvious that this is a relatively minor right to which actual prisoners are deprived.


  5. Outside the manufactured outrage, I can’t see what the fuss is about.

    The government has to be able to justify its infringement of a right for the infringement to be lawful. There has to be a legitimate aim and the infringement must be proportionate. The government has had five years to explain the infringement – it hasn’t. If you can’t think of a justification for an infringement in five years, perhaps you shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

    from the judgement:

    The Chamber found that the exclusion from voting imposed on convicted prisoners in detention was disproportionate. It had regard to the fact that it stripped a large group of people of the vote; that it applied automatically irrespective of length of sentence or the gravity of the offence; and that the results were arbitrary and anomalous, depending on the timing of elections. It further noted that as insofar as the disqualification from voting was to be seen as part of a prisoner’s punishment, there was no logical justification for the disqualification to continue in the case of the present applicant, who had completed that part of his sentence relating to punishment and deterrence.

    We don’t have to give the right to vote to all prisoners. We just have to be able to justify not giving the right to vote to prisoners or some subset of prisoners. Again, ifyou can’t justify it, you shouldn’t be doing it.

    … it should be for the legislature to decide whether any restriction on the right to vote should be tailored to particular offences, or offences of a particular gravity or whether, for instance, the sentencing court should be left with an overriding discretion to deprive a convicted person of his right to vote. The Court would observe that there is no evidence that the legislature in the United Kingdom has ever sought to weigh the competing interests or to assess the proportionality of the ban as it affects convicted prisoners.

  6. Umbongo,

    In reality the ECHR has no jurisdictional authority over the UK and the government can chose to follow its rulings or not.

    No, the rulings are binding.

  7. ukl

    “No, the rulings are binding.”

    Then I stand corrected . . . and the situation’s worse than I thought. The Irish solution seems attractive but has it been tested at the ECHR?

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