Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tory MP David Davis leads the charge against prisoners voting, both the Government and Shadow front bench step back, they aren’t that stupid

Dear All

As a politician you try to do things that are popular.

Everyone likes to be loved!

Gives people that warm fuzzy glowing feeling inside.

However, as much as populism is great the other side of the coin is that you have to do things which you don’t agree with because they are right.

The issue of giving prisoners the vote is an issue which some politicians hate to do.

I take the view that if you are advocating equality and fairness for all, you can’t restrict that equality and fairness because of personal prejudice.

This matter is a human rights issue.

MPs have been told it is "not unjust" to deny convicted prisoners the right to vote as they have "broken their contract with society".

Should a murderer be allowed to vote?

The answer of politicians is both yes and no.

Yes, if they are out of prison and no if they are inside.

It seems that location is the factor in which human rights can be denied.

Human rights apply all the time.

Tory backbencher David Davis is a member of the Tory awkward squad, he urged ministers to defy a European Court of Human Rights ruling that a blanket ban was illegal.

I normally have a lot of time of him on certain issues but he is wrong on this.

He counters the issue by saying that Parliament must "assert" itself on an issue of "great democratic importance".

What he is saying that Parliament should ignore the judgement of a free and independent judiciary.

In other words if you don’t like the law, break it but he isn’t just advocating this for MPs but for Parliament as a whole.

Ministers say they have no choice but to comply with the ruling.

However, they say they will do the "minimum necessary" under European law, restricting the right to inmates serving less than four years or even shorter sentences.

If MPs back a cross-party motion, tabled by Mr Davis and former Home Secretary Jack Straw, it will provoke a "mini constitutional crisis," with the UK government forced to take on the European Court.

And they will lose.

Davis bizarrely has told MPs that while prisoners had rights such as the right to be fed and protected from harm he said they should not enjoy the same rights as "free British citizens".

If you take this to a logical conclusion, he is also saying by default that the right to a fair trial is should be removed as well.

David Davis:

‘they should not enjoy the same rights as "free British citizens".’

Davis also argued:

"The concept is simple. If you break the law, you cannot make the law."

Citizens don’t make the law, Parliamentarians do; the public get no say.

Government ministers, and Labour shadow cabinet members, have been ordered to abstain in the Commons vote.


Because they know what is being done at Westminster is wrong, it cannot be justified legally or morally.

If Parliament is elected to serve all the people, it is time that all the people regardless of personal situation were allowed to play their part in democracy.

The argument currently being fronted is this is a matter for the ‘will of Parliament’, this is a red herring; it is as it always was, a matter of protecting the human rights of the individual.

We best serve democracy when we protect the rights of others that we would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of our lungs.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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