Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Will anyone be more disappointed than right-wing bloggers that murderers WON'T gain the right to vote?

As I've mentioned before, I firmly believe that universal suffrage should mean exactly what it says on the tin, and that therefore all prisoners should have the right to vote, however uncomfortable and unpopular that may be. So I'm glad to hear that the coalition government will finally be giving effect to the European ruling that the current outright ban on voting by convicted prisoners must go, but I'm disappointed - if not remotely surprised - that they will be taking advantage of the discretion the court afforded them to maintain a ban on certain classes of prisoners. And yet I'm starting to form the distinct impression that others will ultimately be far more disappointed than I am. Exhibit A...

"This is Roshonara Choudhry, the woman who tried to murder Labour MP Stephen Timms in revenge for him voting in favour of the 2003 invasion of Iraq...she will be sentenced by video-link, and will doubtless be given a lengthy custodial sentence to be passed in a comfortable, internet-equipped, halal-compliant cell...

...from where she will now be able to vote Mr Timms out of office.

You really couldn't make it up."

Except Cranmer just has made it up - or, more likely, he's had his fingers firmly stuck in his ears. Just how devastated are he and other right-wing bloggers going to be when the penny finally drops that the likes of Choudhry almost certainly aren't going to gain the right to vote, and that they're instead going to have to demonise petty criminals to try to convince us that this dastardly "judicial activism" (emanating from Europe to boot) marks the end of civilisation as we know it?


  1. I notice that even MPs have succumbed to the temptation to have a right wing rant:

    Honestly, I used to think that this man should be in the Tory Party. I'm beginning to wonder if that's not a bit left wing for him.

    I'd comment on it, but there's little point.

    I'm not sure what his policy is on replies, but most of the time he ignores what people write... spendid example of how to be an MP. If he does reply it is never with a reasoned argument, always a put down. People, it seems, are just too thick to see his point of view.

    Just what is it with this bloke? Some massive chip on his shoulder I imagine. He'd like to be partying with the Eton and Oxford set, but he's a Glasgow journalist. Pffffffff.

    I thought that prisoners went to prison to be punished for what they had done, and to be rehabilitated.

    Incarceration doesn't necessarily mean disenfranchisement and I'm not sure why it should.

    Most particularly, of course, I can see no justification for ever refusing the vote to a silly laddie who broke into the chip shop to steal cigarettes.

    He will be out in three weeks, and all disenfrachisement does is to alienate him even further from society, the edge of which he already clings to somewhat precariously.

  2. To have one's fingers stuck in one's ears is better than having one's head stuck up one's arse.

    You clearly have not read His Grace's preceding article on the matter, which included the observation:

    "It is important to note that the ECHR has granted national governments the right to determine which classification of prisoners might be given the right to vote and which deprived: the power remains for a sovereign Parliament to legislate to ensure that murderers, rapists and paedophiles do not determine the outcome of a general election."

    But Roshonara Choudhry is not a murderer.

    She merely attempted it.

    This category may indeed be excluded from those who are granted the right to vote, but your 'almost certainly' suggests that 'left-wing bloggers' are as prone to conjecture as those on the 'right'.

    If you know what 'left' and 'right' means in this context.

  3. Tsk, tsk, such unholy language, "Your Grace". No wonder the Church of England has gone to the dogs. I'm glad to see you're now at least conceding the possibility that Choudhry will not be covered by the legislation, which is progress because I didn't detect a huge amount of ambiguity in the phrase "from where she WILL now be able to vote Mr Timms out of office". But perhaps those with direct access to the Almighty allow themselves greater latitude when making such pronouncements.

    As for your latter point, if you'd like a little side-bet on whether or not the self-styled "party of law and order" will be taking the opportunity they've been given to prevent attempted murderers from having the vote, I'm happy to oblige.


    Tris : I get the impression that Tom Harris blocks a lot of comments on his blog altogether. One of mine didn't show up a few weeks back, and there was certainly nothing abusive in it (although it was sharply critical of him, which probably explains it). And, yes, the Tory party clearly isn't authoritarian enough for our Tom! Maybe UKIP would fit the bill?