Archive for May 24th, 2012

With apologies to Superman and the artist of the original.

A short rant.  The UK Human Rights blog has responded with a detailed analysis of the latest prisoner votes case from Europe.

Adam Wagner writes:

CASE OF SCOPPOLA v. ITALY (No. 3)(Application no. 126/05) – Read judgment / press release / press release on UK implications

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that states must allow for at least some prisoners to vote, but that states have a wide discretion as to deciding which prisoners. This amounts to a retreat on prisoner votes, but certainly no surrender. As I predicted, the court reaffirmed the principles set out in Hirst No. 2, that an automatic and indiscriminate bans breach the European Convention on Human Rights, but also reaffirmed that it was up to states to decide how to remove those indiscriminate bans…..

Read more

The case is important.  For my part, I have no problem whatsoever with prisoners voting.  I rather hope that prisoners will return to society improved for paying their debt to society and be part of society.  Pie in the sky for recidivists… but an ideal to which we should aspire? I am, I suspect, in a sizeable minority.

My rant is about  statements from the prime minister and sundry shield munching Tory backbench beserkers  that Parliament is sovereign and ‘we’ should decide such matters, not ‘unelected judges’ in Europe.  Well apart  from the fact that Britain drafted the European Convention on Human Rights, signed the convention agreeing to the terms and theoretically believes in ‘The Rule of Law’ – the shield munchers have been queuing up in radio and TV studios to say that we should not apply the Rule of Law in this case – largely because, I suspect,  they fear for their thin majorities and general unpopularity with the electorate and face dismissal without help from their own proposed ‘Sack at will’ legislation – another deeply unpleasant proposal.  By all means sack the useless within the current long established unfair dismissal  rules – but is it honourable to sack to replace at a cheaper price?  Is that decent behaviour?

If we are not prepared to comply with treaty obligations – we can hardly point to  the behaviour of other nations and their human rights record..  I suspect there will be a ‘margin of appreciation’ fudge.  Perhaps the Government needs the services of The Twlawyer to assist them in their resolution of this thorny issue?


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