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Cheers - AE

Friday, 11 February 2011

Okay, Dave, now what? UPDATED

So now that Parliament has had a vote on the issue of prisoners voting and decided by 234 to 22 that prisoners can stuff off, what does Cameramong do now? Earlier today in the Teletubbygraph Benedict Brogan thought he was going to be in an awkward position.
If as we expect the motion is passed, Mr Cameron will be duty bound then to make sure it is enforced. That’s where it gets tricky: we have so far had no indication of what the Government might do: withdraw the UK from the jurisdiction of the court? Hand responsibility for abiding by the convention to the Supreme Court? Test the link between membership for the EU and the ECHR? Mr Cameron is encouraging revolt, but he has to have a plan for what happens when MPs follow his lead. What he can’t do, as some suggest, is kick it into the long grass.
Well he certainly shouldn't, but I wonder if it might actually be an option. I was watching a BBC video clip over at Chez Puddlecote in which Andrew Neil, who had the chore of interviewing this arsehole, suggested that the European Court ruling was simply that the UK had to review this situation.* If so then can Cameramong reply to the Court that the British parliament has reviewed it by a majority of more than ten to one and leave it to be argued over for another few years? That would be longish grass, possibly long enough for iDave's purposes. The alternative is confrontation and possibly a move to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court (as argued for here). If he has the stomach for withdrawal I think a lot of people in Britain who are fed up both with the EU, the European Commission and the European Court will think better of him for getting the country out from under at least one of them. Big if, though.

On the issue itself I've always felt the simplest answer is to agree that they have the right to go and vote but point out that while serving prison sentences their right to liberty is temporarily suspended, so getting to the polling station in time is going to be a bit of a challenge. If this was combined with an overhaul of the abuse-prone postal and proxy vote system so that the latter was restricted to people actually out of the country and the former dropped altogether then the only prisoners actually able to vote would be a relative handful of low risk types who'd been let out on day release or something.

The right to vote shouldn't necessarily come with the right to be able to use it if your own actions have deprived you of your liberty.

UPDATE - very good question asked by Max Farquar.
All the MPs in the HoC had a free vote today, a chance to show their disdain for something that they almost all found totally unacceptable. Rightly so. That's how it should be. So .... when are we going to be offered the same opportunity to be able to show our overwhelming disdain for all things EU. When are we going to have our free vote Dave. An EU Referendum. You know ... the one with the cast iron guarantee.

See my point?
I do indeed, Max. That's a question worth asking again and again, louder and louder, until someone comes up with an answer.

* If he can call someone a Paki then I can call him an arsehole.
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