Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The gauntlet is thrown down

From the Metro:
Six-month deadline for UK to grant prisoners right to vote 
The government has been given a six-month deadline to enfranchise some prisoners after a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
Or the government could simply say that Britain is a sovereign state, that English Common Law is supreme and the ECHR can go chase itself.


Ironmistress said...

In this particular case EHCR is right. Denying prisoners the right to vote is a violation against the principle of equality. Denying citizen's rights for its citizens - on basis of judicial status (prisoners), age (senior citizens), health (severly demented citizens) or other similar reasons simply is against the basic principles of Western jurisprudence. Denying prisoners the right to vote was found unconstitutional in Finland in 1953. [Not that prisoners would vote, but still, principle is principle.]

Of course Britain can flip the bird to the principles of Western jurisprudence, declare it is a free state and state a law which dictates a mandatory hanging sentence for open shoelaces.

Sergej said...

Ironmistress: I think that's what David said. Finland seems a pretty, Minnesota-looking place, but Britain is not Finland. You wouldn't want to be required by law to eat boiled mutton and carry an umbrella around everywhere you go (as I, not knowing any better, assume is the law in GBR), would you?

David said...

Under English Common Law we have what is known as the concept of Civic Death. By committing a felony, a person forfeits certain rights such as voting, standing for office or holding government appointments among others. Criminals are not persons of a certain "judicial status" they are criminals who have chosen to place themselves outside of society and thus treated accordingly.

As Sergej said, Finland can do as it likes, but Britain is not a European nation and its laws and institutions are not European. For the government to shackle us to a Continental Procrustean bed is a slap in the face to a thousand years of legal precedent.

eon said...

Ok, trying this again.

The US law is based on British common law. Convicted felons not only may not vote while incarcerated, they lose the franchise for life, unless they successfully petition for relief from a court.

This requires many of the same criteria as remaining out of prison on parole'; steady job, no criminal activity, etc.

American "progressives" have been campaigning to get incarcerated felons voting rights for decades. Mainly due to their belief that said felons, who routinely break the law, hold the rest of our society in the same low esteem they do, and thus will constitute a voting bloc loyal to their causes.

So far, no state has been willing to open this Pandora's Box, to the best of my knowledge. If one ever does, it will probably be California, Massachusetts, or Vermont.

Most of the sane people have already left all three.