Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Human Wrongs

I've said before now that there is an important element missing in Human Rights law; that of fairness.  All that is needed is a simple rule that no-one may rely on a human right to defend themselves from something which necessarily flows from their denial of a human right to another.

Thus, the killer of Philip Lawrence relied on his right to a family life to demand that he stay in the UK and not be deported.  Yet he was facing deportation precisely because he had killed a father and husband, because he had denied a family life to that wife and those children.

The same applies to prisoners who think they should be able to vote.  They claim that voting is an essential part of their life in society, yet they chose to exclude themselves from that very same society by their actions.  It is part and parcel of their punishment that we exclude them from society, and that includes loss of their vote.  If they wish to retain a vote, all they need to do is stop committing crimes.

This applies despite arguments such as the possibility of miscarriage of justice, or the ever-expanding range of criminal offences.  Both result in possible hardships, but the solution is to solve those separate issues - not to assume that most criminals are innocent of a non-crime and recoil from punishing any.

It is not just me that is of this view, either.  I find, in amazement, that I am able to cite with approval a comment by a Labour MP.  Relish the moment; it is rare indeed.  Here is Tom Harris's quite excellent comment:
Shocking, isn't it, that prisoners' human right to spend time with their families is compromised by having to spend time in jail?

I'll end with some context. Also from Tom Harris:
The latest appeal on behalf of prisoners' right to vote was by a man who raped and murdered his niece.
That's the kind of person we are trying to help, here.  Don't forget that.  When we have our endless debates about crime and punishment, we often note just how hard it is to get a prison sentence in this country.  These are the people whose actions met even this high threshold.

So, if the EU demands that we enact a law that is so obviously wrong, it is time to leave.


  1. I agree with your conclusion, but not the rest. Leaving aside the fact (imo) that voting changes nothing and is a demeaning and humiliating endorsement for the big State that's bleeding us dry, the majority of prisoners are inside for not paying fines, notably for TV license avoidance or some other non-crime which has harmed no-one. To my mind the European Arrest Warrant is the clearest reason to leave the EU; at least you have the chance of a fair trial in the UK.

  2. Tom Harris is often quite sane.
    That' why he gets nowhere in the Labour party.

  3. /applause

    "...the majority of prisoners are inside for not paying fines, notably for TV license avoidance ..."

    This keeps cropping up. How many? Seriously, how many people are EVER imprisoned for non-payment of a TV license?

  4. Well, the two prisoners leading the charge for votes are the one who murdered his landlady with an axe, and the one who raped and murdered his niece.

    Yes, there are no doubt some prisoners inside for lesser offences than these, although that does cover quite a wide range of crimes. I doubt that the TV-licence dodgers are a "majority", though. But their sentence will be correspondingly short, so their exclusion from voting will be also.

    I do agree with you on the EAW, though.