A good day in court?

 

          The Attorney General himself went to argue his case in the Supreme Court against claims from prisoners that they were owed compensation as they had a right to vote in elections. This issue has become the cause of friction between the UK Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. These latest two cases saw prisoners seek to bring cases under EU law, which post Lisbon is increasingly moving into  human rights matters.

          As someone who thinks we keep too many people in prison, and thinks we need to do more to train and educate prisoners so they can lead a more worthwhile and law abiding life on exit, I have not been leading the campaign to prevent prisoners voting. I do, however, think it is a very good example of exactly the kind of issue a sovereign country chould  decide for itself through Parliament. I am against any moves by any European Court to change Parliament’s policy.

       The victory of the Attorney General in yesterday’s judgement is therefore welcome. So too is the definitive statement in the judgement about Parliament’ s supremacy in this matter:

“the legislation (UK election law) is entirely clear and it would flatly contradict the evident intention of the UK (if it  required some prisoners to vote). It would also be impossible for the Supreme Court itself to devise an alternative scheme of voting eligibility that would or might pass muster in a domestic or supra-national European court…Such matters would be beyond its jurisdiction….That being so the creation of any new scheme must be a matter for the UK Parliament”

          However, the long and complex judgement serves to remind anyone who reads it just how much encroachment on our affairs there is from ECJ as well ECHR law. The Judges did not agree with the Attorney General that they should disregard previous ECHR judgements in favour of prisoner voting. Instead they dismissed both prisoner appeals under European law, primarily on the grounds that European (EU ) law “does not incorporate any right to vote paralleling that recognised by the ECHR in its case law…”

          Ministers are finding out the hard way that in so many areas of life they have to fight in court to defend what we have been doing for years, or face a court case where they wish to change policy and honour promises they have made to the public.  To all those who are scornful of Conservative Ministers, I would point out that they are often seeking to limit the EU’s power and to enlarge our opportunity to make our own domestic democratic decisions. Yesterday was a good top line result, but the detail reveals just how much power this country has surrendered.

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158 Comments

  1. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree that we should not have surrendered our power to the EU, some of the EU laws are an improvement on ours as I found out myself, when a Nurse representative appealed to EU laws during a crisis when I was subject to bullying from the system.
    It is not solely about the law ‘persae’ , but the institutions and inept lawyers who use it.
    Evidence seems to be the lies of a few which gain weight with competitors who are jealous; like Chinese whispers. It becomes a challenge to win rather than find the truth.

    With this is mind ,I wonder about many of the prisoners who have been subject to unfairness and have ‘flipped’ under the pressure of inability to get justice themselves
    and may have a less corrupt mind set than those who locked them up initially.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Margaret,

      I don’t doubt you have experienced some difficulties, but what would stop the UK government protecting you with our own laws, were it so minded?

      Where our laws have been found wanting, parliament has debated it, and they have subsequently been amended, and that still could be the case were it not for the fact that so much of our decision-making powers had been given to a whole new level of expensive bureaucracy in the form of the EU.

      It’s interesting you mention corruption. How clean do you think the EU is?

      Tad

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        I don’t imagine cleanliness and pure mindedness as the dominating influence in Europe, however we must not throw out the good with the bad.
        We also must keep in mind that the original Brits now have other many global influences from second and third generation immigrants whose lifestyle has not been originated on fairness and justice. Rawls has not been in the equation for many new solicitors and barristers, but rather that shiny powerful position which gets them to QC before any other.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        The UK had the second highest number of appeals to the ECtHR before the HRA was introduced because the Government wasn’t amending the law to remove injustices.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          Oh blind lover of the EU. I see you didn’t venture into the dark and murky area of EU corruption!

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Margaret. Thoughtful post. As someone with quite a lot of experience as an expert witness in both criminal and civil cases I have to say that the adversarial process of some of the UK courts is holding back justice in the way you describe. An inquisitorial system would be better in many cases and I suspect HR would be one of those areas.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        You’re not familiar with Industrial Tribunals then?

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately I am .

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          No I’m not. I dealt mainly with complex property fraud on the criminal side and professional negligence on the civil side.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Indeed I am always amazed by how a jury (usually with little scientific knowledge ) is somehow expected to judge between one forensic (or similar) “expert” on one side saying one thing and the other “expert” saying the complete opposite.

        When experts like Roy Medow testify that the odds against two cot deaths occurring in the same family is 73,000,000:1 one wonders what planet some of the “experts” are on. They do not even seem to understand basic probabilities. What chance have the jury got?

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          Well that is an example of what Margaret is saying. The Wolfe reforms were helpful in that it emphasised the meetings on a without prejudice basis before trial. In my experience experts look for, indeed are directed by judges, to find the common ground so that it is only those issues that remain in dispute that go before the jury. This is an example of the inquisitorial system in action; the occasional buffoonery and consistent theatre resumes during the adversarial stage. Cross-examination etc.

          But a golden rule that all experts should know: the more incredulous the advocate sounds the less he/she has prepared.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Politicians will have to campaign in prisons in marginal constituencies. Which way do you think most prisoners will vote ? Labour or Conservative ?

    People get sent to prison after very many warnings and cautions and only for the offences for which they have been caught- only the most persistent or serious ever get there… unless, of course, we are talking about defaulting on fines or TV licences.

    Better availability of vocational training earlier on in life (combined with the financial ‘nudges’ rather than the wrong ones we have now) might have interested these people when they were younger and distracted them from crime in the first place.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Yes. The real issue is supranational interference.

    • Bob
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      If only people would educate themselves as to how a TV set may be legally used without a TV Licence thousands of vulnerable people could be spared a criminal conviction, saving court time and prison space.

      Better still the BBC should get off from the tax teat and go to subscription based like Sky and Virgin.

      I hope that this comment will not be deleted or censored by our esteemed host, because by now he should have referred to the TVLA website to assure himself that mere ownership of a TV does not require a licence.

      Reply This site does not offer legal advice and recommends that people with TVs pay the licence fee and obeys the law.

      • Mike
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        If that is the case Bob then more people should know about it.

        Have you considered a social media campaign?

        • Bob
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          “If that is the case Bob then more people should know about it. Have you considered a social media campaign?

          It’s already widely publicised – Google is your friend.

          I cannot be any more specific because our host believes that possession of a TV set requires a licence, and he doesn’t respond well to anyone challenging that belief.

      • Bob
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        “Reply This site does not offer legal advice and recommends that people with TVs pay the licence fee and obeys the law.”

        Well we at least agree on one thing Mr Redwood, people should obey the law, and if anyone wishes to check what it says on the TVLA website they will know how to:

        “You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.”

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        More than one in 10 criminal prosecutions in 2012 were for non-payment of the BBC licence fee.

        A total of 181,880 people were summoned to appear at magistrates’ courts in England for the offence last year.

        Just get rid of the licence and save all those criminal prosecutions and fund it from general tax (or fees and scrambling the signal) if this lefty, fake green, pro EU propaganda unit needs funding at all. Cut the pay/pensions of top BBC staff to market rates, about 25% of current rates.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      ………..”Yesterday was a good top line result, but the detail reveals just how much power this country has surrendered”.

      Quite so Mr Redwood. Please remind us which LibLabCon Parties ceded these powers to their beloved EU.
      People out here know it and will show their feelings in next years European elections and beyond.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    America used to be a country where rich white landowners laid down their ideas of the law. But that excluded everyone else! Slaves, wimmin, the poor, Mexicans, Asians…… Today, this more inclusive nation has voted to become a society where everyone, no matter how poor, is included. Things can change radically without anyone noticing.

    Here in UK things have changed radically too. As you say, we are no longer a sovereign nation. Our precious law and our precious and hard-won liberties are being dictated by Europe – which has completely different ideas of how we ought to conduct our affairs.

    Get used to it!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Personally I have no intention of following your:

      “Get used to it!”

      recommendation about either the EU or the ECHR.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard

      Care to provide evidence that the UK is always right and that Europe is always wrong. If you’re unable to do this then there’s no reason to believe that liberties from Europe will be any way inferior to liberties from the UK.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Don’t be daft, nobody can ALWAYS be right, not even you!

        Unlike you I have faith that our elected representatives in Parliament will in the end produce better laws for our country than a bunch of unaccountable and uncontrollable legal appointees drawn from across Europe; and even when they do get it wrong, as they inevitably will on occasions, we are a sovereign people and they are our elected representatives in our sovereign Parliament, and it is entirely up to us to replace them if necessary.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          Firstly every country that’s a member of the ECtHR gets a judge.

          Secondly these judges are elected by the representatives of all the countries in the ECtHR. So the UK had the right to vote on every judge.

          Thirdly the problem with your logic is that it doesn’t protect minorities, as the majority can always vote in politicians who will continue to abuse minorities. In most countries a constitution is used to protect minorities from the abuses of those in power, without the HRA minorities in the UK have no such protection.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            Fourthly, if we weren’t a member of it, we wouldn’t need to have them, and our own parliament could legislate as we saw fit. And that includes the creation of our own constitution and a bill of rights. EU = superfluous, expensive, duplication and nonsense.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

          I have very little faith that our elected representatives in Parliament but at least we have a little control over them. Unlike a bunch of unaccountable and uncontrollable legal appointees drawn from across Europe over whom we and even the population of the EU, have virtually none.

      • Martyn G
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        It is quite clear that the ECHR often protects the guilty and prevents British courts dealing with them as they see fit. The convention on human rights is no place for our traditional, practical legal safeguards against arbitrary imprisonment and wrongful convictions. The convention makes no provision for trial by jury, habeas corpus, or the right to remain silent. It makes no provision against trials in absentia, double jeopardy, hearsay evidence or prejudicial press reporting. The judges are not necessarily lawyers. Then we have the terrible European arrest warrant whereby completely innocent citizens of Britain can be arrested on no evidence at the request of another country and sent to jurisdictions where no evidence is needed to keep them in prison for lengthy periods for eventually being released without charge. How fair is that? The UK law before interfered with and overridden by the ECHR was in all instances far superior and made the UK a safer place to live in with control of its own law.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          It is quite clear that the ECHR often protects the guilty and prevents British courts dealing with them as they see fit.

          How do you count the people who the ECtHR says aren’t guilty because they weren’t given a fair trial?

          What about all the people who are resisting deportation because they’ll be killed if they go back to their home country? What are they guilty of?

          The convention on human rights is no place for our traditional, practical legal safeguards against arbitrary imprisonment and wrongful convictions.

          Those have always been very poor. Remember the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, and Maguire Seven. these safeguards didn’t help them, unlike the ECHR.

          The convention makes no provision for trial by jury, habeas corpus, or the right to remain silent.

          Habeas corpus and the right to remain silent are included in the convention under the right to a fair trial.

          Trial by jury is not mentioned because it’s up to each member state whether a case is tried by a jury or several judges. For example in the UK any case before the magistrates doesn’t involve a jury, nor do most civil cases, and no appeal involves a jury.

          It makes no provision against trials in absentia, double jeopardy, hearsay evidence or prejudicial press reporting.

          Trials in absentia are prohibited because they violate the right to a fair trial.

          Double jeopardy isn’t prohibited, which is why the UK was able to introduce laws that allow people to be tried for the same crime multiple times if new evidence is discovered.

          Hearsay evidence is allowed in UK courts under certain circumstances.

          Prejudicial press reporting is prohibited under the right to a fair trial and under the right to private life.

          The judges are not necessarily lawyers

          So what? In the UK judges don’t have to be lawyers either.

          Then we have the terrible European arrest warrant whereby completely innocent citizens of Britain can be arrested on no evidence at the request of another country and sent to jurisdictions where no evidence is needed to keep them in prison for lengthy periods for eventually being released without charge.

          That’s to do with the EU, not the ECHR. Also you have to be charged with something otherwise you can’t be arrested.

          The UK law before interfered with and overridden by the ECHR was in all instances far superior and made the UK a safer place to live in with control of its own law.

          The UK law was rotten before the ECHR because Parliament was able to abuse their power in any way they wanted. Now ministers can’t abuse prisoners to get more votes or ignore people’s right for arbitrary reasons.

          In conclusion your knowledge about UK law is very poor.

      • peter davies
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        @uanime5 Do you come on this site to stir things up? The Law has nothing to do with whats “inferior”, its about having a system where you have some sort of say over who your law makers are with long established principles and values that have evolved over centuries.

        Someone with all due respect who may have little judicial experience and comes from another country and therefore does not understand the way the UK works or the spirit of its values making decisions which supplant those of a national democracy would be like putting me in charge of running a car factory – something I know nothing about.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          I dislike those who claim that something is wrong simply because it’s foreign.

          As someone who actually has studied law I know just because something had evolved over centuries doesn’t make it good. In most cases the common law ends up becoming so convoluted that the judges had to ask Parliament to create a new statute that will overwrite it.

          An outside perspective is often good because people from the outside are able to see problems that are being ignored because of a culture in a legal system or an industry. The UK cannot defend injustices simply by saying that this is how we resolve things in the UK.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

            I must have read your post six times, and you’re addressing things that Peter didn’t even say!

            But for the record. Law is constantly evolving to meet the requirements of the day. If a British system works for its people, why then must it be adulterated by a foreign influence?

            If a British system doesn’t work for its people, then the best way to sort it, is for our own parliament to amend the law as needed – again, with no foreign involvement.

            If there is a bad law on the British statute book that needs putting right, and if there’s a better model elsewhere, then there’s nothing to stop us taking the best bits and incorporating it into British law – again without foreign involvement. So it’s not to say that everything from abroad is bad, it’s that we can make our own laws thank you very much, without anyone else imposing their will upon us, and in the case of the EU, a very expensive will it is too!

            I think that’s what Peter had in mind and he made his point well, but I don’t hold out much hope that you will take any of it in, because you’ll keep coming back time and time again with the same old lines. Tell me, you studied law, would you be in contempt of court if you disregarded the judge’s balanced conclusions in the same way you disregard our conclusive arguments?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

            When something evolves in nature it is to better survive and replicate its genes. When a law evolves however, in a legal system, it usually evolved to become more complex, more vague and open to judge interpretation depending on his/her mood, more multi layer courts and thus far more remunerative for the lawyers.

            It is usually “evolved” or interpreted by the lawyers after all.

  4. Cheshire Girl
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    In my opinion there is no way that prisoners should be able to vote. Nor do they want to, according to Jonathon Aitken on the television yesterday. He said it seemed to be the last thing on the minds of most of them.
    As in most things these days it appears to be a small group of them determined to take on the Government. I believe it is for this country to decide on this issue and it is not for the EU to tell us what to do (again)!
    I am fed up to the teeth with the Human Rights Act, it seems to be used against us all the time now. We no longer appear to be in charge of our own country!

    • uanime5
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to human rights the majority can no longer abuse minorities they don’t like. So just because you don’t like prisoners doesn’t mean you can remove their democratic right to vote.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        If I had my way, prisoners would leave all rights at the gate when they entered, and earn the right to get them back through an adherence to a strict regime of rehabilitation. It would give them something to work towards, and stop the crazy revolving door situation we presently have.

        Further, for any government not to give crime the very highest priority, and do absolutely everything to stop it dead, amounts to a dereliction of their first duty to protect the people, and culpability on the part of the state.

        The soft way, and the leftie way, is to give crims a jolly good talking to (and perhaps not even that), all the rights and privileges free people enjoy thus removing the incentive to straighten themselves out, then release them early on their own cognisance. A regime without respect, and a fear of the consequences of a criminal way of life, is an absolute nonsense.

        I long for the day when we can once again determine our own sentencing policy without the meddling from elsewhere.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          All your plan will do is given prisoners even less reason to surrender, plead guilty, or not riot when in prison. It will do nothing to reduce the amount of crimes committed. That’s why the US has a high crime rate despite it’s tough stance on crime, while the softer European way has proven far more effective at reducing crime.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            You really are way off beam, and your logic is straight out of the do-gooder manual, but that’s what we have come to expect from lefties who have no idea of what it’s like outside their Utopian bubble! As someone who has been a victim of crime, I find anything that gives quarter and concessions to criminals deeply offensive. It’s all about stopping crime altogether not controlling it or managing it, and preventing any more lives being blighted, but the political will and the initiative has been severely lacking with the pursuance of half-baked policies like yours. Your way, won’t work. We’ve got to show criminals who’s gaffer, not pander to them. If prisoners are likely to riot, then segregate them. And keep upping the ante and make things increasingly uncomfortable for them until they think again. There is a point in every criminal where crime simply becomes uneconomic.

            You seem to be suggesting that harsh penalties will make a criminal more likely to deny their guilt. So what! If found guilty, then tack on another year or two cracking rocks for deliberately obstructing justice!

            You quote the US, but overlook the social problems and the destitution. You also say the softer European way is far more effective at reducing crime. Please tell me then, how can a person continue to commit crimes if they are not at liberty to do so?

            My way would see a criminal incarcerated until such time as they no longer posed a threat to the community. Whilst in prison, they would have the opportunity to get an education, and learn some discipline. Success is measured in the eradication of crime. My preferred methods would be a far more effective, so how is that in any way inferior?

      • Credible
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Where does this democratic ‘right’ come from?
        Criminals have abused other peoples rights.
        Should we not have the right to stop people from voting who have damaged our society?
        The trouble with rights is we talk about them as absolute (and believe them to be so), but clearly there are differences in opinion about what they are. Who is correct and how do we know?

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          The democratic right comes from living in a democracy.

          Just because society doesn’t approve of someone doesn’t mean they should lose their right to vote.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

            Can we have a vote on that Uni?

          • Credible
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            You have your definition of what is a right. Others have different definitions. If it comes down to the loudest voice or the majority view it isn’t a right it is an opinion. What makes your opinion better than someone else’s. If rights are more than just opinion, then where do they come from?

      • peter davies
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        rights are something good people should have – put yourself in a section of society that does not respect the law then this is one thing that should be taken away

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Rights are something everyone has regardless of moral character. You don’t lose your right to a fair trial simply because you’ve been accused of a crime.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            You’re twisting it as most (words left out ed) lefties do, and misrepresenting the situation. We still have the presumption of innocence. Being accused of a crime is one thing, being proven guilty is something else. You don’t lose your rights simply because you have been accused of something. But you should lose them once you’ve been found guilty and given a custodial sentence. I wonder how you feel about all the ‘perks’ criminals still get whilst in prison?

            I haven’t always been a fan of Chris Grayling, but I’ll give him this much, at least he’s trying to put the system right. A system that years of interference by do-gooder plonkers have made into a laughing stock! A system that says it’s ok to rob, to pillage from, and do harm to other people, and we’ll make life just as cushy as we can whilst you’re inside, regardless of the cost to the tax-payer. Money that could be better spent keeping pensioners warm and fed. People who have done this country a service, not been a curse upon it. When will your sort ever get their priorities right?

  5. Andyvan
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    “To all those who are scornful of Conservative Ministers” I would point out that it was a Conservative government that got us into the EU and other Conservative governments that signed up to very many agreements to give away our sovereignty and a Conservative party that has been overwhelmingly pro EU until very recently. Yes Labour and the Lib Dems are guilty too but a good slice of the blame lies at the feet of the Conservative party.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Dead right Andy! And they keep asking us to trust them one more time.

      If we were married to a spouse that kept being unfaithful or abusing us, should we keep giving them chance after chance, or simply tell them to get lost?

      I recall reading a good line from the New Oxford Dictionary that sums it up nicely, ‘A fool returns to its folly like a dog to its vomit.’ In other words, people keep swallowing the very thing that made them sick in the first place. There’s nowt so queer as folk!

      Tad

      • zorro
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Prverbs 26:11

        zorro

  6. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I would like to make a clear distinction between EU and ECHR (European Convention) since I would consider the UK leaving the ECHR, which is advocated by some of your party members, as extremely extreme. Among 48 countries only Belarus isn’t part of the European Convention. Initiatives to reform the ECHR are fine of course.
    It may be good to remember that even the UK (even the UK) is not above occasional abuse of human rights and therefore a court of last resort is a good principle. It should also be remembered that this issue of votes for prisoners was turned into a prestige issue, the ECHR only objected against the blanket nature of this UK law, really not a very sophisticated law for the 21st century! By comparison, in Dutch courts the exclusion from voting is assessed individually and is not just be applied to convicted criminals but also to people who are severely mentally handicapped. In some cases participating in voting for prisoners is actually encouraged as a way to teach prisoners how they should participate in society upon release. Even if the UK were to leave the EU, it should not even consider leaving the European Convention.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      I would like to make a clear distinction between the EU, the ECHR, and the UK. It’s called the English Channel. You keep your institutions on that side of it, and we’ll keep our institutions on this side. One size clearly doesn’t fit all. I wouldn’t mind betting we could create something far better if we really tried, that was endorsed by the people who really matter – US!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        @Tad Davison: Then don’t forget to take your desert island discs. 🙂

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          You make it sound as if we’d be left out in the cold Peter, a little boy lost and excluded from the big-spending binge of a party over there on the continent. Those days are over I’m afraid, because there’s a great big albatross hanging around the neck of the EU, and it’s called debt. So I’ll make a bet with you. If the UK were out of the EU, we could not only make a go of it, and be both profitable, and competitive, but other member states would seek to emulate us.

          And that doesn’t auger well for the EU. the UK’s exit might even see its disintegration, and not before time. I believe it was the former USSR leader, who said he couldn’t understand why the west wants to re-create the USSR in Europe. I think he was referring to people like you Peter.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            @Tad Davison: sorry to have to inform you that your UK debt is roughly equal to that of the Eurozone. Bukovsky wasn’t a former USSR leader but a slightly silly man, who put this EUSSR claim on youtube. In his first 2 minutes I counted 19 falsehoods, and then gave up on him.
            As for the UK doing so much better outside the EU, why dis it ever join? I’ll tell you:
            Since the UK joined the EU,
            * UK economy 2.5 times bigger
            * GDP per capita has more than doubled
            * 4.5 million more people in employment
            * the UK finally increased its productivity
            this info comes from your own organisation of UK manufacturers. Have a good evening Tad.

            Reply Countries outside the EU have usually grown faster. Where is your evidence that the EU drove our growth, rather than technology/productivity gains that have nothing to do with the EU? Whilst we have been in the EU many people have become overweight and become diabetic, but I don’t thin k the EU caused that.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            You’re badly informed yet again Peter, the former leader of the USSR I was referring to was no less than Mikhail Gorbachev who said this……….

            ‘“The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”

            Given the system he inherited, I rather think he knows what he’s talking about!

      • uanime5
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Given that the UK helped write the ECHR it’s already part of our institutions and we can’t make anything better. Just because you hate Europe doesn’t make their legal decisions inferior to UK ones.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          So if it’s just as good, what’s wrong with having our own, and doing away with a whole tranche of unnecessary bureaucracy?

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Because people don’t want a British bill of rights that’s superior to the ECHR, they want an inferior one that they can ignore with impunity.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            ‘Because people don’t want a British bill of rights that’s superior to the ECHR, they want an inferior one that they can ignore with impunity.’

            Evidence please, or is this just more of your fanciful, imagined biased left-wing bilge?

    • Bill
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Peter, for your explanation. Individual assessment of prisoners would presumably work but, of course, would simply generate further bureaucratic processes and then appeals against the decision by whichever body decided (the Parole Board?) would cost further sums of money spent of the fees of lawyers.

      You can see why a blanket law against voting by prisoners makes sense.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        @Bill: Actually Biil, I don’t see this would work, it has already shown not to work, because this blanket approach conflicts with other rights. I don’t know of any such appeals from convicted individuals in the Netherlands, which is understandable because such appeals would be completely futile and have no ground. The ECHR after all, is not against forbidding convicts to vote. Not for the Netherlands, not for the UK.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        A blanket ban makes no sense, which is why the ECHR ruled it illegal. You could simply restrict voting to prisoners with less than 5 years left of their jail sentence, which could be implemented easily and with little bureaucratic process.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          “…………..with little bureaucratic process.”

          And just a tiny tiny bit of imagination.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      So leaving the ECHR would not just be “extreme”, but “extremely extreme” …

      How did we manage for centuries before the European Convention existed?

      We had many ups and downs, but eventually we became and we have remained a fairly free country, with a sort of democracy and mostly avoiding the really brutal abuses of power suffered by people in most other countries.

      If you believe, or just wish to imply, that without the European Convention we would suddenly become like Belarus, then you insult us; and that is not a good idea if you wish to persuade us – although why you should wish to persuade us I don’t know, when it is really none of your business.

      In any case it wouldn’t be necessary to withdraw from the whole of the European Convention, just from its Article 46(1) through which our politicians foolishly agreed that the UK would abide by all the decisions of the court in Strasbourg.

      • uanime5
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        How did we manage for centuries before the European Convention existed?

        Very badly; which was why the court of equity was created in order to mitigate the harshness of the law.

        We had many ups and downs, but eventually we became and we have remained a fairly free country, with a sort of democracy and mostly avoiding the really brutal abuses of power suffered by people in most other countries.

        I’d say the UK was about as brutal as other European countries. Only the Ottoman Empire offered a system where the poor could legally and regularly be promoted to the highest offices.

        If you believe, or just wish to imply, that without the European Convention we would suddenly become like Belarus, then you insult us

        Given that before the Human Rights Act the UK had the second highest number of cases appealed to the ECtHR it’s clear that we would become like Belarus very quickly.

        In any case it wouldn’t be necessary to withdraw from the whole of the European Convention, just from its Article 46(1) through which our politicians foolishly agreed that the UK would abide by all the decisions of the court in Strasbourg.

        As long as the decisions by the ECtHR are unenforceable the UK has effectively withdrawn from the whole convention. It would be manifestly unjust if someone could simply ignore a court judgement they didn’t like so why do you believe it would be in any way just for people to ignore ECHR judgements they didn’t like. Don’t forget that it’s not just the Government that’s taken before the ECHR but private companies and individuals as well, so how exactly is allowing them to ignore ECtHR judgements going to work?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          “I’d say the UK was about as brutal as other European countries.”

          (there were far more brutal European countries in the C20)

          You have a very poor grasp of history.

          You say above that “the UK helped write the ECHR” – in fact it was drafted under the guidance of a British MP and lawyer, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe – but how do you think we had even got to the point of drafting something like that?

          And it was never intended to be for our benefit, but for that of people in other countries who had not enjoyed the same freedom and stable democracy.

          “As long as the decisions by the ECtHR are unenforceable the UK has effectively withdrawn from the whole convention. It would be manifestly unjust if someone could simply ignore a court judgement they didn’t like so why do you believe it would be in any way just for people to ignore ECHR judgements they didn’t like. Don’t forget that it’s not just the Government that’s taken before the ECHR but private companies and individuals as well, so how exactly is allowing them to ignore ECtHR judgements going to work?”

          Firstly Article 46(1) only applies to the UK state and its government:

          “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

          Secondly, if the Council of Europe was so foolish as to take the position that if the UK withdrew its consent to be bound by that article then it would have to leave the Convention as a whole, the answer could be “goodbye, then”, and why not?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            I do so enjoy your posts Denis! They are always articulate and well-researched, but something tells me its finer points are going to be lost on that one.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

            (there were far more brutal European countries in the C20)

            You have a very poor grasp of history.

            Your failure to provide any examples to back up your claims undermines your argument and leads me to believe you don’t know anything about the level of brutality in any of these countries.

            You say above that “the UK helped write the ECHR” – in fact it was drafted under the guidance of a British MP and lawyer, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe – but how do you think we had even got to the point of drafting something like that?

            Winning WW2 helped.

            And it was never intended to be for our benefit, but for that of people in other countries who had not enjoyed the same freedom and stable democracy.

            The UK signed up to it because it was meant to apply to everyone.

            Firstly Article 46(1) only applies to the UK state and its government:

            “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

            Which included the Government, companies, and private individuals; which is why Pye was able to take Graham to the ECHR regarding 23 hectares of land that Graham has acquired from Pye via adverse possession (squatting on it for a long time).

            Secondly, if the Council of Europe was so foolish as to take the position that if the UK withdrew its consent to be bound by that article then it would have to leave the Convention as a whole, the answer could be “goodbye, then”, and why not?

            The UK’s international standing will take a big hit if it declares that it is no longer going to obey human rights law. You can also expect huge protests by people who oppose abusive governments.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            “(there were far more brutal European countries in the C20)

            You have a very poor grasp of history.

            Your failure to provide any examples to back up your claims undermines your argument and leads me to believe you don’t know anything about the level of brutality in any of these countries.”

            You may not have realised that:

            “(there were far more brutal European countries in the C20)”

            was not my statement; it was an editorial insertion by JR to replace what I actually said, which as I recall was something like:

            (references to fascist extremes ed)

            I repeat the obvious, that the Convention was never intended for the benefit of people in this country, because it wasn’t needed here; and it is still not needed here, except to provide human rights lawyers with a good living.

            “Winning WW2 helped.”

            The Soviet Union was also a victor in that war; why did the idea of the Convention not come from there?

            Because the Russian tradition was (and largely still is) directly opposed to the English and British tradition.

            “Firstly Article 46(1) only applies to the UK state and its government:

            “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

            Which included the Government, companies, and private individuals … ”

            No, in international treaties the phrase “the High Contracting Parties” does not include companies and private individuals.

            If you look at the facsimile of the original Convention here:

            http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Collection_Convention_1950_ENG.pdf

            you’ll see that it starts with

            “The Governments signatory hereto …”,

            and then at the end of the preamble it says

            “Have agreed as follows”,

            and Article 1 states that:

            “The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.”

            And you will find those original High Contracting Parties, the subjects of what is now Article 46(1) but was then Article 53, as well as all the other articles, listed on page 17 onwards, with the names of those who signed on behalf of their respective governments; and you will see there the names of states which were victors and vanquished and neutrals during the war, but you will not see the name of one of the victors, the Soviet Union, which according to its own centuries-old historical tradition was still busy with its own gross abuses of its population.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: oh dear oh dear, with such kinds of nostalgic arguments, why not long back to the era that British were still wearing hides and hunted deer (in between their cups of tea I assume)?
        This is the 21st century Denis, and the Good British who helped draft the European Convention didn’t share your optimism and nonchalance, having lived through the terrible WWI and WWII. If all 47 countries were to withdraw from Article 46(1), the convention would have been rendered completely toothless and thus worthless.
        Let me just remind you of the countries which submit to the European Convention and have no intention of leaving and isolating themselves, and with whom the UK shares a common responsibility as Council of Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, ”The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear, oh dear, Peter, what a fatuous comment, a new low for you.

          It’s not nostalgia, it’s a knowledge of our national history of which you are perhaps ignorant.

          Read the English Declaration of Rights:

          http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp

          and you will see there:

          “And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons … do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare …”

          Do you see the “as their ancestors in like case have usually done”, and do you see “the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties”?

          In other words, 1688 when William of Orange had this document imposed upon him as effectively his contract of service, in exchange for having the resources of England available for his wars, that was not the start; in fact Magna Carta in 1215 was not the start either, the English tradition of liberty under the law with a limited monarchy can be traced back to before the Norman Conquest.

          We had got to 1950 by ourselves without the European Convention, and we took the lead in writing the European Convention for the benefit of people in other countries, not our own; the mistake was to give a hostage to fortune by agreeing to Article 46(1), and that is the mistake which should now be rectified.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Me fatuous? And I even try and be nice to you! I consider yours a silly kind of nostalgic nationalism, I cannot find more comforting words for it. It is arrogance to think that the UK doesn’t need what other countries need. When I can even call the functioning of your democracy into question, what makes you think that your protection of human rights is beyond any doubt? Even in the case of the conflicts in N. Ireland there have been some serious doubts about this.
            I’ll side with Mitterand: “nationalism, cést la guerre”

          • Excalibur
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:16 am | Permalink

            Brilliant riposte, Denis.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

            Parliament hasn’t exactly been a good defender of liberties and rights of everyone. Especially not in the 17th century when only the wealthy could vote.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      It is indeed a fair observation that some in the UK think that we have nothing learn from anyone, anywhere. For my part, I would prefer to look at what works (or does not work) in broadly comparable nations and then make the decision here.

      We should seek to achieve a consistent framework of human rights which stands (informed) criticism. For my part, it appears grotesque that, within a fortnight, our DPP appears very comfortable that there can be legal abortion on the basis, primarily, of a preference for the sex of the embryo, whilst another bit of the Establishment becomes very exercised about the prison voting question.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Peter

      I thought you might like this quote:

      ” We cannot accept the insolence of European officials who, along with a handful of oppositionists, want to teach our country a less for its stubborness”.

      President Lukashenko of Belarus. August 2003

      I think I am heard these sentiments expressed elsewhere. Britain and Belarus working together in the interests of justice. Now there’s a thought.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        @yulwaymartyn: Britain working together with “the last dictator in Europe”? I couldn’t have made it up 🙂

        • forthurst
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          yulwaymartin and Peter van Leeuwen, apart from espousing distasteful political views, have demonstrated yet again a lack of understanding of elementary logic:

          A,B -> Category C

          B -> Category D

          Therefore, A -> Category D

          No. Epic Fail.

          etc ed

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            @forthurst: You have a point of course, the UK is not to be compared with Belarus. (Actually, Kososvo and Vatican City are also currently outside the Council of Europe).

            But we do have a point that it would be absolutely ludicrous for Britain to leave the European Convention and the fact that you then put yourself in a league with Belarus is still an (uncomfortable) fact.

            Reply As a decent democracy we can decide our own human rights. We would not suddenly become like Belarus!

          • David Price
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            The US, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, India …. are all outside the Council of Europe and are not signatories to the ECHR either – would you put these in league with some random bad person of your chosing or do you limit yourself to the wholely parochial and nationalistic view of continental Europe?

        • David Price
          Posted October 20, 2013 at 1:20 am | Permalink

          Since you bring up the subject of Belarus … it turns out that UK funds to the EU EuropeAid programme intended to support the neediest have instead been used by the EU to support security forces in Belarus. You can read about it in the Telegraph article (19-Oct-13), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10391338/Britains-anger-at-EC-opposition-to-restriction-on-migrant-benefits.html .

          The UK is a significant donor to EuropeAid but has no control over it’s use.

          The EU, of which you are both ardent supporters, and Belarus working hand in hand to subjugate it’s citizens.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The penny has still not dropped for many yet John.

    Still too few MP’s realise or understand the connection between the EU, and a reduction in the UK Parliament powers to govern as a UK Government wishes.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    There will be only one winner on this ‘votes for prisoners’ issue eventually, and it won’t be Westminster

  9. lifelogic
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I cannot really see why prisoners are not allowed to vote. It might help to get the odd MP to visit a prison and for the prisoners to think through the issues. It will make hardly any difference to the outcome anyway, but perhaps they should vote in the constituency they lived in before incarceration not all in the area of the prison. It should anyway clearly be a decision for parliament & courts in the UK and not one for the ECHR – which we should clearly leave now.

    MPs should pass a law, as they indeed have and the courts should respect it. How can one write a long and complex judgement over something so very simple? The judgement should just say the law says this we agree. legal costs again those bringing this absurd action. It is just yet more tax payers money for parasitic lawyers writing pages of closely argued drivel – what sort of a job is that for a grown man or woman?

    I too would like to see fewer people in prison, I would legalise drugs (but control them) as clearly the police have largely given up on enforcement anyway and the illegality make no difference to availability just to their safety . We cannot even keep drugs out of prisons, what chance do we have of keeping them out of the country?

    Then again we have one in seven murders committed by people on bail so in this area we perhaps need more in prison or more likely mental institutions.

    What JR are your view on the appalling police actions in the plebgate affair. I dislike Keith Vaz strongly after his many actions and do not think he is a suitable person to be an MP, let alone the Home Affairs committee chairman. I hope however that he at least gets something useful out of the investigation into the police actions which certainly appear to stink to high heaven. Then again after the Hillsborough cover up and countless other matters very little now surprises me about the police.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      On payday loans we have Cameron doing virtually nothing to control this exploitation of the desperate and dim but now we have Miliband wanting to exploit the desperate yet further by taxing the payday loan companies and thus them. Both positions are pathetic.

      It is surely quite simple a loan above perhaps 30% APR to an individual, other then in some very exceptional cases should simply be illegal, they serve no purpose other than the creation of misery. They are no benefit to the recipient whatsoever. Germany, France, Japan and Poland have interest caps of 16%- 21.6% why on earth not in the UK with a few exceptions for some business transactions and similar where they can sometime be justified by risk return calculations.

      Reply An interest cap is not sufficient – you would also need to control all fees and charges related to the loan. You then need to consider how you enforce it, as you may drive things underground.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Yes the fees are in effect interest too and need to be included in the APR calculation. Loans made illegally are not enforceable anyway and people who threaten violence need to be arrested and charged.

        A loan at 4000%+ APR is of no benefit to anyone, even more of a rip off than a lottery ticket they are both just mugging the desperate and dim.

        • zorro
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          ‘A loan at 4000%+ APR is of no benefit to anyone…’…..I am afraid that it clearly is of benefit to someone…….Interesting argument from JR…. ‘You then need to consider how you enforce it, as you may drive things underground.’…..Not talking about legalising drugs?

          zorro

      • peter davies
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        So is this issue in the pipeline to be dealt with? I don’t know the answers but an interest rate cap and a cap on fees would surely be a starter for 10.

        It surely needs clamping down ASAP

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Indeed even the high street banks are often getting away with changing £30 fee and £15 a day or something for going 50p overdrawn.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        To suggest we need to keep legal payday lenders at 4000%+ APRs merely as a way to deter criminal lending (often using threats of physical violence does not sound a very good plan to me. The 4000% APR is just as likely to drive them to the illegal lenders to find the interest when the legal ones will lend no more!

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          The illegal ones may well be far cheaper than 4000% if perhaps rather more dangerous.

          • zorro
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            I suspect that the illegal ones are probably far choosier about who they lend to than the 4000% crowd!….Credit Unions are a more sensible idea.

            zorro

      • Bazman
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        He has obviously been drinking or doing something as much of this post makes sense and is fair comment.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          You always home in on him first don’t ya Baz. It’s repetitive. A kind of working class crusade against a perceived threat. I’m working class, and far from rich, but I don’t have a hang-up about people with a bit of cash. It’s a good thing people still can start and run businesses. Last time I looked, they paid taxes and employed people, and those employees too pay taxes. And without that tax-take, where would all our services be then?

          But of course, I secretly suspect you knew that already anyway.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            He is in general a right wing fantasist who supports anything right wing that does not effect him personally. Things taht do are another matter.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            I will watch with interest and remind you when the time comes then Baz, but remember the old saying about people who live in glass houses throwing stones.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Let it be noted that on this day in the year of our Lord 2013, on this the month of October, being the 17th day of the month, that Bazman, a poster on this site did actually agree for the first time ever, with regular poster Lifelogic.
          There was much shaking of heads in great amazement amongst the throng and for a very short time peace did break out.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            That one really made me laugh Edward! Enough to bring tears to a glass eye! lol

            Tad

  10. Nick
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    You passed the laws handing over control to the EU.

    You passed the law saying that there can be no blanket ban, even if you weren’t clever enough to realize what you were doing.

    Reply I seem to remember voting against!

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “To all those who are scornful of Conservative Ministers, I would point out that they are often seeking to limit the EU’s power and to enlarge our opportunity to make our own domestic democratic decisions.”

    Are we a conquered people, seeking to regain some limited measure of local autonomy from our masters?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Sure does sound that way Denis! You beat me to it!

      Tad

  12. Lesley
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    All this fuss to give the vote to criminals (the insane and Lords?) while those of us who live abroad are disenfranchised after 15 years.

  13. ChrisS
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I thoroughly agree with your post, John.

    I have never understood why parliamentarians, led by DC are so strongly opposed to any prisoners being allowed to vote. There is no logic to their argument but there are practical difficulties.

    For example it has been quoted in a newspaper that at least one prison is located in a marginal constituency where the current MP has a majority less than the number of prisoners in the jail. Clearly there would be a potential problem in adding all prisoners to that constituency. I don’t see why at least some prisoners should not be given a postal vote in their home constituency.

    As you say, this is one area of legislation that should be of no interest to any foreign court. I would go further, the UK parliament should be the final arbiter for all legislation that applies to British citizens living in the UK.

    Ultimately we will need a UK bill of rights.

    Reply I don’t think MPs are worried about the impact of prisoner votes on their own seats- why would prisoner votes be specially skewed for or against main parties?

    • Chris S
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you are right but it probably makes more sense to register prisoners undergoing successful rehabilitation to vote in the constituency they lived in when they were arrested.

      The small number who were homeless when arrested could be registered in the constituency in which the prison is situated.

      In my view, the number of prisoners deemed not to be eligible to vote, if any, should be a small proportion of the total.

      There are far more important issues that need the attention of MPs so why not just allow all prisoners to vote ?

      Reply: In my case because I have no wish to have all these matters decided by foreign courts.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    JR: “the detail reveals just how much power this country has surrendered.”
    Precisely, and we want it back. You know that the only solution is to leave the EU as its declared objective is ever closer union – the dismantling of the nation state. A pretence that renegotiation will produce anything other than an excuse to delay and then prepare to bamboozle the public as Wison did in 1975 is risible. The very same Attorney General was reported in the Telegraph this week as saying: ” Britain’s “economic, physical and ethical well-being” depends on it playing an “active part” in the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights, the Attorney General has said.” That is why we are scornful of Conservative Ministers.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more Brian! And doesn’t it give us just a peek beneath the Eurosceptic cloak, and the submissive pro-EU sheep which lies beneath it?

      These people say they’re Eurosceptic to get the votes of gullible people who believe them without going into any depth and putting their policies to the test. They’ll flap around saying what a bad thing the EU is, then give in to it. They are contemptible!

      Tad

  15. Bert Young
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Well said . The extent to which we are inhibited by one EU directive or another is , frankly , unbelievable . The time and cost involved in the “votes for prisoners” case is shameful and a good illustration . More than once I have said “we should follow the French way of dealing with issues they disagree with” ; just ignore the things that are not in line with our own democratically decided laws and tell the EU where to get off . Shortly ( hopefully before 2017 ) the electorate will have voted on this issue and make it a thing of the past .

  16. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    There is very little right in our prison system. A significant proportion of prisoners go, often repeatedly, to prison because of social and economic failures ‘on the out’. Prisons are awash with drugs, just as is society in general. Of all the wrongs which need to be righted, participation in the electoral system is close to the bottom of the list.

    • lifeligic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I agree but getting MPs to go to prisons once in a while, to canvas, might well help in sorting the other problems out – a little anyway.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        I mean as visitors this time, not merely as perjury or expense fraud inmates.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s what happens when you focus too much on punishment, and not enough on rehabilitation and prevention.

  17. ferdinand
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    As you say – a wasted day in court plus many wasted hours with lawyers together with the inevitable delaying of other “proper” cases.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      And at what cost to the tax-payer? LL got it right recently when he said it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good. Great time to be a lawyer eh?

      Tad

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The problem with votes for prisoners is the tendency towards “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile”. Give prisoners the vote, and what will they demand next as a Human Right? I can imagine all sorts of things that they might claim as Human Rights, or that their wives and families might claim as theirs. What about the conjugal rights of his wife, or the rights of the children to have a father at home? One could come up with a whole list of “rights” if one put one’s mind to it, and they’ve got plenty of time to think of possibilities which they might pursue. And, of course they pursue it at public expense.
    Its time to make criminal realise that they are there as punishment, not as a holiday break from their criminal day job!

  19. Tad Davison
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Each and every member of our prison population, is a statement in itself. It says education, the church, and society in general, has failed in some way to set an example, and to show them the error, long before they even contemplate breaking the law.

    When a person does make the conscious decision to break the law, there’s usually a victim, or potential victims, and it is to those we owe the first duty of care, for they must be protected at all costs, from those who would prey upon them for their own selfish ends.

    I am all for rehabilitation in prison, and I have often made the point that a person should not be released until that process is complete, and they no longer pose a threat to society. So prison should be a place of correction, but it should also be a place of punishment. It needs to make a statement that if one behaves like dross, they’ll be treated like dross, and the onus will then be on the individual to take responsibility for their own actions. Not letting them vote, and be a part of society until they have proven themselves to be fit and decent people, is just part of that process.

    This is a far better solution than the present system provides, and as long as better education in the first place is geared to stopping initial offending, it has to be cheaper too in the long run. And what price a peaceful society where crime and anti-social behaviour is a rarity?

    I would much rather have our own criminal justice system determined by our own parliament, than by someone who we didn’t elect, who might not have even been to this country, and has some airy-fairy EU socialist goody-goody agenda that hasn’t worked yet, anywhere.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Yet we see people with known mental heath problems just dumped on the streets after a prison sentence with a few quid to murder shortly after.

      We also have criminals on bail committing one in seven murders.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      What if they commit crimes because they hate society because society treats them like dross? You can’t reform people by making them hate authority even more.

      Better education won’t help if there aren’t jobs that reward better education.

      Also each country that’s signed up to the ECHR gets a judge (there’s 47 in total). Each country proposes 3 judges, which all the member states vote on. So not only has the UK been involved in electing all the judges but at least one of them has been to the UK.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Every day, you confirm something I have long suspected. There is something inherently wrong with the way the left-wing orientated mind works. Are you really suggesting that those who hate society already, cannot be reformed, and therefore, we should just let them go about wrecking other people’s lives and committing crimes because they have a chip on their shoulder?

        And you say a better education won’t help if there aren’t the jobs that reward it. So what are we to do then, have a nation of criminal thickies and wash our hands of the problem?

        Read my piece again. Each person in prison, is a failure of the overall system, but it would further compound that failure if we let them lose on innocent victims who in turn, would have a grudge against a system that should have protected them – as in my case – except I always stay within the law.

        And you speak of judges, but not the legislators who come up with the one-size-fits-all policies that don’t do what the people of this country wants them to do.

        Take note folks, you couldn’t make this left-wing bilge up!

        • uanime5
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          I’m saying that giving those who hate society more reason to hate society isn’t going to give them much incentive to reform. I never said they should be imprisoned.

          If there aren’t jobs that reward education (especially jobs that rewards basic education) then we’ll simply be spending huge amounts of money for something that won’t provide any benefits. Criminals will also have no incentive to learn if they know that if won’t help them.

          If you read my comments you find that I never said that criminals shouldn’t be sent to prison. I just said that abusing criminals won’t make them more law abiding.

          You seem to be the one who is making things up.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            So Uni the cry of every criminal on being arrested should be:-
            Its a fair cop but society is to blame

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            It’s called a big carrot and a big stick. For too long, we’ve had not enough of either. If prisoners won’t conform, and respond to a rigorous process of rehabilitation, then keep them in a harsh prison environment without perks until they change their minds. The bottom line is, the public must be protected. We cannot let unreformed criminals back onto the streets to continue with a life of crime, and mess up the lives of innocent and responsible people at their whim. That should be the choice. If they get narked about being kept in prison, then that’s tough. The opportunity to change their ways and break the cycle of offending should be open to them, but the regime to educate them and equip them with the skills they may have missed out on, should be in place.

            And you say the jobs aren’t out there. We now have more people actually in work, than at any time in our history. And let’s not forget the massive influx of migrants from Eastern Europe who seem to have found employment. Self-evidently then, you’re again basic your left-wing opinion upon a false premise.

  20. Gordon
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    But don’t forget if we left the EU we would all have to pay more for our champagne! Ye Gods!

    • lifeligic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      If we did not have to pay the EU fees, the EU regulatory costs, the PIGIS bail outs and the absurd green religion high energy costs then we could all afford to bathe in Champagne.

    • Chris S
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Gordon – IF we left the EU, why would we pay more for champagne or anything else produced in Europe for that matter ?

      Absolutely nobody is suggesting we leave the single market so there would be no import duty to put prices up.

      On the contrary, without the huge net payments we make to the EU, when the deficit has been eliminated, a proper Conservative Government, committed to reducing the size of the State and lower taxes, could reduce VAT.

      This would reduce the price of most things including Champagne !

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Well, in that case I must be absolutely nobody, because I do suggest that we should leave the Single Market.

        But I’m not alone in that:

        http://www.brugesgroup.com/SingleMarketAndWithdrawal.pdf

        “Membership of the Single Market is often said to be vital for British trade. The facts suggest that that proposition is wrong. These are the eight reasons why.”

        The eighth is interesting and even slightly amusing:

        “The USA and China, not EU members, with zero votes in the EU Council of
        Ministers, zero MEPs, zero Commissioners, zero judges at the European Court of Justice, zero civil servants working in EU institutions, having to export to the EU over the EU tariff barrier, each sell more goods to the EU than the UK does, without paying a cent to Brussels or imposing one iota of EU regulation on their domestic economies.”

        • uanime5
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Well the USA and China do make a huge number of things that the EU wants, unlike the UK which is a net importer of EU goods. So if the UK left the EU it’s unlikely that we’d suddenly sell more goods to them.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            For ages Uni you have been saying on here that over half our exports are to the EU, yet on this post you say we don’t make anything the EU wants.
            Surely some mistake.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2
            China and the USA produce a greater volume of things that the EU wants, which is why they can sell them to the EU despite being outside it. By contrast the UK produces a lower volume of exports but is able to sell them to the EU because we’re in the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            The words “cake and eat it” come into mind reading your reply Uni.

      • Gordon
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Sorry but I was quoting, ironically, a statement by the esteemed Mr. Clegg!

  21. Mike
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    If people are scornful of conservative ministers it is because it was the tory party who took us into the EUin the first place on a lie.

    We have surrendered no powers, nor would we. Tory and labour ministers have surrendered plenty however.

    • lifeligic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Heath indeed took us into the EU in the first place on a lie and the Tory party have misled or lied before every election since but when elected rat again and again.

      In the unlikely event Cameron ever wins a majority then I have no doubt whatsoever that he will rat yet again.

  22. lifeligic
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey calls British Gas price hike “extremely disappointing” – well his policies are the clear cause of it.

    Simply get rid of all the absurd incentives for wind and pv and all the absurd green religion market rigging and get on with fracking Dave. It is not rocket science just the green religion that is the problem also a lack of competition and the deliberate devaluation of the pound.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I see the excellent Matthew White Ridley, (5th Viscount Ridley) on the daily politics claimed energy prices in the UK can be 1/3 of those in the UK. What chance and UK energy intensive industry got? I thought it was only double. Yet we have more fracking per head resources too just sitting underground.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Needless to say Matt Ridley is a scientist by training (even if it is only Zoology).

        I, more and more, tend to think art graduates should largely stick to the light amusement industries (although often even in that area they are largely out done by the scientists). We certainly seem to have about 5 times the number of lawyers that is healthy for the economy. Writing absurdly long closely argued judgements on very simple issues like prisoner voting for example. An absurd contrived artificial game of chess designed by lawyers and for the enrichment of Lawyers.

      • sjb
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Is that the Matt Ridley who was chairman of Northern Rock?

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but he is right on nearly everything else.

  23. peter davies
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Yep – whatever side of the fence you sit on this issue, I think it is important to understand that individual matters like this should always sit with National Govt legislatures that are well established with values that should reflect those of the people they represent – providing what govts do are not breaking any international conventions like Geneva then they should not even be getting involved – I thought that was why EHCR was formed.

    I’m not a lawyer but law is supposed to be based on common sense and decency so things that govts do which break International Law and the Geneva Convention are where the limit must end rather than interfere and seek to supplant rulings on well run sovereign states – otherwise we may as well get rid of of our supreme court and just use ECJ and EHCR instead.

    This is yet another example of a waste of time and money gravy train designed to make ambulance chasing legal aid receiving lawyers rich yet achieves nothing of value in the end.

    We hear stories of benefit scroungers all over the media – but recipients of those who:

    know how to claim govt grants
    banks who ask for huge bailouts
    legal aid chasing lawyers
    public sector leaders who award themselves huge payments
    EU jobs for failed politicians and other types with the right contacts

    are all examples in my mind of people who in real life in the real world worth are probably worth far less – these types and far worse by a long way (That’s my keyboard rant for the day).

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    we should stop foreigners here without indefinite leave to remain from voting in our elections too, the large numbers of such foreigners here on student or work visas voting distorts the results far too much in some areas.

  25. Mark B
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I believe if you transgress and show contempt for societies rules, then you should forfeit any right in the making of those rules. However, I would also apply this to Governments’ who sign-up to have our rules written for us. You simply cannot have it both ways. Either you are the Legislature of this land or not !?!?!?!

    Let us all remember. Our Government has, without our consent (1975 does not count), entered into treaties with other Governments’. They, like we, are bound by those rules which are created at supra-national level, and not just the EU. If those rules do not suit, you can choose to accept them through gritted teeth, or alternatively renege on your agreements. The later comes with penalties. But it would be better not to get too involved with these things in the first place. The ECHR started out with noble aims. It has morphed into something not foreseen and we need to reassess our commitment too it.

    This issue was kicked into the ‘long-grass’ by the out going Labour Government. It has taken far too long to resolve, but ultimately, the law is the law. Its just not the law that was created by our Parliament and the people who we elected to represent and act for us.

    Something somewhere seems to have gone very badly wrong with the way we are administered. It is easy to blame outside influences but these influences would have no hold over us had Parliament done it job. And it will take more than a few tweaks here-and-there to fix-it I fear.

  26. Ken Adams
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I am confused the European Court of Human Rights is the court of the Council of Europe. Other than being forced to remain a member of the Council of Europe and abide by the rulings of the ECHR i do not where the EU has a place in this case?

  27. uanime5
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The victory of the Attorney General in yesterday’s judgement is therefore welcome.

    Given that this case can be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) I wouldn’t celebrate this victory yet. Especially since the ECtHR ruled that a blanket ban on denying prisoners their right to vote was illegal.

    So too is the definitive statement in the judgement about Parliament’ s supremacy in this matter:

    The judgement only says that Parliament is supreme over the courts. As a result Parliament must create a system that allows prisoners to vote in a way that complies with human rights laws, since the courts lack the power to do this for Parliament. The judges didn’t say that UK law is supreme over human rights or EU law.

    Ministers are finding out the hard way that in so many areas of life they have to fight in court to defend what we have been doing for years, or face a court case where they wish to change policy and honour promises they have made to the public.

    Unless you want ministers to have unlimited power this is a good thing as it helps prevent arbitrary government.

    Also in a democracy being able to remove the right to vote of a large number of people isn’t a good thing.

    In other news the Republicans caved in and had to accept the bill Obama was proposing. So they achieved nothing by bring the US government to a standstill.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      “The judges didn’t say that UK law is supreme over human rights or EU law.”

      UK judges have already said that UK law is supreme over EU law, the only proviso being that Parliament must have made it clear that it was consciously legislating contrary to EU law rather than inadvertently; and I have no doubt that if these problems continue Supreme Court judges will eventually be forced to say the same about what you call “human rights”, acknowledging that Parliament is the supreme legal authority for the UK.

      Those who refused to accept that in blatant defiance of Parliament could in theory be removed by a petition of both Houses of Parliament to the Queen, a very old provision now preserved in Section 33 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/4/section/33

      “33 Tenure

      A judge of the Supreme Court holds that office during good behaviour, but may be removed from it on the address of both Houses of Parliament.”

      • uanime5
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        While Parliament is technically supreme, as it can withdraw from the EU or ECHR at any time, as long as Parliament wished to remain members of both judges have to interpret UK laws to be compatible with EU law and human rights. Given that the UK remains bound by all ECJ and ECtHR judgements UK politicians cannot simply say that EU law and humans rights don’t apply whenever it’s inconvenient for them.

        A good example of this is the EU Factortame cases which shows quite clearly that UK law will remain subordinate to EU law as long as the UK remains in the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Wrong.

          Parliament remains supreme whatever external treaties have been made, so far; and that means while we are still in the EU, or while we still adhere to the European Convention.

          As I have explained to you on at least one previous occasion, you are wrong about Factortame; all it showed was that the UK government did not have the stomach for the political fight which would have ensued if Parliament had chosen to exercise its enduring sovereignty by passing legislation to expressly disapply the EU law.

          • uanime5
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

            The 5 Factortame law suits came about because the UK passed a law that was contrary to EU law. Several of these case went up to the House of Lords and then to the ECJ, so it’s clear that the UK did fight this case and lost several times.

            Had Parliament tried again to pass legislation which would allow them to ignore EU law, while remaining in the EU, the case would have gone to the ECJ and the UK would have lost again.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            You’re missing something Uni. We’re part of an EU that the people never voted for. Many of us regard our accession as an illegal abuse of power by the government of the day, and wish to regain our indepenedence.

            I always like to know what the other side think. After all, to know your enemy is the key to winning the battle, and thence, the war.

            So tell me this, if Hitler had successfully invaded Britain, and decided by decree that the German government was supreme, despite the wishes of this nation to remain sovereign, would you still think we should go along with everything they say and wish to thrust upon us, or should we have fought it with every means at our disposal?

            Do you recall someone by the name of Vidkun Quisling?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldselect/ldeucom/47/3102203.htm

            “Lord Neill of Bladen

            73. That is the whole point. The Factortame case, when it came back to the House of Lords, they recognise, they say, there has been a change?

            (Mr Moser) In fact, my Lord Chairman, Factortame case never had a final Act, because when it came back to the House of Lords everybody waited for the crunch and said, “Now is the House of Lords going to have to say the 1988 Merchant Shipping Act is invalid?” What Parliament did was it repealed it of its own accord.”

            As I said, all it showed was that the UK government did not have the stomach for the political fight which would have ensued if Parliament had chosen to exercise its enduring sovereignty by passing legislation to expressly disapply the EU law.

  28. Roger Farmer
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    The next legal reversal we need is the totally fallacious Green addition to UK fuel bills. This amounts to around 20% of the cost of fuel. Because winter is upon us, nothing less than immediate cancellation of this levy is required. We cannot wait for the results of a legal battle with the EU.
    In addition I would advocate a reversion to base prices of a year ago. The British public have had enough of vast price hikes and ever greater profits enjoyed by the domestic fuel companies.
    I find it flatulent of Cameron to dismiss the latest B.Gas increase with the advice to shop around when he knows that all the suppliers are singing from the same hymn sheet. It requires decisive government action now, not PR flannel.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Incidentally if anybody wishes to read the original 1950 European Convention, there is a facsimile here:

    http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Collection_Convention_1950_ENG.pdf

    A point to note is that the substance of the present Article 46(1) was already there from the start as Article 53:

    “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the decision of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

    Let there be no pretence that originally the judgements were not binding, but Wilson or maybe Blair agreed to them becoming binding; that affront to our national sovereignty and democracy was accepted by MPs at the time of the original Convention, presumably without thinking that one day the Court could start producing judgements that their successor MPs would not like.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      If people and countries have to abide by the court’s decisions in any case they’re involved in then these decisions are binding. It’s impossible to interpret this sentence any other way.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Of course that’s what it means, but it only applies to the High Contracting Parties, the states and their governments.

  30. Bazman
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    If prisoners are not allowed to vote and Dave feels so strongly about it. Did any peers still remain Lords in prison Dave? They did? I bet they did and you agree with this absolutely? What’s next? No votes for those on benefits? That’s what’s next. Ram it.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      You show me where it says that people on benefits won’t be allowed to vote, and I’ll join any campaign you care to mention to stop it, and I bet most if not all of the people on this site would too!

      Just a left-wing fantasy Baz!

      • Bazman
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I said that is where it could go as for you being against it. If it was worded that only taxpayers or more votes for the wealthy to vote then you would be for it I suspect.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          No you didn’t! You said categorically ‘That’s what’s next.’ (followed by your own usual little bit of foot-stamping) It’s there for all to read.

          Coming from similar working-class backgrounds, I had secretly hoped to establish a bit of common ground with you, but you disappoint me. You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You can go on suspecting what you like Baz, and make up these fantasies in your own working-class hero mind, but you’re deluding yourself. I would NEVER go along with anything like that, because I am motivated by principles first, and money last!

          And if anyone tried to introduce such a regressive and backward law, I would not rest, and that would mean an absolutely relentless campaign of letter-writing, article writing, radio and television appearances, lobbying, and all manner of other things until it had been defeated, as I have in the past.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            An attack on basic democracy would require a pompous letter to The Times? Nothing less than the removal of the government at the time if necessary by force and their heads on plates would be the only correct response.
            The likes of Boris would say Whato! Lets not be hasty and debate the points in a civil way and meet at some point etc. Wrong.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Is it not possible to legislate that we accept the principles declared in the text on Human Rights but that decisions will be exclusively made by UK courts? And if it’s possible, why don’t we just do it? Reclaiming powers from the EU will ultimately be a ‘smash and grab’ exercise requiring strong nerves. Isn’t it time we faced up to it?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      That is exactly what I am advocating when I propose derogation just from the relevant part of the Convention, namely Article 46(1) on page 25 here:

      http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

      “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

    • uanime5
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      That isn’t possible because you’re effectively saying that human rights will only apply when Parliament allows them to apply (remember that the courts can’t strike down incompatible laws, so UK courts can’t enforce human rights if Parliament won’t allow them to).

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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