Tuesday, January 18, 2011

David Davis champion of liberty!

There was a time when David Davis was held up as a champion of civil liberties and cuddly Toryism, who knows why. The claim was he was in the pocket of Liberty and he stood in a long line of Tory civil libertarians. I wonder how strong that claim is looking today?

David Davis has teamed up with Jack Straw to oppose the government giving voting rights to a limited number of prisoners. Now, we know former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw has no truck with Human Rights, he eats them for breakfast no less, but what is Mr Davis upto?

Well he's found a way of opposing Europe and these namby pamby rights things simultaneously - for which I'm sure his leader Mr Cameron is eternally grateful.

Davis said "There are two main issues here. First is whether or not it is moral or even decent to give the vote to rapists, violent offenders or sex offenders. The second is whether it is proper for the European court to overrule a Parliament."

On the second point first, the European Court of Human Rights has, not for the first time, expressed concerns about the behaviour of the UK government suggesting that the decision it took in the nineteenth century to deny prisoners the vote was wrong. We should listen to them.

However, how can it be right to "give" people the vote when they've behaved despicably? Well my view is we don't don't give people the right to vote, it's a right. We take it away from people in an act designed to 'other' them as outcasts with no say in society even as we should be trying to rehabilitate them and convince them they do have a stake in society.

Human rights are, or should be, universal. They don't apply to 'nice people' only, otherwise we wouldn't actually need them. It's precisely the demonised in society that are most in need of protection from the excesses of political fashion. Update


Vote Green in the Assembly! said...

Clue to who has lost the media war: This was in the Times yesterday, law section! It is a political decision, so the courts cannot force the government to extend the right to vote.
Slightly disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives and Labour really do have a lot in common, they should form a coalition. Btw that poster on the right calls for ‘growth’ I thought Greens opposed growth.

The Social Thatcherist said...

"Jack Straw has no truck with Human Rights, he eats them for breakfast"
Love how you put it. Very true.

And excellent article. As a fellow human rights lover you might want to get into the habit of carrying a little pocket-sized universal declaration of human rights. I take mine everywhere I go to whip out at a moment's notice for any argument.


Jim Jepps said...

Thanks TST.

Anon: yes, I'd noticed that. Sadly they didn't consult me when dessigning their poster.

ModernityBlog said...

Jack Straw...he was useless as a youngster, weak as a professional politician (often demoted)and now in the autumn of his life he alternates between populism and restricting the human rights of others (not much change!)