Tag Archives: voting reform

Human rights: the right to vote

Ben Jennings - prisoners votesYesterday, for the fourth time, the European Court of Human Rights ruled again that the UK is in breach of human rights by having a blanket ban on allowing convicted prisoners serving a custodial sentence the right to vote: it’s nearly ten years now since the UK was first ordered to make some change in this ban, and neither Labour nor Conservatives have cared to do so. (The ECHR has made no order for monetary compensation, which is the only thing likely to move either party.)

In October 2014, there were 7,755 prisoners serving a custodial sentence in Scotland: the imprisonment rate in Scotland is 147 out of 100,000 people (via the Howard League). Since August 2010, there has been a statutory presumption against convicted criminals being sentenced to short periods of imprisonment, unless the court can show reason why this should be so. From the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010

“a court must not pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of three months or less on a person unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with the person is appropriate.”

If a person goes to jail, it will under most circumstances be because they committed an offence that the court decided mandated a sentence of four months at least. The general rule for any sentence of 12 months or less is that a prisoner will be released automatically on probation after they have served half their sentence.
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General Election, Corporal Reality

If you’re a Conservative/LibDem supporter, this must be like watching Titanic, except that Nick Clegg and David Cameron and Ed Miliband aren’t even as appealling as DiCaprio, Winslet, and Zane. The iceberg has hit, the ship is peeling apart and sinking, and yet you know the end of the movie is ages away and already seems to have been going on for far too long.

For the rest of us, though, things as much worse than simply enduring a long, long movie in the cinema as being on the Titanic was worse than taking part in the movie.

Paul Goodman, executive editor of ConservativeHome, offers four reasons why he does not believe the Tories can win a majority in 2015.

There is really just one reason, but it’s a shattering iceberg:

Austerity: The proclaimed conviction that if only enough people are unemployed or in work but struggling on a low income, plus essential services cut to the bone and cut again, then the economy will improve.

The belief that the economy must be destroyed in order to save it is essential to Tory thinking and was adopted by the LibDems with hardly a gulp. Labour can only lose if they adopt it too.
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Filed under Elections, Politics, Scottish Culture