New Labour is perfectly alive and well, whatever else they’d like you to think. Ed Miliband may preach the opposite, but his party is more authoritarian than ever. From Cory Doctorow:
The UK Labour party’s conference is underway in Liverpool, and party bigwigs are presenting their proposals for reinvigorating Labour after its crushing defeat in the last election. The stupidest of these proposals to date will be presented today, when Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.
Given that “journalism” presently encompasses “publishing accounts of things you’ve seen using the Internet” and “taking pictures of stuff and tweeting them” and “blogging” and “commenting on news stories,” this proposal is even more insane than the tradition “journalist licenses” practiced in totalitarian nations.
I don’t honestly know how people feel they can vote for this party anymore. The state does not have all the answers to everything, and a lack of obedience to the state wasn’t the problem at the heart of the #hackgate scandal; the NUJ code of conduct is already a perfectly appropriate means of holding professional journalism to account. Let me remind you News International is a union busting organisation, entirely disinterested in ‘leftie’ good practice, and they were entirely supported in this by Tories and New Labour alike. Lewis’ moronic proposal comes across as an attempt to avoid his party’s share of the blame and recast all journalists as the enemy. In or out of office, he mustn’t be allowed to succeed.
In language that challenges all wings of his party, Miliband will say: “For too many people at the last election, we were seen as the party that represented these two types of people: those at the top and the bottom who were not showing responsibility and were shirking their duty to each other. From bankers who caused the global financial crisis to some of those on benefits who were abusing the system because they could work – but didn’t.
“Labour – a party founded by hard-working people for hard-working people – was seen by some, however unfairly, as the party of those ripping off our society. New Labour did a lot to change the fabric of the country. But it didn’t do enough to change the ethic of Britain. My party must change.”
Except he’s arguing that there was nothing wrong with New Labour after all, and that it’s the solution to what ails Britain now. As others have argued:
- Why is he returning to the ‘deserving’ vs ‘undeserving’ poor rhetoric?
- Why is he blaming the poor for the social damage caused by the bankers?
- Why is he not announcing a policy change to include huge growth in social housing?
The electorate is screaming at him to:
- Support a Robin Hood tax to make the bankers genuinely pay for the economic disaster they caused;
- Provide more social housing instead of making people compete for what’s already there;
This isn’t to say there there aren’t ‘benefit scroungers’ but what’s lost from them is a drop in the ocean compared to the tax evasion practised by the rich (who are allowed to do so). And let’s n0t forget the bankers paying themselves millions of pounds of bonuses with our money. It’s a despicable policy shift, which Blair & Brown would have been proud of, but Owen Jones is quite right when he says the Tories will outflank it from the right.
Didn’t I argue the other day that David Miliband realises his route to power is to cement the ‘pact’ John Kampfner refers to in ‘Freedom for Sale’? He’s now come out in support of the defunct third runway project at Heathrow:
He believes that it could boost London‘s economy and businesses, sources close to him insisted, and it should go ahead as long as the climate change consequences are addressed. His leadership rival and brother Ed opposes the runway.
He has repeatedly said that Labour‘s Heathrow policy was an example of how the party had misjudged the public.
But business groups and trade unions have long lobbied for more aviation capacity for the south east, claiming it boosts jobs and overall trade.
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of business group London First praised Mr Miliband. She said: “At last a politician prepared to publicly acknowledge the vital importance of international transport links to London and UK’s economic success, though the critical question is not whether to make Heathrow bigger but how to make it better.”
As Blair before him, he’s putting the argument together piece by piece that he and Labour can & should do entirely as they please for their corporate buddies in the public sphere, then implicitly allowing almost unlimited freedom from government intrusion for the middle classes in the private sphere in return. That’s the ‘pact’ – he’s counting on most people not being bothered enough to put up a fight should he resurrect the third runway project as Prime Minister. I wonder.
Of course David isn’t going to look into why unlimited air growth should be necessary, because he’s fundamentally as wedded to the neoliberal model (another cornerstone of the ‘pact’) as his mentor. Unrestricted wealth creation is much harder if you change the economic system, so best not to ask whether unlimited air growth actually makes economic sense, nor to ask where the growth would come from to boost the economy if it’s not already there…
I’m quite torn on this one. David Allen Green (formerly ‘Jack of Kent’) asks in the New Statesman whether it’s correct that Tony Blair’s PR events supporting his book launch are being cancelled:
A retired politician is promoting a publication to those who may wish to purchase it.
This is not some extremist politician, but a former mainstream democratic politician.
And this is not just any former mainstream democratic politician, but the only UK party leader to have won a decisive general election with a sustainable majority since 1987.
But that politician cannot do any events. The events are being cancelled. Is this a cause for concern?
I don’t think it’s an immediate cause for concern because noone is forcing Blair to cancel the promotional events. Stop the War promised to conduct non-violent protests against him at the book signings and the (now-cancelled) event at the Tate Modern, but it was his choice to cancel them. Was he worried about the cost of policing or about the damage to his already destroyed reputation? And should people not be able to protest against a former Prime Minister who many believe to be a war criminal? Green continues:
[Padraig ] Reidy is the news editor for Index on Censorship and is establishing himself as one of the most thoughtful and intellectually-consistent commentators on free expression issues. Reidy says that this raises censorship concerns, even though the politician in question is Tony Blair.
This surely must be correct, if the situation is approached from a principle-based approach. The defence of free expression is often most important when the beneficiary is unpopular.
So, if this is this a case where free expression is threatened, should all people of goodwill now shout out: For Tony Blair and Free Speech?
As comments under the article point out it’s seriously ironic that we should be discussing the protection of free speech of a man who’s done so much to undermine it in this country. And it’s also not true that his free speech is being curtailed – tried to read a single newspaper or look anywhere on the television without him putting his story forward, still with barely any critical evaluation of what he’s saying? The article reeks of bias against Stop the War. Just because Padraig Reidy is a thoughtful commentator on free expression issues doesn’t mean he’s right in this instance.
I hate to say it but I think Andrew Rawnsley is largely right:
There are many things to regret about Tony Blair’s record and he uses his memoir as a confessional in which he owns up to at least some of his mistakes. I don’t share all of his analysis about the rise and fall of New Labour. He goes too far – didn’t he always? – in suggesting that concepts of “left” and “right” have become entirely redundant in the 21st century. His retirement into the world of the super-rich seems to have hardened his more reactionary arteries.
But even his most severe critics surely have to grant him this: he understood how to communicate with the public; he grasped that parties must constantly renew themselves to keep up with events, the world and the voters; and he knew how to win elections.
I think he’s wrong in basing his praise of Blair on his ability to communicate with the public (in his early stages only, surely?) and win elections (he was fighting John Major, William Hague & Michael Howard – not exactly rocket science to beat them at their most reactionary), but he instinctively understood what his successor did not: in order to win elections in the early 21st century a pact needed to be sealed between politicians and the middle classes (who determine the victors). As John Kampfner in ‘Freedom for Sale’ quite rightly points out Blair bribed the middle classes with the promises of extreme wealth, utterly deregulated financial markets and no interest whatsoever in tackling tax evasion. Kampfner’s ‘pact’ depended on the middle classes leaving the public realm entirely alone, and look what New Labour then did with it: ID cards, Independent Safeguarding Authority, super databases, Digital Economy Act, torture, extraordinary rendition, attempting 42 days detention without charge – monstrous authoritarian abuses benefiting them and their corporate buddies. And barely any of it affected the middle classes, but the ‘pact’ in its various incarnations worldwide also depended (and still does) on government not going too far. And Blair, in his disastrous alliance with Bush, went far too far. More than two million people, many of them middle class, went out on the streets, to warn him off from attacking Iraq. His defiance of those whose goodwill he depended on caused his downfall.
Blair’s pact was not a good thing for society as a whole. New Labour’s delight in creating unimaginable wealth (which Blair still advocates) undid most of the good their attempts at poverty alleviation brought about. Their obsession with statist control led to a demented belief that they and not individuals always knew the right answers, and their crazed databases were the result, trying to arbitrate all risk throughout society. But if he hadn’t so misjudged history in 2003 Blair might (heart problems aside) still be Prime Minister now. Sure there was an increasing groundswell against the ‘nanny state’ – a slow-burn opposition to the party’s authoritarian agenda was underway, but it was nowhere near significant enough to destabilise New Labour in and of itself. The Brown administration imploded through incompetence and almost no other reason.
Blair was largely responsible for the drift away from Labour as soon as it became electable (Bernie Ecclestone anyone?), and the myth that he was an instinctive election winner who realised how conservative the former Left needed to be remains just that – a myth. The country voted for him in large measure because he promised social democratic solutions to problems the Conservatives had no interest (or ability) in tackling. David Miliband seems to realise that his route to power depends on correcting Blair’s mistakes – not repudiating New Labour (which he doesn’t). He has to promise crazed wealth creation, imply a continuing exclusive interest in the public sphere and decry the working classes almost as much as David Cameron (expect diatribes against benefits cheats & no promises whatsoever about the Robin Hood tax his brother has suddenly talked up). He knows this, and so does Blair – it’s why he’s tacitly endorsing him instead of Ed. It won’t result in a progressive leader truly keen on improving the social and economic ills in this country, but it’s likely to return Labour to power – sooner rather than later. And in the early 21st century that is all political parties are interested in (that, and the wealth that it brings).
From his appeal to disaffected Lib Dem voters in yesterday’s Guardian:
Our society is at risk of being reshaped in ways that will devastate the proud legacy of liberalism. We see a free market philosophy being applied to our schools, wasteful top-down reorganisation of our NHS, and the undermining of our green credentials with cuts to investment.
At some point you have to conclude that this is not a mistake here or there, but part of a pattern. The pattern is of a leadership that has sold out and betrayed your traditions, including that of your recent leadership: Steel, Ashdown, Kennedy and Campbell.
Oh dear. Miliband attacks the ConDem government for precisely the neoliberal, free market policies which he freely associated himself with in the New Labour government, and which, if he became party leader, he too would espouse. Where does he think faith schools came from? Where does he think foundation hospitals came from? And it’s rather ironic to see the man responsible for the Vestas fiasco in the Isle of Wight complaining about a government not standing up for investment in green industries. The truth is that all three major parties are equally in support of neoliberal economic policies now as they ever were – would Miliband really say he didn’t care about the housing market? Would Clegg on his own suddenly confess he was against increases in consumer spending, funded by easy credit? It’s appalling for him to suggest to Lib Dem voters that their interests would be best suited by joining a Labour Party helmed by him. But he goes on:
We are proud of our record in government, from the children lifted out of poverty to the transformation of our NHS, but I believe I am winning the argument that we must turn the page on New Labour and the mistakes it led us to. For example, the argument is being won that a graduate tax based on income would be fairer than tuition fees and a market in higher education. The argument is being won that on issues like ID cards and stop-and-search we became too casual about the liberties of individuals. And I believe the argument is being conclusively won that we must recognise the profound mistake of the Iraq war.
Erm what? This was the party which was supremely indifferent to people becoming super rich, so whilst children were lifted out of poverty, the gap between them and the newly super-rich grew unlike any other time before in British history. The government did nothing whatsoever to tackle the problems of tax avoidance and evasion, was at the very least complicit in the American programme of extraordinary rendition and contracted out torture, thought it right to be able to detain people without charge for forty two days, and made up the reasons for the Iraq War. Is that really a record to be proud of? He isn’t even saying sorry for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed in a war without legality or purpose! He and his party continue to believe in the state curing all problems, and came to believe themselves the ultimate arbiters of risk for everyone. So in order to save everyone from risks which could never be substantiated, they felt they had to subjugate the rights of everyone. Anyone remember the Independent Safeguarding Authority? How liberal is it really to suggest that everyone be considered a paedophile in the workplace unless they can prove otherwise?
Miliband hasn’t argued for an improvement in the voting system. He hasn’t articulated any ideas about how better people could be attracted to the political classes, nor how to devolve power away from the Whitehall mandarins who thought arresting the (then) Shadow Immigration Minister was a good idea. Someone more liberal would suggest no longer destituting asylum seekers, or allowing the police to construct a vast, unaccountable database of protesters. It’s an appeal of the vilest cynicism, promising just as little substantial reform from the nightmare of New Labour as his brother. If Miliband wants Labour to become the home of progressive politics he needs to realign his party fundamentally, not just try to steal other parties’ votes, and certainly not preach about other parties betraying their traditions.
So Brown has finally done the honourable thing and offered his resignation as a price for coalition with the Liberal Democrats. He’s offered an immediate switch to AV via legislation, and a later referendum on STV. So shouldn’t the Lib Dems join him in a minority coalition? Erm no.
How can the Lib Dems possible ally themselves with the party which unrepentently ushered in our surveillance state? Right through to last week they were crowing about just how authoritarian they needed to be, ironically for a country they insisted wasn’t ‘broken’. Could Clegg work with Alan Johnson, who is still defying the European Court of Human Rights on his department’s abuse of the National DNA Database? And what about the Home Office’s defiance of the Court on prisoners’ voting rights? Could Clegg work with Prime Minister David Miliband, who is still defending the government’s right to torture, and trying to prevent us knowing about it? Could New Labour ever walk away from ID cards, given that its ID strategy for the 21st century depends entirely on them and the real problem – the identity register?
Would a New Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition repeal New Labour’s Digital Economy Act? Would they shut down the Independent Safeguarding Authority? How on earth could New Labour ever agree to any aspect of the Freedom Bill whatsoever? Given that there are no moves visible (yet?) showing the demise of New Labour, how could this coalition be better than one with the Tories? Don’t say have it be led by Nick Clegg because that’s just not going to happen, despite his popularity. Unless New Labour dies or the Tories offer AV+ for the Commons at the very least, I can’t see a coalition of any kind working, at least not without destroying the Lib Dems. Brown’s manoeuvre was super, no doubt timed by Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, but he really must not be the only stumbling block to working with the Labour Party.
If you need last minute proof why New Labour is no longer fit to govern, check out Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s defence of the government’s policy of destituting asylum seekers:
”What people see is a sort of ”Euro-friendly” that would have us in the single currency. They would have an amnesty for illegal immigrants, they would allow asylum seekers to work, which is utter, utter madness.”
I think that’s an appalling, inhuman position to take. New Labour’s policy of forced destitution of asylum seekers has been one of the many low points of their period in office, but Cathy Newman has gone further and fact-checked Johnson’s wider claim that it was ‘madness’ because 83% of asylum seekers were found not to have had a genuine claim:
His 83 per cent figure ignores 10 per cent of asylum claims which were granted leave to stay in the UK on humanitarian or discretionary grounds – making it hard to dismiss these as not genuine.
He also ignores the cases subsequently found to have genuine merit on appeal – just over a quarter of those that make it through to an appeal tribunal.
That’s not to dispute that the majority of asylum claims are rejected. But given the context in which Johnson cited the statistic and the need to be careful about the way figures are presented on such an emotive subject, we rate his claim fiction.
Good old Alan Johnson. The party which is currently promoting ‘fairness for all’ clearly means nothing of the sort.
Word has it that the Tories will try to declare themselves the winners even if they fail to win a majority in the general election tomorrow. The Constitution however has something else to say about that:
Despite the claims of certain media commentators and aggrieved Conservative politicians at the weekend, there has been no “new rule” dreamt up in the Cabinet Office for the event of a hung parliament. The constitutional position has long been clear: if no party secures an overall majority then Gordon Brown, as the incumbent prime minister, has the constitutional right to remain in office to try to form a government.
Constitutionally, a PM cannot be forced to resign because the opposition believes it has a better mandate to govern. But in practice, whether the PM stays in office and tries to form a government is dependent on the political circumstances in which he finds himself.
Britain’s system is unusual in that the prime minister does not have to resign if his party fails to secure a majority. Until a deal is done he would serve as a caretaker premier, whose powers and authority are limited by the rules governing electoral “purdah”. The constitutional conventions and precedents are designed to provide continuity – to ensure that at no time is the sovereign without a government.
The basic principle is that the government must command the confidence of the Commons. That is not the same as securing an outright majority – merely that no combination of parties can form a majority against it. If the incumbent PM has the confidence of the Commons then he can continue in office.
And this I suspect will be what comes into play on Friday. I still believe that Cameron will command the largest party in the Commons, but will fail to win a majority. I also think Brown and Labour will try to find a solution immediately to keep the Tories out. I’m not convinced they’ll find it – partly because Brown is an unpalatable partner for the Lib Dems (Clegg is known to hate him), partly because it seems highly unlikely that New Labour will agree to dismantle its aggressive, torture-supporting authoritarian state, just because its preferred coalition partner wants it that way. Would David Miliband really be a break from old politics? What about Alan Johnson?
The pressure on Brown from the Murdoch/Mail Axis of Evil will be merciless, the political pressure from the Tories themselves possibly much greater, and the will of the people thoroughly subverted. Cameron will do what it takes to run a minority administration, which through trampling on the Constitution and ignoring electoral reform, will within a short span of time destroy itself. Cameron and the unreconstructed Tories are on the wrong side of history.
Those of you so far entirely unimpressed with David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ general election meme (basically subcontracting the responsibilities of public services provision from the state down to the individual to save money and, well, the bother), this is for you:
Gordon Brown is continuing to take entirely the wrong approach to the Lib Dems in advance of Thursday’s general election:
“I look at the Liberal policies. I look at them. Is there a plan for the future? They’ve got a policy on taxation that is built on a fiction about tax avoidance. They’ve got a policy on immigration that doesn’t make sense. The one that particularly annoys me is the one on child tax credits – they want to cut them.”
Erm if he’s talking about Clegg’s offer of a de-facto amnesty for existing ‘illegal’ immigrants, as Clegg himself put it last Thursday it’s simply common sense. It’s about people who are already here and who want to be here and to contribute. Why keep them in the black economy? That’s a policy which makes no sense. And is he really serious about a ‘fiction about tax avoidance‘? Even if the evidence weren’t compelling that he was wrong, it still smells like rhetoric designed to placate just the City figures who are in the metaphorical dock this election. It’s an argument on the wrong side of history.
“We’re talking about the future of our country. We’re not talking about who’s going to be the next presenter of a TV gameshow. We’re talking about the future of our economy.”
Tony Blair anyone? Pathetic. He’s going to crash and burn on 6th May.
Read my liveblog of the third and final leaders debate in this general election campaign.
The New Labour minister Joan Ruddock MP sure believes it is for her:
“Comment is free … but facts are sacred”. Unfortunately the Lib Dems in Lewisham aren’t letting the facts of my voting record on Iraq get in the way of their wholly negative campaign.
Contrary to Max Calo’s assertion I did indeed vote on the crucial amendment, which if passed would have prevented the Labour government going to war in Iraq. Once this amendment was lost, nothing could be achieved in the subsequent vote. The Guardian, the Times and the BBC are all on the record as recording me as one of the “Labour rebels” and there was never a doubt about my consistent anti-war stance. As Calo himself admits, I never voted with the government, and it is standard parliamentary practice to abstain when negotiating in private with your own leadership in an attempt to get them to change their minds.
Perhaps Nick Clegg should be told that his Liberal Democrats in Lewisham are up to their old dirty tricks.
Max Calo’s response:
First of all thanks for replying, I’ll try to clarify the point I make and that I think is important and justified.
In the letter you sent to residents you stated:
?I have always acted with integrity and stuck to my principles ? voting against the government going to war in Iraq.?.
And I think we can agree you didn’t actually do this, because voting for a motion to delay action does not mean voting against the government going to war.
For everyone’s reference here’s the text of the proposed amendment you voted for:
- believes that the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established, especially given the absence of specific United Nations authorisation; but,
- in the event that hostilities do commence, pledges its total support for the British forces engaged in the Middle East, expresses its admiration for their courage, skill and devotion to duty, and hopes that their tasks will be swiftly concluded with minimal casualties on all sides.
When the amendment failed a large number of Labour MPs left, but an even larger number stayed and voted against.
I’m sure you agree that the stand taken by those Labour MPs that stayed on and displayed active dissent (including resigning from Government in some cases) was very principled and indeed commanded the admiration of many in the public.
Your public record I’m afraid is not so clear, and that’s why I don’t believe you’re entitled to make the claim you made in your letter. Your voting record on the war shows that you were absent in four out of 6 occasions, when you participated you voted in favour of amendments but never took part in the main vote.
You say that once the amendments failed then there was no hope of the main motion being rejected, still many thought that they needed to stay and register an open dissent on the main motions, and we do admire them for doing so.
It is also the case that a stronger dissent makes a weaker mandate, whether the vote is won or lost.
You say that in private you were negotiating in attempt to change the leadership’s mind, well, maybe you could have written that in your letter to Lewisham Central residents instead.
If you’re writing of your public record then you’re best advised to stick to the facts.
What people understand by reading your letter is what you wrote, and that’s what those that stayed on and took an open stand against the war did, not those that are now saying that they were negotiating in private.
Joan Ruddock is my MP. She is a vociferous supporter of ID cards, agreed with 90 days detention without charge, supports trial without a jury and control orders, and voted to ban protest around parliament. I seriously hope she gets beaten by either the Greens or the Lib Dems – this authoritarian nonsense simply has to stop.
And again we are supposed to accept that the ends justify the means. I love Peter Davison and David Tennant, as I loved Eddie Izzard, but this unquestioning support for a ‘caring Britain’ is just preposterous. Obviously the argument is ‘if you disagree with the bad things we’ve done you’re against the good things we’ve done’, and it’s a shocking manipulation. The Iraq war, Afghanistan, the attempts at 42 and 90 days detention without charge, the Digital Economy Act, ID cards, the Independent Safeguarding Authority, destitution of asylum seekers and detention of their children, Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, RIPA surveillance legislation, SOCPA anti-protest demonstration, the list does go on (and you can add to it in comments if you like) – none of that is caring. None of it is.
I am thinking of a future fair for all. I’m voting Lib Dem. Sorry, Doctors.
But according to European law they do:
The Council of Europe has urged the UK government to hurry up and change the law on prisoner voting rights. As things stand, the UK’s 84,073 strong prison population (all avowed Conservative voters, according to reports) are barred from voting in elections under section 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
In March 2004, however, in the case of Hirst v. United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) unanimously ruled that the maintenance of an absolute bar on convicted prisoners voting was in breach of Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to free and fair elections.
The case was brought by John Hirst, a prisoner who, in 1980, had been sentenced to a term of discretionary life imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter. The UK Government unsuccessfully appealed the decision before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR.
Whether you agree with it or not, the case was won under this protocol, to which the UK is signed:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.
So it really makes you wonder where Roger Godsiff gets off putting together an election leaflet like that, basically saying ‘Lib Dems Love Paedophiles and Murderers’ which couldn’t be less true. Godsiff meanwhile had the nerve to defend the leaflet:
Mr Godsiff defended the campaign tactic, saying the Lib Dems’ policy on the issue was “black and white” but they were not making that clear to voters.
“I agree that the imagery is strong but I do not accept that it is any stronger than anything that has been put out by my opponents,” Mr Godsiff told the BBC.
“The leaflet has been distributed in certain areas but it does not contain anything that is factually incorrect. I have put out some negative campaigning when my opponents do not tell the electorate what their position is.
“It is right and proper to ask whether they support or do not support whether people convicted of serious crimes can vote. I have invited other candidates to make their position clear….I have made my position clear.”
Labour has withdrawn the leaflet. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile describe their position on the European Court’s ruling as:
in future, [they said] judges should be given discretion to decide, upon sentencing, whether to strip someone of the vote, depending on the length of sentence and the nature of the crime.
Once a new system was in place, they said existing prisoners should be given the right to launch an appeal to try and secure the vote.
However, they insisted that those guilty of the most serious crime should never be able to do this.
Why this policy should be so offensive to Godsiff is a mystery, unless the leaflet really is a reflection of how terrified the party now is of the Liberal Democrats. I have to say I agree with the Court’s ruling, and not with the Lib Dems on this. The Court:
found no evidence to support the claim that disenfranchisement deterred crime and considered that the imposition of a blanket punishment on all prisoners regardless of their crime or individual circumstances indicated no rational link between the punishment and the offender.
The ECtHR also maintained that:
Removal of the vote in fact runs counter to the rehabilitation of the offender as a lawabiding member of the community and undermines the authority of the law as derived from a legislature which the community as a whole votes into power.
I agree with those points. I see no reason why any prisoner should ever be denied the vote. Reading the rest of the link above it’s revealing that the government is doing everything in its power not to abide by the Court’s ruling. Well done yet again to New Labour for sticking to its utter contempt for human rights. This general election will not be run in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights – that’s what’s really offensive.