Picking a fight?
Is today’s Sir Humphrey a complete idiot, or are our politicians deliberately picking a fight with the Court of Human Rights?
I suspect the latter. To pick such a fight may be no bad thing, but they’re going about it the wrong way. Don’t just ignore the court on an issue that can painlessly be fixed. Tackle it much earlier in the development of some dubious issue, and build alliances. Maybe in the first instance do it by supporting some other government’s fight over a suitable issue.
The court says that a blanket ban on prisoners voting is a violation of their “human rights”. Government sticks its fingers in its ears. Hardly anyone wants to give prisoners the vote, and opinions divide, with a suspected majority supporting the government.
But wait a minute, this whole conflict is based on a misrepresentation. The court hasn’t said “give prisoners the vote”, nor even “give some prisoners the vote”. It’s just said “don’t operate a blanket ban”. Even if our politicians are too dumb to see the obvious solution, it can’t have escaped Sir Humphrey – unless of course the meritocracy has vanished from his job and an idiot has been appointed on some politically-correct anti-elitist principle.
Why not just give the responsibility to sentencing judges? Let the removal (or not) of the vote be a decision for the judge in every conviction (and not just those involving prison). Keep the status quo as a default, so if a judge says nothing about the vote then the convict loses it while in prison but keeps it while in the community. Surely that removes the blanket ban – thus satisfying the court – without making anything worse than it is, or even losing face!