The overwhelming condemnation by MP's of implementing a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") to give prisoners the vote is only ok as a symbolic gesture to demonstrate the ultimate power of Parliament. However some of the speeches were a disgrace and muddied the waters in a populist media campaign that is ill informed and ill intentioned. If they don't now move on and implement a compromise it will be and embarrassment and a disgrace.
The ECHR is not the same organisation as the European Economic Area ("EU") , which is fundamentally a customs and trade treaty. Instead the ECHR is an international Court set up after the war with one aim in mind- to enforce a commonly agreed standard of basic human rights.
After the war Europe deliberately constructed a framework to ensure that Nazism and totalitarianism could never happen again. British and French Jurists were extremely influential in drafting a list of rights which includes the right to life (A2), the right not to be tortured (A3), the right not to be discriminated against (A14) and the right to a fair trial (A6). The right to respect for your family, privacy, correspondence and your home (A8).
As British as sausage and chips, surely?
One MP called the ECHR "A kangaroo court". Really? A court where respected judges including our own are sent to try and agree on tough cases over basic human values that unite us?
David Davis, co-sponsor of the bill uttered the word "lawyers" like he meant cat sick, and explained that until the lawyers came along there hadn't been a problem. Not being a lawyer became a badge of honour, and scarce 20 MP's dared to speak for the idea of obeying the law.
How Jack Straw could sponsor the bill and defend the ECHR frankly I don't understand.
Banning lunatics and criminals from the vote only dates to 1870, and banning women was always traditional. Now women and people with mental health problems have the vote, and the idea is floating that some prisoners should get to vote too.
Strangely the story became that fat shark lawyers would bleed the government dry unless Parliament voted for the reforms, and therefore it voted against it. Yay fat cat sharks!
5% fall in the economy in the last quarter. Is there a teensy weensy possibility that Gorgeous George Osborne (who never got anything right before) is taking us down the wrong path? And why would a Lib Dem object to a more Keynsian view on economics?
On civil liberties, the draconian control orders (which Nick promised to scrap) are now - a watered down control order. Lib Dems were the only ones to pin their colours to the mast and say that either the 8 or 9 people who are subject to these orders should be tried for the offence, or be set free. Isn't this a betrayal?