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Votes for prisoners: another string to the extremists' bow

Votes for prisoners: another string to the extremists' bow

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Published by Paul Nižinskyj
The European Court of Human Rights' ruling on votes for prisoners exposes how little of our sovereignty we have left in the UK.
The European Court of Human Rights' ruling on votes for prisoners exposes how little of our sovereignty we have left in the UK.

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Published by: Paul Nižinskyj on Dec 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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I'm not a person prone to melodrama, but the Government's decision today to bowto the European Court of Human Rights' (ECHR) ruling on votes for prisoners hadme with my head in my hands. It's not that the thought of murderers, rapists andpaedophiles deciding the Government of this country deeply offends me; nor thatI felt nauseous watching a man convicted of hacking his landlady to death withan axe celebrating with 'champagne and a spliff.'What concerns me the most is I believe I have just witnessed the final death ofthe British constitution. We English have always taken pride in bringing the rule of law to the world - the idea that no citizen, not even the legislators, of anation are above the law. That any legislation passed must be in accordance with the constitution, which is protected from political interference by an independent judiciary. It is also a system based on negative, rather than positive law- i.e. only what you cannot do rather than abstract rights concerning what you can do.In the United States, this concept was fine-tuned to near-inviolable perfectionby the Founding Fathers. But while the Americans have a written, clear and concise constitution to refer to, in Britain we do not. As such, this makes it exceptionally easy to defile. It has become, in effect, become whatever Parliament declares it to be, which is about as far from the aforementioned principle as you can get.A consequence of this is that Parliament has been free not only to allow laws from outside the United Kingdom to have jurisdiction here, but to actually give them supremacy over decisions made by British judges and politicians. There are those that argue this is technically treason. Indeed, the UK's accession to the Council of Europe in 1950 was the first time any foreign authority had jurisdiction over these shores since Henry VIII broke ties with Rome in 1534.That decision laid the foundation for our whole concept of the nation state - that political decisions ought to be made by those elected by the British people and those alone; that no legislation contrary to the law of this land be passed and that this law be protected by an independent British judiciary.Of course, this is anathema to the European Union, whose repeated promises neverto infringe upon the rights and independence of nation states have been shown by the passage of time to be blatant lies. But the trouble is, this has nothing to do with the EU. The ECHR is an organ of the Council of Europe, which an entirely separate organisation and, unlike the EU, does not even have a Parliament bywhich the citizens of its constituent nations can voice their concerns.This means the rage of both Labour and Conservative MPs, not the mention the British people, will go unheard and unheeded. Even the prime minister of this country has said the thought of giving murderers the vote makes him 'physically ill',yet we are told there is nothing we can do about it.The politicians hate it, the lawyers hate it and the people hate it. But we aretold that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights is impossible and thatwe shall just have to live with the fact that our Parliament and courts are completely impotent against this entirely unaccountable body.What madness is this? Well, I worry it resembles very closely the madness seen in Europe during the interwar years. It was not long after the imposition of theTreaty of Versailles in 1919 that people began to realise they had made a mistake in shackling Germany to such punitive reparations and loss of sovereignty.The Germans, naturally, hated it from the beginning - they rightly contested theabsurdity that they should be held entirely responsible for the war, both in moral and monetary terms. They also opposed the limits on their armed forces as an

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