Friday, 11 June 2010

The Absurdity of CoE Rulings

As if David Cameron doesn't have enough to concern him regarding our relationship with the EU, the UK government was told on Wednesday that it could face sanctions if it fails to give prisoners the right to vote in time for the elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next May.

A ruling by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers (unelected of course), indicated that it was ready to draw up a resolution for action at its next meeting in September if the UK does not allow some prisoners to vote in next year's elections.

Currently all prisoners are banned from voting under the 1983 Representation of the People Act but legal challenges by Scottish and English inmates made clear that such a blanket ban was incompatible with ECHR. More than 60 Scottish prisoners are taking their cases to the European court in Strasbourg to claim compensation from the UK government. They expect to be awarded €1000 each.

David Cameron has dropped his idea of a British Bill of Rights to replace the current Human Rights Act. Being a criminal appears to be a lucrative vocation for some these days. Such a pity the EU aren't too concerned with the plights of thousands of elderly who died because of the lengthy freezing winter.

Editor's Note: One of the commenters implies I am confusing readers by mentioning the Council of Europe and the EU in this post. I think it is perfectly clear that it is the Council of Europe which is forcing this issue and my mention of the EU was in connection with the plight of thousands of elderly who died of hypothermia related problems this past winter. My reason for mentioning the EU in this connection was that surely elected members could take the subject on board and maybe even one of them could be brave enough to put a case forward to the Council of Europe. If I have confused anyone I apologise.


Stephen said...

Just to point out, The Council of Europe is not the EU. You mention both in the post.

You may want to actually accurately report who is forcing to UK to act on this, because it is not the European Union.

Oldrightie said...

"The Council of Europe (French: Conseil de l'Europe) is one of the oldest international organisations working towards European integration, having been founded in 1949. It has a particular emphasis on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. It has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens. It is distinct from the European Union (EU) which has common policies, binding laws and only twenty-seven members. The two do however share certain symbols such as their flag."
An early Gestapo unit, established in readiness for the despicable ally they now have sharing their flag. Same dog, different generation is my take on this outfit.

Apogee said...

Hi SR.
Stephen is making a point but to an extent it is covered in the source.
His point raises an other issue, how the various parts of the European Conglomerate of Unelected Officials and Elected Governments interact and which part is controlling what,and to whom, if any one , the Unelected Officials are responsible for their actions and/or inactions.

subrosa said...

Thanks for your comment Stephen. I'm aware of the difference and I thought I made clear in the post that it's the Council which is forcing the issue.

I've put an editor's note to explain why I used the EU in connection with the elderly. Someone has to take a case to the CoE and who better than an elected member.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that OR. Perhaps I should have included it in the post. I thought everyone knew the difference between the Council of Europe and the EU nowadays, but it seems I'm wrong.

They are interconnected in some ways as you say but as I understand it the EU can take cases to the CoE for judgement.

subrosa said...

Apogee, I've put an editor's note on the post apologising for misleading anyone. I thought I'd clearly stated the CoE are responsible for this new ruling.

Grogipher said...

"Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers (unelected of course)"

The CoE's Committee is composed of the Foreign Ministers of all the members, or diplomats chosen by Government. They're not elected in the same way that our representatives to the UN or NATO aren't directly elected. If you want to put forward a case for having these posts directly elected, then that's fine, go for it, but to criticise like that doesn't really help anyone.

Talking about the CoE's ruling though, under a title of "The Absurdity of EU Rulings" might be what's confusing people. Certainly the eurosceptics like to blur the lines and make it out as though it's one big nasty evil corporation taking control...

As for the British Bill of Rights, I simply can't cover it better than LPW, but I see you've spoken to him about it already -

And then you go back to the EU again.. Just to confuse things ;-)

On the matter of prisoners having voting rights, I am entirely struggling to make up my mind. I can see both sides and have not yet been able to chose a side. I think it's wrong that folk in the gaol for murder or whatever should be allowed to vote, but what about political prisoners and the like? How do you differentiate? More thought is needed on my part there...

Sue said...

I was on the verge of opening my business, year before last and the town hall put a stop to it abruptly.

I had already spent some considerable amount of money getting a three core power supply to the office which involved the street being dug up. I needed the supply because of the amount of computers we were planning to have.

I was told the road would have to be dug up again because of a new EU directive. It was going to cost me over 3000 euros just for the paperwork (the subsequent inspection and certificate).

The reason they gave?

The new EU directive with electrical cabling had taken "heavy frost" into consideration in their new guidelines. This meant the cables had to be deeper in the ground and have wider shielding around them.

This is the Costa del Sol. We don't get frost. My Spanish friends have never seen frost here.

The EU and all it's various related departments are a clueless, money making, non democratic bunch of useless idiots.

Prisoners should not have the vote. When you commit a crime, you deserve to lose all your freedoms for the duration of your sentence.

Apogee said...

Hi SR.
I wasn't confused by the article.
What is confusing me, and I suspect, many others is the interaction of authorities/responsibilities and elected/unelected officials, to put it bluntly, what is the chain of command in the organisation? Transparent it is not.
As for prisoners right to vote, as far as I am aware, they get it back when they have done their time, seems fair !

subrosa said...

Why doesn't criticism help anyone Grogipher? Isn't it time all these people were elected?

Yes I agree, I have changed the title and that was my mistake for which I apologise. I did intend to entitle the post CoE ruling initially and for some reason did not.

I do speak to LPW about it because I want a clear picture of what's happening with people who are making the laws of my country - and they're not even in it.

As I explained, I went back to the EU because I felt that's where the issue of the premature deaths of the elderly could be brought to public attention and then perhaps a case put forward to the CoE. It's not only in this country deaths happen because of cold, but Scotland suffers more than most. I'm still awaiting statistics from this past winter.

I'm far more simple-minded than you. If someone has committed a criminal offence and been found guilty then they shouldn't be able to vote while serving their sentence.

subrosa said...

Forgot to say Grogipher, LPW is exceptionally tolerant with me and for that I'm grateful. It hasn't always been easy to sort out the various parts of the web which I consider, has been purposely built in that manner mainly to confuse.

subrosa said...

That is a super example of Europe and the related institutions Sue. They operate in a bubble. But then don't all political representatives operate in one? It seems like they're drawn in and then aren't interested in what's going on outside.

All live on the hard-earned taxes of working people.

naldo said...

It seems perfectly reasonable for prison inmates to be given the right to vote in national elections and if it takes the Council of Europe to force the government's hand then shame on the government.

Was there really any need to link to a spot of gratuitous Muslim bashing by the Telegraph? There was no link from said rag to the actual report. The Guardian does supply a link and from my cursory reading of it, the idea that conversion to Islam is simply to gain perks is nor borne out at all.

Anyone who can be bothered to find out what's in the report and not what some Islamophobic journalist has concocted from it can do so here:

naldo said...

PS the report points out that there have been more converts to Buddhism than Islam among the prison population but the right wing press does not seem to have made much of a splash on that story. Wonder why?

subrosa said...

Naldo I don't think the link was gratuitous Muslim bashing. Having read the introduction to the report (I will read the res when I have more time), it states:

'It would be naïve to deny that there are, within the prison population, Muslims who hold radical extremist views, or who may be attracted to them for a variety of reasons.'

I obviously picked the wrong newspaper for a link. Mea culpa.

scunnert said...

If you didn't get to vote for them then their rule is dictatorial. That's the nature of these extraterritorial outfits - no accountability, no transparency, no right of recall.

Naldo - chill:o)

subrosa said...

Exactly scunnert. The elite elect amongst themselves. Can't have the hoi polloi doing it. What do we know.

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