Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
I'm not sure.
I take the JS Mill line (sort of) that a crime is when one person abrogates the liberties of another person, in effect removes from them one or more of their 'rights'. In return the state takes away the liberties (or rights) of the perpetrator.
In serious cases where the perp has shown themselves to be capable of acting in an antisocial manner then certain 'human rights' are temporarily suspended. Not the right to life, property or relationships, obviously, but liberty and the right to participate in civil society.
So I don't have a problem with the principle of removing the right to vote, it seems to me the question is where the threshold lies.
I've seen suggestions that prisoners convicted of crimes which carry a maximum penalty of a certain length (I think it was 3 months) should keep the vote. Again, no problem with that as a principle.
This could lead to an interesting national debate on the treatment of offenders, but I'm not holding my breath. The tabloids will ensure that doesn't happen.
I mostly agree, my problem comes in the 'slippery slope' scenario whereby the government could theoretically decide to start taking political prisoners and deciding that they aren't allowed to vote. Disenfranchisment is a route to dictatorship. I know it's an absurdly alarmist argument to use (particularly in the UK), but I do firmly believe we need to keep an eye on the basics and make sure people like Theresa May have as little discretion as possible.