So much for the democratic and civil liberties credential of Jack Straw and David Davis in their efforts to withhold voting rights for prisoners. I am not against them obtaining a debate on the issue in the Commons, but I hope that enough MPs will be present to challenge the line they are taking.
Everyone who is capable of exercising a choice, is resident within the United Kingdom and has reached an agreed age (which I would put at 16) should have the vote in our parliamentary elections. They should all then be subject to laws determined under parliamentary procedures - even though acts of peaceful civil disobedience can be a justifiable avenue of protest against unjust measures where the protesters are willing to face the legal consequences of their actions.
Now and again we come across prisoners who are released because they are innocent. Then we are aware that masses of people who have committed crimes have never been captured. If we adopt the principle of kicking people off registers because we think they are nasty, heaven knows who will left with the vote.
We need to get people onto electoral registers and not kick them off. At least three and million who are entitled to the vote are currently missing from registers. Young people, ethnic minorities, the poor, the homeless and the rootless form the bulk of these. We need a pro-active system to ensure their rights are given to them.
Then there there are people who are firmly resident in this country other than Commonwealth and Irish Citizens who are find themselves disenfranchised, yet they are firmly subject to the law of the land and are not tax exiles.
What we are entitled to is a Full Franchise - we should not pick and choose as to who is entitled to the vote. It is for the people to choose who should represent them.