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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Diana Johnson MP attempts to defend the indefensible!

Diana Johnson MP attempts to defend the indefensible!

Diana Johnson defends stance on prisoner votes as she is accused of 'hypocrisy'

DIFFERENCES: Diana Johnson and Denis Healy lock horns at an election hustings in Hull. Picture: Jack Harland

HULL North MP Diana Johnson has backed moves to deny prisoners the right to vote.

Ms Johnson, Labour's shadow policing minister, said it would be "unacceptable" for violent offenders to be given the vote.

It comes five years after the MP voiced her support for "certain groups of prisoners" to be allowed the right to vote.

Back in October 2005, she told MPs: "I think it is appropriate to give certain groups of prisoners the vote. I know this is not Government policy, but I personally believe that it is wrong to have a blanket approach."

In 2008, Ms Johnson came under fire for voting to support the Labour Government's post office closure programme while campaigning to save threatened branches in her constituency.

Last night, the MP said she raised voting issue in Parliament in 2005 on behalf of her constituent John Hirst, 59, who took the Government to the European Court of Human Rights while serving 24 years in prison for manslaughter.

The MP said she originally suggested giving the vote to prisoners serving very short sentences for the least serious non-violent offences could be explored as part of their rehabilitation.

Ms Johnson said: "Having explored how practical this idea was, I have found that even giving the vote to those in prison for up to six months would still mean a number of violent, sexual and drugs offenders having the vote.

"This would be unacceptable to me and I think the majority of Hull North constituents."

However, Ms Johnson has been accused of "hypocrisy" by the Liberal Democrat's former Parliamentary candidate for Hull North, Denis Healy, who said: "I suspect she has sacrificed her own principles for the sake of a good headline rather than any deeply held conviction. It smacks of hypocrisy.

"It is a populist issue and Diana Johnson has compromised her principles on it and if that means flip-flopping or being seen as two-faced, then so be it."

Responding to Mr Healey's accusations, Ms Johnson said: "Given Lib Dem broken promises on police numbers, VAT and tuition fees, his talk of U-turns is the sort of hypocrisy I would expect from him."

Comment: DIANA JOHNSON embroiled in the expenses scandal. Denis Healy has not been involved in the expenses scandal. Notice in the This is Hull report that Denis Healy attacked Diana Johnson personally, whereas Diana Johnson did not attack Denis Healy personally because she was unable to given his track record, therefore she instead attacked him unfairly for LibDem policies.

Given that the highest court in Europe, the ECtHR, has ruled in Hirst v UK (No2) that all convicted prisoners regardless of the nature and seriousness of crime or length of sentence are entitled to the human right to vote, who does Diana Johnson MP think she is to claim that it is unacceptable for some convicted prisoners to be given the vote? In effect, Diana Johnson is trying to claim that she should decide which human beings are human beings and which human beings are not in her opinion human beings, that is sub-humans, and that she should have the public power to abuse them just like Hitler did in the last war with Jews, gypsies, mental patients, etc, as part of the Final Solution!

The last refuge of the scoundrel is to attempt to hide behind public opinion, just like Diana Johnson is trying to do here: "This would be unacceptable to me and I think the majority of Hull North constituents".

According to Hirst v UK (No2):

"70. There is, therefore, no question that a prisoner forfeits his Convention rights merely because of his status as a person detained following conviction. Nor is there any place under the Convention system, where tolerance and broadmindedness are the acknowledged hallmarks of democratic society, for automatic disenfranchisement based purely on what might offend public opinion".

The concurring opinion of Judge Caflisch:

"4. ...Accordingly, concluded the Government, the finding of a violation would be a surprise and offensive to many (judgment, §§ 47 and 49). That may well be so, but the decisions taken by this Court are not made to please or indispose members of the public, but to uphold human rights principles".

What Diana Johnson MP does not understand, and therefore arguably not fit for purpose, is that Hirst v UK (No2) is a case of the Individual v the State. Within the State are the 3 arms of the State; Executive, Parliament and Judiciary. The public do not form any part of the State. In my case it was the State in the dock, and not prisoners for their past crimes, and the UK was found guilty of human rights abuse. Diana Johnson was part of the Labour administration which was found guilty. I think it is past time that she atoned for her sins in this respect!

The ECtHR believes in protecting vulnerable groups and minorities within society. The Court employs the Actio Popularis principle. This is designed to protect the vulnerable from the abuse by the State and from victimisation by wider society. Diana Johnson MP should be ashamed that she is trying to blame her constituents for her own ignorance, prejudice and fear. The sooner she is voted out of office the better! A true democracy has no place for corrupt politicians.

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