It hasn’t been the best week for good news has it?
Mubarak is still, somehow, clinging to power in Egypt despite what seemed a potential turning point yesterday evening when everyone seemed to be saying he was going to go. The army seem to be backing away from his immediate removal and falling behind his ‘democratic’ transition. Let us hope that this transition is not the smoke screen that so many Egyptians fear.
The House of Commons, not recently renowned for its liberalism, voted strongly in favour of keeping the ban on prisoners voting. In a strangely bipartisan debate that lasted almost all day yesterday, MPs voted by 234-22 to defy The European Court of Human Rights and keep prisoners from voting.
In one rather strange exchange Karen Bradely (Con) noted ‘it is a terrible insult to suffragettes, such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davison’ to allow prisoners to vote.Of course when Lorely Burt (LD) said “They were imprisoned, so by the logic of her argument she obviously would not like them to have the vote while in prison either.” Ms Bradely skillfully moved away from the subject.
The debate, of course, was not entirely about Prisoners and their right to vote. For many in The Conservative Party it was a chance to renew attacks on the ‘madness’ of The Human Rights Act and for Labour it seemed like a good opportunity to move back to towards their old populist illiberal stomping ground. We cannot and should not, as Jeremy Corbyn noted, be able to opt in and out of The Human Rights act. European politics may be cumbersome and frustrating but The Human Rights act protects us from infringements upon our liberty and is something we should embrace. Furthermore, if we are to be a forgiving and tolerant society, and one which embraces democracy to our breast than let us not exclude those who may well be trying to rehabilitate themselves in jail.
In other news The Daily Star decided to feature The EDL on its front page days after their biggest demonstration to date. In a feature that didn’t stray far from an endorsement the paper claimed that ‘98% of its readers agreed with EDL policies’. This from a newspaper which, last year, had nearly 800, 000 readers is quite terrifying. The front page itself, by the way, claimed that The EDL were planning to form a political party- something that wasn’t actually backed up by much evidence at all inside the paper.The danger of The EDL has been stated by many far more eloquent and experienced than myself but to me it is simple. The EDL are a bigoted and hateful organisation who consist largely of people who have been consistently let down by pro-market governments in this country. Their target of ‘Militant Islam’ fades extraordinarily easily into ‘Muslims’ and then to ‘Pakis’. In the near future they are unlikely to be an electoral force to be reckoned with but with the mildly cloaked backing of a newspaper that has more than double the readership of The Guardian we should be acutely aware that The EDL might begin to gain the credibility they so desperately desire.
The best bits of news this week:
1) And I really must apologise for this, but it is funny: Woman hits robbers with handbag:
3) The Tories confirm they are the party of the (super) rich as it is confirmed they get 51% of their cash from The City of London. Good news….well at least we can confirm our suspicions.