CHARLES GRAHAM - Prisoners should not be allowed to vote

IN a week when our politicians are debating a motion which would allow prisoners the right to vote, one could not help remarking on the absence from the polling booths of most English adults already eligible to do so.

The police and crime commissioner elections marked a new nadir for democracy as apathy, opposition to the principle of the governance shake-up and confusion over a lack of candidate manifestos meant that 85 per cent of law-abiding citizens did not exercise their right.

I think many people came to the conclusion that the previous police authorities were pretty anonymous bodies whose work - “whatever it was” - went on behind closed doors and the policy stuff that really mattered to the public, like tackling criminals, was left to the uniformed professionals. Whether that is right or not is another matter.

But others stayed away because they don’t want even more politicians involved in our public services.

I’m not sure it’s going to make that much difference.

Replacing a committee with one person could save the public purse some money but on the day-to-day supervising of crime prevention and detection measures we will still be leaving it up to the law and order professionals.

Meanwhile we have the debate raging on about letting the people the police have locked up have the vote.

It is claimed that prisoners’ fundamental human rights are being denied by the current law.

But I am a strong believer in convicted criminals forsaking some of their rights - like the right to freedom - when they commit crimes that warrant a jail term.

I would like to bet that the majority of felons couldn’t give a damn about this particular loss of privileges compared with other aspects of prison life.

I appreciate that isn’t the point, but perhaps those whom it does bother might reflect a little more on the errors of their ways through its continued denial.

Perhaps this latest parliamentary motion could be seen as a desperate last roll of the dice to increase pitifully low turnout!