I always say that one of the reasons I never made it as a left-wing sort of person (as I flirted with being in my teens) is because my brain isn't wired in the way it needs to be wired for one to be left-wing. This is especially the case with the British Liberal Democrats (who are neither liberal in the traditional sense, nor particularly democratic.)
It is a peculiar person who watches a criminal being carted off to prison and immediately thinks "Oh no! I hope his rights are being protected!" Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing for no rights for criminals, but the unusual fervour with which the left desperately seek out more and more advanced rights than criminals are being "denied" is very difficult to work out at times.
So today, when I saw that the Lib Dems are back on their old hobby horse of trying to give prisoners voting rights again, I had to really sit back in wonder at them all over again. However, when one thinks about it, it is not particularly strange that the Lib Dems are very keen on this measure, and it is in fact very clever, and a particular characteristic of many left-wing parties internationally. Nile Gardiner has a great analysis of Clegg and co's decision to go ahead with this surge, and he points to Clegg's ideological dedication to unification with the EU, who needless to say are so keen that prisoners get voting rights, that they want them to sue the taxpayer for compensation! Yeh, amazing isn't it?
However, the segment I feel that Gardiner misses out on is that political parties always canvass for votes, and left-wing campaigners have a habit of trying to create new segments that they can "protect" and therefore gain votes for life from. It has been very successful. For instance, it is no coincidence that a great many of those who vote for massive tax-rises by voting for left-wing parties don't happen to pay any income tax themselves. In America, Obama is trying to grant amnesty to tonnes of illegal immigrants - he knows that the second they become citizens, they will probably vote Democrat.
So, back to the Lib Dems and prisoners. We know that prisoners will be interested in a number of things.
1) Prison conditions
2) Shorter prison sentences
3) General soft attitude to crime
4) Voting (maybe)
5) Welfare (a high proportion of criminals will be on welfare at some point.)
Now, look back over that list and who do you think covers most of those points? Thats right, the Lib Dems! They know that they will get tens of thousands more votes, some in tight constituencies, should the prison population be able to vote. It is an extraordinarily cynical move, and it will do a lot of damage in the long term. For instance, it will encourage politicians, specifically left-wing politicians, to scramble over one another in a race to be more "compassionate" and "understanding" towards criminals, who after all are only "victims of society themselves."
One may argue that nationally, the prison population is relatively insignificant. Maybe, but in constituencies with a large prison, it could be enormous. MP's in those constituencies will pander more to the voices of prisoners than they will to the voices of teachers, doctors, nurses, business owners, members of emergency services etc. The prison population will become a powerful advocacy group in certain areas, and will therefore have significant influence on policy.
This should not be allowed to happen. Conservatives forced into this current alliance with the Lib Dems should break off and condemn the scheme as insulting to law-abiding citizens, insulting to the victims of crime, and ultimately as a cynical ploy for more votes that will only contribute to the break down of law and order that left-wing parties always encourage without fail.