Dignity, Equality and Human Rights

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th September 2017.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I took that as a given. I was just saying that it is odd that the Conservatives had nothing to add to the motion, unlike all the other Opposition parties.

Adam Tomkins’s comment that there is no blanket ban on prisoner voting was bizarre. Some would say that the professor may be dancing on the head of a pin. He said that, since those who are remanded by our authorities and those who have been released from prison have the vote, there is no blanket ban. I am laughing because it is obvious that prisoners who are serving short-term sentences in prison face a blanket ban on their right to vote. That position is quite indefensible if we are concerned about effectively reintegrating prisoners into society when they are released.

In response to an intervention by Elaine Smith, I said that I am not convinced that “tolerant” is the best word to use in the context of human rights. Should we simply be tolerating? Is it not better to use a different word? I always think of “tolerating” as meaning “putting up with”. I do not want to put up with everyone’s human rights; I want to support and celebrate those rights.