The limits of oppression

One of democracy's imperfections is its fragility combined with its appearance of robustness and resilience. Those whose direct personal experience is confined to a broadly democratic society do not easily imagine anything other. The corollary being a tendency to take democracy for granted. If only they realised how tenuous is our grip on the freedoms we assume to be ours by dint of nature, they would fear for those freedoms.

Democratic dilemma

As tyrants know and totalitarian states demonstrate, control of certain aspects of the life of a nation is equivalent to control of all aspects of the nation's life. Lip service may be paid to democracy by honouring the principle of one person, one vote even as genuine democracy is denied by the differential weighting of those individual votes.

Prison, punishment and democracy

Christina McKelvie is quite wrong when she says that "prison is a place people go to be punished". Prison is the punishment. Imprisonment. Incarceration. Immurement. Forfeiture of liberty is the penalty. The law allows for no further punishment beyond this. Prison is a place people are sent as punishment, not to be punished. Prisoners are … Continue reading Prison, punishment and democracy

Votes for prisoners

"Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw the stars." Frederick Langbridge (Photo credit: antonychammond)It's not very often I find myself at odds with Nicola Sturgeon, but on the matter of votes for prisoners I simply cannot agree with her hard-line stance. It is, she claims, a position informed … Continue reading Votes for prisoners

Too much too young

Who is excluded?In a fallacy-riddled article for Tory Hoose (Indy ref voting age: are the kids United?), a certain Alex Shilling waxes dismissive of the idea that the voting age should be lowered to sixteen for the forthcoming referendum on Scotland's constitutional status - and, presumably, more generally. I dealt with some of the more … Continue reading Too much too young