The European Court of Human Rights telling the UK to give prisoners the vote makes David Cameron physically ill, apparently. Which end you may ask? The shits, I bet.

Cameron’s got the kind of doughy face peculiar to people with touchy bowels (and a shallow gene pool).

Thankfully for Number 10’s cleaners, Cameron’s lower intestine can rest easy because, contrary to some of the right-wing spin, the ECHR didn’t tell David Cameron to give prisoners the vote.

It said that the government’s blanket ban on prisoner voting breached existing laws – the laws agreed to by the British government.

That is quite explicitly not saying: “Give prisoners the vote.”

And while I refuse to subscribe to the facile position that the government ought to do what Strasbourg judges say because it might diminish respect for the UK internationally, that’s not to say I disagree with the EU ruling.

A blanket ban on prisoner voting is unjust and also counterintuitive to prison’s main objective, rehabilitation.

Much as the Daily Mail would want to change it, we don’t have a punitive prison system, like the rest of the rational world we have a rehabilitating one.

Unpalatable as it is to some people, prisoners are humans, often with histories of abuse, often with learning difficulties, often with drug problems, often illiterate.

These aren’t excuses, they’re facts. It occurs to me that if the main point of prison is to change people into responsible members of society, and it is, then denying them the vote runs exactly contrary to that aim.

Disenfranchising people is one of the more symbolically profound ways of saying “you aren’t as good as us”.

That said, there is surely a line. It would plainly be unconscionable to give people in prison for violent or serious crimes the vote. When you abuse society to such a degree you surely forfeit some of your rights within it.

Privately, lots of politicians of all shades feel the same, but such is the tyranny of right wing political entertainment complex, they’re afraid of saying so.

» Agree or disagree? Should prisoners never get the vote?

Pope shouldn’t play myth games

The Pope wants donkeys banned from nativity scenes, because he reckons the presence of one is “a myth”.

It strikes me that the very last person in the entire world who should want to play the “that’s a myth” game is the leader of an international organisation which for centuries has used a phalanx of myths to subjugate people for their own financial enrichment.

But, if he wants to, let’s: god didn’t create heaven and earth in six days; Adam and Eve weren’t the first humans; Noah didn’t have an ark; Mary wasn’t a virgin; Jesus wasn’t the son of god, he didn’t turn water into wine, he wasn’t resurrected.

You don’t know what god thinks about the use of contraception. You don’t know what god thinks about homosexuality.

Here though is something that isn’t a myth: the habitual, institutionalised abuse of children by members of your church which you helped to hide you wicked, wicked man.

Photo: Getty