Over at The Guardian, Richard Grayson, a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and former director of policy for the party, argues that the Council of Europe ruling against the UK ban on prisoners voting offers the Lib Dems a chance to seize the initiative. Here’s an excerpt:
While Liberal Democrats have consistently made it clear that they understand the need to punish crimes (despite the way the party has been characterised as “soft on crime” by both Labour and the Conservatives), the party is generally most interested in stopping crime in the first place. One way to do that is to transform prisons from being colleges of crime, to places that turn out people who can take up an honest place in society. …
Neither Labour nor the Conservatives will take up this case. So it falls to the Liberal Democrats to be different, in line with their principles. If being in government is to mean anything, and if the Liberal Democrats really do mean today’s politics to be “new”, then they have to behave in a new way when confronted by the scaremongering of some tabloids. They must also be prepared to confront the Conservatives when necessary. Continuing to take potentially unpopular but right and practical positions on crime will be one measure of how far they have been successful.
You can read Richard’s article in full here.