Perspectives on the law


There has been so much to concern myself with in the news over the last few weeks. The whole political situation has not me quite depressed. I’m not sure why but I am finding it difficult to sleep and am even more irritable than normal.  I should avoid the press and media for a few days.

In amongst all the rubbish there has been a number of issues raised over the illegality of the referendum. It is a topic that I keep coming back to as the Electoral Commission, Banks and the Prime Minister have all agreed that there was electoral illegality on the leave side.

Whatever the outcome, an illegal vote is unsafe and undermines democracy. We have enough to say about electoral rigging in countries such as Venezuela and the Congo and so those in glass houses need to take a step back. The 2016 European Union referendum was far from the pinnacle of UK democracy.

The issues I have heard discussed start with an article in the Telegraph which claimed that the Conservatives were furious that it is unfair to pick on the leave side alone with any criminal investigations. How can it be unfair to investigate crime? That is why we have a legal process, to determine beyond reasonable doubt whether or not a crime was committed. The concept of fair crimes and unfair crimes is beyond me.

The second issue I have come across is that  both sides have committed crimes and that somehow these should balance out. Crime is not a zero sum game. I am not aware of any evidence that the remain side have committed electoral crimes, they may well have yet this makes the situation worse not better. If both sides committed electoral crimes then it makes the affair even more invalid.

Finally I have heard it said that it’s only a crime if you can prove it had an effect. Please no! This is saying that it is not a crime if you get away with it. Electoral crime is only wrong if it makes a difference. How are you ever going to prove that, other in the case of direct vote rigging? Breaking the speed limit is a crime whether you run someone over or not. Stealing is a crime even if the victim can afford the loss.

All of these ‘arguments’ are fatuous and dangerous in that they are attempts to use reason to undermine both the law and our democratic processes. They are put out in the media to normalise them and we should be very worried that they stick in people’s minds.

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