Abortion and human rights at Holyrood

Vigil for Savita HalappanavarYesterday, in anticipation of abortion law being devolved to Holyrood, a familiar coalition launched.

They’re SPUC Scotland and CARE Scotland; also three religious bodies, the Catholic Church in Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Muslim Council; and two purely anti-choice groups: the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH), Cardinal Winning’s Pro-life initiative.

Anyone who followed the campaign to lift the ban on same-sex marriage in Scotland will know what the organisations in this coalition are about. (SPUC and CARE on same-sex marriage.)

John Deighan, who campaigned against same-sex marriage as the Parliamentary Officer for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, became the chief executive of SPUC Scotland in April 2015. The Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, also a vicious campaigner against same-sex marriage, said then:

“John has provided dedicated and energetic service to the church in Scotland for sixteen years and we wish him well in his new role. His ability to skilfully analyse political development and track legislative changes has been immensely helpful to the Bishops’ Conference. The links between the church and the SPUC in Scotland are already strong, but they will be strengthened and renewed as a result of John’s appointment.”

Many, if not most, Catholics, Muslims, and Presbyterians fully support a woman’s right to make her own decisions about terminating or continuing her pregnancy: just as many Catholics, Muslims, and Presbyterians supported the right of same-sex couples to legally wed and receive the same rights, responsibilities, and benefits as mixed-sex couples. That the leadership of these religious bodies sees fit to campaign against human rights in Scotland, shouldn’t smear all the adherents of these religions as against human rights.
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Filed under Equality, Women

BBC can’t see Green

Voting GreenWhy can’t the BBC see Green?

The BBC has decided that UKIP is, in Scotland, now electorally equivalent to the Scottish Greens, and should receive similar election coverage for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections on 5th May 2016.

In doing so, the BBC Trust doubtless hope that pretending in advance that UKIP is a major party in Scottish politics will make them so.

I am a member of the Scottish Green party, since June last year. What follows, however, is an unexciting post full of statistics on the relative support of UKIP in Scotland versus the Scottish Greens.

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Filed under Elections, GE2015, Politics, Scottish Politics

New Year messages

David Cameron has now been Prime Minister of the UK since May 2010: five and a half years, five New Year messages so far.

Trussell Trust foodbanks

In 2010, back when Cameron and Clegg were still pretending to be best mates, they did a joint press conference on 21st December, in which Cameron explained that the snow was a problem inherited from the previous government and Clegg assured the press that coalition meant the next election would be a very polite campaign.
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What happened in 2015

My dad met death like an unwelcome guest
who had come to his door unasked: and he
must ask death in, give even death’s request
a fair hearing: offer to make some tea.

My mum meets death with her eyes closed: asleep,
her heart enlarged strives one more beat, her breath
rattles her chest, her legs kick, her words keep
putting away her own belief in death.

Twenty-fifteen the year I saw my dad
meet death open-eyed, going away from us
quietly as if he had his own work, had
to go away alone: naught to discuss.

Twenty-fifteen the year I saw my mum
follow her husband, whatever may come.

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Lord Arsonist of Invergowrie

Setting a fire in an inhabited building is a crime of violence.

Mike Watson, Lord Watson of InvergowrieAt the Scottish Politician of the Year awards ceremony at the Prestonfield House Hotel in November 2004, Mike Watson got very drunk. He’d been drunk at the dinner, he got even more drunk at the VIP party after the dinner, and as the hotel staff were clearing up, he was “asking forcefully for more wine” and they gave him an open bottle, evidently hoping he’d go away.
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Filed under Justice, Politics, Unanswerable Questions

Pig Cam

You can imagine the Daily Express editor’s thoughts as he tasked Tom Parfit with writing this story.

David Cameron, pig semen“Wait: aren’t we smearing that Corbyn chap? But… THIS IS TOO GOOD. It may not be true… but it’s TOO GOOD NOT TO PRINT. Especially as we have so many photos of David Cameron cuddling pigs! SO MANY. Of David Cameron. CUDDLING PIGS.”

(Helpful subordinate: “Also there was that story a couple of years ago about Cameron getting pig semen from China!” – Daily Express editor “No, that was no relation.”)

The story is that during an “initiation ritual” for the Piers Gaveston Society (which David Cameron joined while he was reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, between 1985 and 1988) the to-be-Prime Minister put a “private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a pig.

The pig would have been dead and decapitated at the time, of course.
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A year ago today…

keep-calm-and-voteI voted No.

Am I sorry, ashamed, apologetic that I voted No?

Never in this life.

I don’t think anyone should feel apologetic or ashamed or sorry for how they voted in the referendum: we came together in the largest turnout since the 1950s, after two years of intense debate. Each of us voted, and. as agreed, we abide by the majority. Everyone who voted in the referendum voted rightly, whether it was Yes or No.

If I’d known on 18th September 2014 what I know now on 18th September 2015, would I have voted differently?
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Filed under Scottish Constitution, Scottish Politics