Category Archives: Women

Prolife parliamentary procedure

Extend the 1967 Abortion ActThis afternoon in Westminster, MPs will debate the last stage of the Scotland Bill before the third reading and voting to pass the Bill to the House of Lords.

One of the recent amendments added to the Bill is from Fiona Bruce, a Conservative MP from an English constituency.

In the House of Commons there is an unfortunate concatenation of MPs who seek to ensure that UK healthcare outsources safe legal abortion overseas, and to subject women who cannot afford to travel to a forced pregnancy. Their excuse for doing so is that a human fetus is protected by “the sanctity of human life”, though a pregnant woman is apparently not so protected.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, is a member of this group and was the proposer of the last-minute amendment to the Serious Crimes Act which would have ensured doctors were banned from allowing an abortion if the abortion was sex-selective. This significant change to the 1967 Abortion Act was proposed as a late amendment which would be discussed and voted on only at the third reading of the Serious Crimes bill before it was voted into law.

No consultation on this amendment had been done with groups such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives, or the British Medical Association, all of which opposed the amendment.

The expectation of Fiona Bruce and her supporters was that MPs would vote for her amendment because they would not want to appear to support sex-selective abortion: there would be no time – they evidently hoped – for any consultation or explanation why it was a bad idea to vote for doctors to be criminalised if they could be accused of approving sex-selective abortions: how there is little to no evidence of any sex-selective abortions on social grounds in the UK (the key “evidence” was a sting operation run by a Daily Telegraph journalist who lied to doctors and clinic staff and secretly filmed their honest response to her lies).
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Abuse online

Men get attacked for their opinions and their actions.

Women get attacked for their opinions and their actions, and also get attacked for being women.

Leo Traynor was attacked by the son of a friend, viciously and horrifyingly threatened over a long time: when he met The Troll face to face, the 17-year-old boy – confronted with the human reality of what he had done – burst into tears and could only say

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m sorry. It was like a game thing.”

Internet TrollLindy West was and is repeatedly attacked by many men who are bitterly affronted that a woman should question whether rape jokes mocking rape victims are either funny or acceptable. One troll decided to set up a Twitter account in the name of Lindy’s father, who had recently died, to tweet his insults and threats: he used a photo of her father as his Twitter icon. Lindy didn’t block-and-report (both Twitter and Facebook are notorious for regarding verbal harassment as not a violation of their “community standards”): she wrote about how that attack made her feel on Jezebel. (Her troll emailed her the next day to let her know that it had only just occurred to him that she was a human being with feelings, that he was sorry, and that he was quitting.)

There is a living, breathing human being who is reading this shit. I am attacking someone who never harmed me in any way. And for no reason whatsoever.

One of the things Lindy West said:

One of the pillars of conventional wisdom about internet trolling is that internet trolling just happens. You hear this all the time, from even the most progressive allies: Oh, well, it’s the internet. There are trolls. Trolls troll the internet. Rape threats are like oxygen. Whatareyagonnadooooo. So, I’m just supposed to accept that psychological abuse is built into my job and I’m some thin-skinned rube if I complain about it? Easy for you to say, Señor Rando. Not only is that framework supremely unsatisfying for me personally, I’d go so far as to say that it’s a dangerous and patently false myth. Internet trolling does not “just happen.” It is not some mysterious, ambient inevitability that affects all internet users indiscriminately.

Internet trolling is a force with a political agenda.

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Filed under In The Media, Scottish Culture, Women

Julian Assange evading justice

Julian Assange t-shirtThe statute of limitations for the crimes that Julian Assange is evading justice for in Knightsbridge, will expire this August.

Swedish prosecutors will therefore travel to London to carry out the interview that Assange jumped bail to avoid.

During that interview, Julian Assange is likely to be charged with rape and sexual assault.

But as Assange doesn’t want to go to jail in Sweden for the crimes he has already admitted to in his testimony, it’s likely he’ll stay in the embassy in Knightsbridge until the statute of limitations expires in Sweden.

Doubtless he will still have defenders who think raping a woman while she’s asleep is not that big of a deal. But at least he won’t be able to claim he was never charged with any crimes: he just evaded justice.

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Dundee and Tony Blair

Lesley Brennan, Scottish LabourDoes Lesley Brennan stand a chance as the Labour PPC in Dundee East?

Electoral Calculus says no – Stewart Hosie has both the benefit of being the incumbent MP and the candidate on the rising tide of SNP votes. Maybe in 2020: Lesley Brennan has represented Dundee’s East End ward since 2012.

Nevertheless, Dundee East has been selected as one of 106 Labour “battleground seats”, and thus Brennan’s campaign became the recipient of £1000 from Tony Blair, who is donating £106,000 to the candidates in those seats, or so the initial publicity made it seem.
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Filed under Elections, GE2015, Scottish Politics, Women

Free condoms and homeopathy

Green SurgeConor Pope of LabourList wants to believe the Green Party are not a threat to Labour’s chances of winning in May and are not a major party.

In fact, Conor Pope thinks the Green Party are a joke and Labour shouldn’t be frightened of saying so.

He writes of the Green surge:

The latest Green surge, I would wager, comes largely from ex-Liberal Democrat voters. They are another party whose supporters are seen by too many within Labour as faithful who have lost their way, rather than actual opposition. A huge number, of course, ‘came home’ to Labour following Nick Clegg’s foray into the rose garden with Cameron five years ago. We have come to lose them because we have already treated them as though they are our voters by some divine right.

There are certainly left-wing voters who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 who will never be voting LibDem again – they voted Liberal Democrat because they believed this was a party that would push Labour from the left, not a party that would give us a Tory government most of us never voted for. Those left-wing voters were already lost to Labour because of the Iraq war, because of hospital PFI, because of tuition fees – for any of many reasons for rejecting Labour on the left. I think Conor Pope is right to say that Labour assumed that it could simply scoop up those votes as the only left-wing party remaining, without needing to change any of the right-wing policies which drove left-wing voters away from Labour.

I was a fairly consistent Labour voter: I plan to vote Green in May 2015. I am not alone.
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Filed under Elections, GE2015, In The Media, Women

Conservative Public Relations

No More Page ThreeSomehow it seems typical of The Sun that they would employ as head of PR a man who thinks it’s amusing to tweet soft porn at women journalists and politicians, and who has no idea how to say “I’m sorry, I was wrong to do that” when called on it.

“No More Page 3″ is one of many feminist campaigns I neither oppose nor particularly support: I agree with people who have said there are more important issues (but, no one says you have to always campaign for the most important issues) and I agree with people who point out that the rest of The Sun is problematic too. But, always, the existence of Page 3 is an anti-feminist absurdity and I would be glad to see no more of it. The campaign against Page 3 is exactly the kind of campaign that enrages anti-feminist men, and so is a good thing.

Also, “Page 3″ is easy-access material for the kind of man – or boy – who thinks it’s amusing to humiliate girls. It’s bully-fodder.

The Times announced earlier in the week that The Sun intended to drop Page 3. The Times being The Sun’s stablemate, both owned by Rupert Murdoch and operating out of the same building, this was regarded as a reasonably solid news even though The Sun’s response was “no comment”.
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Filed under In The Media, Women

Thoughts about “A letter to”

The girl who accused meThe Guardian has been doing a series of anonymous articles, subtitled The letter you always wanted to write. No one is named in any of the letters.

The letter published today is from a man in his early 20s, about an event from about six years ago: it’s directed to “the girl who accused me of rape when I was 15.”
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