Category Archives: Women

Immigrants get the job done: the Hamilton Report

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 22nd March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

(James Hamilton is not an immigrant, but I regret to say I couldn’t resist the quote.)

The question for the independent investigator, QC James Hamilton, who was Director of Public Prosecutions for the Republic of Ireland (1999-2011) and in 2010, President of the International Association of Prosecutors, and who has been the independent advisor to the Scottish Government on the Ministerial Code since 2013 (first appointed by Alex Salmond, re-appointed by Nicola Sturgeon in 2015):

“When Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament she had first learned about the complaints against Alex Salmond on Monday 2nd April, when in fact she was told about them on Thursday 29th March, was she knowingly misleading Parliament?”

To knowingly mislead Parliament is a resigning offence in the Ministerial Code, though when you look at the current Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister at Westminster, you wouldn’t think so.
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Filed under Coronavirus, Elections, Justice, Scottish Politics, Women

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 16th March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I listened to the Second Reading debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Monday evening and tonight, and I noted that four points were consistently being made by the obedient Tory MPs:

  • Gypsy, Roma, and Irish Travellers are bad and dirty and we need legislation to take action against their habit of just parking on common ground and acting as if they had a right to be there, sometimes even when they own the land their vehicle is parked on, it’s got to be stopped.
  • Statues/memorials must be protected
  • Long sentences mean we’re doing more against crime
  • Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear

The first element of this is the most shocking, of course: basic racism barely even masked. Please remember that any fascist government needs an internal enemy convenient for blame. Brexit will hit farmers and farming economies hard. The Bill grants the police powers to arrest, imprison, and confiscate the mobile home of someone who is, as determined by the police, parked in “illegal encampment” or engaged in anti-social behaviour, also as determined by the police. To be able to distract economically-devastated countryside communities with news that an internal enemy has been arrested, tried, fined, imprisoned, lost their home, may be very useful this year. Certainly the government thinks so, from the consistency of this message from Tory MPs standing up to declare, if anyone doubted, that they were going to vote for the bill.
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Filed under Human Rights, Justice, Police, Racism, Women

Census 2021: a legal, hateful, victory

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 9th March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

Scotland decided to put off the Census til next year, because of coronavirus: the England & Wales Office of National Statistics decided to go ahead (as did the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency). ONS decided this year to encourage people to do the census online by preference – and to do a soft launch on 22nd February, to avoid (I would presume) the awkward situation of fifty-eight million people all trying to use the census website at the same time.

Census2021So, as you certainly know if you live in England or Wales or Northern ireland, and as you probably know if you live in Scotland, 21st March 2021 is Census Day except for Scotland.

Since about July 2019, the Christian Right have been complaining about news that the Census this year, at least in England and Wales, was going to include a question about “gender identity” and – not that this was new – have guidance that trans people should respond to the sex question according to their gender identity.
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Filed under Justice, LGBT Equality, Politics, Women

Alex Salmond: Blink

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 27th February 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

The Scottish Parliament has been in existence since 1999: Nicola Sturgeon is the present First Minister, and there are five previous First Ministers, four living, as Donald Dewar died within the first 12 months. The other four are Henry McLeish (now 72), Labour: Jim Wallace (now 66), LibDem – who was Acting First Minister on two separate occasions: Jack McConnell (now 60), Labour – and Alex Salmond (now 66), SNP. Jim Wallace and Jack McConnell accepted life peerages when they ceased to be MSPs: Henry McLeish did not, and after 2016 declared he’d support an independent Scotland if Westminster enacted Brexit against Scotland’s will.

Prior to 2010, if a First Minister – or any minister in the Scottish Government – had sexually pestered a subordinate, the Scottish Government had no policy of how to deal with this. In 2010, a policy was developed: we know that none of the women Salmond pestered made use of it – and no previous First Minister could have been affected by it.
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Filed under Police, Scottish Politics, Women

Who’s not happy Trump is gone?

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 21st January 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

In conversation with a friend on the phone the other night, I noted that even though 70 million Americans voted for Trump, this doesn’t mean he has 70 million supporters. (It’s still a dreadful number, but, even so.)

Donald Trump left the White House just after dawn yesterday for a big military send-off as he and Melanie boarded the plane for Florida (Palm Beach is likely to issue an eviction notice next month reminding the former President no one is allowed to live at his golf club – guests can stay there for a maximum of 21 days a year).

Thus the US tradition of the previous President attending the new President’s inauguration ceremony was broken. The only two Republican representatives of previous administrations to attend were Mike Pence and George W. Bush. (Barack & Michelle Obama, Bill & Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, all attended Trump’s tiny inauguration in 2016). This is the first time since 1869 a US President has refused to attend his successor’s inauguration: Andrew Johnson, who opposed giving civil rights to former slaves, stayed in the White House during Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration ceremony (Grant was the Commanding General of the US Army 1864–1869).
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Filed under American, Human Rights, LGBT Equality, Racism, Religion, Women

Labour Leadership Election: Transphobia

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on nth month 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Emily Thornberry is off the ballot: Labour Party members and affiliated supporters will be voting for Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, or Keir Starmer, to be the Leader of the Opposition from April.
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How do they rise up, rise up, rise up?

Abortion Rights ScotlandScotland is a pro-choice country.

About four-fifths of the population of Scotland would agree – this crosses gender-lines, voting-intention, religious belief, class/wealth, or locale – that abortion in Scotland should remain freely available on the NHS.

Only a minority think that pregnant patients who need access to abortion should have that access decreased. That minority can be loud and can be unkind – the ones who think it’s a good idea picketing clinics to hand anti-abortion leaflets to patients are particularly cruel – but they are, everywhere, only a minority.

Abortion Act 1967 - Happy 51st BirthdayOn 28th April this year in Edinburgh we held our annual celebration of the day the 1967 Abortion Act became law. (On the other side of the road are the sad people who think abortion in the UK should have remained illegal and dangerous.)

We asked people who stopped by our stall to have cake and sign our open letter:

“We stand with the people of Ireland who will be voting to repeal the Eighth Amendment on 25th May 2018: for healthcare in pregnancy to be freely and fully available for all patients. Abortion denial is lethal.”

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Filed under Healthcare, Human Rights, Scottish Culture, Women

An avalanche of steel snowflakes

This is the speech Susan Rae, the Scottish Green Party’s candidate for the Leith Walk ward in the May 2017 council elections, gave at the WMV Sister Women’s March in Edinburgh on Saturday 20th January. Reprinted here by permission.

Susan Rae at the Womens MarchHello and welcome to Edinburgh.

This is my first speaking event this year and I could not be prouder to be with you. I send solidarity from my fellow Scottish Green candidate Claire Miller who cannot be here today.

We’ve gathered here today in circumstances that in all honesty not a single woman out here, whether they are young, fresh and fiery, like Leah, or those like me who are not only pre-Google, but pre-proper feminism would have considered possible a year ago.

But we are here together – all of us – because the only way to stand up to a man who considers using his awesome sheer male money fuelled power of his voice to silence us; whose only consistent traits are inconsistency and pure misogyny is not compliance. You want to silence our voice?

Well. No.

We will not be silenced.

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Filed under Guest Blog, Scottish Politics, US Politics, Women

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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Sex work and Amnesty

Amnesty International: In Solidarity, Uphold Human RightsOne of the commonest distortions of the resolution Amnesty International voted on this August is that Amnesty want to make sex work a human right.

What Amnesty International resolved to do

develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.

I’d say this distortion from “protect the human rights of sex workers” to “sex work is a human right” was bizarre, except that I have seen similar distortions before, when Amnesty finally agreed that in a very limited set of circumstances (such as pregnancy caused by rape, especially in a war zone) they would treat access to abortion as a human right, and that they would treat healthcare – medical support of a girl or a woman who’s had an illegal abortion and needs treatment – as a human right. That got distorted too.

So, Amnesty International are taking the position that sex work should be decriminalised, in order to protect the human rights of sex workers.
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