Nadine Dorries and the rhetoric of abortion

It was inevitable, really. With one of the biggest restructurings of the NHS of the past few decades working its way through Parliament, two MPs, Nadine Dorries and Frank Fields, have put forward an amendment to abortion law that, on its face, doesn’t look bad: women seeking a termination would, under the amendment, have to seek “independent counselling” before going through with the procedure. This, of course, is very dangerous to abortion rights in the UK, as anyone who has thought about this for more than ten seconds would realise. Continue reading “Nadine Dorries and the rhetoric of abortion”

The effects of these riots must not overshadow the causes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, there have been riots around England in the past few days. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve felt myself drifting towards the left in the past few months; while I was, I admit, a little skeptical of public sector worker marches over the winter and spring, I’m rather sympathetic towards the original set of rioters in Tottenham and several other areas. There are obvious parallels to the eighties; a Conservative government, economic troubles, racial tensions, public sector strikes, even a royal wedding. The only thing that needs to happen now, comedians have opined, is for Liverpool to win the league.┬áSadly, though, it appears that people seem unwilling to learn the lessons from the eighties. Continue reading “The effects of these riots must not overshadow the causes”

Lords reform and constitutionality

Some amusing news from the ermine chamber this week: 76% of peers, including 54% Lib Dem peers, would see reform of the House of Lords unconstitutional. The first thing is that the number of Lib Dem objectors, including Lord Steel, is depressingly too high: Lords reform has been Liberal and Liberal Democratic party policy since before proportional representation was added. The second thing is that this is complete bollocks.

My friend over at Legal Fiction has posted, from a legal standpoint, why this is not the case: most importantly, the use of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 to override the Lords with the Hunting with Dogs Act (2004) was seen as constitutional by the Law Lords. That, and Parliament has the right to pass nearly anything it wishes (with the exception of laws that violate treaty agreements).┬áBut there is a societal aspect too. Continue reading “Lords reform and constitutionality”

Grey’s Anatomy, and the art of tragedy

I’m going to admit, and lose a lot of “man points” by saying this, but I watch Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a show that I’ve watched for a couple of years, after a friend showed me the first season. This was, of course, at a time when Scrubs was finishing and I needed a second show in the “medical show” roster (the first being House). However, I admit, that the writing on the show is lacklustre at best. For one thing, I don’t think the actors for the original set of interns, with the exception of Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), could act very well. Secondly, especially this season, the plots have become somewhat nonsensical, including a musical episode that was a result of a character rear-ending a truck, and an almost carbon copy of the “let’s ruin a drug trial by switching the placebo!” subplot House did a few years ago. Continue reading “Grey’s Anatomy, and the art of tragedy”

What next for the coalition?

Well, Thursday was an absolute disaster. Losing a third of our councillors and the AV referendum 62-38. So where did we go so wrong?

The meltdown was inevitable. It’s pretty much a “midterm effect”: after a realigning election, the new government suddenly becomes a lot more unpopular because they can’t sweep away the cobwebs they said they’d get rid of. This happened to the American Democratic Party in 1994 and 2010, but not to the Republicans in 2002: because 2000 was a steady hand-over instead of the landslides of ’92 and ’08. A new liberal force in politics was bound to be unpopular once it started to govern: some promises have to be broken, after all, if you need to govern properly. Continue reading “What next for the coalition?”