Thursday, March 31, 2016 

The Donald: exposing the true GOP.

Can we, just for a moment, talk about the Donald?  So many things about the abortion extract from yesterday's town hall style interview with him on MSNBC are wonderful.  Like how condescending the Donald is to the person who poses the question, asking if they understood his blindingly simple response.  Like how the Donald flails helplessly in attempting to answer Chris Matthews' follow-up, until he manages to discombobulate his interrogator merely by asking his opinion on the matter, at which point it becomes apparent both are incredibly uncomfortable with discussing abortion, despite both attempting to speak from a position of authority.  Like how the Donald admits that banning abortion will lead to women going to "illegal places" in his very first response when asked how you ban it.  And obviously, how the Donald might be a monster, but he's not so much of a monster that he knows the bullshit argument the vast majority of American pro-lifers put forward, that it's not women you punish by banning abortion, it's the doctors who "profit" from the "industry".  Instead, as someone who all along has been saying the most right-wing things he can without necessarily believing in them, he says you have to punish the women who get illegal abortions, without knowing what the punishment will be.

This gives the whole game away.  Pro-lifers know they cannot hope to win the argument if the woman seeking to end her pregnancy will also be seen in the eyes of the law as guilty of accessory to fetal homicide.  Abortion might be murder, as the most vociferous pro-lifers argue, but it's the medics that carry it out who are the murderers, not the woman carrying the baby however defective her own moral code might be.  This might be completely inconsistent with the law on homicide in every other case, but such are the compromises if you want to put a stop to women being "like their prenatal children, victims of our horrific abortion policy", as Charles Camosy has it in his piece for the New York Daily News.

Hence Trump is not a true pro-lifer in their eyes, as he isn't jumping through the ideological constructs they think necessary in order to eventually be able to punish women in precisely the way he suggested.  And they're right, only for entirely the wrong reasons.  Yes, he most likely doesn't believe a word he's saying, but he's saying it because it's what he thinks his base wants to hear.  Those that do care don't go in for all this pious, oh, you can't blame the woman while doing precisely that half-way crap, they very much do blame the woman

Trump's brilliance, or rather luck, has been in coming up with this formula at the precise moment when social media has made it possible to be unpleasant to almost everyone and still maintain a momentum that previously would have dissipated.  It almost certainly won't win him the presidency, possibly not even the Republican nomination, but it has exposed the fissures in American politics and society both.  In all the ironies of the 2016 presidential primaries so far, that it's a populist billionaire who has done the most to expose the failings of 35 years of Reagonomics has been the most delicious of all.

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Thursday, November 08, 2012 

The barbecued testicles of a wombat await.

In the pot calling the kettle black stakes, the spectacle of Louise Mensch saying Nadine Dorries has demeaned the role of an MP has to be up there with the Daily Mail declaring the BBC had "woken up to decency", or that other hardy perennial, the Daily Star reporting on the "sick" Brass Eye paedophile special while on the opposite page leering at the 15-year-old Charlotte Church.

Mensch's political career was without doubt a stunt from the very beginning, her place on the Tory a-list of candidates alongside such luminaries as Adam Rickitt designed to attract publicity.  Her resignation after just two years was less about her husband having moved to the US and more, according to err, said husband, to do with how Mensch felt certain she would lose her marginal seat come 2015.  Regardless of who's telling the truth, forcing your party into a unwinnable by-election midway through a parliamentary session doesn't win you many friends: she was duly booed at the Tory conference.

Whether Dorries would get re-elected as MP for mid-Bedfordshire if there was a snap election must similarly be in doubt.  For those of us who have long followed her political trajectory, her decision to flounce off to Australia to take part in I'm a Celebrity hasn't exactly come as a surprise.  It's rather of a piece with her modus operandi of repeatedly doing incredibly stupid things, and then failing to learn the lessons from the disasters that have followed.  Having failed to get the abortion limit reduced from 24 to 20 weeks back in 2008, she blamed Labour and Harriet Harman in particular for having run a shadow whipping operation, something she provided no evidence for whatsoever.

Last year, having changed tact by targeting abortion providers directly over the counselling they also provided, she was humiliated when Frank Field withdrew his support for the amendment while she was still speaking in favour of it.  Undaunted, she blamed Evan Harris for leaning on Nick Clegg to lean on David Cameron, despite it being apparent Downing Street wanted nothing to do with her amendment, as shown by the new health minister Anna Soubry dumping the consultation as soon as she was able to.  Nor is her paranoia limited only to political foes at Westminster, as Tim Ireland discovered: Dorries accused her Liberal Democrat challenger at the last election, Linda Jack, of stalking her, going so far as to report her concerns to the police.  Strangely though, she has seemingly never reported any of the threats made against her to the police, despite having repeatedly made clear how she's persecuted for her views.

Despite all these apparent setbacks, her newly acquired position as scourge of Cameron and Osborne (calling a spade a spade always delights the tabloids) seems to have led to her believing her own hype.  Other than the apparent £40,000 she'll receive for taking part, what else could possibly make her believe going on I'm a Celebrity is a good idea or a wise career move?  With the best will in the world she isn't George Galloway, who was able to recover from his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother through setting himself against the entire political establishment.  Can she really believe she'll be able to gain support for her continuing campaign to lower the abortion limit by living with a bunch of other C-listers in a forest in Australia for a couple of weeks, inevitably made to take part in the bushtucker trials foisted upon the least popular member of the ensemble?  If she does, she's even more disconnected from reality than I thought possible.

All this said, Damian Thompson does have something of a point when he writes the swift suspension of the whip from Dorries is at odds with Cameron's indulgence of Andrew Mitchell.  Also laughable is the amount of nonsense being spouted about Dorries leaving her constituents in the lurch, as though they can't go a month without their representative being in parliament.  Plenty of MPs barely bother to turn up, and there are a number with long-term illnesses who likewise find it difficult to attend regularly.  As long her staff are still working, then the amount of difference the people of mid-Beds are likely to notice is close to nil.

The real issue is, as it has always been, that Dorries has repeatedly lied and misled her own constituents, whether on expenses for her website, or as she herself admitted, how her blog was 70% fiction and 30% fact.  If this latest scheme is part of some bizarre plan to look human and in touch, then it's one based on a fundamental misreading of what the public wants in a politician, which certainly isn't someone so desperate for attention or money that they'll chew on a dingo's bowel while Ant and Dec gurn in the background.  At least she's gotten used to indignity; it's saying something when you can still go lower after being pictured topless on the front page of the Daily Star.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011 

A further dalliance in the wonderful world of Nadine Dorries.

For those like me who have become a little tired of the way Nadine Dorries has been turned into a bogeywoman by the internet left in this septic isle of ours (and my own very small role in that is not beyond criticism) then it's worth giving Tim Ireland's on-going dissection of the letter sent by the MP for mid-Bedfordshire to the then chief constable of her patch a read. Not only does she accuse Tim of being a stalker on the basis of his turning up to a hustings he was formally invited to, one which she brought to a close once she realised he would be filming it, she similarly fingers two other internet critics as also showing signs of obsession.

As astonishing is this is, Dorries then went one step further up the paranoia-o-meter. She writes that even though she's more circumspect, Linda Jack, her Liberal Democrat opponent at the last election, was also in on this crowded market of stalking her. Smearing your opponents in public is one thing; making totally vexatious complaints about their behaviour to the police is quite another. Also strange is that despite repeatedly claiming that she's had death threats made against her, mainly connected to her campaigning against abortion, it doesn't appear as though she's ever reported these to the police. She also, equally strangely, didn't report a highly disturbing apparent burglary in which her front door was removed from its hinges and her filing cabinets gone through, with nothing else being taken. Yet, as Tim writes, she not only reported him and two others to the chief constable of her local force for daring to hold her to task, she also did the same for her main political opponent. Something, as so often in the past with Nadine, simply doesn't add up.

Bedfordshire police, unsurprisingly, only saw fit to give Tim a "verbal warning" at his voluntary interview with them, one which essentially consisted only of advice to not give Dorries something to complain about and therefore in turn waste their time. As for her other allegations, it seems that no action whatsoever was taken, for the reason that there was nothing to investigate.

Regardless of your political allegiance, generally only those at the outside fringes tend to think that whole groups of politicians are completely incapable of taking part in the process through which our laws are written. There are one or two individual exceptions, John Hemming being one, due to his continuing failure to grasp the rules around family courts, having deliberately broken one injunction having believed the pack of lies he had been told about the case. The other is Dorries: it is no exaggeration to say I find it genuinely terrifying that someone so dishonest in their dealings with their critics, someone so petty that they make complaints about their main opponent at a general election to the police, and someone so opaque in their relationships with outside lobbyists is able to have a role in writing the very legislation the rest of us must abide by. With her constituency due to be abolished as part of the 2013 boundary review, we can but hope that Conservative central office fails to find her a replacement.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011 

Sympathy for Lady Dorries.

You can't help but feel a little sorry for Nadine Dorries tonight. Only a little sorry, as it's difficult to remain sympathetic for long towards someone who has proved time and again to be their own worst enemy. After all, it would have been a bad enough day for Dorries if she'd only been insulted by David Cameron at prime minister's questions, having asked the leader of her party when he was going to "show [Nick Clegg] who is the boss", with Cameron responding that he realised Dorries was "extremely frustrated", to gales of ribald laughter from all sides of the Commons; to then be abandoned by your erstwhile co-sponsor half-way through commending the amendment in question to the house must rank up there as one of the most spectacular implosions in politics for quite some time.

The only way to describe her speech is as classic Dorries. Interrupted repeatedly as she was, she still managed to speak for 58 minutes of the allotted 90, reducing massively the potential for both her supporters and those opposed to have their own say on her attempt to introduce "independent" counselling for those seeking an abortion. Before she got to the reasoning behind the amendment, much advertised ahead of time in any case, we had to hear the usual Dorries tale of woe: back in 2008 when she was pushing her 20 reasons for 20 weeks campaign she let everyone know how she was receiving "unpleasant" parcels in the mail, threatening phone calls and had had a "message" smeared on her window. This time she upped the ante:

Four weeks ago I was not sure whether I would get to the point where I could speak in the Chamber today. This has been a long and hot-under-the-collar summer. Following my announcement of my intention to table the amendment, I have been threatened with being throttled, car-bombed, burned alive and a host of other distasteful and unpleasant ways in which I would meet my end.

Chances are that Dorries may well have received a few such threats from the tiny but vocal deranged, idiotic contingent politics on the internet attracts. The problem is that she's made reference to this alleged unpleasantness so often that not only does it dim the impact, it also makes others wonder whether she's telling the truth. It also doesn't help when Dorries and her former "researcher and media inquiry representative" have both made unsubstantiated and vexatious complaints about Tim Ireland to the police simply for attempting to hold a member of parliament to account. Add in how she freely admitted to the parliamentary standards commissioner that her blog is "70% fiction and 30% fact" and it all rather undermines her overall credibility.

Having got the death threats out of the way, she went on to prove she has at best a faulty memory and at worst something approaching selective amnesia:

It has always been the tradition of the House that abortion issues have been discussed and debated in the Chamber and the media have commented on what happened, usually in a reasonable way. But the amendment has changed the game for ever. All Members in all parts of the House know, particularly from the 2008 debate, that we debate with passion. I would say that the 2008 debate was one of the best debates of the previous Parliament. However, we all remain courteous and friendly with each other following the debates. The usual parliamentary knock-about and the usual games take place—I shall say more about that in relation to the amendment in a moment—but the debate usually takes place here and the media comment on what happens here as it happens.

Dorries' insistence that everyone remains courteous and friendly with each other following the debates may come as a surprise to Caroline Flint. Dorries had complained to the parliamentary standards commissioner that 12 Labour MPs, including Flint, had their neutrality compromised by being part of Emily's List. When it was dismissed, she not only refused to apologise for questioning Flint's integrity when she was confronted by the then minister, she gloated about the incident on her blog. Her view on the quality of the 2008 debate also seems to have undergone revision since then - the day after she told the Bedford Today website that she was "flabbergasted" by what had gone on.

Dorries continued:

I have no greater opponent in the House on this issue than the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman). In 2008 she was the whipper-in and the mover behind what happened in that debate, but I have no greater respect for almost any other woman in the House than I do for her. I hugely respect what she has achieved for women and humanity, and I know that she approaches the issue honourably, as I hope I do.

Again, this seems rather at odds with what Dorries alleged had happened back in 2008. Then she claimed, despite not a single other MP backing her version of events, that Labour had a three-line-whip in place on what should have been and had always been in the past a free vote, with the Daily Mail backing her claims. If Dorries objected to the paper referring to Harriet Harman as Harriet "Hardwoman" then she didn't make it clear at the time.

Time then to turn on the unions and the "left-wing" media for being so beastly too her. Having not received a single penny in funding herself, although she sadly didn't know who's funding the Right to Know campaign which has been supporting her, she simply couldn't compete with the Abortion Rights response, or the "press barons" behind the Guardian (the Scott Trust is an odd baron) and The Times (Murdoch and the Graun being on such good terms at the moment). A flowchart the Graun produced on Saturday was "reprehensible", as she didn't know 95% of the people she was linked to in it. She wondered what the response would have been had she followed Judaism or Islam rather than Christianity; to suggest this was rather rich after having asked Luciana Berger who funded Labour Friends of Israel in response to Berger questioning who was behind the Right to Know campaign would be putting it mildly.

It's quite something when the next thing Dorries said is only the second most mendacious part of her speech:

I want to mention some of the other lies that have been printed about me. I have been accused of wanting to reduce the number of abortions by introducing the amendment. That is absolutely not the objective.

We can't of course say for absolutely certain what Dorries' true objective is, as her motives as so opaque. We can however look back again to 2008, and her announcement that she was joining forces with Frank Field:

Following yesterday's attempt in the House of Commons to reduce the upper the limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks, Nadine is to join forces with Labour MP Frank Field in a cross party to campaign to reduce the number of abortions, tackle teenage pregnancy and improve sexual health.

Strange then that the objective then was to reduce the number of abortions, as it also was when she spoke to the Salvation Army's newsletter the year before. When did it change?

Dorries did then finally move on to her reasoning, which was much the same as she stated previously. She was interrupted occasionally by other MPs attempt to contradict her claims, such as Dr Julian Huppert who said that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists felt there wasn't a problem, by Lyn Brown who asked how she could guarantee that the counselling she was proposing wouldn't delay the abortion process (she couldn't, as that seems to be much of the point of Dorries' amendment) and most effectively by the former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston who corrected Dorries' claim that the Royal College of Psychiatrist had said there was a much higher rate of mental illness after termination of pregnancy. They in fact concluded:

Where studies control for whether or not the pregnancy was planned or wanted, there is no evidence of elevated risk of mental health problems.

Even after being surprised by Frank Field's intervention and advice that she should draw her comments to a close, she had been saving up the big guns for the end, and Dorries turned them on the Liberal Democrats:

I received a message informing me that the former Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Evan Harris) had approached the Deputy Prime Minister’s office and exerted pressure. In fact, he tweeted exactly that, saying that he had applied pressure on the Deputy Prime Minister, who had now forced the Prime Minister to make a climbdown. Basically, a Liberal Democrat—in fact, a former MP who lost his seat in this place—is blackmailing our Prime Minister and our Government. Our Prime Minister is being put in an impossible position regarding this amendment. Our health Bill has been held to ransom by a former Liberal Democrat MP, who has focused on this amendment.

It's a claim so in keeping with Dorries' liking for "alternative" explanations as to why her bids to restrict abortion have successfully failed that it's almost not worth responding to. The real reason why Downing Street moved away from Dorries' amendment was that they realised, as everyone else now hopefully has, that Dorries has the reverse Midas touch. Instead of turning to gold, all she comes in contact with turns to shit. Anyone else would have been happy with the middle way put forward by the health minister Anne Milton, who promised a consultation involving all parties on abortion counselling. Whether this was the "moral" or "tremendous success" Dorries was later claiming the amendment to have been is unclear; what it has demonstrated once again is that Nadine Dorries will say and claim almost anything she imagines will win her support, regardless of its veracity. As Diane Abbott concluded, calling Dorries a liar in the most parliamentary of language:

However, this amendment is not about that. It is a shoddy, ill-conceived attempt to promote non-facts to make a non-case.


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Thursday, September 01, 2011 

Let's go round again.

Music isn't the only thing that goes in cycles; politics does as well. If at first you don't succeed in getting your law passed, then try try again. Gordon Brown, convinced that he had to keep the Sun on side after he became prime minister, resurrected Tony Blair's thankfully failed attempts to extend the detention without charge limit for "terrorist suspects" to 90 days, albeit finally settling on only 42 days after much bartering. Having won the vote in the Commons with the support of the Democratic Unionists, it failed to get past the Lords and was eventually abandoned. This was after the Sun had published the private details of his son's medical condition.

Following the same principle, albeit in a far more subtle way, is everyone's favourite 70% fictional Conservative backbencher, Nadine Dorries. Having failed miserably back in 2008 in her attempt to reduce the late term abortion limit to 20 weeks from the current 24, a campaign which it was later revealed had its website created by an intern from the fundamentalist Christian Concern for our Nation group, she's now moved onto a softer target: the charities that advise women on whether or not they should seek an abortion.

According to Dorries and the Right to Know campaign, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes have a conflict of interest in providing such advice, as both also carry out abortions for the NHS. This would indeed be an obvious and especially egregious abuse of their position if BPAS and Marie Stopes were essentially telling every woman who walks through their doors to end their pregnancy; clearly however, as the 15.3% who didn't have an abortion after visiting BPAS last year shows, they're doing no such thing. It's also interesting to note that prior to Dorries' and the Right to Know campaign there doesn't appear to have been any cases of women complaining that they had felt pressurised by advisers into having abortions, as you would expect. Little wonder then that those working for BPAS feel more than slighted to be all but accused of killing unborn children for profit.

Dorries and Frank Field both claim that what they want to see is "independent" advice for women. Who after all could possibly argue with that? The problem lies not just in whom would provide that advice, but also in Dorries' far from unblemished record on the issue and her past associations. The coalition recently appointed Life, a group opposed to abortion in all circumstances to its new forum on sexual health, more than giving a hint of where it could potentially look should the Dorries amendment to the NHS be passed. Dorries' friends at Christian Concern, who say on their website that they "resist abortion", and link to Dorries' appearance on Newsnight over the appointment of Life, are urging their supporters to lobby their MPs over the amendments. The other major problem with their proposals is that they would result in women having to visit two separate independent advice centres before they would be able to proceed with an abortion, something which it seems is designed with the intention of making it more difficult to have an abortion rather than improving the service and differentiating the advice given. Indeed, if there were complaints about the service provided by BPAS, it was that the process took too long already.

It's difficult to reach a conclusion other than Dorries is her own worst enemy. If she really is pro-choice, as she continues to claim, yet simply wants "independent" advice and the term limit to be reduced as the science changes, then she would come completely clean about her past associations with groups which are entirely opposed to abortion. She would explain who it was that funded the 20 weeks campaign, as well as the discrepancy between her professed pro-choice stance and her comments that she was adopting a "middle way" as "some progress is better than no progress". By not doing so she limits her own support: those who are uneasy about 24 weeks remaining the limit and worry that there may be vested interests at work are put off by how those most vociferous in support are the same religious groups that want to roll back the Abortion Act in its entirety. The government, originally minded to support the amendments, has since backed off having realised that this is just another pet project from two of parliament's most eccentric figures. When trying again, you're meant to have learned from your past mistakes: Dorries seems to be incapable of doing so.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008 

The final words on Dorries (for now).

Unity provides all the necessary information on why Cameron shouldn't be allowed to get away with calling Gordon Brown a ditherer after his machinations over the abortion bill, but most sweet after last night's votes is Nadine Dorries' response: to carry on as if nothing happened.

Following yesterday's attempt in the House of Commons to reduce the upper the limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks, Nadine is to join forces with Labour MP Frank Field in a cross party to campaign to reduce the number of abortions, tackle teenage pregnancy and improve sexual health. During yesterday's debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, MPs voted on an amendment tabled by Nadine to reduce the upper limit for abortions from 24 to weeks to 20 weeks.

Nadine said, "While I am clearly disappointed that we were unsuccessful in the vote on reducing the upper limit for abortions, I believe we have achieved a great deal in making more people aware as to what the methodology of an abortion actually involves. Following the campaign I believe we have also brought into the public domain important information such as the viability of a foetus below 24 weeks, the issue of foetal pain and the long term consequences in terms of mental health for many women who choose to have an abortion. The vote may have been lost, but I feel we certainly won the arguments.

I have a great deal of sympathy when people say politicians - and MPs in particular - are out of touch with the views of the public. Opinion polls consistently show that the public wants to see a reduction in the upper limits for abortions, which is already one of the highest in Europe, yet yesterday the majority of MPs defied the views of the majority of their constituents and voted for the status quo.

However, I will continue to campaign for a reduction of abortions in the UK and the broader issues of tackling teenage pregnancy and improving sexual health, particularly amongst young people. I am delighted that following yesterday's vote I received a telephone call from the widely respected Labour MP, Frank Field MP, who told me that after listening to my speech in the House of Commons yesterday evening, he changed his mind and decided to vote for my amendment. We have decided to establish a new, cross party group to continue the campaign to tackle issues surrounding the rise of teenage abortions and pregnancy."

You have to admire Dorries' chutzpah: she couldn't even get the 200 supporters she repeatedly claimed she had to vote for the 20 weeks amendment, yet she and those who, um, decided that it wasn't worth the effort after all were the ones who won the argument. And indeed, they're right. When it comes to repeating mendacious bullshit, ignoring all the evidence from the studies in this country which show that the viability of the foetus under 24 weeks has not changed over the last decade or more, claiming that foetuses feel pain on the evidence of one doctor while others vehemently disagree and bringing up the issue of mental health when pregnancy has such a major effect on a woman's psychology without even considering the moral implications of seeking an abortion, Dorries and her band of followers are second to none. They can be truly proud of lowering the already base tone of politics in this country to its almost lowest ebb. Perhaps it doesn't need to be mentioned that Tony Blair too believed he had won the argument over 90 days detention; he never recovered from that defeat.

It also does little to add to Dorries' claims of overwhelming public support for a reduction when Marie Stopes yesterday unveiled their latest survey which showed that 61% of women of child bearing age supported the right to seek an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks. Previous polls reached different results, but this one asked specifically in which circumstances in which it would be acceptable, reflecting the real issues why someone might still need an abortion at such a period into pregnancy, rather than just abitrarily asking which limit they supported.

Most hilarious of all though is that Dorries will be continuing to attempt to find a "middle way". The "middle way" was Cameron's chatroom sofa supported 22 weeks; it failed by 71 votes. Maybe, just maybe, if Dorries hadn't been allowed to run the campaign, that vote might have been successful. As for Frank Field's new found relationship with Dorries, you couldn't be happier for such a wonderfully matched couple. If he really was impressed by Dorries' speech, so aptly described by Dawn Primarolo as "assert[ing] many things to be facts that are not," and completely overbearing in the emotional, factless sense, with her continuing to draw on her suspicious witnessing and involvement in late-term abortions, then he really has gone crackers. Either that or the old goat fancies her.

Round one goes against Dorries then. The next round might just concern her seat itself.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008 

It was Dorries wot lost it!

It came down to the crunch, and after everything, not even the 200 supporters Nadine Dorries said she had bothered to turn up to vote for a reduction in the abortion limit to 20 weeks. All the hype about the vote being close turned out to be bluster, with the amendment being rejected by a majority of 142, 190 votes for to 332 against. All the attempts by Dorries to turn to complete emotion, raising the issue of the baby boy she witnessed struggling to breathe once again during the debate, after saying that she hadn't wanted to use it, have failed. This was after she told blatant lies about Labour MPs supposedly being on a three-line-whip to "attend" so that they knew which way they were to be expected to vote. Desperation doesn't even begin to cover it.

Who knows just how much of an impact the blogging campaign against Dorries has had, if any, but yesterday also saw another of the allegations against her, her connections with Christian fundamentalists, completely verified by Channel 4's Dispatches, showing Dorries almost arm in arm with Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship. Dorries has been moved by the programme to hysterically post on her "blog" that she isn't a fundie, but then no one ever claimed she was. The allegation was instead that her entire campaign was being organised and funded by them, which the Dispatches programme more than demonstrated. For all Dorries' claims of being pro-choice, as she again claimed in parliament today, that she has been working with organisations completely opposed to a woman's right to choose either makes her a stooge, a useful idiot, or a liar. Among Williams' more interesting views is that the Earth is only around 4,000 years old, not even the usual 6,000 as others in the fundamentalist fold usually hold.

Especially gratifying during the debate was that "Red" Dawn Primarolo still has enough fire about her from the old days to call Dorries exactly the latter, albeit in parliamentary language: "She has asserted many things as fact which are not this evening." Equal amounts of opprobrium ought to fall on the Thatcherite throwback Edward Leigh, who declared that “One of the most dangerous places in Britain is in a woman’s womb." Perhaps he has something he'd like to tell us?

The most damage to Dorries though was probably from her own party's leader, with Cameron coming out in favour of 22 weeks rather than Dorries' 20 (Update: Cameron voted for both 20 weeks and 22 weeks, the reasons for which I might well go into tomorrow). Dorries, undermined from above, resorted yet again to distortion:

'Twenty-two weeks is meaningless. 'Large numbers of babies will still be aborted in a barbaric manner, they will still feel pain, and although it will be a victory in as much as the tide will have turned, it will mean that the 20-week campaign will carry on until we meet 20 weeks.

With 22 weeks defeated by 71 votes, the 20 weeks campaign is most likely going to have to wait another good few years before it starts its war of misleading yet again. In the meantime, some of us might well be moved to do everything possible to ensure that Ms Dorries loses her (safe) seat at the next election.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008 

Woe, woe is me!

It has come to this. Faced with all her arguments disintegrating in front of her eyes, Nadine Dorries is now taking her stories of being so horribly bullied and abused to the pages of the Telegraph:

I guess I knew when watching an aborted baby lying in a bedpan struggling to breathe, that my inability to help and my complicity as a young nurse assisting in this process, would one day force me to try to alter the barbaric practice our society has become so immune to: late abortion.

Unity has already raised the point that Dorries might well be lying or exaggerating about this, and asked if any current students (Dorries said this occurred when she was a student nurse at 19) had participated in live-birth abortions. Two answered in the comments and both said it was highly unlikely, although things may have been different back in the 70s. Thing is, because Dorries has told so many lies and distorted so much in the past, it's completely impossible to trust almost anything she now says. It would be lovely if we could have a debate on the current abortion limit without having to check and double check everything that Dorries and her supporters say, but it sadly doesn't seem to be possible.

Adversely, as a result of botched abortions such as the one I assisted with, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) issued guidelines to ensure that an abortion never again becomes a live birth.

To avoid this happening, a lethal injection is placed into the baby's heart through the mother's abdominal wall via a cannula - the baby is then surgically dismembered and removed limb by limb. That'll teach 'em.

Yes, we realise that it's extremely unpleasant. Just because something is such is not a reason for lowering the limit when Dorries is relying on the work of just one doctor for her claims that babies older than 18 weeks can feel pain in the way that adults do; most other doctors working in the field are of the opinion that the cerebral cortex, which is not fully developed or properly "wired up" until 26 weeks, is central to the pain experience. In any case, as Stuart Derbyshire wrote:

Whether the fetus feels pain is an important academic and clinical question but it has no relevance to the debate about abortion. If fetal pain is possible then it might be decided that the fetus be anaesthetised prior to the abortion or that the procedure be performed more quickly. There are many good reasons to support abortion that will remain valid even if the fetus can feel pain. Equally, there are many good reasons to defend the welfare of the fetus that will remain valid even if the fetus cannot feel pain. The attempts to make a moral argument through science are deeply concerning. Arguments over life, rights and the sovereignty of a woman’s body cannot be replaced by science dictating the conditions of an acceptable abortion. Such a situation would represent a tyranny of scientific expertise that should be as equally unwelcome to the opponents of abortion as to those who support it.

Back to Dorries:

The pro-abortionists insist there have been no improvements in survival rates for babies below 24 weeks. They omit to mention that the measurement used - that of the survival of poorly babies who happen to make it into a specialist neonatal unit in time - cannot be used to compare potential outcomes of aborted healthy babies.

You don't say? Possibly we're omitting to mention it because it's completely irrelevant?

They also ignore those darned little tykes who fought against the odds and are living all over the UK, such as little Millie - born at 21 weeks and who is now living well in Manchester.

Yes, we're bastards, aren't we, ignoring all those exceptional cases? Incidentally, as someone mentions in the comments about little Millie:

Millie, the baby cited by Nadine, stood a 1 in 100 chance of survival, and that is after major medical intervention (costing £many thousands). Her twin, born a few moments earlier, died. Millie still required oxygen when she finally went home in 2007.

It's also worth remembering that in the Trent study released last weekend, none of the babies born at 22 weeks survived.

No, far better to deploy the foeticide technique. One has to ask the question: if the pro?abortionists argue that the upper limit at which abortion takes place doesn't need to come down because babies don't survive below 23 weeks, why do we need to use lethal injection and a technique more suited to a butcher than a doctor, to make sure they don't try?

Oh, I don't know, possibly because it's rather more humane than letting them die slowly, as Dorries herself supposedly experienced? Or maybe because, if the research Dorries herself relies upon does turn out in future to be correct, it results in as little trauma as possible occurring to the foetus? Actually, am I misinterpreting here, or is Dorries really suggesting that we let nature take its course in front of the mother? There's heartlessness, then there's Ms Dorries apparently. Or maybe that's the point: that'll teach her a lesson she'll never forget.

You would think that, being an advocate of safe, free and swift access to abortion in the first trimester, I might have avoided the horrors that usually befall any MP who so much as whispers the word "abortion" in Westminster.

By first trimester Dorries of course means 9 weeks, not 12 weeks, which is her personal favoured option, although despite her 20 reasons for 20 weeks campaign, she's also signed an amendment which supports 16 weeks. It seems she either can't make up her mind, or she's seriously hedging her bets. Additionally, by "advocate of safe, free and swift access to abortion", she also means that she's deeply concerned by the relaxation of the rules proposed by some, which means that rather than early abortions she's in favour of women going through the regular route of abortion services, which the self-same committee she sat on noted were causing "unnecessary delays" to patients".

I thought that. Which is why, as someone who will do anything to avoid housework, I was especially hacked off to find the word "bich" smeared on my window last Saturday morning. I'm not sure what displeased me more: the bad spelling, the fact that I had to dust cobwebs off the Marigolds, or that the dogs hadn't barked.

Not especially pleasant, but also not necessarily linked to her current campaigning. Judging by her conduct towards Ben Goldacre and Caroline Flint, I'd hazard to suggest that Dorries seems to have a special knack of pissing people off.

As I write this, my PA is on the phone to the police - again. We're on first-name terms; I know I'll be on the Met's Christmas card list. My house is "flagged" by police, as are the homes of my staff.

At least they are being involved then, which suggests that Dorries is for once being truthful.

The second dismembered doll arrived in the post this week and the number of abusive phone calls, emails and letters we have received are too numerous to mention. People are crawling all over my expenses - which I am happy for them to do - and there are the usual nasty websites.

Oh, so it wasn't shit then, but rather the less traumatic dismembered doll. Most of this is what she put on her "blog" earlier in the week, with the same lack of evidence behind her claims as then. Again Ms Dorries, if by some off-chance you happen to read this, how about providing some proof, or letting us know where what these "nasty" websites are, because if you're talking about DK or Unity who are a little more vitriolic than some of us other inhabitants of the blog world, then you're talking trash and don't understand the internet any more than you seemingly do much else.

You can't phone my Westminster office today without first being screened by the switchboard. Perversely, this animosity gives me strength. This and the fact that three-quarters of women and two-thirds of GPs support what I will try to do when the Embryology Bill comes before Parliament next week: to reduce the upper time limit at which abortions can be carried, from the current limit of 24 weeks to 20 weeks.

Dorries is yet again relying on the same old polls which are skewed from the beginning. A more reliable poll, conducted recently by YouGuv (PDF), although still slightly iffy, found that support for the current limit was at 35% with those in favour of a reduction at 48%, which is nowhere near the levels which Dorries claims. It's also to be expected when so much of the media is giving acres of room to Dorries and the emotional but irrelevant "4D" images which go hand in hand with it.

People often ask me why I'm a Conservative. It's not the usual political default position for a girl from a Liverpool council estate. Well, for me being a Conservative is about protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Who can be more vulnerable than a baby struggling to breathe in a bedpan?

Protecting the most vulnerable and the Conservative party - they go together like Graham Norton and tastefulness.

The activists can smear away - I will continue to fight the horrible injustice that befalls 2,500 babies a year. It feels like it's me and the memory of a lost baby against the rest of the world and a bunch of graffiti artists. But I am determined that something good will come from that day.

No, Nadine, it's not us doing the smearing - it's you, just as it always has been. The horrible injustice is that you're basing the entirety of your campaign on either distortions, junk science and plain old bullshit, while you're in league with those who want to completely deny women the right to choose, just as you claim that you're in fact pro-choice. The only good thing that might come from that day would be if you went back, and for just half a second, maybe just thought whether the poor speller had something of a point and whether your behaviour over the last year has been becoming of a politician. We already know you won't - you couldn't be introspective or doubtful for a second if you tried. The tragedy is that we continue to be represented by such dishonest, unaccountable and unpleasant characters as yourself, and no amount of playing the victim is going to change that.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 

The hounds of love are calling.

All together now, everyone say "awwwww":

The Hounds of Hell are chasing me.

Her arguments debunked, the only thing left to Nadine Dorries to resort to is pure emotional blackmail, and to claims that her opponents are victimising her.

We received another unpleasant parcel in the post today. Nasty web sites set up, email account and post bag bombarded, people crawling all over my expenses, which they are entitled and I am very very happy for them to do...

Come now Nadine, let's not mess about with euphemisms, spit out exactly what was in this "unpleasant" parcel. See, the trouble is, when you either lie or be blatantly dishonest, or refuse to apologise to others when you've accused them of things they haven't done, it tends to make it more difficult to believe them when it comes to everything else. As Unity says, incidentally, if there is a moron out there sending Dorries dog shit or something similarly nasty, then don't, because as Dorries is attempting to do with this post, it then blackens everyone who is arguing against her pitiful campaign. It is worth questioning though where these "nasty" web sites are; as far as we're aware there are two that Dorries might claim are "nasty", one set-up to hold comments for her posts when she removed them from her own blog, and one which has now been dead for months. All the rest have been exposing her claims with at times remarkable restraint.

Scary, threatening angry and downright nasty phone calls. A message smeared on my window.

As said, I'm not going to say that Dorries is either making it up or lying about this stuff, but it would make it easier to believe if she provided some evidence beyond just a blog post, or indeed, informed the police of what's been happening.

This is all meant to destabilise or distract me.

I have a very clear message to those who are attempting to do this – back off. You will not stop me, you will not undermine me, you do not scare me. In fact, you make me much more determined than I ever was before. You give me strength.

And then just to rub in how she doesn't care for anyone else's opinion or indeed, the facts themselves, she once again posts the image of Samuel Armas with the doctor Joseph Bruner, lifting the baby's arm and gently putting it back in the womb, not the other way around, as both she and the photographer, Michael Clancy, continue to propogate. It would be difficult for an anaesthetized mother and/or child to move in such a way, but again, this just shows the sort of impervious to reason individual we are dealing with: despite formerly being a nurse, despite attempting to claim that she is arguing on the basis of science, she continues to use the most base pro-life propaganda for her cause.

You can almost understand why someone might send her their dog's defecation, can't you? It would also help if she and the others didn't have such apparent contempt for their opponent's points of view, as Simon Hoggart wrote in his sketch on Tuesday:

Dari Taylor, a Labour MP, made a moving speech in favour, describing how it might have meant she could have had the baby she yearned for. The effect was, I fear, slightly spoiled by Ann Widdecombe and Nadine Dorries - both vocal opponents - talking loudly on the Tory frontbench while she spoke.

Dorries herself reaches for the emotion and expects everyone to listen, and weep along with her at the tragedy of babies being brutally put to death, and then demand action. When someone else does the same thing, her intention is to drown it out. Yet it's us, "the hounds of hell", which are chasing her. Maybe it's actually her conscience trying to tell her something.

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Friday, May 09, 2008 

The lying lies and dirty secrets of Ms Nadine Dorries MP.

By her own admission, Nadine Dorries MP is a liar. Back in March she presented an known urban myth as an emotional case for why the current abortion limit of 24 weeks should be cut to 20 weeks, and when this was pointed out to her, she responded by making arguments that only exposed her ignorance. Dorries has a long record of never apologising and never admitting that she has made mistakes: last year she accused Ben Goldacre of "a serious breach of parliamentary procedure" after he downloaded information from a parliamentary committee's website which Dorries thought he had obtained from a committee member, something for which she never apologised for and when asked when she was going to do so on her blog she removed the comments sections. She additionally, after accusing Caroline Flint among other MPs of having been "bought by the abortion industry", a claim rejected by the parliamentary standards commission, not only refused to apologise to Flint after she confronted her but crowed about not doing so on her "blog".

Dorries is therefore the perfect figurehead for the "20 reasons for 20 weeks" campaign, a coalition of Conservative MPs with single token Liberal Democrat and Labour supporters, along with religious, mainly Christian anti-abortion organisations. Like her, they rely on abusing, misinterpreting and distorting available information for their views, or alternatively, on the evidence of individual doctors which has been called into question by others. As well as that, in order to not come across as opposing abortion in all circumstances, something which would result in their campaign becoming an even damper squib than it already is, they instead claim to be pro-choice but feel that the current limit is too long as more foetuses survive beyond the 20 week mark.

The only problem with this is that little by little, their real views are being exposed. The already noted lone Labour supporter of the 20 weeks campaign, Jim Dobbin, is in fact in favour of a 13-week limit, but regards the current campaign as being a step towards that. He is also, coincidentally, opposed to contraception. The Christian Medical Fellowship openly states that this is just the first step towards the abolition of the right to abortion altogether. CARE currently has a news article up on their web site expressing their horror at the European Parliament passing a resolution which states "
that women have a right to access safe and legal abortion, and calls on all member states to decriminalise abortion 'within reasonable gestational limits'". Christian Concern for Our Nation, whose website is the most clap-happy and even more religiously inclined than the Evangelical Alliance's is, urge their members to pray for "a great miracle" when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill goes through the Commons. Coincidentally, a founder member of CCON is the man behind the 20 weeks' website, directly linking Dorries, who has mostly eschewed religious dogma in her personal campaign, with them. The LIFE charity only supports abortion where the life of the mother herself is threatened. The Prolife Alliance, as one would expect, is also completely opposed to abortion (PDF).

Perhaps those organisations might then be surprised to learn that Dorries herself, when a Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hazel Grove, campaigned on a pro-choice platform. It's not clear whether Dorries at the time was in favour of the limit as it stands, or whether it's just another example of her being wholly disingenuous, as she claimed, when questioned on her current views last year on the Spectator website, to favour a 9-week limit, even lower than that of Dobbin. She was also formerly a director of BUPA, one of the companies she now accuses of being part of the "abortion industry".

Unfortunately for Dorries, the shit over her underhand means is likely to hit the fan if not this weekend, then certainly next week. Dorries' website and blog is funded from the incidental expenses provision, the rules of which clearly state that such funds should not be used for campaigning on the behalf of a political party or a personal cause: Dorries' website is chock-full of her doing just that, the most egregious examples her vindictive posts on female pro-choice Labour MPs. A complaint to the commissioner for parliamentary standards is in the offing.

Meanwhile, Dorries has been highly vexed by the latest research published in the British Medical Journal, as reported today in the Grauniad and elsewhere. Like in the Epicure 2 study, this found that while the survival rates of babies born at 24 and 25 weeks is improving, there was no statistical improvement in those born at 23 and 22 weeks. At 23 weeks 18% survived; at 22 weeks none did. Her response to this peer-reviewed study, which completely blows her argument that neo-natal survival rates are increasing out of the water, was to say:

"I think this report insults the intelligence of the public and MPs alike. No improvement in neonatal care in 12 years? Really? So where has all the money that has been pumped into neonatal services gone then?" She called the study "the most desperate piece of tosh produced by the pro-choice lobby."

As BD says, the study actually does show that neonatal care has improved, just at 24 and 25 weeks. As those against lowering the limit have consistently argued, this research backs up the point that the viability threshold has been reached, and that those that have survived at 22 weeks are extremely welcome but overall rare anomalies and blips. They do not support lowering the current limit as it stands.

That though, despite the 20 weeks' campaign's insistence, has never been what they really thought. They want abortion restricted no matter what the science and evidence suggests, and if it takes one step at a time and hiding their real arguments behind pseudo-scientific bluster, so be it. Out of all the MPs that this blog has covered over the last few years, it's safe to say that none (with the exception of dear Tony) has been as underhand, as genuinely unpleasant, manipulative, vindictive and dishonest as both Dorries has been and apparently is. She is both a disgrace to politics as a whole and a liability to the Conservative party. The crushing of her current malignant campaign will be just the first step of the fightback.

Related posts:
Laurie Penny - 24 reasons for 24 weeks

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Thursday, March 20, 2008 

When is an urban myth not a urban myth? When it's propogated by "pro-abortionists".

Do the people of mid-Bedfordshire really know just what sort of moron is representing them in parliament? Nadine Dorries, who has repeatedly been brought to book for her use of partial and questionable sources, has just suddenly discovered an urban myth that has been kicking around since 2000, and posted the following on her blog yesterday:

This picture show a pregnant uterus laying on the exterior of the mother's abdomen, having been lifted out of her abdominal cavity, via a c-section incision made in the abdominal wall.

Dr Joseph Bruner performed this procedure in order to operate on the baby whilst still in utero before it was born. The baby had spina bifida and would not have survived if removed from his mother's womb.

When the operation was over, baby Samuel, at 21 weeks gestation, put his hand through the incision in the uterus and grabbed hold of the surgeon’s finger, a gesture which was apparently met with a huge amount of emotion in the operating theatre.

Dr Bruner said that it was the most emotional moment of his life and that for a moment he was just frozen, totally immobile.

In the UK we are aborting babies just like this and older every single day.

There are union funded organisations such as ‘Voice for Choice’ that campaign and fight to maintain the right to abort babies like Samuel.

There are organisations such as the BMA who vote and endorse the right to continue to do this.

There are organisations which are paid for by the government, such as BPAS, who argue the right to keep aborting babies Samuel's age and older.

Little Samuel made his case from within the womb in a way which none of the shrill late abortionists will ever manage.

There are two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

Enter Ben Goldacre, the Guardian's Bad Science columnist, who Dorries previously accused of a "serious breach of parliamentary procedure," a crime committed when he downloaded the evidence given to the parliamentary committee, from err, its website. Dorries has never apologised for the slur on Goldacre, as you would expect from the finest of the Tories' bloggers. Goldacre quickly ascertained that the story was a myth propagated by anti-abortionists, with the surgeon himself stating in two newspaper articles that it was him lifting the baby's arm out of the uterus, not the baby reaching out to hold him.

Anyone with even the slightest decency about them would then admit that they'd got it horribly wrong and apologise. Not Dorries, who seems to know better than the surgeon himself what had happened:

I’ve had an amazing response to the ‘Hand of Hope’ blog posted yesterday.

Of course, the pro-abortionist lobby have attempted to rubbish it and say it is a hoax, which it most definitely is not. Some of the pro-abortionists, who know that they can’t get away with calling it a hoax, are saying that the surgeon was operating on the hand, which didn’t reach out; and, that in fact the baby was anesthetised so reaching out would not have been possible.

Two points from me: first is that if the experienced paediatrician operating on the 21 week old baby had anesthetised, then that fact endorses the Professor Anand position that a foetus can feel pain; otherwise why would this doctor, who operates on unborn babies all the time, bother?

Dorries is obviously too idiotic to not see past the obvious fact. The surgeon had not anaesthetised the baby; he had anaesthetised the mother, who, believe it or not, is connected to the baby, who therefore also was anaesthetised. Dorries has two children, incidentally.

My second point is look at the tear in the uterus. See how jiggered it is just above the hand; and yet the rest of the surgically incised openings are controlled and neat.

This is, in all likelihood, because the hand unexpectedly thrust out. It would be a poor surgeon who allowed the uterine tear to be so messy, and this is no ‘poor’ surgeon.

Over then again to Ben, who unlike Dorries just happens to be a doctor and also know what he's talking about:

My recollection, from assisting in many Caesarean deliveries in my earlier years, is that instead of making a big clean cut into the uterus (not a good idea for obvious reasons ie there’s a baby in there) you make repeated shallow superficial incisions into the uterus, between which you spread the tissues by hand with your fingers, until it eventually (and satisfyingly, surgery’s great fun) opens up.

She’s also very keen on the photographer’s account. Which I linked to above. As I said, it’s up to you whether you prefer the account of the photographer, or the surgon who does these operations for a living, and may know rather more about the subject.

Dorries' entry is hilariously called the "hand of truth". Dorries, rather than being able to back up her arguments with anything even approaching knowledge or evidence instead refers to everyone who pointed out that it's a well-known and old-hat myth by calling them "pro-abortionists", the typical disparaging remark towards those who defend a woman's right to chose. Dorries also claims to be pro-choice, but uses the language and tactics of the anti-abortion movement as part of her campaign to lower the limit on abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Even more bizarrely, she states that the surgeon might have said what he did because the "pro-choice and pro-life lobbies in America are far more vociferous, and unfortunately violent, than they are in the UK". As Unity points out, there's only one side in the US which has turned violent, and that's the "pro-life" side, as Wikipedia attests.

Instead of being laughed at or told she's got it wrong by other Tory bloggers, Iain Dale in his round-up gives the impression that actually Ben has got it wrong. There are comments pointing this out, as well as Dorries' update, but no comment from Iain or a correction. Going by the past, it's not likely either will happen. The good burghers of mid-Bedfordshire though can vote out their collective embarrassment at the next election.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007 


Both Sunny and Unity join the attack on Nadine Dorries, who just embarrassed herself on Newsnight, while Tom Bower writes one of the best articles to feature in the Grauniad's comment pages for quite some time.

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Friday, June 01, 2007 

The heartless inhumanity of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

Where to even begin with the latest religious cunt to decide that he has the moral authority to tell women what they can and can't do with their own versions of him? Luckily, or unluckily, depending on your view, the Scottish Catholic Media Office have been kind enough to put his full rant disguised as a sermon up on their website:

Skipping some tedious nonsense about God placing himself in Mary's womb:

The joy of that meeting holds out to us the message of delight that should accompany every pregnancy. With every life conceived God acts directly to create a new and unique human being, a person destined to life everlasting. Sadly, joy is not always the dominant emotion evoked by news of pregnancy in the world we live in today.

No, because you see, friends don't throw baby showers, we don't have welcome our new citizens sections in the local newspapers, and everyone doesn't whip round to provide support once the baby arrives, nor are businesses obliged to give both maternity and paternity leave. Ignoring the specious idiocy of a God somehow being behind the creation of a new human being (do we really have to go through the birds and the bees with a fucking middle-aged man?), joy isn't always the first emotion because not every woman who becomes pregnant can either cope with having a child or properly care for it. The problem with the Catholic church has always been that it can't cope with the modern world, where pain and poverty are realities that can't be solved by believing in a spiritual being; these are always put to the side when it comes to "innocent" life being ended for the greater good, or even when those with terminal illnesses in unbearable agony desperately want to die. In fact, this to some of them is the whole point: we have to suffer, or go through these challenges. That we can escape them through our own decision making is an offense to the great creator, who according to them gave us that very ability in the first place, then was greatly miffed when the first two decided to exercise them.

Today as we remember the Visitation we mark the “Day for Life” in Scotland, with a mixture of emotions, celebrating the gift of life but remembering also the tragic loss of life. Abortion is the theme for this year’s “Day for Life” which significantly is the 40th anniversary of the passing of the abortion act. In those 40 years the loss of life has been staggering. Around 7 million lives have been ended as a consequence of that one piece of legislation.

Except they never existed outside of the womb in the first place. They were never really lives in the sense that we associate life; trying to impose the belief that a sentient being that can feel pain exists from the second of conception is not only wrong, it's against all scientific evidence.

We were told that backstreet abortions were killing women and had to be decriminalised. We were told abortion would only be used in extreme cases. We were told medical scrutiny would be rigorous. We were told a – lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth.

Here come the lies. Backstreet abortions did kill women, and continue to kill women in countries where abortion is unavailable and they can't travel to somewhere where it is legal. Only a few weeks back a young woman from Ireland had to go to court to be allowed to travel to the UK for an abortion, in a case where the baby had no head and would have only lived for a couple of days outside the womb. Under the kind of laws which O'Brien would prefer, she would have been expected to go through the trauma of taking such a child to full term, only for it to die much likely in far more pain than had it been aborted as soon as the abnormality was discovered. Abortion is still used only in extreme cases, as the number carried out each year still suggests. Medical scrutiny is rigorous, as two doctors as still required to give their permission for an abortion to go ahead. The only one lying here is the cunt claiming to be speaking the truth, but is instead spreading the same old misinformation he assaults.

The scale of the killing is beyond our grasp. In Scotland we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day.
For many women abortion has become an alternative form of birth control. The lives of the babies involved are not at risk any more than the lives of their mothers are threatened by pregnancy. Abortions to save the life of a woman are almost unheard of. As a society we wilfully ignore these realities.

More lies. There were 13,081 abortions in Scotland last year, and considering the population is around 5 million, that hardly suggests that it has become an alternative form of birth control, which incidentally the Catholic church also continues to campaign against, with far more horrific results in Africa through Aids. The whole of O'Brien's pitiful argument completely ignores the mental anguish which all of those 13,000 women will have gone through before they seek an abortion, treating them as if they have no minds of their own. He is willfully ignoring that reality.

We need to build, once again, a society, which joyfully accepts new life. The abortion industry has impacted massively on the values of our society as its proponents continue to spread their culture of death. There is acceptance of a philosophy, which permits the destruction of children in the haven of their mother’s womb.

Pathetic, disingenuous, plain wrong rhetoric. There is no such thing as an "abortion industry", rather a health service that provides the compassion, counseling and support which O'Brien has none of. The only place a culture of death exists is within armies that proclaim that they don't do bodycounts, and in the minds of the salafist revivalists who like to suggest they love death more than life, people who coincidentally would more than likely share the same views on abortion as the cardinal. There's an acceptance of "a philosophy" because modern society has came to the conclusion that women can make their own choices about their bodies and their life, something which authoritarian figures who claim to speak out of love of life would like to deny out of their own selfish imposed from above doctrines.

We must remain witnesses to the truth and be unambiguous in defending life in all that we do. I have campaigned on behalf of the developing world, urging the G8 nations to act in defence of life. I have campaigned against the indiscriminate killing power of nuclear weapons and in defence of innocent life; I speak out today in defence of life at its most vulnerable and defenceless.

Which is your prerogative, but ignores the fact that you have no idea of the situation of every single woman who seeks an abortion, and that the consequences can often be worse than if one was not taken.

It is not easy to turn societies against the natural urge to protect young life. Yet care and concern for children is still very much alive. We are gripped with concern when news coverage of a child snatched or harmed appears on our television screens. We have ached over the disappearance of young Madeleine McCann in Portugal; together with her parents we know the inestimable worth of one precious life. Yes life is precious and precious also are those lives that are snuffed out in darkness hidden from the world.

The difference being that Madeleine is a living thinking being that can feel pain and has been taken against the will of her parents, something that cannot be compared to the decision of a woman to end the life growing inside her before the time limits set out under the Abortion Act.

Let us build up within our society a generation of medical professionals who are unwilling to cooperate in the slaughter. I call on our universities and medical schools to teach that all human life deserves protection. I call on our hospitals to end testing procedures designed only for targeting and killing the weak and infirm. I call on all politicians to answer one simple question: will you protect the right to life of all persons in our society from conception until natural death? And I call on you to hold these elected representatives to account.

I call on you to fuck off and let all those people decide for themselves, instead of trying to impose your own unpopular, illogical and dangerous views on the public that has been shown to support the right of women to choose. I call on you to look at the rafter in your own eye, as the Bible you supposedly adhere to teaches. What gives you the right to decide that people should not seek an end to unbearable pain? This disgusting arrogance condemns those who plead for their misery to be ended to a death which no one other than a masochistic cunt would wish for. The example of Mario Riccio recently in Italy, who thanked the doctor who helped him to die, shows that those who demand human treatment for those who are not yet human only leads to inhumanity at the other end of the scale.

For those unwilling to give this support we must be unwilling to give our vote. History will judge us on where we stood in this crucial issue. But there is a judgement more important than history. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Sounds good to me. All those who oppose the right to choose can be left with their own tiny, reactionary hateful party, never getting anywhere near power. History will judge the damage done by such irrational beliefs harshly, of that we can be certain.

I urge politicians to have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means finding means of overthrowing the legislation, which makes the killing possible. For those at Holyrood that means refusing to allow our health services to participate in the wanton killing of the innocent. Peace cannot be built in the shadow of the abortion rooms.

What the fuck are you talking about you oleaginous cunt? The only evil here is those who demand that others adhere to their views out of their sordid, warped beliefs. Wanton killing is going on in Darfur and Iraq, not in the abortion rooms where it is only carried out with the greatest of reluctance. Peace already exists; only those who twist themselves in knots over things outside of their control are up in arms.

In making this call, I speak most especially to those who claim to be Catholic. I ask them to examine their consciences and discern if they are playing any part in sustaining this social evil. I remind them to avoid cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion and the barrier such cooperation erects to receiving Holy Communion. As St. Paul warns us “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”

There you are then, Catholics; if you too don't deny women the right to choose, then you may as well not believe in the same God at all. The same sort of ignorant, wrong thinking that puts up walls and starts wars rather than builds bridges.

I would be failing as a pastor not to highlight the gravity of this situation not just to law makers but to anyone: mother; father; boyfriend; counsellor who in any way leads a mother to abortion.

All of whom know far, far better than you what the mother goes through.

There is much we can do. We can urge support for legislation which may not be perfect but improves the situation, legislation aimed at reducing abortion limits or bills ensuring that parents be informed if their children seek an abortion, can be supported as long as it is made clear that one is in principle against all abortions. Proposals to ensure women contemplating abortion are given full details about the physical and emotional risks to themselves and about foetal development should be backed.

So parents should be informed if their child is seeking an abortion, but a mature adult should still be denied the right in the first place. Makes as much sense as much the rest of Catholic doctrine. All this is about making abortion more difficult, not about actually helping women to make their choice, which is what it's usually dressed up as. In any case, to suggest that women don't know what they're what they're about to go through shows the chauvinistic, heartless, almost misogynistic nature of O'Brien's views.

We can work to ensure that the more light, which is shone on this terrible procedure the less acceptable it will be to our society. Signs of hope are appearing, earlier this month it was reported that many doctors are no longer willing to cooperate in abortion. They know, better than most, the humanity of the unborn. We need to support anyone who takes the same line believing always that truth will eventually triumph.

The truth, being as we know, a very loose concept.

In returning to the scene of the visitation we see that in bringing our Lord to the house of Elizabeth, Mary brought great joy, even to inspiring joy in the unborn John the Baptist. As we carry Christ to the rest of society may our voices be a cause of joy for the unborn in our society."

And may those voices fall upon the heavy, stony ground, where they belong.

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