Monday, May 19, 2008

We're in for a treat

It's "back to basics" once again for the Tories

A few weeks ago, David Cameron announced that he wants to ban lesbian couples from having babies. In the meantime, Boris Johnson, infamous for all sorts of gaffes, but more importantly a privileged, misogynist and homo-sceptic worldview that differs from the Daily Mail only in that it’s more articulate, was elected as mayor of London (for those who think Boris' comments and lifestyle are just a bit of harmless fun, see this link).

This week we hear about a proposal to reduce the legal limit of abortion -currently at 24 weeks- on the basis of “scientific evidence” that allegedly demonstrate that nowadays prematurely born babies prior to 24 weeks now have better chances for survival. Thus, abortion should be banned prior 20 or 22 weeks. Alas, the slogan that is still a dominant issue that can determine elections on the other side of the Atlantic but the Tories dare not utter, is what’s really in their minds: abortion is murder.

Moreover, the author of the report that the Tories use as “evidence”, says that his findings have absolutely nothing to do with the way it’s been used in the parliamentary and public debate. Quite the contrary, the report says that there is NO evidence to suggest that there is a better chance of survival prior to 24 weeks. The scientific fa├žade of this farce of an argument is completely exposed by the expressed preferences of the involved MPs: the shadow health secretary wants it down to 22 weeks; David Cameron to 20; Nadine Dorries, the MP who is one of the most vocal proponents of the proposal, while she agrees with Cameron on 20 weeks, she would prefer to see it at 9, but is also willing to compromise at 13. Politics is about compromise, right?

Not surprisingly, when asked about feminism, she said she didn’t really know what it is, and didn’t seem particularly curious to find out either. Why would she, since the issue at stake is not women’s rights, ownership of their body, or how unwanted pregnancies affect women’s lives. It’s good old back-to-traditional-values Maggie Thatcher ideology. But this time it comes with a twist, since now the home in which women belong to is eco-friendly (rather like David Cameron’s house), and you get to it on a bike (like Boris Johnson). The fancy wrapping that the Tory manifesto comes in has little to do with the specific agenda they will be pushing when they get elected soon. But then again, wasn’t it New Labour who invented these rules of the game?

P.S.1: By the time I actually posted this, the decision was taken in the House of Commons. The proposal did not pass. I refuse to celebrate though, as it should not even have been on the agenda. Let alone the fact that it will probably be passed by the next parliament…

P.S.2: Slightly irrelevant, but here it goes: all of Boris’ biographical notes mention that his Great-grandfather was an interior minister of the Ottoman Empire. What they fail to tell you is that he was lynched by an angry mob…

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