You can make any choice you like as long as its a baby.

By choosing to focus of the scientific evidence relating to abortion as the central plank of its deliberations on changes to the existing abortion laws parliament has, unintentionally I’m sure, created a ready market for ill-informed and idiotic op-ed articles in the dead tree press, and with the Telegraph and Daily Mail having taken a bit of break over the summer it’s fallen to The Times to maintain the steady supply of eminently fiskable commentaries with this latest offering from Melanie McDonagh. So let’s take this straight from the headline and work through it…

Abortion has risks, whatever the research says

THE research, in this case, is a report published last week by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on… Read more »

An atheism meme

Via Chris, I find that there’s an ‘atheism meme’ going around that, unusually for such things, is actually worth picking up and responding to, so… Q1. How would you define ‘atheism’? An absence of belief in gods, supernaturalism, etc. Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition? That’s a tougher question than it looks. I went to CofE schools because those were the local state schools and, family-wise, we did the whole church thing when necessary/unavoidable – weddings, funerals, that kind of thing – but otherwise religion wasn’t really a factor at home. Mom quite liked Harry Seacombe, so she’d watch Highway and I’d bugger off out to play. Going to church or Sunday school, especially on Sunday… Read more »

Push-polls and Co-payments

Having given a little thought, there are a couple of things I want to pick up on from yesterday’s article on the NHS’s co-payments policy. The first comes by way of a little bit more research into the Doctors for Reform campaign group, research that yielded up the inevitable opinion poll which the group claims, as you might expect, demonstrates broad public support for their campaign.

Doctors for Reform has conducted a new poll as part of its top-up campaign. The campaign aims to help patients who have been prevented from paying extra towards their NHS care in order to receive new drugs and treatments. The results of the poll indicate that the campaign has strong support from the public.

Read more »

Permission to lie with impunity, M’lud?

It is with much amusement that I find that the Christian Institute is currently picking a legal fight with, of all companies, Google after it decided that this proposed AdWords entry breached its acceptable content guidelines:

UK Abortion law Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk

Google’s grounds for refusing to run this advert are:

At this time, Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain “abortion and religion-related content”, . As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site.

With Google’s apparent stance being that it only takes advertising on searches… Read more »

Off with the sky fairies…

Blair’s speech on faith and globalisation looks set to be a bit of lulu, if this quote from the Grauniad are anything to go by:

“Faith is reduced to a system of strange convictions and actions that, to some, can appear far removed from the necessities and anxieties of ordinary life,” he will say. “It is this face that gives militant secularism an easy target. It mocks certain of the practices and traditions of organised religion which they define as ‘faith’. ‘Faith’ is to be found in the cassocks and the gowns and the rituals.”

I see Blair’s bought into the ‘militant secularism’ straw man but that’s as nothing to the straw man of all straw men that follows. Yes,… Read more »

Eternal Mendacity of the Religious Mind

There is, it seems, no limit to the utter mendacity of the religious mind when bent on self-justification, as the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy O’Connor so neatly demonstrates:

Two months ago I was in Zimbabwe, to see for myself the desperate situation of so many people and to offer my support and solidarity. It was a deeply moving experience. Many of those living with HIV/Aids are now too malnourished to take the drugs they need, though they have them. I asked Sister Margaret McAllen, director of an Aids programme in Harare, what she could do. She replied: “How can we give hope to people in such a desperate situation? Through love. Change comes through love.” Sister Margaret… Read more »

There’s something about Kevin…

Name a famous Kevin… Keegan? Kline? Costner? How about Kevin Brennan..? Who? Kevin Brennan, the MP for Cardiff West and current Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Children Families and Schools… No? Never heard of him? Well sit back and relax because you’re about to…and more to the point you’re about to find out how may have single-handedly undermined the legal justification for a flagship government policy, the ContactPoint children’s database. This requires some explanation, so lets start at the beginning by quoting Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, speaking for the government during last weeks’ House of Lords debate on the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill:

Blasphemy approaches, but this is an important discussion which I am… Read more »

If you’ve something to say, just say it

For reasons I can quite fathom it seems to be my week for picking fights with feminists for putting up bad arguments on important issues – first there was this little head to head over at Liberal Conspiracy and now there’s this article by Joan Smith in today’s Indy:

Joan Smith: ‘Honour’ killings are an outrage we must confront

Great. I’ve got no complaints there. ‘Honour killings’ are indeed a deeply shitty and reprehensible thing and confronting them, not to mention trying to prevent them from happening and chucking the book at those who commit them sounds a damn good idea to me. Brilliant – where do you suggest we start?

It’s a startling statistic: in one British city alone,… Read more »

Can I have a receipt for that?

In a move guaranteed to get right up the noses of the seething classes it appears that the BBC’s Newsnight programme may well have caught the Cameroonies favourite think-tank up to their elbows in fabricating evidence used in a flagship report on the alleged sale of extremist ‘Islamic’ literature by British mosques.

A rightwing thinktank which claimed to have uncovered extremist literature on sale at dozens of British mosques was last night accused of basing a report on fabricated evidence. The report by Policy Exchange alleged that books condoning violent jihad and encouraging hatred of Christians, Jews and gays were being sold in a quarter of the 100 mosques visited. But BBC2’s Newsnight said examination of receipts provided by the… Read more »

No one expects the Secular Inquisition…

I’m in a fisking mood today, and as Dorries is more that usually inane at the moment, I’m afraid its going to have to be a bit of Mad Mel that gets the bullet:

Oh God! Tony Blair has confessed to religious faith being ‘hugely important’ to him during his tenure as Prime Minister.

And?

The full force of the secular inquisition will not hesitate in pronouncing its anathema upon him for committing this heresy of religious belief.

Really? I can’t say that I’ve noticed much of a reaction to Blair’s comments over and above a big ‘so what?’. In fact the general impression I’ve from what little comment there has been over Blair’s entirely unremarkable ‘revelation’ is that… Read more »