Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hasn't it occurred to Cathy Newman that devolving abortion law could help PREVENT the Abortion Act 1967 from being repealed in Scotland?

If you're in any doubt that Scotland currently has a second-class parliament, take a look at the very helpful list at the bottom of this document.  It sets out the powers that Westminster plans to hold back from the Welsh Assembly after a 'reserved powers' model is introduced, and explains in each case whether the same power is devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  As you can see, there are several examples of important powers that are devolved in Northern Ireland but not in Scotland, including abortion, film classification, consumer protection, electricity, coal, "time", energy conservation, child support, regulation of the professions, industrial relations, and medicines.  You'll be hard-pressed to find reverse examples of powers that are devolved in Scotland but not in Northern Ireland.  I can only spot two - public order, and referendums on devolved subject matters.  The new Scotland Bill will of course give Scotland powers over income tax that Northern Ireland won't have for the time being, but that just makes it even more anomalous that the Scottish Parliament should be weaker than the Northern Ireland Assembly in so many key respects.

The Tory government has made a modest gesture on that front by agreeing at the last minute to devolve abortion law to Scotland, which went through the House of Commons a few hours ago with a comfortable majority.  As long as the Lib Dems don't withdraw their support, there should be no problem getting it through the Lords, in spite of Labour's boneheaded intransigence on the topic.  But unfortunately the boneheadedness seems to be rapidly spreading from the red benches to the media.  Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News, who of course already has SNP-bashing form after her bizarre and entirely false allegations about the Scottish Government "cutting its contribution to the monarchy", has now waded in on the abortion issue.  She claims that "reopening an issue that has been settled since 1967" will erode women's hard-won reproductive rights.

There's just one little flaw in that line of reasoning, Cathy : devolving abortion law DOES NOT RE-OPEN THE ISSUE.

It really is that simple.  You'd think from Newman's article that removing abortion from the list of reserved powers will somehow compel the Scottish Parliament to hold a vote on abortion law, but it won't.  The GB-wide Abortion Act 1967, as amended by subsequent legislation, will remain fully in force in Scotland until and unless MSPs decide to repeal or change it.  They are under no obligation to take any action at all, and the likelihood is that they won't for the foreseeable future.  By the same token, refusing to devolve abortion would not have prevented Westminster MPs from reopening the issue and changing the law, and they would at the very least have been no less likely to do so than their Scottish counterparts.  Indeed, they'll still be able to do so - but in England and Wales only.

There are plenty of people on both sides of the debate who don't regard the current legislation as some kind of world-leading gold standard.  But for those who do take that view, it should be noted that Scotland will now be able to prevent social conservatives at Westminster (and I don't see how it can be denied that there are far more social conservatives at Westminster than at Holyrood) from repealing or diluting the Abortion Act 1967.  It may not have occurred to the likes of Cathy Newman that a liberalising Westminster law from the 60s could eventually be scrapped in England while remaining in force in devolved Scotland, but that is precisely the position.

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UPDATE : I've just caught up with the Yvette Cooper article in the Guardian which seems to have triggered the outbreak of illogicality elsewhere.  In contrast to Cathy Newman, who truly doesn't seem to understand how devolution works, it's pretty clear that Cooper is being downright disingenuous.

"The SNP government says women shouldn’t worry, because they have no plans to change the abortion law. I’m sure they don’t. But that’s not how it works. This amendment to devolve abortion to Scotland wasn’t put forward initially by the SNP or Conservative government – it was proposed by a small group of backbench MPs who publicly oppose abortion."

Rubbish.  Absolute rubbish.  Any amendment to the Scotland Bill tabled by backbench MPs was preceded by broad agreement between the SNP, the Conservatives, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats that the devolution of abortion law should form part of the Smith recommendations.  That plan was vetoed by Labour, and by Labour alone, at a very late stage in proceedings.

And the idea that the SNP were never interested in having powers over abortion law transferred until pro-lifers started whispering in their ears is self-evidently risible.  The SNP have always wanted ALL powers transferred from Westminster to Holyrood.  By definition that includes abortion.

"If abortion law is devolved to Scotland...at most, it will mean a new bout of lobbying that makes women feel uncomfortable about their choices and puts medical professionals under pressure. At the very least, it means different laws north and south of the border."

No it doesn't. As I pointed out earlier, after the power is devolved there will still be a GB-wide law on abortion. That will not change until either the Scottish Parliament, or the UK Parliament acting on behalf of England and Wales only, decides to alter the law. Neither is under any obligation to do so. In principle, there's no reason why the current law shouldn't remain in place on both sides of the border indefinitely. Yvette Cooper is too experienced a parliamentarian not to realise that's the case, so it's hard to avoid the conclusion that she's intentionally misleading people.

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40 comments:

  1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 10, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    Women should have universal rights to control their own bodies free from hypocritical religious zealots and Scottish Nat sis.

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    1. Eh? You are seriously trying to make a SNP bad statement, about protecting women's rights.
      Did you watch any of the charade, last night, in the "Mother" of all parliaments?
      The disgraceful way, your and my country, was traduced by all parties that have their head office in London was deplorable; and yet the SNP is bad.

      Go and eat your cereal.

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    2. Kangaroo says
      Are you still here GWC? I thought you would have gone back to Number 10 by now.

      Delete
  2. Serious question James, how much longer are you going to tolerate the fuckwit that is Glasgow Working Class?
    Surely his 'contributions' have long since passed any value for inclusion?

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 10, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      You do seem like a moderate tolerant bloke Mr Borland. Have you considered that perhaps it was the likes of you that turned people to voting NO.

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  3. The troll has truly passed beyond the pale. I am sickened by the conflation the troll makes between our nation's governing party, religious fundamentalists and Nazism.

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    1. He said that about the tories did he?

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 10, 2015 at 1:18 PM

      The man cleary cannot read, I did not use the word Nazism.

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    3. Ha! You did now!

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    4. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 12:40 AM

      When?

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  4. I think the history of Northern Ireland - its violent sectarian / separatist conflict over 30 years or more - makes it a special case. Scotland, apart from a few football nuts and braveheart cultists, is a largely peaceful place. Long may it remain so.

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  5. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 10, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    Strange that none of you above have stated that you agree that it is a woman's right to choose just the usual Nat si venom from you.

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  6. Aldo - Or a few thousand Unionists bigoted racist headcases, as were seen in George Square. The only violence committed throughout the entire referendum campaign was committed by Unionists. Or did I imagine that!

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 10, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      Not entirely the truth. I walked from the GCC tax office that afternoon and witnessed verbal exchanges between some of the saltire flagwaving left wing groups that had congregated and some Unionists. Personnally I think the losers should have stayed at home eating their cereal and let the Unionists enjoy their victory.

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    2. You imagined it.

      A pensioner with bad eyesight was set aboot by one of the cultists - punched in the face - for publicly supporting Better Together.

      I think that counts as 'violence'.

      Maybe one day the real story of 19/09/14 will come to the fore. The defeated side occupying the central square of Scotland's largest city. A docile police force, subservient to the SNP, refusing to move them on. Unionist supporters on their way down, expecting to be able to celebrate their victory.

      If a book "how to start a riot" were to be written, the mishandling of George Square the night after the referendum count would probably be on page 1. Another one we can lay firmly at the door of Police Scotland and their political masters.

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    3. Your citation to dispositive evidence Aldo, where is it?

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    4. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 1:08 AM

      Aldo, well you got that exactly right. When a team loses they go home and eat their cereal and leave the victors tae celebrate. The Nat sis just hid tae hing aboot in their utter despair an cauz truble. They reminded me of footage of a minor Nuremburg Rally withoot a Fuhrer.

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    5. Mr Cameron is their Fuhrer ;0)

      In all seriousness though, we have allowed them to set the terms and narrative of everything. Even in victory, we were portrayed as the bad guys and the result of the referendum mourned as some terrible event - rather than celebrated as a fine example of people power exercised through democratic means.

      It's ironic they have all this on their side yet they still complain about the media. If the media were any more compliant with the SNP, they'd have dancers over from North Korea performing a nightly show "We Are Trembling With Patriotic Love For Our Dear Leader Kim Jong Sturgeon", to be relayed across all channels and repeated on a continual loop.

      Aldo

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  7. James, it would appear that the sole reason the flatulent fool, Glasgow Working Class contributes to this blog is to insult as many people as possible with his purile comments about "Nat sis" an obvious attempt to conflate the supporters of independence for Scotland with the Nazis and drive all moderate persons away from your Blog.
    If there were cogent arguments being proposed it might be possible to accept his Unionist blethers however all we get are childish slurs. If he is not curtailed he will have succeeded as far as I am concerned. It is your blog James and in the main I agree with your comments but GWC is an insult too far.

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  8. I agree without reservation. The troll is an agent provocateur, unwilling to engage in reasoned debate. The troll's interventions are designed to drive people away from an otherwise excellent source of analysis. Further, reacting to the troll places all of us at risk of being tarred with the cybernat brush.

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  9. Can't believe some of Aldos comments. It was the police's fault for not clearing George Square of peaceful Yes supporters to allow the jingoistic bigots to celebrate beating Scotland.

    We truly live in different dimensions. Those thugs are your bedfellows Aldo you must be some piece of work.

    My only question is why you hate Scotland.

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    1. Once again, you conflate "Scotland" with "SNP / nationalism". One vision for Scotland won out over an alternative vision, in a democratic referendum. And I feel that too much emphasis has been placed on the needs, feelings and desires of the "yessers", who, when all is said and done, actually lost a fair fight. George Square should not have been allowed to become a focus for nationalist mourning and vigil as if a national catastrophe had just taken place. The nationalists could and should have been dispersed, allowing the unionists / loyalists to have their moment (they did win, after all). This would have seen justice done and would actually have prevented violence.

      But apparently it makes more sense to pander to losers and intentionally mix together people of opposing ideologies in an incredibly tense and volatile situation.

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    2. How dare peaceful citizens inhabit a public place.

      They & the police are to blame for the thuggery, racist intolerance & violence on display in George Square that night.

      Behave yourself.

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    3. The police are to blame for the mismanagement. And it was mismanaged - it was obvious there would be a unionist celebration and that the best thing would be for the yes campaigners to accept defeat and leave George Square. Why would you want to continue to occupy the city centre following defeat anyway - unless you are actually looking to further ram your demonstrably unwanted opinions down peoples' throats and rile up the opposition?

      The Yes campaigners are not innocent in this. When you lose the game, you get out of the stadium. You don't hang around burning union flags and chanting anti British slogans.

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    4. Just looked up certifiable in the dictionary.
      Apparently it's a picture of your good self sir.

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    5. Nah, definitely you.
      You must have alighted on sexy socialism by mistake ....

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    6. You should have gone to specsavers!

      Aldo

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  11. Yes and Yvette Cooper needs to stop misleading, but then pigs might fly. I had to make a stroppy complaint to the 'Fawcett society' last night because they had a mention of abortion law being devolved and their comment? Basically as it is protected by the human rights act, it should remain a ukok matter. In other words they are taking Y Cooper and her ilk at their (misleading )words.
    No reply as yet, but I had to point out that in fact it is the Scottish government who want to keep the Human rights act and that only England, of the 4 countries of ukok, is the one to NOT have a human rights commission. Not only that, it is ukok who want to scrap the H rights act and who are even blocking the SNP MP's from the 'debate' on this uk wide matter! Human rights are essential to living in a civilised democracy, and as the act stands it must not be destroyed by ukok.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 12:52 AM

      Furtheremore I think Scottish religious nutters will be a threat to wummins rights. Ok wait and see.

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    2. Good point GWC. Lots of Catholics in Scotland - most of them SNP supporters. I expect a pro-life agenda would start to creep in. Before you know it you're forcing women to bear the children of their rapists.

      I am a Catholic (lapsed, forced into it in childhood). I do not want this evil religion influencing womens' rights. This is definitely an area best left to the wasps.

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  12. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 12:45 AM

    Hetty, I went wae a burd at school called Big Hetty. SHE wisnae an angel. Did you come fae the Glesga East End?

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  13. Andy -If that's them celebrating I would hate to see them losing! The great unwashed a collectional of vengeful ,hate filled horror unleashed that night. The mob were a collection of drunks, UVF/UDA supporters, Rangers Ultras, Ulster mobsters and downright pondlife. Truly the dreggs of society an anachronism from the pits of Gomorah.

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    1. Indeed.
      And Aldo loves them all dearly & equally.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 2:55 PM

      And you are a bigot. So who assaulted the pensioner!

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    3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11102194/Threats-intimidation-and-abuse-the-dark-side-of-the-Yes-campaign-exposed.html

      Let us not pretend that the Yes campaign were wee innocent angels in all of this.

      Aldo

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    4. November, you are a sensitive soul if you describe the events in George Square as 'horrific'. Pure handbags at dawn stuff.

      Aldo

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  14. GWC- Have you not fecked off yet. You are not even entertaining as the village idiot anymore. I think your annoying stupid but laughable guy thing has run it's course like your YouK.

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  15. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 11, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    James, seems the Catholic Herald are happy about abortion being devolved, ' it gives them opportunities'. I stand by my first comment.

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