Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's official : Labour think women are thick

Or at least that's the impression you'll have got if you've been viewing Labour activists' tweets over the last few hours. Here are two particular gems -

"If any thinking person wants another reason not to vote for Scottish independence, Alex Neil has just provided it."

"Just wondering if @womenforindy will be shortest lived indy support group ever?"

It seems what we're supposed to infer from the latter comment is the following -

1) Every single woman in Scotland has an identical view on abortion. The apparent diversity of views on the subject is an aberration caused entirely by the existence of the male gender.

2) Women who are both pro-choice and pro-independence are too feeble-minded to believe they can actually win the debate on abortion in a democratic independent Scotland. Alex Neil has pronounced, therefore the only option left for females of the species is to look to strong London men for protection. Step forward Jeremy Hunt. Talking of whom...

3) The fact that the Scottish Government's Health Secretary doesn't want to cut the time limit on abortion by anything like as much as the UK Government's Health Secretary is all a bit too complicated for pro-choice women to grasp. They're bound to get it entirely the wrong way round, and conclude that they'd much rather put their faith in Jeremy Hunt and co to make the best decision.

4) Women are not capable of understanding the concept of a free vote in parliament - or else they're under the impression that the idea works fine in Westminster, but for some reason not in Holyrood. Up here all free votes go the way Alex Neil wants.

Of course in spite of Scotland on Sunday's creative attempts to sensationalise it, this is a story about abortion, not about independence. Yes, Mr. Neil was talking about his views on what should happen if abortion law is transferred to Holyrood, but that eventuality is not contingent on independence - Northern Ireland already decides abortion law for itself. David Steel, the proposer of the liberalising 1967 legislation, attempted to have control over abortion law transferred to Holyrood in the late 1990s. It was pointed out at the time that Scotland is not Ireland, and that there was absolutely no way of guessing whether the Scottish Parliament would be more or less likely than Westminster to tighten the law. That remains as true now as it was then. Regardless of whether the decision is taken in London or Edinburgh, there will be a mixture of pro-choice and pro-life unionists voting on it, along with a mixture of pro-choice and pro-life nationalists.

But heaven forbid that anyone should actually engage with the substance of Alex Neil's personal view, rather than inviting women to shut down all thought and chant "INDEPENDENCE IS UN-FEMALE" to themselves every night before they go to bed.


  1. I don't really understand why abortion ISN'T a devolved issue already. It seems to be both a health and legal issue, both of which are devolved areas. You wonder if it was reserved to stop Scottish Labour ever having to deal with it, but since Labour don't contest seats in Stormont, they didn't give a hoot about potential rammies there.

  2. A responsible public servant should be able to keep his own personal views to himself and not bring them into the job. So what's Alex Neil playing at sharing his personal belief on abortion with the press? He represents the Scottish Government and the Scottish electorate his own views are exactly that and he should know better than to air them publicly. Current law on abortion is not being debated at this time so why did he even comment on this issue?