Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Changing attitudes towards abortion

It's interesting to see how attitudes towards abortion have changed in Britain. It used to be seen in the simplistic light of religious Americans (pro life) vs enlightened secular Europeans (pro choice).

Clearly it's more complicated than that. Contrary to popular belief, abortion is legal in ALL states of the US (where you have a constitutional right to an abortion) whereas it is still illegal in some European countries such as Poland and Ireland. Secondly, it is no longer a religious vs secular debate. Scientific advances have increased the viability of the foetus to a much earlier stage of pregnancy. And we now understand that the foetus can experience pain at a much earlier stage than was previously thought.

In the light of this, I wonder whether progressives will one day re-examine their attitude towards abortion. For over 40 years now, they have been chanting the mantra about "a woman's right to choose". But there's nothing progressive about killing a human being. You don't have to be a right wing born again Christian to realise this. As our understanding of foetal development improves and as scientific advances continue, we may one day ask ourselves how we allowed abortions to take place at all.

How to fight the knife crime epedemic

Another weekend and another rash of violent deaths, it's become as predictable as rain on a bank holiday. And after 11 years of promising to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" all that Labour can do is to promise ever more crime initiatives.

Of course, we don't need more initiatives or "tougher sentences", we just need the authorities to impose the tougher sentences already available. But as I said in my previous post, this country is run by an establishment who lives in another universe. To quote Stephen Pollard...
...police must be given full powers to stop and search children. But instead, not only do the courts and CPS treat children found with knives with kid gloves, dangerous idiots such as Sir Al Aynsley-Green, to whom we pay £130,000 a year for his wisdom as the Children's Commissioner for England, warn that allowing police the power to search children might antagonise them. That just about sums up how the whole edifice works: God forbid that a potential murderer is upset by having his coat examined.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nostalgia for a bygone age

When I was growing up in the and 1970s and 80s, there was a tendency amongst the older generation to bemoan the behaviour of unruly teenagers and to get nostalgic about the 1950s, the "good ol' days" when murderers were hanged and when unruly school pupils got the cane. Much of that generation has died off or has long retired. It has been replaced by an ageing baby boomer generation who similarly cling to a bygone age, this time the 1960s, and who seem determined to stick to their discredited utopian ideals by any means necessary. The problem is that much of that generation are now sitting in parliament, running our education system and judging in our courts.

It seems to me that over the past 40 years, our politics have come full circle. Where we once had an elitist establishment of toffs running the country, we now have an elitist establishment of guardian readers running our country instead. And much like the toffs, they are highly educated, enjoy a priveleged lifestyle and understand little of what goes on beyond their enclaves of Islington and Hampstead.

Your average voter may not be Oxford educated, nor are they particularly well versed in the ideals of penal reform, but they understand that taking violent offenders off the street would make their housing estates safer and that a more visible police presence would ward off the thugs who terrorise their neighbourhood. But instead they are patronised by a ruling elite which believes that criminals are victims and that regards any effort to be tough on crime as pandering to the tabloids. The Labour party used to be the anti-establishment party and on the side of the underdog, but now they are the establishment. You can understand why Labour's election tactics backfired so spectacularly in Crewe. There is little point in attacking toffs when you end up behaving increasingly like them.