Saturday, May 31, 2008

After the HFE Bill

Predictably, Pro choice campaigners are cock-a-hoop over their recent successful defence of the abortion status quo.
I'm not sure that they aren't being overly hasty. Not because they didn't fight a sterling campaign - they did. It was organised and professional and made Alive & Kicking look totally shambolic in comparison.
But the vote seemed out of kilter with the public mood. There's just something in the air, something one can't quite put one's finger on, something vague and intangible but nonetheless discernible. It's as if the wind has just changed direction on abortion.
On the eve of the 1979 General Election, "Sunny" Jim Callaghan's adviser Bernard Donoghue was urging him to make one last push for victory. But the old sage could just sense change in the air.
"There are times, perhaps once every 30 years, when there is a sea-change in politics." he said. "It then does not matter what you say or what you do... there is now such a sea-change and it is for Mrs Thatcher."
The times were different, so was the subject but his words capture that feeling of a shift in the public mood which I think now hangs around the abortion issue.
It may well be better luck next time.

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