Monday, May 24, 2010

Marie Stopes and "choice" #2

"A registered charity, Marie Stopes International also works around the world in 43 countries. Surplus funds from the UK clinics, help support vital sexual and reproductive healthcare programmes in some of the world’s poorest regions. So by using Marie Stopes International services in the UK, you are also helping improve the lives of nearly 6 million people every year."

Meanwhile in China ...

Aborted baby cries before cremation

By Wang Xiang
An aborted baby declared dead by doctors in south China's Guangdong Province cried before he was due to be cremated, but died hours later as doctors refused to treat him.
A mortuary worker at Nanhai Funeral Home in Foshan City said the baby cried and scared him as he was about to throw the coffin into a furnace, Information Times reported today.
He opened the box and found the seven-month fetus moving, but apparently choking on some cotton wool in his mouth, the report said.
After the worker cleared his mouth, the baby yawned and breathed peacefully. Workers rushed him back to Guanyao Hospital which delivered the baby as medical waste earlier that day.
But doctors left him in the lobby, and confirmed after an hour that the baby died.
The vice head of the funeral house said Guanyao Hospital sent many aborted fetuses or still-born babies for cremation. This baby apparently survived an abortion at seven months, and he had videos to prove the baby was still alive before the cremation. Hospital official Liu Sanhong said its staff checked the baby for an hour and made sure it was dead. Liu did not say whether the doctors tried to save the baby or not.
The body was later sent back to the funeral house. The report said all workers were ordered not to talk about the incident.
On March 31, at least 21 fetuses and dead babies were found dumped in a river in east China's Jining City.
Eight had tabs with clinic code numbers attached to their feet. The Affiliated Hospital of Jining Medical University responsible for the corpses said they were "medical waste."
Two hospital staffers have been detained while the director and deputy director of the hospital's logistics department were sacked. A vice president of the hospital was suspended.

Marie Stopes and "choice" #1

"We hope the new Are you late? campaign will encourage people to talk about their choices, including abortion, more openly and honestly, and empower women to reach confident, informed decisions about their sexual health."

Meanwhile, in China ...

Thousands Sterilized In China Population Crackdown

Thousands of people in one county of southern China have been sterilized in just days as part of a crackdown on violations of the country’s controversial one-child policy.
A 20-day campaign was begun on 7 April to sterilize 9,559 adults in Puning county, which with a population of 2.24 million is the most populous area of Guangdong Province. On 12 April local officials said they had already achieved about half their goal.
Doctors have been working 20 hour days to complete the massive round of surgeries. Local officials are so determined to reach their target they have been detaining relatives of those who resist the operation, potentially in violation of Chinese law.
Some 1,300 people are being held in cramped conditions around the county and forced to listen to lectures about the one-child policy while their relatives refuse to submit to the surgery.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Marie Stopes International's London meeting with China's minister of forced sterilisation

Marie Stopes International's (MSI) abortion advert due to be screened this week on Channel 4 has garnered an awful lot of press attention. Completely unnoticed by the press, however, was the visit paid to MSI's plush London headquarters last week by a significant overseas dignitary. Strangely MSI declined to press release this important event. So it has been left to the Tibet Truth organisation to issue a communiqué about the matter. I publish it here without comment.

Attention of Women In London

Our subscribers are deeply shocked, and opposed to the visit to the London Offices of Marie Stopes International today by Ms Lin Bin, Minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission.
As your organization will be very aware women's human rights, and reproductive freedoms inside communist China, and occupied nations such as Tibet and East Turkestan, are grossly violated by China's program of forced sterilizations and forced abortions, which despite the presence for decades of multi-lateral population agencies such as IPPF, UNFPA and Marie Stopes have not been moderated and continue to inlflict the most appalling abuses upon women
The fine work that Marie Stopes International is doing around the world is not at all assisted by its presence in China, nor by its support of the Chinese population control program, which over the years it seems multi-lateral population agencies have appeared very unwilling to publicly critcise, even when aware of medical atrocities its generates.
Any individual or organization genuinely committed to a woman's right to freedom of choice and control over her own body would strongly object to Marie Stopes International welcoming of Ms. Lin Bin, as reflected in our paper http://tibettruth. files.wordpress. com/2010/ 05/icpdpaper. pdf and today's guest opinion on site http://tibettruth. com/2010/ 05/19/welcome- to-marie- stopes-madame- sterilization/
Greeting Minister Lin today is no advancement of women's reproductive rights, any more than shaking hands with the Khymer Rouge's Pol Pot would have championed the cause of freedom and rights in Cambodia. It is a disappointing occasion for any who respect the other laudable work conducted by organizations such as yours, and will not be at all welcomed by Tibetan, Chinese or Uyghur women, who continue to suffer harrowing violations as a consequence of China's population program.

Tsering Yangchen


Over to you, Laurie Penny.

UNFPA on China

"Totally voluntary" - UNFPA executive director, Nafis Sadik on the Chinese government's one-child policy, 1989.

"UNFPA firmly believes and so does the government of the People's Republic of China, that their program is a totally voluntary program." - Nafis Sadik, 1989

"There is no such thing, as you know, [as] a license to give birth and so on." - Nafis Sadik, 1989.

"The issue of coercion is exaggerated" - UNFPA representative in China, Stirling Scruggs, 1991.

"China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of population growth" - Nafis Sadik, 1991.

American scholar praises China's population policy, warns of challenges
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) - American scholar Barbara Pillsbury praised China's population control policy in a speech made Thursday at the University of Southern California but also warns of the challenges China faces.
Pillsbury, who has worked for the United Nations Population Agency, said China won't have achieved so much in the country's development if it did not pursue its population control policy.
She recalled China's population policy in the 1950s and said at the first 10 years since new China was founded, there were two different opinions on whether the country will control the population, and during the first 10 to 20 years there had no population control.
Pillsbury is a cultural and medical anthropologist, specialized in the design, management and evaluation of socioeconomic development programs in developing countries, especially in Asia.
She has worked extensively in China, conducting research, training workshops, evaluations and strategic planning for Chinese governmental agencies and international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) and UNICEF.
Most recently she was team leader for the 2008 Review of the Government of China-UNFPA Country Program, which contributed to renewal of the U.S. government's contributions to UNFPA.

Dear Secretary of State ... A modest proposal for Andrew Mitchell

Iain Dale has rightly taken up the shocking case of Malawian same-sex couple, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga who have been jailed for holding an engagement ceremony with the new Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell. I'm glad he's done so. Although Dale shies away from demanding an "ethical foreign policy", not unreasonably pointing out that "we live in a world of 'realpolitik' where we have to deal with people we would rather not", he makes a good point when he says, "we don't have to give money to regimes which have intolerable moral outlooks, and use these to punish their own people."

Accordingly, I respectfully submit my own proposal to Andrew Mitchell:

Dear Secretary of State,

Why don't you defund UNFPA?


Red Maria.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New name and new director for Linacre Centre.

From CCN

The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor David Jones, currently Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, as its new Director. This appointment is the second step in an exciting development plan for the Centre, the first step of which was the permanent relocation of the Centre to Oxford, and developing close co-operation in academic research with Blackfriars Hall, a Permanent Private Hall of Oxford University. The next step in the plan will be an ambitious fundraising campaign to secure permanent suitable accommodation for the Centre, and an increased body of research staff. As a consequence of this move the Centre is changing its name to The Anscombe Bioethics Centre.**
Dr Helen Watt will hold the post of Senior Research Fellow when she steps down as Director. She said "We are delighted to have attracted someone of the calibre of David Jones to the Centre: his appointment will raise the Centre's international recognition to a new level. I look forward to working with David to ensure the Centre builds on its excellent reputation both academically and as a source of practical advice."
Professor Jones, who will take up his post in July, said, "I feel honoured to have been appointed as Director of the Linacre Centre, soon to be the Anscombe Bioethics Centre. It is an exciting time to take up this role: The move of the Centre to Oxford and our developing relationship with Blackfriars is a great challenge and an opportunity. Catholic bioethics must learn from the greatest thinkers of our age and must make its own voice heard at the highest level of academic debate. I aim to work with colleagues in engaging openly and eagerly with the key ethical issues of our day."
**There is already a Linacre College in Oxford which would lead to confusion, so the Centre will shortly be changing its name to the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, after Professor Elizabeth Anscombe, a distinguished Catholic philosopher whose intellectual and personal interests included an interest in bioethics. The Centre now has office space provided by Blackfriars Permanent Private Hall at Oxford, but hopes to raise funds for a building of its own to accommodate both the Centre's staff and its library, which is currently in storage.

This is excellent news. Professor David Albert Jones, who happens to be a distinguished reader of this blog, is a man of rare brilliance. He's smart, witty, a natty dresser and best of all, combative. Every thinking person should have a copy of his work, The Soul of the Embryo.

Renaming Linacre after Elizabeth Anscombe (pictured) seals the deal. Cigar-smoking Catholic convert, Anscombe, who died in 2001 was a megastar in the world of philosophy. Her opposition to Oxford University's granting an honorary award to the butcher of Hiroshima, former US president Harry Truman in 1956 also marked her out as one of, if not the premier Seamless Garmenter of all time.

So congratulations, y'all. Now let's get on with business: setting the world on fire!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cruddas: Not Now

Jon Cruddas has ruled himself out of the Labour leadership race. Disappointed? Yes, I am. We've had 16 years of alien right-wing domination, 26 if, like me, you count the crazed witch-hunting Kinnock years - the less than two years in which John Smith was at the helm simply weren't enough to stem the tide - and it would be nice, just for once, to have a Labour leader.

Instead it looks like like the Miliband brothers and AN Other are going to be fighting it out for the honour of launching Labour 2.0


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Ascension

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Evan's above

The war of words between Harris critics and Harris fanatics goes on unabated.

The latest blogger to take up arms in defence of Dr Death Evan Harris is the Staggers' Sholto Byrnes who piteously described George Pitcher's frankly expressed pleasure at Harris' electoral defeat as "extraordinarily personal and vitriolic".

Tsk, tsk, such an attack of the vapours ill-becomes a member of our glorious Fourth Estate.

But soft what light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and Byrnes is about to deliver a poignant soliloquy extolling the virtues of his hero:

"I think he has been one of the most principled MPs in parliament, sticking to his convictions and standing up for a true-liberal view of free speech - and of the idea of liberty itself."

Forgive my irreverant laughter.

I appreciate Evan Harris, really I do. He is sweet and polite and kind, all these things are true. But your humble blogger appreciates him for what he really is, a masterful politician albeit one without a seat at the moment, not the curiously bloodless saint of misty-eyed Secularist imagination.

Sholto and the Spooksters' Evan is a fearless champion of liberty, a man who boldly campaigns alongside Rowan Atkinson for unfettered free speech.

My Evan is a man who picks his libertarian battles carefully, one so committed to liberty that he declined to support the late David Taylor's attempt to guarantee free speech for Christians in the Coroners and Justice Bill debate.

Their Evan is an unremitting foe of discrimation and bigotry everywhere.

My Evan is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society, a position he comfortably shares with that well-known opponent of anti-Catholicism, Mary Honeyball and Baroness "tell the poor to have fewer children" Flather.

Their Evan is the stuff of gushing hagiography who appears in dazzling white raiment at Skeptic events, spreading the Gospel of Science and Enlightenment to faith school-educated primitives.

Mine is a chess devotee and nifty political mover, a man with a cool, calculating cast of mind and a steady, watchful gaze, yet also a man who is strangely thin-skinned - he terms mild criticisms "attacks" - and seems to surround himself with fawning devotees.

Naturally I prefer my Evan Harris. The spooksters' Evan is a boring goody-goody. Mine at least has the benefit of verisimilitude.

I hate to say I told you so

Knock knock
Who's there?
Evan Harris.
Evan Harris who?
That's politics.

Electoral politics is a notoriously ruthless game. Stars of the backbenches are reduced to yesterday's men with a casually penciled x by their name. Dr Death Evan Harris might have retained his seat in Oxford West and Abingdon but for the want of a mere 176 votes.

Yes, yes, I know, boundary changes, a tough battle, an even tougher bunch of constituents but I mean, please. If only Evan Harris and the spooksters had spent more time stuffing envelopes with thrilling re-elect Harris literature rather than getting embroiled in idiotic flame wars with Telegraph bloggers he might still be an MP.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

The following message appears on a blank page when you enter the BNP's URL into your browser:

A message from Simon Bennett due to the volume of phone calls and emails I am receiving:

This website and domain are no longer in my control. I have not sabotaged it. The domain name has been pointing to the new BNP server since last night (5th May) which is completely out of my hands. If your Emails are affected, again this is completely out of my hands and control.
If you are reading this message it is because they have set up their server incorrectly and this needs to be resolved by the new webmaster.
It is important to note that I have been working hard to negotiate a seamless switchover of the website, but for reasons unknown to me the leadership have chosen to force the domain from me, steal my work, data and systems and go it alone rather than paying for it. I will continue to work hard to try and resolve the situation quickly, professionally and amicably. This is in the hands of Nick Griffin and Jim Dowson, not me.
It should also be noted that they have decided to put a personal grudge against me before the interests of the party and its members. This was not a fight of my choosing.

Hat tip: Hope not Hate on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

BNP candidate attacks young man in street

I've said it before and will say it again. Wherever the BNP goes, violence follows.

From Hope not Hate

Hours ago, BNP candidate Bob Bailey - the party's top official in London - viciously attacked a young man in the street. A camera team caught the attack on video. Watching Bailey mercilessly kick a young man in the head isn't for the faint of heart.

This man and his party could be in power as of Friday. You can help stop it happening by volunteering in Barking tomorrow.

We need people for every hour of every day - and every supporter can make a difference.

Tell us that you're coming to Barking so we can plan the day's important campaign - and we'll email you confirmation of the day's sessions.

Here are the details:

HOPE not hate HQ
50-52 New Road
Dagenham, Essex RM9 6YS

Keep the faith

There were interesting comments left on my Evan Harris post a few days ago - hello Kenny McLeod and Mike Hypercube - and I will get back to you, I promise.

But first thing's first.

"So give to the poor; I’m begging you, I’m warning you, I’m commanding you, I’m ordering you."
St Augustine of Hippo 354-430

Vote Labour Tomorrow.

Vote for the Party which gave us the minimum wage, Sure Start, the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry and serious investment in health and education. It isn't perfect, of course it isn't. Recent Labour governments have also done things with which I vehemently disagree. But the Labour Party, the party of Atlee, of Bevan, the New Jerusalem and the organic link with the trade unions is the best we've got.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Death rattle and roll

I yield to no one in my admiraton of Dr Death Evan Harris. No, seriously, he's a lovely chap with immaculate manners and there's something so adorable about the way he says, "evidence-based", y'know with real passion, as though this empiricism lark hasn't been around for centuries but is his own personal big idea. Supercute!

But I'm worried about him. Some of his online utterances have been passing strange of late. Indeed the fact that's he's taken the time to make online utterances is itself passing strange. Yes, I know there's a Lib Dem surge on and Nick Clegg is poised to get his hands on some red ministerial boxes but oughtn't Harris be out on the stump thrilling floating voters with radical talk about localism and drainpipes?

What the devil is he doing leaving rambling comments on Cristina Odone and George Pitcher's Torygraph blogs?

Take this moist-eyed moaning, for instance:

"I have met Christina on several occasions and she has always – at least to my face been polite and civil. How sad that she resorts to snide personal comments which she has publicly condemned in others. Why not just stick to the issues?"

I mean, please.

Then it's onto abortion 'n' euthanasia and this curious comment:

"I support -a s does 80% of the population and the Church of England – the right of women not to be forced to go through pregnancy and give birth against their will."

Never mind his 80% of the public assertion, which, I think, comes from this or that pro-choice group's push poll, or indeed the tendentious way he frames the issue - we Pro Lifers don't roam the streets armed with semen-filled turkey-basters looking for any woman of fertile age to impregnate - it's the way he claims the Church of England for his own position which should raise eyebrows.

This is the Church of England which in 2005 said that "the abortion law needs to be applied more strictly and the number of abortion carried out strictly reduced" and is currently led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, one Rowan Williams. That is Rowan Williams, a longstanding member of that well-known radical-feminist organisation, SPUC.

"I have never said 'God is bad, his followers mad'", he wailed plaintively, adding "You made that up again Christina!". For some reason it doesn't occur to him that Odone didn't claim that he'd said that either, nor that there's the teeniest touch of humbug in his complaint given his extraordinary suggestion that the Church of England takes the same position on abortion that he does.

Then it's all the usual B-side stuff about respecting religion but objecting to religious "privilege", as he insists on calling believers' democratic rights, before concluding with yet another moan about Odone's "shallow, personalised approach" and a bitchy "not very Christian of her I would say."

There was much the same on Pitcher's comments box where he defended his, his party and his leader's policies. I found two of his remarks rather troubling, first this one:

"Why is ... seeking to end the unjustified discrimination against Catholics in our constitution to be viewed as 'a passing bandwagon' rather than say the consistent views of a conviction politician who believes in personal autonomy and seeking to end sectarian discrimination?"

Aside from the obvious self-aggrandisment in his description of himself - is Evan Harris getting just a little bit carried away by the antics of his fan club? - his supposedly consistent opposition to anti-Catholic discrimation is at variance with his position as honorary associate of the most anti-Catholic organisation in the British Isles, that purveyor of bigotry, the National Secular Society (NSS). Recall who another honorary associate of the NSS is: Mary Honeyball MEP. Recall her wondering "should devout Catholics such as Kelly, Browne and Murphy be allowed on the government front bench in the light of their predilection to favour the Pope's word above the government's?" Recall who sprang to her defence and what he went on to say about David Kerr's membership of an entirely legal group.

Keeping that sort of company doesn't suggest that Harris is a conviction politician who opposes sectarian discrimination. Much more in character, I feel, is his parthian shot:

"By the way Mr Pitcher, was it deliberate irony of yours to note that the junior civil servant responsible 'has been moved to other duties' given the failure of the Catholic Church hierarchy in some cases to do anything about certain paedophile priests? If so, one cheer for you."

Despite the careful qualifying phrase, "in some cases" his implication is clear; it's a bitchy sectarian jibe. I think it also fails to meet the most scrupulous "evidence-based" standards, as it happens.

Dear, oh dear. I expected better of Evan Harris.

Right now I expect him to get the hell off Twitter and out campaigning as though there's a General Election a few days away. Like NOW, Evan!