Thursday, June 10, 2010

Diane Abbott - a qualified thumbs up

So Abbott's through, whereas leftwing standard-bearer, John McDonnell has withdrawn from the leadership race.

Over at Labour Uncut she had this to say about McDonnell's standing for the leadership:

"There always was a tendency to say that if women stood it split the vote. I think that there is the politics that I’m on the left, and have as good a voting record on left wing issues as John McDonnell, but there’s another issue which is about gender. It’s not so much that I stood against John, but that John stood against me."

She added:

"I think it would have been easier if he hadn’t stood. If he was committed to gender issues it would have been easier if he hadn’t. Initially, it was very difficult for either of us to gain momentum. If there’d been just one of us standing then that person would have gained momentum much quicker."

I'm a Cruddas camp follower not a McDonnellite. Nonetheless I find Diane Abbott's remarks quite outrageous. John McDonnell not only launched his leadership bid before Diane Abbott; he was also the only Labour MP with the guts to challenge Gordon Brown's coronation in 2007.

Similarly, Abbott's contention that her voting record on leftwing issues is as good as McDonnell's is technically correct but glosses over their political differences. For as her choice of secondary school for her son showed, Abbott is sufficiently intellectually flexible to make decisions seemingly at odds with her political philosophy. She is a pragmatist, in other words, whereas John McDonnell is an ideologue.

None of this is to suggest that I don't welcome La Abbott as a candidate. On the contrary, I do. It is important that an African Caribbean woman is standing for leadership of the Labour Party. Diane Abbott is a formidable politician who has scaled some dizzying political heights by means of sheer gritty determination and the fact that she is incredibly bright. She is a living riposte to all those people who have ever sneered at ethnic minorities.

But it would have been even better if John McDonnell were in it with her. As it is, the parliamentary party has been allowed to screen out an authentically left wing candidate, while paradoxically parading its own diversity and inclusiveness credentials.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I think we've heard this excuse before

Marie Stopes International uses UNFPA's excuse:

MARIE STOPES, the British birth-control charity, has sparked anger from women's rights campaigners by setting up a chain of abortion clinics in China, where the country's population control policies routinely pressure women into terminating their pregnancies.

Marie Stopes International (MSI) has opened five outlets in China's eastern province of Jiangsu. Here the selective abortion of girls has led to a gender imbalance of up to 131 boys for every 100 girls.

The closeness of MSI's relationship with the Chinese government was shown earlier this month when Li Bin, its population minister, visited the MSI offices in London and an abortion clinic in Bristol.

Plans are under way to set up three more MSI abortion clinics in China. Marie Stopes argues that its influence will help to change Chinese attitudes and promote the notion of women's choice.

Dana Hovig, MSI's chief executive, said the charity's policy was helping to introduce notions of "voluntarism, choice and informed consent" into the provision of abortion in China. He added that it provided contraceptive services, sex education and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in addition to abortions.

Hovig said Li Bin was visiting Britain to see how MSI's initiative in China could be expanded. "The minister wanted to see how you can take voluntarism and choice into account and still deal with the population pressures China faces. Marie Stopes represents the good guys," said Hovig.

Yes, that is the sound of cynical laughter you can hear.
Kate Hoey gets the point that this blogger has made time and again: you, dear taxpayer, are subsidising the Chinese government's brutal one-child policy.
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP, said: “I don’t see why British taxpayers’ money via the NHS should in any way be supporting Chinese government policies.

“It’s very sad that an organisation like Marie Stopes doesn’t reflect more on the grotesque human rights abuses that take place there.”

Quite so. But what's a mere bagatelle like human rights when there's a growth market to exploit, eh?