Welcome once again to the Britblog Roundup hosted here at A Very British Dude.
Gordon's Gone to Iceland
Let's Start with Iceland, a small country in the Atlantic of 330,000 souls with a history closely tied to the UK. We invaded them in 1940 because we needed an unsinkable aircraft carrier during WWII. At least the times justified the extreme action. Not so the Great Brownian expropriation of Iceland's assets. In one of the most flagrant abuses thus far of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security act, the UK bankrupted an allied democracy, for short-term political gain. Understandably the Icelanders are pissed off with us if this site, pointed out by Dodgeblogium is anything to go by. LibDem Voice takes up the baton concluding
"Gordon Brown, by going after the Icelanders, has confirmed the fears of every civil libertarian who ever dared to question Labour’s grab for power in the name of quashing terrorism. The Icelanders’ example is as important to questions of anti-terrorism as it is to finance. It reminds us not to issue blank cheques in our laws, and not to lend, to the politicians who would mortgage it, more of our liberty than they can credibly request"Amen to that, brother. Such common sense hasn't helped the wooly in-betweens in the polls though.
The other big issue in this week's post box is the abortion debate. I hate this subject with a passion. We are slowly importing the poisonous, morally charged tone of the controversy from America with evangelical Christians Digging themselves into Siege positions they call "pro-life" and Radical Feminists occupying a fortress they call "pro Choice". Both are shrill, and the debate is unpleasant, as everyone in it seems to enjoy absolute moral certainty. Those of us, who I suspect are in the majority, who self identify as neither pro choice or pro life are caught in the crossfire: I accept that abortion is a necessary evil, but it cannot be offered without limits.
The Anti abortionists are using the debate surrounding the rareish practice of late-term abortions to emotionally charge the debate around the much more common early terminations. Even the normally reticent Cranmer calls his post on the subject "Abortion, Darkness and Devils". In another post on the Subject, he derides Christians who liken the fight against abortion to that against slavery, whilst making many of the same anti-abortion arguments based on the sanctity of life, himself. But it is not abundantly clear when "life" begins. When does a knot of cells become human? The two extremes are conception and birth. In reality it is somewhere in between, and parliamentarians are paid to make these difficult choices.
The Government's decision to effectively prevent any debate on abortion therefore rightly comes under fire from both sides of the debate. Certainly the anomalous position of Northern Ireland, where God-Botherers have seen to it that Abortion remains illegal, is a bug-bear for Feminists - both the F Word and HarpyMarx report from a protest on the subject. Much as I have sympathy for the Wimmin of Northern Ireland, and agree that such an outdated law should not still be on the statute book in the UK, the pro abortionists do themselves no favours by making no compromises on the time limit. Any reduction is seen as the thin end of a wedge. The logical extension of this view seems to condone infanticide. Would you tolerate the termination of a 2-week premature baby? No. So the line has to be drawn somewhere and I am in favour of using the limit of viability outside the womb as a useful guideline, which given the level medical science has got to, means that I am relaxed that may mean the limit for abortions be cut to 20 weeks. I would also favour liberalisation to remove the 2 doctor rule. I am however intensely unrelaxed about this becomming a partisan issue. It should be a soberly discussed, cross party issue driven by the science and ethics, not by hysterical and well-funded lobby groups. Unity, Writing at Liberal conspiracy exposes many of the lies of the "Pro Life" camp - especially their use of poll data; whilst shrilly rejecting any opinion that isn't for the maintenance of the 24 week status quo, as 'Unscientific'. The Dude's rule is to disbelieve anyone who claims to speak for a scientific consensus on a matter of political judgement. This is a "debate" where everyone is wrong.
Whilst we're on the subject of Woman's rights, rumbold at Pickled politics argues for some enlightened colonialism over the subject, though I'm reasonably sure that is not how he would have put it.
Finally The F-Word gives a litany of misery caused by domestic violence.
Phil Woolas is not popular at for his comments on Immigration. This is one post by Lee Griffin with which I concur, but I think when discussing immigration, Godwin's law should extend to the BNP too, which would be fun because it would remove one overused rhetorical gambit from the Liberal Conspiracy armoury. Woolas also comes under fire for a prediction that the Anglican church will break its link with the state 'within' 50 years. Cranmer's antidisestablishmentarianism* is clear,
Penny red delivers a damning indictment of the Home Secretary's vindictive approach to prostitution, which is hurting the most vulnerable prostitutes most with echoes of the most hypocritical victorian moralisers. The Heresisarch also gives both barrells over her plans for a vast communications database. The question is... Does anyone think Jacqui Smith is anything other than dreadful? Those who fear the profoundly illiberal measures from a succession of NuLabour home secretaries were heartened by Sir Ken MacDonald's comments on the unbearable future he sees with current Anti-Terrorist legislation. Cabalamat brings the story, and is less than whelmed by the Shadow Home secretary's calls for a "Debate" over the issue. Can the Tories ever persuade people civil liberties are safe in their hands. Not while such mealy-mouthed nonsense is being spouted by their front bench, they won't.
Unity educates us on another side to the HFE bill.
Craig Murray gives George Osbourne the Benefit of the doubt over the no cash for no favours affair, whilst suggesting that "God made Nathaniel Rothschild that size to be a convenient butt-plug for Russian and Uzbek oligarchs". Craig was once a diplomat.
Liberal England comes out against the licence fee.
Two doctors, Green MSPs the twain, liken a climate change bill which excludes Aviation and Shipping as "a detox with an exemption for crack".
Slugger O'Toole reiterates the compromises necessary to create a workable peace process, the great man himself appearing as a witness in this Al Jazeera documentary.
Here's a post by Stuart Syvret, which I'm not sure I understand. Maybe it will make some sense to people from Jersey.
Andrew Dodge lays into Tory supporters of Barak Obama. Et Tu Boris?
Finally the Heresiarch wastes his formidable talent fisking the Daily Mail. The Government's Sharia family courts really are a restatement of the existing position. Who'da thunk it. The Daily Hate making stuff up? Whatever next. It really is a good post though.
Random acts of reality tells us of one lucky lady.
Other Men's Flowers points us to an important controversy at that august association, the cloud appreciation society, one I think on which we all have an opinion.
A bloke called MacLean at OneManBlogs can't get his hands on a suitable domain. I know how he feels... My initials are MGB.
Barkingside 21 demonstrates that energy saving works.
Swiss Toni Gives us his thoughts on Super Heroes. He likes 'em vulnerable. Maybe he'd like the Karate Grandmother, or Anglo-buddhist Combine's chess playing Wing-Chun fighter.
HarpyMarx is a little more Highbrow giving us her thoughts on the 2008 Turner prize.
Early Modern whale suggests some musical accompaniments to a parrot.
Finally Several people bring up my post hanging my distaste for the surveillance state on a review of V for Vendetta, in which I argue that it is the welfare state which makes the surveillance state a necessity: Technology provides the means and terrorism the excuse for Governments to strip us of our ancient liberties. Cabalamat unfairly characterises my post as party political because I accuse the left of having an irrational hatred of the Tories, but I make accusations against the right too: party politics was not the intent - that bit was just badly written! It is reassuring, however that a leftie basically supports my dislike of means-testing. Devils Kitchen, a rightie monomaniac, thinks it's not the welfare state, It's those dastardly eurocrats, and anyone who thinks the Tories are going to be any better are "delusional".
To which I point to America. If libertarians are going to have any traction, it is as a strong wing within the main parties arguing against authoritarianism, wherever it is found. It is not going to be at a Libertarian party, which will be a talking shop, never to be elected and eventually foundering in a nightmare of inter-faction warfare. By abandoning the Tories, Devils Kitchen and his ilk are leaving the party likely to form the next Government to Nadine Dorries' ilk with their obsessions about controlling human reproduction. Do you want the Tories to look like a post-McCain republican party purged of moderates and existing to further the interests of a narrow religious, authoritarian world-view? You're an intelligent guy and a brilliant writer, Chris. Why can't you use your talents where they might be useful?
Next week is over at
*Finally! an opportunity to Use one of the English Language's longest words.