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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The incoherence of Theresa May

I wanted to blog on this yesterday morning but I was so angry with Theresa May I couldn't trust myself.

As numerous press reports comment, including this one, the Prime Minister is doing everything she can to avoid addressing the huge injustice faced by women in Northern Ireland because of the provinces antiquated abortion laws.

Essentially, she does not want to upset the DUP, who have effectively got her government in their pocket. There has even been a suggestion that she wants to avoid having to make a decision by holding a referendum, presumably on the grounds that this is what happened in the south.

Now, I hate referenda. I may have mentioned it before. We have a representative democracy. We elect politicians to make decisions on important and complex matters once they have all the facts at hand. It is impossible to boil down those issues to a simple yes or no question as Brexit demonstrated.

The only reason Eire held a referendum was because it was a constitutional necessity. It was correcting the decision of a previous plebiscite that amended the Irish constitution to outlaw abortion. People in the Republic voted on a clear proposal including draft legislation, a major contrast with what faced us in June 2016. Brexiteers should take note, it is possible for people to change their mind in another referendum once they have all the facts at their disposal.

That scenario is not applicable in the North or the rest of the UK for instance. Abortion, along with equal marriage and a whole host of other issues are best dealt with through a deliberative, legislative process. That is how Eire will be taking the process forward now. It is how Theresa May should deal with abortion here as well.

The second argument being deployed by the Theresa May is that abortion is devolved to the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly and it should be for them to make any decision. It is correct of course that when criminal justice was devolved to Northern Ireland in 2010, they also got the ability to legislate on abortion (and equal marriage). That is not a luxury available to Wales or Scotland.

The obvious flaw with this argument, of course, is that the Legislative Assembly has not sat for 18 months and, because of the DUP's intransigence is unlikely to do so in the near future. That suits the DUP of course. They can continue to rule the North by proxy through the UK Government, without the inconvenience of having to bother working with any of the other political parties in the six counties.

That means that the effective responsibility for sorting out abortion laws in Northern Ireland lies with the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. I suggest they get on with it. At the very least they should apply the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland prior to a more effective overhaul of all UK legislation on the matter.

The present situation in the six counties is a disgrace and needs to be addressed urgently. We cannot countenance any more excuses from the Prime Minister. This issue should be above party political game-playing. Will Theresa May listen? I am not holding my breath.
All decisions by the Tories is to maintain THEIR power base not what is right.
All decisions by the Tories is to maintain THEIR power base not what is right.

Also whilst having a rant the country seems to be being pushed into an American style system. That is millionaires rule everything and the State throws scraps to the poor(and ignore the homeless). The NHS, slowly being whittled away till an insurance system appears, us and them. Tory millionaires do not want a federal system and yet the USA is one. A Vassal state is protected by the main State as long as troops are provided. We are not a Vassal state but one of a UNION of states that protect each other. We pay money for this support (and get some back)
My chest now feels less heavy. Thanks.
Further rant . Yes we will become a vassal state WHEN WE LEAVE THE EU. Better to stay in. Or is Mogg happy for us to be this way under the American flag, a millionaires paradise
You state that "the Legislative Assembly has not sat for 18 months and, because of the DUP's intransigence is unlikely to do so in the near future. That suits the DUP of course." Now I would accept intransigent is a very valid term to apply in many areas to the DUP, but it has to be acknowledged that SF has it's own brand of intransigence, which led to the assembly being suspended in Jan 2017, well before the DUP got its big chance after the General election in June.

To me it's not a Black and White situation where if one side changes things will suddenly improve, but much more a very murky grey on both sides; a view supported by the fact that the SDLP and Alliance Party had both left the Executive and formed an Official Opposition for the first time in 2016 rather than continue as part of the administration. That was the hope for the future (a start to move to democratic, much less sectarian opposition politics than the sharing out among the powers that be) which was tragically snuffed out in the 2017 GE.
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