lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)

Larissa Nolan writes in the Irish Times about being a non-religious pro-life supporter in the current climate, and how she finds the rhetoric of some of the pro-choice supporters to be off-putting: The Repeal the Eighth march will backfire

However I find myself utterly baffled, because nearly everything she describes herself as wanting is totally compatible with a pro-choice point of view, and with the repeal of the 8th amendment in Ireland (and the similar laws in Northern Ireland).

"I do not judge anyone who has ever come to the decision that an abortion is the best choice for them at a given time. That is their own business, borne out of their own individual circumstance."

She thinks abortion should be

"a viable last-resort option in a desperate situation"

And details some of those situations:

"women suffering the grief of carrying a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality should not have to travel to end the ordeal."
"if that mother has six other children at home to look after, surely the only right answer is to prioritise her life in the case of an emergency"

But most shocking for me was:

"I understand that there are woman out there who, deep inside, actually do want to go ahead with the pregnancy, despite the emotional, physical and financial struggle of single parenthood – and despite the shame and the social stigma. [...] It is harmful for women not to allow them this."

No-one I know who is pro-choice considers that abortion should be forced upon anyone. What we should be doing is making sure that all women who become pregnant are properly supported in their choice as to what to do next. And that includes making it easier in terms of support for those who want to keep their children in difficult circumstance.

Finally what could be more pro-choice than this:

"It is grossly irresponsible to push your own beliefs and agenda, whatever they may be, on anyone who finds themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation. It is a decision only they can make, as the only ones who have to live with it. It is not you and your political ideology that could be left with a lifetime of psychological damage."

I think overall she makes a very strong case for repealing the 8th amendment.

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)

So UCU members in Higher Education are due to be on strike for 2 days this week, and then working to contract thereafter, over a headline 1.1% pay offer. There are other factors too, where UCEA haven't responded adequately to union concerns on the gender pay gap and on casualised working, but the pay increase is the main issue. To be up front I voted in favour of strike action, and I do sometimes wonder if I'm just being selfish in wanting more pay, but here's some thoughts and factors.

Read more... )


May. 17th, 2007 05:20 pm
lnr: (Default)

Quick post to pass this on. Note from David Howarth's press secretary today:

Just to let you know, David has just told me that there were 1190
signatures on the petition when he handed it in! Am amazed by the response!

lnr: (Default)

Note from David Howarth's press secretary to Cycling Campaign committee yesterday:

I just wanted to let you know what a great response we've had from the
Cycling Campaign on the petition. We now have 330 signatures to hand in
tomorrow, which is just amazing. Thank you so much! I hope that the
Government starts to take note

There'll probably be more arriving this morning too.

And there's also hints that something might be happening in the Lords as well as the Commons.

Update: Can I just say Well Done to everyone who sent in a petition, or encouraged someone else to do so. Thanks.

lnr: (cycle)

Update: It is now too late to sign this petition, but many thanks to those who did, and don't forget you can still sign http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/roads4bikes/

Just received this from CCC. If anyone can print out, sign, and return to address by today's post that would be brilliant.

Cambridge MP David Howarth has an opportunity at very short
notice to present a petition in the House of Commons opposing the
changes detrimental to cycling in the new Highway Code that we
contacted you about last week.

Anyone can sign the petition: it is not specific to Cambridge
constituency voters.

Unfortunately though it has to be physically signed with an
original signature on the correct form. Therefore, please can
we ask you to print the form which you can find at


fill it in and send it by post *to ARRIVE by this THURSDAY morning*
at the absolute latest (Wednesday if possible) to

  David Howarth MP
  David House, Room 4/11
  Norman Shaw North
  House of Commons
  London SW1A 0AA

(n.b. not just to the usual House of Commons address, please, as that
mail would then end up back in Cambridge)

Please ask friends and colleagues who you can contact to fill in the
form as well. Please feel free to circulate this as widely as you can.

As before further details about the issue can be found at

lnr: (cycle)

Following on from this. I've learned from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, who have been liaising with local MP David Howarth, that an Early Day Motion has been put before the house, opposing the acceptance of the new version of the Highway Code. The objection by MPs to an order before parliament is called a "Prayer for Annulment" and once the EDM prayer is published, there are 20 days from today to get lots of MPs to sign it. It's not clear how many MPs are needed.

The motion is now public: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=33216&SESSION=885 so I guess now is the time to encourage your MP to sign up! And do feel free to point other people at this post.

Update: Hmm, I've just been relaying what's been said by the CCC, but it seems from comments that this may be not as useful as it sounds. I'll be passing this back to them for comment.

Update 2: A committee member (who prefers not to be named) says:

My understanding from David Howarth when I spoke to him on Monday is that an EDM prayer (as distinct from a normal EDM) with "lots" of signatories results in a debate being held in Committee, which may then result in a full debate in the HoC.
As far as I can see, it's the only option open to anyone to stop this. That's the procedure there is so we'd better make best use of it. Getting lots of MPs to be aware of the problem is worth trying. It could lead to media interest etc., who knows.

lnr: (cycle)

The highway code is preparing for a new version, as it regularly does, and the current version before parliament for consideration contains the phrase "cyclists should use cycle facilities where possible" - regardless of whether convenient or even safe. There's a petition up on the number 10 site requesting that this clause be re-thought. As many of my friends-list cycle I thought I'd mention it here (previously it has travelled through cam.misc, the cambridge cycling campaign mailing list, the #chiark irc channel, and another friend's LJ - it's interesting that I can recognise names from all those places). Anyway it's here if you're interested: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/roads4bikes/.

In other news, and on which I'll try and write more later, since nothing has really happened until you've blogged about it:

  • My sister is married and the wedding was utterly utterly lovely.
  • We still don't have a desk, but may do tomorrow if we're lucky.
  • And 65 Days of Static were excellent last night at the Junction 2 - proper tour later this year, do catch them if you can.

lnr: (globe (grey))

Elsewhere on LJ a friend said:

A week ago UK university academics rejected a 13.1% pay deal over three years. Last night they accepted an 'improved' offer of 13.1% over three years. Way to go!

As someone who has been involved in the dispute I commented, and I figure I may as well reproduce it here.

The "improved" offer differs in the third year.

In the old version it was fixed at 2.5%. Now it's the higher of RPI or 2.5%, with option of review if an independent study of HE finances and pay says it could be higher. They've also added vague assurances about not pressuring people to catch up on the marking, and on those universities which have done so returning docked pay (given that the work it was docked for not doing will now be being done).

And no, they haven't accepted it yet, they've just agreed to ballot the union members on it, and to suspend the industrial action in the meantime. From what I've seen all of the keen activists will be voting No, it remains to be seen what the rest of the union will think. If they just went with the two year offer leaving the third year to be negotiated later, and made the assurances on docked pay more concrete then I think the union would be more likely to accept.

(It's complicated by the fact the two unions involved have now become one joint union as of last week!)

Offer here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/l/k/2006payagreement06-09.pdf

Commentary here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/r/4/he2006payoffer_commentary.pdf

Gah, they're reporting it in the radio news as being accepted too, even though they mention the ballot. *shakes head at quality of news reporting*

I'm curious to talk to my mum about it actually, as her local union is much more active than I've found things here in Cambridge. And of course since the majority of the Action Short of a Strike has been in not setting exam papers or marking work it's had much more of an affect on her work than it has on mine. She's been under a lot of pressure the last few weeks which has been very much missing for me. It'll be interesting to know if she's relieved to be able to go back to work properly (of course she's still been working fulltime, just on other aspects of her job), or if she thinks it's a sell-out. Listening to the activists mailing list today though has been instructive - they're very cross with union leadership getting even this close to accepting the offer. Surely there must have been *some* reason they didn't hold out for better though? I get the impression that they've been told that if they push for anything more than national negotiation will break down entirely. I guess right now it's just a case of wait and see.

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