Thursday, June 22, 2006

"a full and frank public debate"

I love that phrase. It makes my life so easy. When I hear a politician say that he wants the nation to have "a full and frank public debate" about something, I know intuitively that I have a moment or two to remain calm, gather my senses and relax. Because in a matter of seconds I'm going to be very angry indeed. Politicians only ever ask for a full and frank public debate when they know that they are going to do something anyway, and hang the consequences.

Of course, because I am angry every time I hear this phrase, this means that I am very angry a lot of the time, and it's getting hard to know what I am even angry about now. Am I angry this morning that, for instance, the likes of Geraldine Smith MP are agitating for a wholly unnecessary further restriction on the Abortion Act? Very possibly. Am I angry about Gordon Brown's announcement that he is committed to replacing Trident, Britain's independent nuclear deterrant? That sounds quite plausible too. Or am I angry because John Reid is considering importing a varient of the US's ridiculous 'Megan's Law'? It could be that instead.

This is getting ridiculous.

- 88% of abortions take place under 13 weeks, 60% under 10 weeks and only 1% after 20 weeks, mostly among the 'very vulnerable'.

I know, let's legislate against that vulnerable percent.

- According to The office of the children's commissioner, Claire Phillips, "Introducing a version of 'Megan's law' in the UK would do nothing to help parents keep their children safe from sex offenders. In fact, it could increase the risk of sexual abuse from strangers as offenders could be forced 'underground' after being released into the community, making it more difficult for authorities to monitor them. And it could encourage vigilante activity within communities.

"We are concerned that a version of Megan's law could detract from the fact that children are most at risk from people known to them. We would prefer to see more efforts directed in this area with further emphasis on early therapeutic treatment for the victims of sexual abuse."

- Meanwhile, don't worry about Trident. Granted, Michael Meacher - worried that Parliament won't be consulted - has tabled a motion calling for a full parliamentary vote on Trident (which has been signed by 122 MPs, including 93 from Labour), but I'm sure this government would never try to bypass the House in this way.

From today's Guardian:

At prime minister's questions in the Commons yesterday, Mr Blair was challenged by Labour backbencher Gordon Prentice to give MPs a vote on Trident.

Mr Blair responded: "There should be the fullest possible debate on this issue. I am sure there will be."

The fullest possible debate! Woo-hoo. So long as it's also frank, I think we'll be OK.

This government sucks.

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