Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

Sent Off the Suggested Motions from the Labour Left to My Local Labour Party

September 5, 2022

Okay, folks, I’ve sent off the model motions that the Arise Festival of Left Labour Ideas suggested to their followers and supporters that they should propose them to their local Labour parties ready for the upcoming Labour conference to my local party in south Bristol. I put up a piece yesterday showing what they were: renationalising the public utilities, including education and the NHS; ending the deportations to Rwanda; raising the minimum wage to £15; and stopping the further Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. All excellent policies. I don’t know if they’ll be proposed at the meeting, as the email I got from them about the meeting said they had six already. But you have to try.

As for whether or not they’ll be accepted and passed by conference even if they are passed by the local party, well, unfortunately the ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer is in charge, a true-Blue Labour Tory infiltrator. And there’s Jess Philips, who said that Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. Neither of them would welcome these policies, and neither would the rest of the Blairites now packed in the parliamentary Labour party. But there’s always hope.

Update

After sending them off I got a kind reply from the local party secretary stating that they’re only accepting one proposed motion per person. So which one would like I like to choose? It’s a hard one, as they’re all good and necessary. However, I chose the £15 minimum pay rise because people are starving and they need the money now. I really hope it goes through.

Other motions being proposed for the local meeting this Thursday include:

Green New Deal – Proportional Representation – Support for Striking Workers

Reproductive Rights – International Development – Industrial Strategy (End UK Childcare Crisis).

Reproductive rights obviously refers to abortion, which people are afraid is threatened after the repeal of Roe vs Wade in America.

Sarah Phillimore Talks on GB News about Academic Reports Labelling Critics of the Trans Movement as Terrorists

August 29, 2022

This is absolutely unbelievable. Sarah Phillimore is a lawyer and writer, who has co-authored a report with Harry Miller of the Bad Law Project of a report entitled Transphobia as Security Threat: The Danger of Conflating Political Speech with Violence. This is a response to the three reports into gender critical people declaring that they are terrorists, simply for what they believe. There are three such reports, two of which were written by universities. One was published by Northumbria university, another by one of the Oxford colleges. The reports don’t define one what ‘trans’ is, and neither do they therefore define ‘transphobia’. But it is important, when writing an kind of academic study to define first the subject under discussion. These reports all state that opponents of the trans craze are security risks simply for not believing that trans people are genuine members of the sex to which they have transitioned. Because of this, they are considered to be real Fascists and terrorists.

If gender critical feminists were organising themselves into terror cells to attack transmen and -women, then these reports would be fair. But they aren’t. Phillimore says that she found herself described as a terrorist in one of these reports by Northumbria university. She wrote to the uni inquiring about this, only to get no reply. She later found that she had been put in some kind of email dumpbin or something without anyone telling her. She found out that one of the writers of the report was a Craig McRitchie. This person no longer exists. There is someone, however, called Anne McRitchie, who is evidently the same person through looking through their biography and publications. She feels it was wrong for that fact not to be disclosed. Obviously, there is a problem in the report being written by someone who has a clear personal interest in the issue. Her co-writer, Harry Miller, is a former policeman as well as founder of the Bad Law Project. I think he was prompted to form it after having his collar felt by the rozzers for putting up a tweet against the trans cult. Despite the absence of any terrorist activity from the gender critical crowd, the argument is that they are still a security threat because of the Alpert Scale. This scale states that it all starts with what Phillimore describes as ‘naughty tweets’ and culminates in a full scale genocide. She describes how she has been subjected to abuse and intimidation by trans activists. This includes doxxing, as they have put a picture of the house which she shares with her daughter online. She describes the people responsible for this and other death threats as mentally ill, entitled narcissists. At which point her interviewer, who I think may be gay himself, says that she doesn’t mean all trans people, of course. No, she replies. Trans people should be protected from discrimination and sacking. But it was absurd for men to think that simply putting on a bit of lippy and a dress made them women. And the people responsible for the threats and violence were mentally ill, entitled and narcissistic.

The interviewer states that it’s ridiculous to call the critics of the trans movement, left-wing socialist lesbians, fascists. Phillimore that anti-trans activists are always accused of being far right or the tools of the far right. She and her organisation have been accused of receiving money from the Heritage Foundation. In fact, she got all her money from personal donations and nothing from that particular right-wing group. Yes, gender critical feminists agreed on some issues with extreme right-wing Christians, but were firmly against them on other issues, such as gay rights as a whole and abortion. She also made the point that thanks to these reports about opposition to the trans movement, which simply hold a point a view which most people in this country share, Britain has been referred to the Council of Europe as the most homophobic country, along with the Turkey. This is clearly grotesque and simply wrong.

I am well aware that some of the readers and commenters on this blog don’t share my opinions about the trans movement. I appreciate the comments some of them have made that some of the people criticising the trans rights movement are doing it for their own right-wing agenda, like Matt Walsh and GB News itself. And they’ve also made me aware of a piece on BBC News reporting that transwoman was abused by a mob when she was taken ill and had to be taken away in an ambulance. I will also state once again that I condemn anyone being abused, persecuted or discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity.

It is clearly wrong, however, to label someone a security threat like a real far right or Islamist terrorist, simply for rejecting the trans ideology and standing up for women’s sex-based rights. And from what I’ve seen, the overwhelming majority of the abuse and death threats come from trans rights activists, who are often not trans people themselves, at gender critical feminists. You can see some of this in the videos Kelly-Jay Keen has put up of her protests in Manchester and Bristol. These show very aggressive and menacing behaviour from the trans rights activists and their fellow counter-protesters from Antifa. These turn up dressed in black and wearing black balaclavas, waving the Antifa banner and hurling abuse. At the protest in Manchester they tried to push one of the feminist protesters over all a small wall. In Bristol they were dressed exactly the same and accompanied by a contingent from Bristol Anarchist Federation. This crew tried to push through the police cordon. When the protest ended and Keen and her people went off to the pub they followed them, still being unpleasant. And while they didn’t follow them into the pub, Keen’s part were told to move on after a while by the police because the cops couldn’t protect them.

Remember that Keen’s party and her organisation, Standing For Women, are largely, but not exclusively, women. And they were faced by an angry mob in paramilitary guise.

And I think some of the trans rights activists are mentally ill. Not just to post death threats and dox people simply for holding a different belief than their own, as unfortunately this seems all too common amongst some denizens of the internet. What makes them appear mentally ill to me is the constant assertion that there is a trans holocaust going, or that if they don’t get their way and are allowed into all women’s spaces, such a genocide will begin. Well, there was no trans holocaust going on ten or so years ago when this phase of trans activism started and it isn’t going on now. In the past few years only three trans people were murdered and none were killed last year. Obviously, that’s three trans people too many, but it’s not the systematic mass murder which constitutes a holocaust or genocide. When one of the trans activists who asserted that there is a trans holocaust was confronted about it, they stated that it was only just beginning.

And it isn’t just the threat of arrest and imprisonment of gender critical feminists that is in jeopardy here. These reports set a precedent for the state to arrest and imprison people as threats to the state simply for opinions that have traditionally fallen outside the definition of terrorism.

And this means such reports are danger to everyone’s freedom of belief.

This is why I believe they should be firmly rejected, whatever your personal stance on the trans issue.

Academic Historian T.O. Lloyd on the Legalization of Homosexuality and Abortion in Britain

August 8, 2022

Homosexuality and abortion have once again become vital, controversial issues following the outrage in America and in this country against Drag Queen Story Hour and trans issues, and the US supreme court overturning the landmark ruling of Roe vs. Wade, which demanded federal legalisation of abortion in America. Lloyd in his book Empire to Welfare State: English History 1906-1986, 3rd edition, (Oxford: OUP 1986) has a paragraph about the legalization of these two issues in Britain by the Labour government of the late 60s. He writes

‘Private Members introduced two Bills, also inspired by J.S. Mill’s type of liberalism, to legalize homosexual acts between consenting adults and to allow abortion when it was justified on medical, psychological or social grounds. These Bills were handled in the previous Parliament: the government did not commit itself officially to supporting them, and issued no party whip, but it allowed enough parliamentary time to make sure that both of them were passed despite attempts to ‘talk them out’. Outside Parliament the changes seem to have been welcomed by public opinion; surveys showed majorities in favour of both pieces of legislation, and the opponents of change seemed either to be apologetic about their position or to be unreasonable-the calm, commanding central position which in the past had been held by the supporters of a restrictive morality was now held by the advocates of a libertarian approach.’ (p. 413).

This states that the legalization of homosexuality, or rather, its decriminalization, and the legalisation of abortion were both popular. This suggests that the Tories are going to have a fight on their hands if they try to remove these rights.

My Email Conversation with the Secretary of South Bristol Labour Party over the Trans Issue

July 21, 2022

I sent an email to the secretary of local Labour party last week following the monthly meeting on Thursday in which our local MP, Karin Smyth, was taken to task by the LGBTQ+ officer. Karin has defended the attendance of the anti-trans group, Labour Women’s Declaration at the Labour conference this year. The LGTBQ officer seemed to think they were simply a hate group, who believed that trans people were communists. I sent the secretary an email stating some of the issues involved, like preserving women’s sex based rights, and dignity and safety in schools, prisons and rape crisis centres, as well as their autonomy in sports. And as bonkers as it sounds, unfortunately some extremists, taking their lead from Queer Theory, do see the trans movement as a method of indoctrinating children and others to live ‘queerly’, but not as well-adjusted gay men and women, living in a tolerant and accepting society. Rather they see the ultimate goal of the kind of queer consciousness they wish to promote as a radically unstable sense of identity, dissatisfied with bourgeois society and determined to overthrow it.

A few days ago I got this very kind reply from the secretary, who wrote:

‘David

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts

What do you want me to do with your email as at the moment it is only reaching myself as I monitor this inbox?

I could pass to all of Exec. if you are happy for me to do that and we could discuss how to take forward.

A discussion on this topic at an All Member Meeting would be tricky to chair and I am not sure I could volunteer to do that

A brave attempt was made by Red Line TV here: https://youtu.be/q9pwiS9Tv3Q

The trans debate has become really hostile and closed in my view with many feaful of expressing viewd or even asking questions for fear of being accused of transphobia

Karin gave a robust response to the question.’

I’ve emailed the secretary back, stating that I merely want the email passed on to the LGBTQ+ officer. I also say that because of the toxicity of the issue, I don’t want a debate because we need to be united against everything the Tories are doing to working people.

‘Dear Aileen,

Thank you for your kind reply and the link to the debate on the trans issue by Red Line media. I completely understand your reluctance to chair a debate on the issue because it has become just so toxic and polarising. I’d be happy if you just passed it on to the LGBTQ+ officer. My point in writing is simply to point out that, in my view, Labour Women’s Declaration have a legitimate ethical and scientific case. And also that, as mad as it sounds, there are Marxists who wish to go further and use the gay and trans movements not to promote tolerance and inclusion, but as a form of political indoctrination. 

I was also very impression with Karin’s defence, and have emailed her to tell her so.

I do not wish to cause division in the party over this issue, and especially not as I’m sure there is so much else we all can agree on. And not now when the Tories are so deep on their assault on working people of all colours, sexuality and gender identity. I note from an article in yesterday’s Independent that they have removed a pledge to support abortion and women’s sexual health rights from a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office statement on religious freedom and gender equality. This shows to me that they intend to go follow the Americans in trying to ban abortion, as Karin and so many other people warned on Thursday. I also note from American news on the Net that the House of Representatives is hurrying to pass legislation safeguarding gay and interracial marriage. And right-wingers like Michael Knowles are asking their followers if gay marriage should be the next right to be overturned.

These are grim times, and I hope whatever our respective views on the trans issue, we can all come together to resist Tory profiteering, the cuts to the NHS and its stealth privatisation, the continuing destruction of the welfare state and the attempts to strip women of their rights to abortion. As well as any attacks on gay marriage if they attempt that.

Yours with very best wishes,

Dave Sivier’

i Newspaper Reports that Britain Has Repealed Commitments to Abortion and Female Sexual Health Rights

July 19, 2022

This is another subject that came up at the local Labour party meeting last Thursday. Local Labour MP Karen Smyth and the others were extremely worried what the Tories would do over here after the Roe vs. Wade ruling was overturned last week in the US supreme courts. They were afraid that the Tories were going to try the same thing over here, and wanted to enshrine abortion rights into UK law, regardless of personal conscience. They were not wrong, as this report by Senna Sandhu in today’s I, which states that the government has removed the commitment to abortion and other sexual health rights in a report from the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office. This begins

Government quietly removes commitments to women’s rights after summit on freedom of beliefs

Commitments to abortion and sexual health rights have been quietly removed by the Government from an international pact on freedom of belief and gender equality.

References to repealing discriminatory laws that threaten women’s “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “bodily autonomy” have been removed from a statement published on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website.

The FCDO told i that access to sexual and reproductive health remained a priority and that the statement was amended to get rid of a perceive ambiguity – but did specify the problem.

Sexual health activists said the amendments raised concerns about the UK Government’s position in the wake of abortion rights being rolled back in the US.

Lisa Hallgarten​, head of policy and public affairs at Brook, which specialises in sexual health for younger people, told i: “The whole point of the original statement is to recognise the need to support the right to religious belief and practice, but ensure it is not at the expense of the fundamental rights of women and girls.

“By changing the language, the purpose and effect of this statement are fatally undermined, and religion appears to trump human rights.”

The original statement was released around the time of the London 2022 International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), hosted by the UK Government on 5 and 6 July.’

For further information, see https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/government-quietly-removes-commitments-to-women-s-rights-after-summit-on-freedom-of-beliefs/ar-AAZKyib?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=e791c1670503466bbcb25fdbfa5de8fc

This could be the beginning of a very nasty wedge. I gather from a report on YouTube that the House of Representatives over the other side of the Pond are seeking to pass legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage. Like any government has any business bringing back slavery era laws intended to protect the purity of the White race as part of a raft of legislation intended to keep White from socialising with Blacks. Or any other non-White people.

I remember that after the supreme court ruling, American conservatives were pouring scorn on the fears of left-wingers like Robert Reich that after Roe vs. Wade, the Republicans would seek to overturn same-sex marriage and other recently won rights. Now I note that Michael Knowles, another American conservative, is asking his followers if they support same sex marriage or not. And there was another conservative YouTuber over there who asked which right the Republicans should strike down now. This included same-sex marriage.

Some of the best videos I saw on YouTube commenting on gays obtaining the right to marry after the legislation was passed came from Christians, who very definitely didn’t see it as a threat. There was a woman stating that she was still in a Jesus-centred heterosexual marriage with her husband. Another was of a bloke poking around in a field trying to see if gays had suddenly dropped out of the sky or were hiding in his hay stack doing ‘homosexual things’. Obviously he couldn’t find any, which was the point. Gay marriage affects only gays. It doesn’t affect anybody else, or derogate from the marriage of husband and wife.

But despite all the denials, it looks like the American right is coming for gay marriage. And where they lead, our Tories follow, as this disturbing article reveals.

It’s been years since same sex-marriage was legalised over here. I’ll admit it still seems strange to me, having been a teenager in the 80s. Despite the growing gay rights movement, there was still a vicious homophobia around. I can also remember listening with incredulity when I was a schoolkid when one of the older lads told us about a piece of Wicker’s World the previous night, when the great travel broadcaster had a covered a gay wedding in Las Vegas.

But the world has moved on. Since the 90s young people have been far more tolerant and accepting towards gays. Straight people have gay friends, and the majority of people haven’t been bothered for a long time about the sexuality of certain slebs and their partners. People like Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady, Alan Carr and others. I hope that if they try stripping gay marriage away, they’ll have a fight on their hands.

Just like I hope they have a fight if they try stripping these vital women’s rights away.

Lotus Eaters Now Blaming Migrants for the Housing Crisis

June 21, 2022

I had to blog about this, as it’s another example of the right-wing media only telling you one side of the story. Yesterday or the day before the Lotus Eaters put up a video claiming that the housing crisis was a result of immigrants taking up so much housing, and no doubt looking at the channel migrants in particular as they did so. Because they should all be deported to Rwanda, of course. They argued that immigration was the source of the housing shortage, and thus all the new building work that is threatening to cover our green and pleasant land with concrete, as the British birth rate is 1.24, below that needed to maintain the population. The reason why our population is growing, however, is because of immigration. Now the Lotus Eaters are fervent Brexiteers, hate Woke and are very strong opponents of immigration. But they’re not wrong. I believe the Pears Cyclopedia 1984 edition said the same nearly 40 years ago. It’s solid fact, rather than racist myth. Mind you, I also believe that that the population has grown also because people are living longer and not dying off as young as they did, and so there’s a younger generation growing up at the same time as its grandparents and great-grandparents are still alive. But possibly for not much longer if Johnson and his foul effluvium have their way. In the past decade they’ve been in power, life expectancy has gone into reverse so that the present generation has a shorter life expectancy than we did.

Now for what John, Callum and Sargon aren’t telling you. The welfare state and capitalism need a population that’s stable or growing. Years ago, the Financial Times wrote that the welfare state was maintained by the contributions of the present generation of workers, which were needed to maintain the level of benefits to support the older generation. Fewer people being born means less money being paid into the welfare state,, equals cuts to welfare provision. This presumably is the thinking behind the Tories’ decision back in the ’90s to try and get people paying into private ‘workplace’ pension schemes rather than the state pension, and why the state pension’s been kept low. It’s also no doubt being used to support the cuts to the welfare state in general, following Thatcher’s line that we now can’t afford to support everybody and people should have to look out for themselves. This may not affect the Lotus Eaters, as their smug sneers about ‘socialism’ and ‘leftists’ and general support for unfettered capitalism suggests to me they come from monied backgrounds. But I could be wrong.

But capitalism also requires a stable or growing population. It’s all about consumer demand, you see. The more people, the more demand for goods and services, which in turn stimulates production and should produce more profits and less unemployment as workers are taken on to produce the goods. If you have fewer people, you have less demand, declining profits and rising unemployment.

Immigrants help solve these problems, because they tend to put more into the welfare state than they take out in terms of benefits and so on. And by maintaining or expanding the population, they help to create the demand that powers industry.

And I suspect some of the demand for new housing is local to certain parts of the country. A few years ago the ‘Communist’ BBC as the Lotus Eaters no doubt think of the Corporation produced a documentary following a prospective Romanian immigrant as he tried to find accommodation over here. He ended up sleeping rough in one of the London parks. At one point he went north seeking available homes. He found a whole street-load, boarded up and deliberately kept empty. Because some obscure reason of capitalism. He was obviously not impressed, and made the obvious comment that it was stupid to have houses go empty when people needed them.

I think – and this is only my impression – that some of the migration pushing up house prices and creating demand is internal. People from the declining north, or some of them, are moving south in search of work and opportunities. People in the countryside are being priced out of local homes by rich outsiders seeking second homes. And respect to the council the other day that was reported to have banned this! Here in Bristol local people are being priced out of the housing market due to recent migrants, not from Africa, Asia or Jamaica, but from London. As a result, some Bristolians are looking towards places like Wales and the borders for affordable homes, which is going to push the prices up there. And so there’s a knock-on effect.

And last but not least, the Tories and the Heil can take some of the blame. In order to keep the economy afloat, I think it was George Osborne who linked some part of our financial performance to house prices. As a result, house prices have to be kept high. Quite apart from the Daily Heil in the ’90s constantly advising its readers on the ‘money’ pages to invest in brick and mortar as part of the ‘buy to rent’ boom. People have done that, leaving less homes around for people, who actually want to live in them to purchase.

Yes, I think there are a lot of problems surrounding immigration that need proper discussion and solution. There are problems of assimilation and integration, and while I don’t like Kemi Badenoch’s party, I think she is right about growing segregation. That’s been going on for some time, since at least the beginning of this century. The concentration on race is probably a part of it, but only a part. But you can’t blame immigrants solely for the housing shortage and new building work.

Hidden behind this is also an anti-feminist agenda. Sargon and the other Lotus Eaters have the same anti-feminist views as American conservatives. In their view, the population decline is due to modern women choosing not to settle down and marry but concentrate on having careers. They’d like to return to the old traditional family in which mum stayed at home to raise the kids and Dad worked to support them. Now I think that if they were given the choice, more women probably would stay home to look after their children. But they don’t have a choice. Since women entered the workforce, it’s been argued that the economy has responded so that families need the income from both parents to pay off mortgages and buy the family groceries. However, this claim also needs examination as I’ve also read that long before the 70s families needed both parents to work. And back in the 30s and 40s, women didn’t have a choice about not working. Some of the firms in Bristol would not employ married women with children, which was a real problem for women running away from abusive or criminal husbands.

The decline of the existing, traditional populations is also one of the arguments against abortion. If all the kids lost to abortion were allowed to come to term and live, then the population would be growing. This isn’t necessarily a racist argument. Turning Point, an arch-conservative think tank, put up a video of one of its presenters challenging a young woman on the issue. He argued that the reason the Black population has remained at 13% in the Land of the Free is due to abortion. If there was less abortion, the population would expand. She was obviously racist for being in favour of abortion, and hence fewer Blacks, while he wanted more of them. I don’t want to get into the politics of abortion, except to say that it includes major issues of bodily autonomy, female healthcare, the dangers of a return to backstreet abortions and poverty. What happens in the case of women too poor to bring their children up? Conservatives like Thomas Sowell already blame the welfare state for the decline of the Black family, but without it many women would be too poor to have the children Conservatives would like them to. In the 1920s Mussolini got very worried about falling Italian birthrates, and one of the methods he chose to tackle it, apart from getting women out of the workplace, was providing something like the equivalent of family allowance. Perhaps, if the Tories want women to stay at home and raise their families they should consider providing them with a state income for doing so. But I can imagine the screams and horror from the right if someone dared suggesting that. They shouldn’t, not if they’re good classicists. The later Roman emperors were so worried about the declining population of their empire, they passed legislation giving first Italians, and then all Roman citizens throughout the empire, a kind of family allowance. Possibly not something Johnson wants to be reminded of, for all he goes on about how wonder the Romans were.

Years ago New Scientist covered this issue with an interview on demographics. A declining birthrate is happening not just in the West, but also in Japan and China. Way back in the 90s one of the leading Japanese newspapers was so worried about it that they published an article that declared that if it carried out, in one thousand years the Japanese would be extinct. They also tried encouraging men to take an extra day off work to improve marital relations with their wives and so make more little Japanese. This got an angry response from a housewife, who said that relations between married couples didn’t improve simply because the husband was at home. China and India are also suffering from a shortage of women because of generations of infanticide. What the New Scientist demographer noted, was that the countries that have the highest birthrate have the less macho cultures and men are prepared to share the childrearing. Thus Scandinavia has a higher birthrate than Italy, and China and Japan, which have the same traditional attitudes to the division of labour, also have a low birthrate. In the case of Japan, there’s also the problem that young Japanese aren’t dating and having sex. Some even say that it revolts them. A decade ago there was a Radio 4 programme reporting this phenomenon and asking why it was so. I honestly don’t know, but I’m sure someone will blame video games.

The birthrate is also falling all over the world, although obviously in developing countries it is still much higher than over here. But Africa loses very many of its infants to appalling rates of infant mortality, so its population is very stable. In fact, there are fears that if the population continues to fall in some of these nations, their population will actually decline.

Which bring me to another point: the same demographer predicts a population crash throughout the globe in the middle of this century. This obviously contradicts the predictions of the various scientists and experts of the ’70s, who were worried about the ‘population bomb’. If this happens, countries will instead compete with each other to attract migrants. P.D. James’ SF film, Children of Men, showed that. It’s a dystopian movie in which the human race has become infertile. As a result, there’s massive political instability, but Britain has managed to keep order by becoming a quasi-Fascist state. But migrants from the rest of the world are invited, as shown by Arab mule trains around London. The hero in the story is charged with protecting an immigrant woman, who’s become the first in a very long time to become pregnant. Its a chilling movie, and one which marks a departure from the detective novels with which she made her name. But it was chilling realistic and had a point.

There are issues with immigration, but it ain’t the sole cause of the housing shortage, nor is the solution the Lotus Eaters want underneath it palatable to today’s women wanting independence. It may not even be one that works. We might instead be better off passing legislation giving greater assistance to manage family and work, like perhaps more maternity leave, and encouraging dad to share some of the housework more. But those aren’t good, Conservative attitudes and involve capitulating to feminism and greater state legislation of industry. But this terrifies the Lotus Eaters, and so they ain’t going to tell you about it. Except to argue against it.

Email from Local Labour MP Karin Smyth about Health and Social Care Bill

April 8, 2022

I got a message today from my local constituency MP, Karin Smyth, who holds Bristol South for Labour informing me about the progress and attempts by Labour and the House of Lords to amend the government’s vile Health and Social Care bill. I’d written to her previously as part of a campaign to defend the NHS from the government’s latest push for privatisation by We Own It, and she has sent me messages before keeping me updated on this issue. She’s a supporter of Keir Starmer, but I have to give her due credit for working hard to protect the NHS and I believe that she does work hard for her constituents. As you can see, she is pleased that they have been able to keep private healthcare companies off the new NHS boards, but the opposition was not able to stop the further centralisation of power in the hands of the Health Secretary. She also describes how the act does nothing to solve the problem of understaffing in the NHS and social care sector, among other criticisms.

I don’t believe for a single moment that the government has any intention of solving these problems. The Tories have been pushing for the privatisation of the NHS ever since Thatcher, an aim that Alan Milburn in Blair’s government also shared. Blair, however, kept the NHS well funded. BoJob is doing the opposite to run it down ready for privatisation, which will no doubt be applauded by right-wingers like Alex Belfield, GB News and the Murdoch press. Here’s the email:

Dear David 

Last week, MPs debated Lords amendments to the Health and Care Bill. I am writing to update you further to our previous correspondence.

As you know, this wide-ranging Government Bill covers NHS structural reorganisation, procurement, an expansion of powers to the Health Secretary, social care charges and public health measures.

Like many in the health sector, I agree with the objective of more integrated health and care services. But I am concerned that this Bill represents a rushed, top-down reorganisation that will fail to integrate care and erode local accountability. It will do nothing to address workforce shortages or improve the standards of health and social care.

I commend members of the House of Lords who secured several amendments to improve the Bill, including powers to create a new licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures, provisions to ban hymenoplasty, positive recognition towards parity of esteem for mental health, and the introduction of mandatory training on learning disabilities and autism for all regulated health and care staff providing these services.

I am pleased that, at every stage, Labour has sought to amend the Bill to remove any possibility that private firms can have any role on the boards of Integrated Care Systems, as well as ensuring transparency around the awarding of contracts to non-NHS providers. Following pressure from the House of Lords, the Government amended the Bill to prevent chairs of these new boards appointing members involved with the private sector, who could undermine the independence of the health service. I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a comprehensive, integrated, and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.

The House of Commons also supported an amendment to continue the provision of telemedical abortion services. Maintaining the existing provision of at-home early medical abortion following a telephone or video consultation with a clinician is crucial for women’s healthcare. Not only did that preserve access to a vital service during the pandemic, it enabled thousands of women to gain access to urgently needed care more quickly, more safely and more effectively. I believe it is right that women’s healthcare reflects the needs of those whom it serves.

I am disappointed, however, that the Government rejected several Lords amendments, including proposals for a consultation on a scheme to regulate the prices and profits of tobacco manufacturers and importers, with the funds raised to reduce smoking prevalence and improve public health. Smoking is responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest in society. I urge Ministers to publish their delayed Tobacco Control Plan and ensure its focus is on eradicating these vast health inequalities.

On workforce, there is a shortage of 100,000 staff across the NHS as well as 105,000 vacancies in social care. Staff and NHS leaders across the country are exhausted after their heroic efforts of the past two years. They are burned-out and overstretched, and there are simply not enough of them. Despite chronic shortages, the Government rejected a Lords amendment that would have required Ministers to publish – every two years – a full and transparent assessment of current and future workforce requirements. Health and care services must have the workforce they need to deliver safe high-quality services now and in the future. This amendment was an opportunity for Ministers to ensure a strategic, long-term approach to health and care workforce planning. I am disappointed they rejected it.

More widely, I agreed with the Lords’ decision to overturn a Government amendment to change the social care cap, which campaigners and health charities warned would leave people with low levels of wealth exposed to very high care costs. Unfortunately, Ministers rejected the Lords’ decision, and their amendment was reinstated. I am concerned that it will leave people with moderate assets living in poorer areas forced to sell their home to pay for their care, while wealthier people from richer parts of the country will be protected.

The Bill also gives, in my view, unnecessary and sweeping powers to the Health Secretary to intervene in the running of NHS services. It includes a requirement for Ministers to be informed of every single service changes and every single reconfiguration, with the Health Secretary deciding whether each should go ahead; effectively ending the operational independence of NHS England. While I supported a Lords amendment to prevent excessive ministerial interference in the NHS, the Government rejected it and these powers were reinstated into the Bill.

This is a moment of great pressure on the NHS: a record six million people are now waiting for treatment and public satisfaction with the NHS is at its lowest level in 25 years. Yet this Bill fails to address these immediate challenges. It does nothing to improve the provision or quality of social care and it will not achieve better integration or strengthen accountability to patients.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth MP
Labour MP for Bristol South’

Loach’s Documentary Shows Why We Still Need the Attlee Government

October 4, 2021

The Spirit of ’45, director Ken Loach, Dogwoof, Sixteenfly Limited, British Film Institute & Channel 4.. Running time 92 minutes, with 420 minutes of extras, 2013 release.

This superb documentary provides great evidence for one of the real reasons Keef Stalin has purged Loach from the Labour party. Quite apart from being a staunch critic of Israeli barbarism, Loach is a socialist whose films show the misery, poverty and degradation inflicted by capitalism. This documentary shows not just the great achievements of Attlee’s reforming government of 1945, but why we still need these reforms today. Why, indeed, we do need to turn the clock back against the Thatcherites to 1945 again. And as an ardent Thatcherite, that’s something Keef and his cohorts really can’t tolerate.

The film consists of interviews with ordinary men and women, former workers in the affected industries, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals as well as academics, along with interviews and footage from the period. These include tales of real struggle and hardship, often moving, and sometimes inspiring anger. It begins by describing the horrendous conditions people lived in before the foundation of the welfare state. One man describes how, as a child, he and his four siblings lived in a slum crawling with vermin. They had to sleep in the same bed, infested with lice and fleas. This is accompanied by footage showing a hand turning over blankets in a bed in which just about every inch was alive with such parasites. And the man recalls that after a night of this, he was beaten at school for having dirty knees.

The film states that the welfare state and its founders were determined not to repeat the situation following the First World War, where demobbed troops returned to unemployment, depression and poverty. The film is divided into sections for each part of the economy that was nationalised – coal, the Railways, the NHS, housing and electricity.

There had been demands for the nationalisation of the coal industry for decades. It was divided between various coal companies, some of which were extremely small. These companies were individually too poor to pay the miners a decent, living wage. Former miners describe how hard and dangerous conditions were. Miners were paid according to the amount of coal they hewed. They weren’t paid for putting up the props that stopped the mine shafts collapsing. As a result, not enough props were put up and terrible accidents followed. One man recalled seeing one his workmates killed in just such a rock fall because not enough props were put up. Nationalisation resulted in much better conditions, but disappointed many of the miners. They were hoping for something like workers’ control. Instead the same people were left in charge, including one manager, who was appointed leader of the industry, who had written extensively against nationalisation. Naturally this left many miners angry and disappointed.

Medicine before the NHS for working people was poor and expensive. Some workers were covered by insurance schemes for their industries, allowing them to see panel doctors. This did not, however, according to the film, cover their families. I’m not sure about this, because my mother remembers cases in Bristol where family members were seen by the panel doctor, but this may have been the exception. You had to pay to see a doctor, and they weren’t cheap. Very low paid workers, like farm labourers, were paid six shillings a week, and seeing the doctor could cost one of those. Patients were very often in debt to their doctors, who employed debt collectors. Death from disease was common. One man angrily recalls how he became an atheist after the death of his mother, who died following complications in childbirth because she could not afford proper treatment or an abortion. One former GP tells how he went round to call on a family of his patients the very day after the foundation of the NHS. When he inquired after the boy he’d been treating, the mother informed him he was well. But the man could hear coughing, and so continued to ask. The mother replied that the coughing was his brother, who was recovering because they’d given him half of the bottle of cough medicine he’d given to the other boy. When the doctor said he could still hear coughing, the woman replied that it was her mother. When the doctor offered to treat her, she refused, saying they couldn’t afford him. The doctor replied that this morning they could. This part of the documentary includes comments from Jacky Davis, a great campaigner for the NHS and one of the editors, with Ray Tallis, of the excellent book, NHS – SOS.

The railways before nationalisation were in a comparable state as the mines. The rail network was divided between different companies, who also owned their own track. As a result, services by the different railway companies frequently interfered with each other. One old railways worker recalls how one train going to Exeter was held up for half an hour by a train from another company. And the system was incredibly bureaucratic. The first thing to go at nationalisation was the clearing house. This was a massive office of 50+ clerks just passing chits to each other as the various companies billed each other for the use of their services. I suspect something similar goes on in the privatised railways when you buy a ticket that involves more than one network.

The film also describes the massive improvement in housing that came with the government’s programme of building council houses. There were queues to get into these, with many workers amazed that they would live in such massively improved conditions.

The film also covers the nationalisation of the electricity network, with an historian stating that it was generally agreed that it made more sense to nationalise it and amalgamate it into one company than leave it in the hands of a multitude of competing small companies.

The film moves on to the destruction of the welfare state following the election of St. Margaret of Monetarism. All of these have been disastrous. The spit up of the railways led to a series of terrible train disasters, with the companies involved refusing to accept responsibility and blaming each other. It was so appalling that the track had to be renationalised in 2002.

As for the NHS, service is becoming worse as the government has privatised more of it. NHS workers and ordinary folk made it very clear how much they hate its privatisation. One gentleman says that those who want to see it sold off should be put in a bottomless boat, sent out in the North Sea, and told to swim back. I quite agree. Jacky Davis makes it clear that this isn’t making the service cheaper or more economical. Under the NHS, administration costs were 6 per cent. A little while ago they were 12 per cent. Now they’re heading up to American levels of 18-24 per cent.

The NHS has become less efficient because of four decades of Thatcherite privatisation, all for the profit of private healthcare companies.

The film is a superb piece of social history and documentation, directed by one of the masters of British cinema. And makes a very strong case for socialism. Attlee and his government weren’t without their faults, but they created the modern welfare state following the Beveridge Report. This shaped British society for more than three decades afterwards, and which still demands our support against the attacks of the likes of Blair, Starmer and Boris.

Bristol South’s Motion Condemning Keira Bell Decision

February 19, 2021

My local constituency Labour party, Bristol South, passed another motion at the monthly meeting last Thursday, to which I am very strongly opposed. This motion was brought by the LGBTQ+ officer and another, long-standing local party officer and activist condemning the judge’s decision on a case brought by a detransitioning transperson, Keira Bell. As I understand it, Bell had been a minor when she decided that she was in the wrong body. This was supported by the medical professionals who treated her, and she was given gender reassignment treatment, transitioning from a girl to a young man. However, she now believes that this was wrong, and that as a child she was unable to make a proper decision on this immensely serious, life-changing process, and therefore sued. The judge has concurred, ruling in her favour.

This has upset the trans rights lobby and very many LGBTQ+ activists. One of the complaints of a number of gays is that the mainstream, established gay rights organisations such as Stonewall have been captured, as they see it, by the trans lobby, and a proper concern for securing the equality and dignity of ordinary gay and bisexual men and women has been ditched in favour of an inflexible, doctrinaire demand for gay rights. It is an immensely controversial issue. Gender critical feminists, who believe in the reality and primacy of biological sex over gender and the idea that someone can be a member of the opposite sex simply by identifying with it mentally, have been abused as ‘Terfs’ (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and worse. They have received threats of death, rape and sexual mutilation by enraged transgender activists. J.K. Rowling, the author of the ‘Harry Potter’ novels, has been accused of hating transpeople and wanting to kill them simply because she posted a tweet stating that ‘transwomen are not women’. Nothing she said was remotely hateful. Far from it. She actually urged transpeople to have the best life they could, dress how they want and sleep with whoever would have them. She just didn’t regard them as real women. That’s it. But because of this she has been mercilessly pilloried and vilified.

The transition of children is of particular concern. The American lawyer and writer Abigail Shrier has argued in her book that the sudden rise in young girls feeling unhappy with their sex and wishing to transition into boys does not come from an authentic confusion or dissatisfaction with their sexual identity. Many of the young people affected have previously shown no unhappiness with it, or any desire to transition. Rather this sudden desire to change sex is a psychological illness created partly by the promotion of gender and trans ideology on the internet acting on deep-seated but common anxieties about sex and their bodies that many girls go through when entering puberty. She compares it to other, pernicious and destructive psychological diseases such as anorexia and bulimia. There have also been concerns that many of the young people, who were persuaded by organisations like the Tavistock institute, that they are transgender are in fact merely autistic, and that the psychological symptoms of that condition have been misinterpreted. Gender critical gays and lesbians have also claimed that many of the children, who are put forward for gender treatment, are in fact not transgender but simply gays, who don’t conform to gender-typical norms. Again, Linehan and his friends and conversationalists in the gay community have expressed concerns that many of the parents of children treated by the Tavistock institute and elsewhere, were homophobic. They were unable to come to terms with the possibility that their child might be gay, finding it easier to believe instead that they were in the wrong body. If this is true, then these gender critical gays are absolutely correct to condemn the transitioning of such children as a form of anti-gay conversion therapy, as nasty as the other forms which enlightened governments around the world are seeking to proscribe.

At the moment children confused about their gender identity are given puberty blockers to stave off the onset of physical adulthood. This is intended to give them time to consider properly whether they really want to go through with transition. The drugs are supposed to be safe and fully reversible.

The drugs’ opponents are convinced they are not. In interview on Newsnight, the writer, comedian and broadcaster Graham Linehan stated that the drug used, Lupron, was developed to treat men with terminal prostate cancer. Its effects on teenage girls is unknown.

See: Father Ted creator Graham Linehan on trans rights – BBC Newsnight – YouTube

He and others, who share his concerns, argue that the drugs are not reversible and may have serious physical side effects, such as lower bone density leading to a greater vulnerability to osteoporosis. It is also claimed that 80 to 90 per cent of children, who identify as members of the opposite sex, actually grow out of it once they become adults. They mature into either straight or gay members of their sex. On the other hand, according to one study, the overwhelming majority of children put on puberty blockers go on to cross-sex hormones and then gender reassignment surgery. If this is also true, then the use of puberty blockers as treatment is leading to the transition of children, who don’t need it. Especially as cross section hormones seem to have very serious effects.

I tried to raise these issues with the LGBTQ+ officer in the time allowed for us to ask questions regarding the motion she had proposed. I am not a medical person, and admit that in this matter I am merely an ordinary member of the British public who is influenced by what he sees and reads on the Net. The LGTBQ+ officer’s motion was impressive. She clearly laid out her case and it was supported by footnotes. It was also clear that she was acting from a position of genuine concern with the potential harm done by the judicial decision.

She replied that the drugs are fully reversible, that the loss of bone density was not a danger and that children were not being wrongly transitioned. One of the objections to transgender therapy is that it demands that the patient’s trans identity should also be reinforced and supported. Hence medical professionals may be wrongly convincing confused people that they are transgender. The young woman responded instead that this was not the case, but it had been found that patients responded better if their trans identity was supported. But if the patients decided transitioning was not for them, that would be supported too. She was also worried that the judge’s decision would undermine Gillick, which provides for children to receive contraceptive or abortion advice and assistance without the knowledge or consent of their parents. She dismissed the objections to the use of puberty blockers as misinformation. It was bad science, like climate change denial, especially as much of it came from the religious right.

I strongly disagree. I believe instead that the bad science is that embraced by those supporting the use of puberty blocker and trans ideology. For example, according to the website, Transgender Trend, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on June 30th 2020, reported that NHS England was no longer saying that puberty blockers were fully reversible. The NHS’ website states that GIDS, an organisation closely associated with the Tavistock Institute, advises that puberty blockers are fully reversible if stopped. But it also says that their long-term psychological effects are not known. It also states that the possible side effects of puberty blockers are hot flushes, fatigue and mood changes. The website also removes the previous claim that without such treatment, trans children are vulnerable to self-harm and suicide. I believe this was a claim made by the LGBTQ+ officer, but my memory may well be playing tricks. Instead the NHS simply states that they may suffer from depression, anxiety and distress.

The World.wng.org website also cites a report by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust of December 2nd, 2020, that all but one of a group of children put on puberty blockers then went on to cross sex hormones. This also noted changes in children’s bone density and that their normal growth flatlined. There was also no improvement in their psychological wellbeing. The website also cited Michael Laidlaw, and endocrinologist of Rocklin, California, that there was also a loss of bone density which put such children at risk of stunted height and osteoporosis.

See: Are puberty blockers reversible? The NHS no longer says so (transgendertrend.com)

Study: Effects of puberty-blockers can last a lifetime – Sexuality – WORLD (wng.org)

It may well be that these sites are aligned with the right. The WORLD site seems to be. But their articles are properly referenced with links to their sources, which includes NHS England and the Beeb’s Woman’s Hour. I therefore believe that objections to this information because of the overall political bias of the sites are false, and trust the information they provide. Which supports what Linehan and others have been saying, as well as the American endocrinology Dr. William Malone in his interview with YouTuber Benjamin Boyce.

As for the objection that the Keira Bell judgement undermines Gillick, I do not believe that the two are entirely comparable. Transgender treatment leads to profound, permanent physical changes that affect a person for the rest of their life. It also has to be said that the children coming for such treatment are too young that in law they are barred from seeing certain types of film, buying alcohol and tobacco and so on. The fact the law deems them incapable of purchasing those items in the views of the gender critical movement supports the idea that children are not capable of deciding whether or not they wish to change gender.

I say here that I certainly do not hate transpeople. I have every sympathy with those who are confused about their gender. I do not wish them, nor anyone else, to be harmed or victimised in any way. But I think the current transgender ideology, and particularly as it is applied to children, is doing immense unintended harm.

I therefore believe that while Bristol South’s motion was proposed and passed in entirely good faith and from the very best motives, it is utterly and profoundly wrong and mistaken. I therefore fully support the Keira Bell judgement.

The German Communist Party’s 1931 Demands for Women’s Equality

November 4, 2020

One of the other books I’ve been reading during the lockdown is The German Left and the Weimar Republic: Selection of Documents, edited by Ben Fowkes, (Chicago: Haymarket Books 2014). The Weimar Republic was the name given to Germany for the all too brief period from the end of the First World War to the the Nazi seizure of power in 1933/4. It was a tumultuous period which saw the brief rise of workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ council seize power briefly, the brutal suppression of soviet republics up and down Germany by the Freikorps, the rise of the Nazis, and splits in the majority Germany socialist, the SPD, which produced the USPD (Independent Socialist Party of Germany), the SAP (Socialist Workers’ Party) and the German Communist Party. The book collects a number of documents from these left-wing parties and movements, which reveal their policies and attitudes towards some of the most important issues of the day.

In 1931 the KPD proposed a law to protect and give full equal rights to working women. I’m putting this up, because while I’m very definitely not a Communist, these demands show how far ahead of their time the Communists were. Women’s right to work was attacked by the Nazis, who saw women’s proper sphere as ‘Kinder, Kirche, Kuche’ – children, church and kitchen. And although governments now are keen, or claim to be keen, to promote women’s equality in politics, culture, industry and science, the laws protection working women from exploitation and arbitrary dismissal have been and are being rolled back. This is line with the general attack on worker’s employment rights and job security.

The KPD proposals ran

We call on the Reichstag to demand that the government introduce a bill to protect and give full equality of rights to working women according to the following principles:

  1. Establishment of complete economic, cultural and political equality of rights between women and men. All laws and emergency ordinances that contradict this are to be abrogated with immediate effect.
  2. Women in all enterprises in industry and agriculture, doing the same work as men, are to be paid wages at the same level as men. The longest daily working time for women is to be set at seven hours, with full wage equality, while for unhealthy and heavy work, as well as for young females below the age of 18, it is to be set at six hours.
  3. (Similar provisions for office workers).
  4. Working women are to have a fully equal right to occupy all posts in all professions. Women workers, office employees and civil service officials are not be dismissed because they are married. All working women are to receive free professional training appropriate to their professional capacity.
  5. All unemployed women must have a legal right to full unemployment insurance payments without means testing or reference to the income of family members. Every kind of compulsory labour or compulsory re-training is prohibited. The right to receive social insurance during the whole period of unemployment is to be guaranteed.
  6. All working women employed in industry, agriculture, commerce and transport and domestic work as well as women in the so -called free professions, housewives and the female relatives or working peasants are to be included in the social insurance system.
  7. Dismissal of pregnant women is legally prohibited up to the 12th month after the birth of the child. The pregnant woman is to receive full pay and be exempt from work from eight weeks before until eight weeks after the birth. Nursing mothers are to receive half and hour twice a day for breast-feeding their children, without any reduction in wages. Maternity homes in sufficient numbers are to be made available to all working women, also creches for babies and children up to three years old, nurseries for children from three to school age. These services are to be provided free of payment. They are to be directed and supervised by control committees made up of delegates from the working population, mainly women.
  8. The interruption of pregnancy is to be permitted by law. The contrary paragraphs of the penal code (184 Section 3 and 28) are to be abolished. All persons condemned under the previous abortion paragraphs are to be amnestied immediately, and all current cases are to be terminated. Abortion carried out by a doctor and the provision of the means to avoid pregnancy count as medicate help in the national system of insurance.
  9. When entering marriage, the woman retains her right to decide independently in all legal and personal matters. She is not dependent on the husband in any of her decisions. After marriage, the women may take the name of her husband, but she may also continue to be known under her maiden name. She has the same parental power over her children as the man.
  10. All exceptional provisions dealing with the unmarried mother and the illegitimate child are removed. Every unmarried women has the right to be bear the title of ‘Frau’. In mixed marriages, the choice of nationality is left to the woman.

Obviously, abortion rights are still extremely controversial today. And one of the reasons for the introduction of zero hours contracts and firms insisting that their employees should sign documents stating that they are self-employed is deny women rights like maternity leave. And unemployed women and men are required to go for compulsory retraining and work under Blair’s wretched ‘welfare to work’ initiative. Which is another Tory idea taken from the Americans.

The reduction of the working day for women would be controversial today. More women work part-time than men because they do the majority of work rearing children and running the home. A week or so ago someone proposed that women’s working day should therefore be shortened generally for those reasons. But one of the drawbacks of this would be that women would need to be paid more than men in order to close the gender income gap. Many men on the political right already feel that they will be discriminated against regarding pay rates because of this.

The KPD made these demands nearly 90 years ago, and despite many of them having been introduced over the following decades, we still need to follow their recommendations to defend the rights of all working women along with workers generally.