If there is one area of public policy that cries out for the absence of wild-eyed, spittle-flecked, scripture-quoting fanatics, it is surely abortion law. Few issues so urgently require the striving for dispassionate rationality that is so vanishingly rarely associated with the religionist mindset.
Was ever that logic-mocking mindset better illustrated than in this rallying of the forces of unreason for the purpose of strident railing against something which even they acknowledge simply doesn’t exist
Should there be any doubt about the demented nature of this new anti-abortion alliance – branded “Don’t Stop a Beating Heart”, as if to signal its hyper-emotive rhetoric – then that doubt must evaporate in the face of their perfectly mad claim that a proposal for legislative reform which doesn’t even exist could lead to legal abortion “up until the point of birth”.
Depressingly, there are elements within the British parties in Scotland who will eagerly latch onto the rhetoric in the hope of encouraging the impression that the SNP administration is actually entertaining such ideas. They will insist on referring to these phantom “proposals” as if they were real. The language was chosen, in part at least, because it would be useful to the anti-SNP propaganda effort. Thus, the religionists enlist the aid of media-visible British politicians – many of whom would, under normal circumstances, cross the road in haste to avoid being associated with such a group, but who are prepared to set aside any and all scruples in the name of attacking their political nemesis.
There is, too, something deeply offensive about the assumption – on both sides of the abortion debate – that the democratically elected Scottish Parliament and an administration with a clear mandate from the people of Scotland as well as a strong track record is somehow less to be trusted with decisions in such matters than a parliament with a record of disastrous decisions and a government that was decisively rejected by Scotland’s voters.
At which juncture unionists will be tripping over one another to point out that mandate-devoid David Mundell has relented and deigned to grant the Scottish Parliament powers over abortion law. But one would have to be pathologically naive to suppose that he did so in recognition of this being where such powers should rightfully reside. A more realistic perspective would see Mundell being motivated by the same insulting assumptions referred to above. Basically, he has decided to devolve abortion law because he reckons it will cause major headaches for the SNP administration. He sees it as a fine embellishment to all the other political and fiscal traps which adorn the latest incarnation of the Scotland Bill.
In the British nationalist caricature of Scotland, this latest coalition of illiberal cultists is depicted at the heart of Scottish politics. Here in the real world, let’s relegate it to the lunatic fringe where it belongs.