I have to confess that, when I first heard about the so-called ‘rape clause’ being introduced by the Tories, I didn’t believe it. My initial reaction was to treat it as ‘fake news’. I honestly thought that somebody had concocted the whole thing in order to discredit Theresa May’s government. Or that it was an attempt at a satirical spoof, albeit in rather poor taste.
I did wonder why anybody would go to that much trouble to discredit a regime that is doing such a bang-up of bringing itself into disrepute. But I still found the story quite incredible.
But it’s true!
I was aware, of course of the Tories’ plans to limit welfare benefits to the first two children. As it turns out, the heartlessness of this measure was insufficient for them. What the policy needed in order to be truly representative of Tory ‘values’ was the inhumanity of forcing rape victims to relive the horror of their experience in order to qualify for support for any child thereby conceived.
The obscene ugliness of Tory ideology truly puts them beyond parody.
But even the sociopathic insanity of the so-called ‘rape clause’ isn’t enough for that darling of the British nationalists, Ruth Davidson. She not only leant her support to this malevolent measure – describing it as “the fairest way” to deal with something that only the innately hateful could consider a problem – she also decided to further embarrass herself by attempting to turn the whole sordid mess into a political stick with which to beat the hated SNP. First Davidson dismisses Nicola Sturgeon’s condemnation of the ‘rape clause’ as mere grievance politics. Then she asserts that the First Minister will be “open to the charge of gross hypocrisy” if the Scottish Government doesn’t create a new benefit to mitigate the effects of the rape clause.
It’s difficult to get to grips this argument. The oleaginous derangement of it is such that it slips away from the grasp of rational counter-argument. Our language seems not to be equipped for the task. It’s like trying to describe a colour using only conjunctions. In Davidson’s mind, the rape clause qualifies for being described using terms such as “fair” and “compassionate” while simultaneously being such as to absolutely require amelioration of it deleterious effects.
This goes way beyond doublethink. This is a pathology. Davidson is one sick individual.
But I see a possible ploy here. There’s the possibility that all of this is no more than a bit of traditional British deviousness. Perhaps the rape clause is no more than a device to divert attention from the almost equally unpalatable Family Cap – a reworking of China’s ‘one child’ policy with any residual reasonableness sucked out of it. The ‘one child’ policy forbade people from bringing additional children into the world. The Tories go one better by adding a provision that says in effect, if you do bring additional children into the world, the state will treat them as ‘non-persons’. And let’s not get into how this policy disproportionately disadvantages the Tories’ favourite targets, the poor and immigrants.
What Tory attacks on civilised society are being snuck through while we’re all being distracted by the rape clause?
It seems somehow inappropriate to talk about normal politics at the same as discussing things like the rape clause. But there is another aspect to this that we should be mindful of. Underlying the Family Cap and the rape clause is an ideological imperative which is, not only anathema to decent human beings, but totally contrary to Scotland’s needs. Yet again, we are expected to meekly tolerate a measure being imposed on us which both disgusts us and serves us ill.
What the Tories are attempting is a crude form of population control, allied to some equally crude social engineering. These welfare cuts are intended to reduce the population of the UK by economically culling the poor and immigrants. And, of course, cut the welfare bill. Or, to be more precise, they are intended to give the appearance of doing so, sufficient to satisfy the xenophobic zoomers now driving Tory policy.
But, supposing these measures actually worked as purportedly intended, their assumed effect is precisely the opposite of what Scotland requires. Scotland needs to grow its population. We need more children. We need the state to be supporting children, not only for the kind of moral reasons that cannot be explained to the likes of Ruth Davidson, but from pure self-interest.
Yet again, the British state provides all the persuasive evidence we need to know how urgent it is that we bring Scotland’s government home. I don’t want Scotland to be only a nation where the rape clause is mitigated, at whatever cost. I want Scotland to be a nation where the rape clause wouldn’t even be considered.
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