Archive for the ‘Scotland’ category

Abortion T-shirt controversy.

July 3, 2007

A Scottish teenager has been threatened with expulsion from her school if she again wears a T-shirt to her school with the “abortion is murder” slogan on it. The teenage girl, Sarah Scott, wore the T-shirt to school on a mufti day, and has been warned not to wear it again due to it being offensive, despite other t-shirts being allowed that offend some people, such as ones promoting pornography. I have heared of similar stories of pro-life T-shirts being banned from schools before, and at first it may appear to be another case of “pro-choice” hypocrisy.

However one would be well advised to find out all the facts behind the story before jumping to conclusions. I personally agree with Scott that abortion is murder, but do understand that there are many people who do not share this view and may find the T-shirt message offensive. The ban would be justified if it applied to all T-shirts with political messages on them, or all T-shirts that could be deemed offensive (which doesn’t appear to be the case). However if the ban was applied only to ones with an anti-abortion message on them, it would be unjustified, and a violation of her right to free speech. Regardless of the circumstances, the expulsion threat is a big punishment for a small ofense, and makes it appear the heavy handed approach is being done for ideological reasons, not because of any offense it caused anyone.

Political change in the UK

May 24, 2007

Alex Salmond of the SNP has been elected Scotland’s first minister, heading a SNP-Greens coalition, dependent on the Liberal Democrats. This means that the SNP can still govern Scotland, but there will be no referendum on independence. Also, as all readers will probably know, Tony Blair is stepping down as UK Primeminister  to Gordon Brown.
hat tip: No Right Turn

Election results

May 7, 2007

In Scotland, the elections on Thursday have seen significent changes to the composition opf the Scotish parliament. Not unexpectedly, the SNP gained 20 more seats giving it a total of 47. The result also placews the SNP slightly ahed of Labour, which goes down 4 seats to 46. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each dropped a seat each to 17 and 16 respectivly. The small parties sufered heavily with the Greens going down from 7 seats to 2, and the Scotish Socialists lost  all 4 of their seats, and Solidarity both ofthe two seats they previously held. The number of independents were cut from 5 to 1. This should lead to some interesting coalition negotiations. In order to govern, both the SNP and Labour need two of the Greens, Conservatives and Lib Democrats. The Greens and SNP have a fair amount of common ground including joint opposition to nuclear power and support for a independence referendum. However the Liberal Democrats will not work with the SNP, labbeling the indepence referenda (which the Liberals Democrats strongly oppose) a “fundamental barier” (source http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6631053.stm ). There are also a large number of spoiled ballot papers which could mean the result may be legally challenged.

Meanwhile  France also went to the polls lately. Yesterday, with an 85% turnout, French voters elected Nicholas Sarkozy has been elected president, with 53% of the vote. The election was a classical left vs right battle with Sarkozy promising to cut taxes by 4%, allowing people to work more than 35 hours per week if they wish, and get tough on crime. This will ba paid for by cutting the civil service, which take up a stafgering 45% of Frances national government. Given the serious state of Frances current  economic problems, incluing little economic growth and high unemployment, one can only help these policies will put France back on the right track.

Interesting election in Scotland

May 4, 2007

Today they are busy counting the votes of yesterdays Scotish election. The main parties are the Labour Party, the Scotish National Party, the Liberal Democrats (another center left party) and the Conservative Party. The Scotish National party is hoping to hold a referenda on Scottish independence, with the aim of seceding from the United Kingdom, and have made this demand a “non-negotiatable” part of any coalition deal. This means that a SNP win could mean the breakup of the United Kingdom as polls show a majority of Scotish voters are in favour of indepence. Given that in the 2005 UK election only one Scotish electorate was won by the Tories, but 40 Scotish electorates were won by labour, Scotish independence could make it significently more difficult for Labour to win future elections in whats left of the UK. The latest results give Labour 32 (loosing 7 seats), SNP 31 (gaining 16 seats), 11 to the liberal democrats (loosing 1) and 6 to the conservatives (loosing 1). There are 48 seats left to be declared.