The SNP’s New MPs 180


There is a good and balanced article in the Guardian on the SNP MPs by Carole Cadwalladr. Thank goodness Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks must have been unavailable. I am struck that of those she chose to interview, Tommy Sheppard (my MP), Mhairi Black, Chris Law, Michelle Thomson, John Nicolson, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh are all people I am on first name terms with and almost all of whom I have shared platforms with. It is quite a small community (though until the selection panel I hadn’t seen John Nicolson for 30 years).

Cadwalladr’s worry that the MPs will become seduced by Westminster has worried me too. But I don’t think it will happen. These are exceptionally strong characters and there is a self-reinforcing group of them, and they have a very active base of supporters with eagle eyes.

Naturally Cadwalladr’s article relays as fact ludicrous Labour claims that the SNP in Scotland does not implement progressive social policies (ignoring no tuition fees, free prescriptions, free geriatric personal care, land reform etc). Given it’s lack of control of fiscal and benefits policy, they could hardly do more. But the general tone of the Cadwalladr article is so far away from the simplistic “SNP evil” line which we normally see from the Guardian, that I shall hope for a while that the departure of the Blair-worshipping clown Rusbridger and his wig may see the paper return to some kind of journalistic values.


180 thoughts on “The SNP’s New MPs

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  • Resident Dissident

    @Glenn

    RD: “Yet another straw man – it is illegal to tattoo under 18 year olds…”

    So as well as making a straw man you are indulging in selective quotation. If you bother to look at the bits you missed out, I was not just making the point that tattooing was illegal – BUT THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION WERE HAPPY WITH THAT LAW AND DID NOT WANT TO SEE IT CHANGED.

    This of course goes back to my main point that a lot of people do not see the arguments in the same black and white way that you do. I also doubt KOWN’s views that there would now be a consensus for a change in law to outlaw circumcision – and it is interesting that Clark also doesn’t think now is the time for legislation on this. Unless you believe in totalitarian methods then I’m afraid having what you believe is a good and sound cause is not enough – you have to convince people to change their views by arguing the case – at the moment the techniques used owe more to the totalitarian than the democrat I’m afraid and I very much doubt you would convince a supporter of circumcision to change their views.

    As for my own views they are largely irrelevant to achieving change – because it is not me that you have to convince. I am not circumcised, none of my kids have been circumcised and I would never dream of doing so. I am also far removed from believing that religion should be allowed to determine public policy – and where there is a public consensus against religious views e.g. gay marriage I am quite prepared to support such changes and in general the more secular a society is the better – the thing is I believe these changes need to be brought about by consensus rather than absolutist demands. Perhaps you should reflect that one of the reasons why the ersatz left is so unsuccessful in achieving change is that they fail to appreciate this fundamental point. I should also add that no I don’t believe in tattoing babies, cutting off their toes (for the second time) and I don’t have any religious beliefs being agnostic – my personal views are one thing (and I are probably more radical and right on than the vast majority of the population), but how I go about changing the views of others and my tolerance of alternative views is where I differ from you.

    I should also comment on your “Whatever you “do to” someone else’s body, requires informed consent or medical necessity, no matter what your delusion might be.” test. I’m afraid that this just doesn’t fit in with parents being responsible for their children, for example what if you have a young child with a hare lip, a debilitating birth mark, who is pregnant after being raped, or just has crooked teeth – there is no medical necessity for any cosmetic surgery or an abortion – so do you wait until they reach an age when they can give consent and the problem is a lot worse. I’m afraid there are some things where you just have to rely on the judgment of the parent (however deluded) when it comes to deciding what is best for their children

    Clark – no I personally don’t believe in smacking children and I have only ever done so rarely in extremis. That said there are probably as many different views on this as there are parents and I very much doubt that legislation or similar is the way to go – better the slow and gradual change that is brought about by the general change in the social environment. I can very much sympathise with anyone being brought up by religious zealots – but again apart from curbing the worst excesses (which does happen in some cases) it is again difficult to see what more could be done. Remember that if you start going after Christian Scientists perhaps the next thing will be someone suggesting interference in how extreme Left wingers bring up and indoctrinate their children.

  • glenn

    RD: My quoting of you was honest. Please don’t entirely sully your reputation in my eyes.

    Of course tattooing of babies is illegal, and of course everyone agrees with that obvious point of law. Are you claiming to be insufficiently intelligent to understand the analogy, between tattooing a baby and performing an act of surgical alteration on a baby? Is that your case?

    If so – and that does appear to be your unintended argument, we might as well leave it at that.

  • Resident Dissident

    RD: My quoting of you was honest. Please don’t entirely sully your reputation in my eyes.

    No it was selective – and missed the important point about I made about consent to that law which I don’t believe is currently there for circumcision. Whether you like it or not some people believe that circumcision is about acceptance of their children into their religion and therefore has an intangible benefit that tattooing does not possess. Just because you believe such people are deluded and wrong, and I might agree with you on a personal level, it doesn’t mean that they can be ignored in a democracy.

    Your paraphrasing of my argument is yet another straw man I’m afraid- or are you insufficiently intelligent to understand?

  • Clark

    Resident Dissident,

    “I also doubt KOWN’s views that there would now be a consensus for a change in law to outlaw circumcision”

    Do you think there’s a consensus for legal restriction of all female genital modification of infants, even that which is comparable in degree and effect to the male infant genital modification known as circumsision?

    RD, you could be doing your bit here for progressive change. You should be able to see where I’m going with this. You often lecture others about directing criticism equally against all offenders against human rights.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    RD

    Your examples of instances where we act without the child’s consent:

    ‘…hare lip, a debilitating birth mark, who is pregnant after being raped, or just has crooked teeth…’

    are examples where we act to improve the child’s quality of life. No such justification can be advanced in defence of circumcision. Instead of curing a disfigurement you create one. You essentially wound and scar a baby. In order to do that you need a damned good reason and, so far as I can see, no one on this thread has come remotely close to supplying one.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    KOWN

    “Instead of curing a disfigurement you create one.”

    ________________________

    I believe you make claim to be a writer.

    As such, you presumably have some idea of aesthetics.

    Do you consider a proud, erect, circumcised penis to e aesthetically inferior to a proud, erect penis with a fold of flesh over its tip?

    Because that seems to be the implication of your use of the word “disfigurement”.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, do you consider aroused, engorged, trimmed labia inferior to aroused, engorged, untrimmed ones? Because that seems to be the implication of opposition to female genital reduction.

    All very silly. The point is, such surgery can be done, but cannot be undone. Genital reduction in infancy deprives the future adult of choice.

  • Clark

    I think this is about subservience to arbitrary rules, even to the point of inflicting them upon the helpless, as in the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment. Which of us here believes that subservience to arbitrary rules is a good, healthy thing, to be encouraged, and to which no opposition should be raised?

    Does anyone imagine that without the various religions and traditions advocating for or even insisting upon such practices, that the idea would occur spontaneously to any but a tiny minority of the population? And what would most of us think of that minority?

  • Clark

    “Oh I know, I’ll insist that my children insert discs of increasing size behind their lower lips so that they end up highly distended. Or how about neck rings to give them extended necks? I don’t know; choices, choices…”.

  • glenn

    Habbabkuk : “Do you consider a proud, erect, circumcised penis to e aesthetically inferior to a proud, erect penis with a fold of flesh over its tip?

    You do have some funny ideas. When erect, it has no foreskin over the tip (or anything approaching it).

  • glenn

    RD: That is a surprisingly disappointing response from you, again – you seem to be content with stating the current law and think that’s the end of the argument. As if that was the only discussion.

    “Whether you like it or not some people believe that circumcision is about acceptance of their children into their religion and therefore has an intangible benefit that tattooing does not possess.

    okay… but what if some parent (who believes in an all-powerful, invisible creator spy-spook – nothing too whacky!) thinks their child would benefit from a set of God-worshiping tattoos?

    The fact that you will not engage with this obvious analogy is very telling.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Glenn

    “You do have some funny ideas. When erect, it has no foreskin over the tip (or anything approaching it).”
    ___________________

    I suspect my ideas are somewhat less funny than your cock if what you’re claiming is meant seriously.

    Get real – and you could try letting KOWN answer. 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Clark

    “All very silly. The point is, such surgery can be done, but cannot be undone. Genital reduction in infancy deprives the future adult of choice.”
    __________________

    Just the choice of whether to have a foreskin or not, or do you have other choices in mind? If so, what are those other choices? And if not, could you set out for us how you believe that single lack of choice might affect their lives whether physically or psychologically?

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Habbabkuk

    It wasn’t an aesthetic judgement, I was using the term disfigurement in the technical dictionary sense of ‘deform or deface’ (OED). It doesn’t matter what term you use, the operation still changes what Mother Nature provided and introduces an imperfection.

    It’s quite possible to regard the resulting imperfection as an aesthetic improvement, presumably african tribes who scarify the cheeks think it looks good, but this is hardly the point. The logic of your position seems to be the justification for the operation is aesthetic, which is to say cosmetic, and most people here will not find that good enough grounds for performing surgery on a baby. Correcting a deformity is one thing, but introducing one because some people contend it looks good is quite another. The child can of course decide to have the operation done later in life if agrees with you that it is aesthetically superior but it’s telling how remarkably few people ever do, isn’t it ?

    All the more surprising when one considers it is supposed to make one ‘a better cocksman’. Clearly unpersuaded by that argument, young men are voting with the foreskins.

    As far as I can see, two reasons have been advanced in defence of this operation. The first that it is traditional and thus we ought not to stop it, or that we ought not interfere in the parents’ rights to perform it. The second that it looks good.

    Neither, in my opinion, are anyway near compelling enough to justify performing a surgically unnecessary operation on a baby.

  • glenn

    Habbabkuk: I don’t wish to go discussing my genitals in great detail on a public forum, if it’s all the same to you. Nevertheless, I have to mention that an erect uncircumcised penis is not – contrary to your assertion – covered with a flap of skin. It retracts, you see, as the penis erects. It’s only actually covered while flaccid.

    Aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder, of course, but it looks fine to me, and I’ve never had any complaints.

  • Resident Dissident

    “are examples where we act to improve the child’s quality of life. No such justification can be advanced in defence of circumcision. Instead of curing a disfigurement you create one. You essentially wound and scar a baby. In order to do that you need a damned good reason and, so far as I can see, no one on this thread has come remotely close to supplying one.”

    That is not of course what two of the world’s major religions say – the problem is that those with a totalitarian mindset just cannot tolerate that others may see things somewhat differently from themselves. Things are just right or wrong in their superior scientific minds and other views are just nonsense that can be dismissed and ignored. Do you understand what damage this mindset has done to the human race over the years?

    If you want to know what Jews and Moslems say about circumcision and the part that it plays in their religion then you can easily find out if you so wish. Whatever you may think the people doing it to their children also believe that it is for the good of their children – and they are not motivated to harm their children.

    Glenn – I am not aware of any major religion supporting tattoos of babies. Saying that anyone religious “believes in an all-powerful, invisible creator spy-spook” just really demonstrates how insulting and intolerant you are of those who don’t share your outlook. Perhaps if another religion came along that did advocate the tattooing of babies then society as a whole might not be as tolerant of their beliefs as to the existing major religions – just like society is not as tolerant of new drugs as it is of religion – but you really are just dealing with a ridiculous hypothetical situation.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Habbabkuk: I don’t wish to go discussing my genitals in great detail on a public forum”

    But you don’t have any problems with asking questions about mine do you?

  • Resident Dissident

    “RD: That is a surprisingly disappointing response from you, again – you seem to be content with stating the current law and think that’s the end of the argument. As if that was the only discussion.”

    This is again a straw man you have seeked to create by your selective quotation – I have made it quite clear that my position was that as well as tattoing being illegal there was general consent for the legal position. Personally I am against tattooing (at any age), circumcision, smoking, religious interference in public matters, those with intolerant views etc. etc – but that does not mean that I am incapable of tolerating and accepting those who have different views. When the State should and not interfere in people’s lives is a very difficult issue over which philosophers and political thinkers have thought hard over the centuries – I’m afraid your simplistic “logic” really doesn’t cut much ice with me.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Res Dis

    Just answer a simple question. What is the reason for circumcision? I’ve stated that you need compelling grounds for performing a medically unnecessary surgical operation on a baby, and I’d like to know what those grounds are. So far you have just advanced arguments for not discontinuing the practice, which is not a reason why it is done. Surely it can’t be that difficult to say what the grounds for it are? More to the point, in order to adjudicate on whether the State should intervene in the parents’ rights we need to know why they want to do it in the first place. And if you could avoid suggesting I have a ‘totalitarian mindset’ for asking such straightforward questions that would be helpful.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    This discussion on circumcision – and the aggressiveness it is arousing in posters like KOWN and Glenn (who usually intervene rarely on this blog)- is somewhat surprising.

    I shall resist the temptation of thinking that they are trying to divert from the issue that started off the “discussion”: namely, the observation that any mention of FGM invariably has someone replying with a ringing denunciation of male circumcision (and it is of course only after repeated reminders that that someone will admit that not only Jews but also Moslems practice male circumcision).

    I can therefore only imagine that they have, in their infancy, suffered some sort of physical trauma (circumcision or other) which has marked them deeply.

    If that is the case, I do wish they would work it out somewhere other than on here. It is very boring.

  • Fiona

    I cannot get over some of the vile comments posted on this blog. I thought it was about the SNP MPs who are grounded people and doing a tremendous job. That’s why SNP’s ratings have risen even higher.

  • Resident Dissident

    “What is the reason for circumcision?”

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=religous+reasons+for+&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGNI_enGB603GB604&q=religious+reasons+for+circumcision+&gs_l=hp..0.0i22i10i30j0i22i30l4.0.0.0.9178………..0.mwVTjKwhwxg

    If you want to argue against why the Jews and Moslems see circumcision as necessary to their religions please be my guest – being an agnostic I don’t believe in their reasoning but I am able to tolerate it as long as society as whole does so. Perhaps you could explain why you don’t see consent and religious tolerance as important to our society?

  • glenn

    Habbabkuk wrote, “… and it is of course only after repeated reminders that that someone will admit that not only Jews but also Moslems practice male circumcision…

    Actually, if you read back I reminded you of that, not the other way around, while also pointing out that a huge number of Americans have this procedure – while very few Americans are Jews or Muslims. Perhaps you overlooked that, being keen to shoe-horn remarks into a category of antisemitism at every opportunity, as is your wont.

    Of course, the more procedures practiced, the more a hospital can bill the patient, so that may go some way to explain the phenomenon.

    And no, snide suggestions aside, I do not have any personal involvement here, no more than I have personal experience with being homeless – it’s simply an injustice as far as I’m concerned.

    *

    RD: Let’s try to start over, shall we? Any text not reproduced in its entirety is going to be selective. I’ve done my best to quote the necessary context to preserve the meaning, sorry if you think it was unfair – that is never the intention.

    Far from introducing a “straw man”, I wanted to discuss two main principles with you, viz:

    a) a procedure being done _to_ another is not the same as making a personal choice.
    b) a tattoo is analogous to having bits chopped off, in terms of its permanent nature.

    For (a), I maintain that only fully informed, consenting adults should have bits of them chopped off for non-medical reasons. I used several examples to illustrate the point, all of which were waved away.

    (b) Tattoos are of course illegal for <18s, but I hoped you would see the analogy, because of their arbitrary and permanent nature. Actually tattoos don't render someone with a desperately troubling physical disability in a troubling proportion of cases.

  • Resident Dissident

    RD: Let’s try to start over, shall we?

    No lets not – I’ve explained my views about the differences between circumcision and tattoos a number of times already I rather doubt that another explanation will help you.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Glenn

    I had meant to leave this boring theme behind, but I owe it to you to respond to your:

    “Actually, if you read back I reminded you of that, not the other way around, while also pointing out that a huge number of Americans have this procedure – while very few Americans are Jews or Muslims. Perhaps you overlooked that, being keen to shoe-horn remarks into a category of antisemitism at every opportunity, as is your wont.”

    I am well aware you aren’t one of the culprits I was referring to. I was thinking of the likes of Mr Scorgie, who has “countered” references to FGM with references to the practice of male circumcision in Judaism on at least three occasions. And I was also thinking of those disgusting creatures who jumped onto the bandwagon by referring to rabbis sucking the babies’ penises after circumcision.

    You are senior enough on this blog to be aware that there are some pretty strong Jew-haters on here.

    And, by the way, I am not Jewish. Nor even ex-Jewish. And not married to a Jew either. 🙂

  • glenn

    Habbabkuk: Thank you, I do appreciate it (your responding).

    Anyone “countering” FGM by referring to MGM is obviously silly. MGM is a topic worthy of examination in itself, IMHO, but nothing like the horror of FGM. In fact, MGM when it goes wrong (which it does, alarmingly often) is comparable to FGM when the latter is done deliberately.

    Yes, there are a few Jew-haters here, as – sadly – you will find in all walks of life. They are best marginalised in my opinion, not given (in Thatcher’s terminology, which I’m sure you appreciate, “The oxygen of publicity”).

    Heck, if you were Jewish, or married to one – it would not matter a scrap to me – go ahead with my full approval! 😉

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    OK, Glenn, I think that more or less wraps it up. We shall no doubt meet again quite soon 🙂

  • Clark

    Resident Dissident, do you believe that society should express disapproval of male genital modification of infants, with a movement towards legislation?

    Alternatively, since other religions call for surgical procedures that are already banned, including some of the least harmful forms of female genital modification, would you see such legislation relaxed on the basis of equality, both religious and sexual?

  • glenn

    Clark: RD has made his point quite clear – and that is to clarify, for our benefit, the current state of the law, and nothing else. Bring up perfectly analogous situations by way of illustration, and RD is eager to label it a “straw man”, to duck out of the awkward discussion that would obviously arise.

    Failure to quote someone else in their entirety is “selective quoting”, and bad, unless it’s RD doing it himself, of course. This also allows the point to be waved away, without being troubled by thinking about it for a moment.

    It’s a well worn tactic by those utterly unwilling to confront what they know to be a genuine problem.

  • Jimmy1

    ludicrous Labour claims that the SNP in Scotland does not implement progressive social policies (ignoring no tuition fees, free prescriptions, free geriatric personal care, land reform etc)

    No tuition fees isn’t a ‘progressive social policy’ because its paid for by the SNP cutting the student grant by 40% and viciously slashing the further education college budget – meaning that many poor and disadvantaged Scots are now unable to gain either academic or vocational qualifications.

    Under the SNP student debt has increased to record levels (despite them pledging to abolish it entirely), and fewer students from working class backgrounds are going to university.

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