Tag Archives: stella creasy

Is it just abortion law that needs reform after woman handed 28 month sentence?

Carla Foster is waking up in prison this morning. Her three children are waking up without their mother for the first time in what will be a 14 month ordeal for them.

Ms Foster was given a 28 month sentence yesterday for inducing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy.  There is controversy about whether a custodial sentence was appropriate in this case, particularly as there were so many mitigating factors. Coming just months after a man who repeatedly raped a 13 year old was shown leniency, it seems like yet another instance when women are disadvantaged in the legal system.

You can only imagine how desperate she must have been to take that course of action, under huge pressure in the middle of lockdown.

The Judge, in his sentencing remarks, made clear that she was a good mother to her children, one of whom is described as having “special needs which means he is particularly reliant on your love and support.”

I tend to take the view that you should only imprison people if they are a danger to the public and it is quite clear that Ms Foster is not.  The first step to rehabilitation is to acknowledge and feel remorse for whatever crime you have done and the Judge is clear in his sentencing remarks that she is traumatised by her actions. It’s hard to see what good locking her up does.

What is particularly egregious is the fact that she is actually in prison on a technicality. Had she pled guilty at an earlier stage, her sentence could have been suspended. Surely she would have been taking the advice of her legal team at that time? The consequences of this seem disproportionate. Maybe this aspect of the law needs to be reformed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Stella Creasy is right – trolls who make malicious complaints should face consequences

Being a woman on the internet in possession of an opinion has long been a wild ride. For most women in public life, abuse is so much worse than a man would get. And I think most of us are so used to it that we barely flinch unless the abuse directly threatens us or the people we love.

The misogynistic trolls who spend so much of their time trying to make life miserable for women they don’t agree with rarely face consequences. Now one of them has found a new way to persecute a high profile feminist and has got away with it.

Labour MP Stella Creasy has described in today’s Times (£) how a misogynistic troll went as far as reporting her to social services, saying that her views on violence against women and girls put them at risk. How on earth wanting to make misogyny a hate crime puts anyone at risk is beyond me.

Thankfully her local social services didn’t take long to realise that it was actually Stella who was at risk. But when the MP complained to the Police, she was shocked at the outcome:

The police accept that his behaviour is harassing but aren’t treating this as a crime because “as you had kids he was worried that your views would affect their upbringing, this belief was genuine and not by any sort of hate”.

At no point have they expressed any concern about the impact of this incident on my children, instead claiming that, as I am an elected representative, I should “expect” to be challenged in this way.

As Stella says, this is just another example of the institutionalised misogyny of the Police laid bare in the Casey Report.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Babies in Westminster

Pub quiz question: Who was the first MP to take a baby through a voting lobby?

<spoiler alert>

 

 

The picture of Jo Swinson is a red herring.

It was her husband Duncan Hames, then MP for Chippenham, who carried young Andrew on one occasion when he voted in 2014.

Duncan and Andrew Hames make history

By the way, the reference to Harriet Harman turns out to be an untrue rumour, but neatly encapsulates the values 30 years before.

Four years after Duncan’s pioneering act Jo took their second baby (as seen in the photo) into the Commons for a debate, appropriately on allowing proxy votes for new parents. She wrote about the experience, and the backlash she received afterwards.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 49 Comments

Caroline Lucas: Vince Cable could make you think eating babies was ok

It’s fair to say that this is not a headline I ever thought I’d be writing, but there you go.

The Guardian decided that it might be a good idea to take ten politicians and send them on a “blind date” with someone from a different party. They didn’t exactly push the boat out with this. The MPs met in the cafe in Portcullis House which is ok, but I prefer the public one off Westminster Hall. It’s always a joy to see what food combinations they come up with. They had an Earl Grey cheesecake one time I was there, which was a bit lacking in flavour, if I’m honest.

Probably the closest match politically was between our Vince Cable and Green MP Caroline Lucas. Afterwards, each MP had to say what they thought of the other. Caroline was generally very positive about Vince but made a bit of a strange comment:

My overriding feeling about Vince is that he’s so reasonable and so plausible that he could make eating babies sound an entirely rational thing to do.

The only thing is that Vince is generally right about stuff. If she thought that what he was saying about things like tuition fees and austerity was rational, it’s because it was. I was a bit miffed on Vince’s behalf by the baby-eating comment. She could have chosen a better analogy.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 14 Comments

Do Tweets win seats? – Micro-blogging and politics

Politicos use Twitter to communicate with voters, activists and the media. It’s sociable and fashionable. It’s useful but it has its limits.

And if this was Twitter I’d stop there, for the paragraph above is a 140-character summary of the popular micro-blogging service and its emerging role in politics. Having the luxury of a whole chapter, rather than a couple of lines, I can expound a bit. But sometimes I relish Twitter’s brevity and the way it gives me both the discipline and the excuse not to write at length.

Twitter was to the 2010 General Election what blogging had been to the previous one: novel, topical, conversational, personal. Blogging, in long and short form, is good for quickly spreading campaign messages, news and rumours and it’s freely accessible for anyone with an internet connection.

When I first subscribed to the service a couple of years ago, few news outlets or political candidates were tweeting, although the three main parties were already using it to link to party information and election results.

Over the past year, Twitter has been increasingly taken up by MPs and councillors, bloggers and journalists, even government departments, but crucially by thousands of people who are none of the above, but want to converse with them on an equal footing.

The parties continue to tweet, but now candidates, MPs and party leaders themselves are using the medium, with varying degrees of skill.

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | Leave a comment
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