Wednesday, 10 November 2010

More on Expenses - The Git that keeps on giving

MPs fear being 'torn apart' for criticising expenses regime:

So today, I embark on a blog that is not predominantly about Dorries, although, she does feature heavily. It would seem that the issue of expenses is not going away just yet, and that there are many MPs who wish to keep it somewhere near the top of the agenda. This seems to me, to be a bit of a turnaround. It was not long ago that we were being told that the public were bored of hearing about it, and that they wanted to focus on real issues. It was with some degree of surprise therefore that I read that

"that a debate on the topic would garner a lot of interest as it was nearly all MPs talked about in the Commons tea rooms. One of the criteria the committee use to judge whether to grant a debate or not is whether they feel enough MPs will want to discuss the topic.

"There are a lot of people who want to say something, I am sure we could not only fill 3 hours but probably 12 hours,"

This is remarkable really. We have a world recession, the decimation of public services, the looming job losses, the crisis in the benefits system, our allies being accused of human rights breaches, but the single most important topic for our MPs is their own pockets!? We have a new transparent politics apparently. We can trust them all. Dorries may have been found not guilty of the major charge against her recently, but she was smacked on the wrist for failing to keep up with the policy of filling out forms. Now she just wants to be paid without the correct evidence, as it is overly bureaucratic. Well I might try that one with the tax man on my tax return. Surely I should be afforded the same luxury of being able to half fill out forms, send them in with no supporting evidence, and still expect to get away with it? What an absolute shower they really are

Friday, 5 November 2010

Wise Words from Woolas

"It is vital to our democracy that those who make statements about the political character and conduct of election candidates are not deterred from speaking freely"

I hope a certain someone takes note of that

Descent into madness?

Well I suppose it was inevitable really. Dorries has finally, it would appear, "lost the plot" and started to make out and out accusations about a political blogger; Tim Ireland. If you read the rest of this blog you will see that Tim has been relentless in his pursuit of truth and justice for Dorries. In her latest blog entry, she says;

"If you put into place your usual method of operation of continuous telephone calls, blogging, blitz emailing thousands of ranting words etc to people going about their daily business, I am sure the Police may take a strong view."

This is stunning in its concept. She genuinely believes that the Police will be interested in the views of bloggers? She REALLY believes that? Surely not? Whilst much of the coverage that she receives on Twitter is of a mocking variety, and I too have joined in on this occasionally, I have recently made the decision to stick to the cold hard facts of the case. In order to be taken seriously, I suppose I ought to behave in that way. So this revelation that the Police may be interested in Tim makes me wonder if the Rozzers will be banging my door down? After all, I have dared to question and criticise her.

Tim Ireland's pursuit of Dorries must be hugely irritating for her. Political Blogger and Radio Presenter Ian Dale yesterday answered my question about her with "You wouldn't say that if you had to put up with it". The thing is, it would appear to me on further reading, that Tim only writes about a certain kind of MP. The kind of MP who would at best seem guarded and non transparent. The kind of MP, who would appear to be lying. He has singled out MPs for their behaviour. Ian Dale may well be a friend of Dorries, and I admire his loyalty, but there has to come a time when even the most partisan of supporters realise that something is amiss here. In all of the words of support written about Dorries this week, they have pretty much exclusively relied on the "Bloody Lefties" response. There has been no solid and robust defence, no facts to back up Dorries, just name calling and childish tongue poking. Because Dorries just blocks constituents for asking questions, they all seem to think that this is the best way to deal with it. That is fine, Dale for example is not being paid by our taxes as far as I am aware. Dorries is being paid to do a job, and it would appear that this is increasingly spent on things that are not in either the general public's or her constituent's interest.

As for these constituents, how many of you can genuinely claim that this woman should remain in office? I have read little in the way of a defence of her, but was stunned to see one constituent say that it was all just back biting! This woman is clearly not acting in our interests. Many members of all parties have clearly had enough of her incoherent rants (That was not a dig at the Dyslexia, but aimed at her eccentric logic). There are very strong rumours that her demise may not be too far away.

If this is the case, I just want to go on record with one or two things.

If, as a hope, she has to stand down, there will be the inevitable backlash from her supporters of bullying and victimisation. Just remember the following;

She started the personal attacks on the Labour candidate in the last election
She then accused another candidate; Linda Jack of the Liberal Democrats, of making the campaign personal
She openly lied to her constituents at the hustings in Flitwick
She has attacked a constituent on the grounds of her disability, and fabricated
She has refused to give evidence of apparent reports to the Police
She has allied herself with extreme organisations, and then denied it
She was found to be unhelpful to the enquiry into her expenses, and failed to notify the relevant authorities
She habitually blocks her constituents from contacting her, and has replied to two of my 8 letters in the last four years
She calls her constituents stalkers for asking questions

None of these are points of view, or opinions, I have evidence of all of them. They are facts.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dorries and her "Evidence"

"Oh not her again?" I hear you shout....but yes dear reader, I believe I am yet again justified in mentioning my elected representative. Dorries is a proud and noted campaigner against abortion, and in a civilised society, we of course encourage differing opinions. I do not necessarily disagree with everything she says, any more than I agree with everything either. However, we find ourselves in a position to be questioning her "facts" and "Evidence" yet again.

On her blog, she has very kindly produced the transcript of the debate the other night. In a nutshell, Dorries wants it to be law that women seeking an abortion get counselling and advice on the alternatives. She cites evidence that in other countries that have this as law, that abortion rates are lower. Now this is exactly the kind of evidence and research that gets her into trouble. There is no direct causal evidence that this is the case, but if she states it enough, it seems to become the truth in her eyes. She mentions

"A major longitudinal 30-year survey published inThe British Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 showed clearly-after adjustment for confounding variables-that women who had had abortions had rates of mental disorder 30% higher than women who had not."

It is very clear when you read the report that it does not come to that conclusion at all. The report was produced in response to the 1994 report that came to the conclusion that there was no effect whatsoever on the mental health of those having an abortion. The 2008 report says that whilst it acknowledges that mental health can be an issue, there is NO CLEAR EVIDENCE to suggest that there is a direct link. In fact, it states quite clearly that there has simply not been enough evidence. Where are the stats to compare the mental health of those who were persuaded not to have the abortion? The report clearly explains that there has not been enough research in this field. Whilst the report does state that many women suffer from mental health issues after an abortion, there is no clear way of measuring whether this mental health issue was as a cause of the abortion or whether it existed already. Again, this is all in the report.

We must also look at the law that currently exists. The 1967 abortion act states that a termination can only take place under certain conditions, one of these is as follows;

"The continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman...’"

So there is already provision in the law to ensure that the ongoing well being of the mother is taken into account. In fact the study carried out in 1994 suggest that 94% of terminations are justified on these grounds.

Now I am not suggesting that the law is perfect in this case, but statements such as

"No consideration whatsoever is taken of the state of a mother's mental health when she asks for an abortion"

are clearly not true, and in fact could be quite damaging to the medical profession. Dorries sits of the select committee for health, and should know better.

The conclusion of the report is clearly that there is more evidence required, in fact in it's summary of position, it states

"The specific issue of whether or not induced abortion has harmful effects on women’s mental health remains to be fully resolved. The current research evidence base is inconclusive – some studies indicate no evidence of harm, whilst other studies identify a range of mental disorders following abortion."

It would appear that the 70/30% ratio has been somewhat skewed again.

It would also appear that in presenting this evidence to parliament, Dorries is citing a brand new organisation called "Forsaken", and a booklet that they produced which gives some examples of five women who went through terminations. The "Evidence" of five women cannot, under any circumstances, be accepted as evidence of scientific fact. When you look at some of the connections this group has, it would appear that yet again, Dorries is pushing her pro-life agenda by stealth. In effect, she has allied herself with some, shall we say, eccentric Christian organisations that exist simply to preach their views, and will only use scientific evidence when it suits them. This is of course the same on both sides of the argument, and it makes evidence gathering by impartial scientists extremely difficult. It is a far more complex issue than Dorries suggests.

My concern here is two-fold. Firstly that Dorries has been economical with the truth in terms of what the report actually said

Secondly, that someone within the Health select committee is pushing what is in effect Christian fundamentalism under the banner of "Women's rights"