Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Freedom of conscience is not the real issue

I am of course against the creation of animal-human hybrid embroys and against making it easier for children to grow up without fathers, but I am not kidding myself that yesterday's concession by Gordon Brown allowing Labour MPs a free vote on key sections of the Frankenstein Bill will change anything in the longer-run.

Once again, the Tories have been playing gesture politics here. They have focused on the procedural issue of whether MPs would get a free vote, hoping it would simultaneously embarrass Gordon and portray them as more sympathetic to the views of the Bill's opponents.

But the truth is that David Cameron knows perfectly well that most of his MPs will ultimately back this measure, as will most of Gordon Brown's. The fact that there is now to be a free vote will make no difference whatever to the outcome.

Result: a terrible Bill which further undermines both the sanctity of human life and the role of the family will become law, and the de-Christianisation of Britain will continue apace.

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Anonymous said...

I'm sure it will get through, but that doesn't take anything away from the government's decision to force Labour MPs to vote with them, regardless of their religious beliefs.

In fact, the level of support for the Bill makes denying everyone a free vote seem even more offensive.

Anonymous said...


Surely in a democracy MPs should reflect the views of their constituents.

If, for any reason, they cannot do this then surely they should step down.

They should not bow to pressure, either religious or medical.

Anonymous said...

I respect the sincerity of your views Paul but I'm surprised by the tone, particularly that hackneyed "Frankenstein" tag.
The "animal-human hybrid embryo" is, to be precise, an empty animal eggshell injected with human content to create stem cells for research purposes only. A genuine hybrid, with human sperm and animal egg, for example, will remain outlawed.
Much of the language in this debate has deliberately summoned up images of science as something alien, conducted behind closed doors, and always leading to disaster.
Genetic science offers hope of enormous relief of suffering but also raises new and difficult ethical issues which existing morality systems, including Christianity, are failing to keep up with.
Personally I have problems with the bill's definition of deafness as a "disability" which can just be weeded out at the embryo stage. But unless we discuss and regulate these issues with proper understanding of the science, instead of using convenient "Frankenstein" gags, genuine horrors will emerge.

Unity said...

Paul, you do disappoint me sometimes... :)

I would have thought that you of all people might have realised that not only is the 'Frankenstein' reference a ghastly cliché but its far from being apposite for a debate on hybrids/chimaera.

Now if you'd have referenced Well's 'Island of Dr Moreau' then you'd have been on the money.

Serious point - I do wonder why no one has got around to asking just what the hell 'Buff' Hoon has been doing (or not doing) in all this.

As the Chief Whip its his job to sort all this kind of thing out and ensure that it doesn't cause problems, which should have meant in the case making arrangements well in advance that would have ensured that the government's Catholic contingent will be otherwise engaged on government business a long way from the Commons at the time these votes are taken.

Three carefully timed fact-finding visits is not that big an ask and yet, as usual, Buff manages to screw it up.

Paul Linford said...

Well, it's good to see you here Unity, even though we disagree.

Anonymous said...

There are some strange and quite unnatural concepts in this proposed legislation.