Recent Articles



Most women don’t need counselling before abortion, shows study

by Unity     May 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

A new study has been published by the Guttmacher Institute which sheds some interesting light on women’s needs and choices at the point at which they make contact with abortion service providers.

The study, ‘Attitudes and Decision Making Among Women seeking abortions at one US clinic‘ shows, unsurprisingly, that the vast majority of women have very firmly made up their mind about having an abortion before making contact with an abortion clinic:

For 87% of the abortions sought, women had high confidence in their decision before receiving counseling.

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Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer

by Unity     May 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

As a general rule of thumb anything that winds up Cranmer is usually a good thing so it’s with some amusement that I have report that 24 people including a ‘Jewish Gay and Lesbian group’ have reported his blog to the Advertising Standards Authority over an advert he ran on behalf of the ‘Coalition For Marriage’.

So far as the substance of these complaints are concerned, the advert included a claim that ’70% of people say keep marriage as it is’ giving the source of this claim as poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of Catholic Voices, a semi-official Catholic propaganda and astroturfing operation, and this is being challenged under rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading Advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation) of the CAP code.

To add insult to feigned injury, rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) has also been brought into play by a number of complainants who’ve alleged that the advert is ‘offensive’ and ‘homophobic’.

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The religious fanatics behind Tory plans to block porn

by Unity     May 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I’ve just been reading through Clare Perry’s ‘Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection‘ which, of course, recommends the introduction of opt-in porn filters on internet connections in the UK.

Its fair to say that I’ve spotted one or two problems with the report that need to be flagged up.

Problem number 1 can be found in the title of the report and the use of the words ‘Independent’ and ‘Parliamentary Inquiry’.

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This is why the MPs letter on prayer healing is so dangerous

by Unity     March 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

It would be extremely easy to poke fun at the utterly idiotic and opportunistic letter that three Christian MPs have sent to the Advertising Standards Authority in an effort to pressure them to overturn a recent ruling on the contents of a website owned by a Bath-based Christian group.

If you’re not sure why then Martin Robbins has already done a fine job of eviscerating the contents of the letter.

But I’d like to introduce you to a few reasons why I don’t find the letter in slightest bit amusing.
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The silly reason why every abortion requires two signatures

by Unity     March 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

In his ongoing war on abortion rights, yesterday Andrew Lansley said:

The rules in the Abortion Act are there for a reason – to ensure there are safeguards for women before an abortion can be carried out. To protect women, the right checks and balances must be in place.

Lansley is referring specifically to the rule that two doctors are required to sign off a request for an abortion, which is the only medical procedure in which the law requires a second medical opinion before the procedure takes place.
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How the Telegraph and Mail attacked gay marriage through the ECHR

by Unity     March 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It’s been widely observed that, since it was taken over by Barclay Brothers, The Daily Telegraph has noticeably shifted downmarket and has come to resemble a broadsheet version of the Daily Mail.

It is therefore hardly surprising to find it peddling nonsense such as this: Gay marriage is not a human right, according to European ruling, which has also found its way into the Daily Mail.

The main thing to note is that the main case to which The Telegraph are referring, Gas and Dubois v. France (no. 25951/07), was not primarily about the question of whether or not gay marriage is a human right in the eyes of the European Court.
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Meet the Panelists – BBC Question Time 09-12

by Unity     February 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Apropos of my recent blog on tokenism and gender balance in the composition of BBC Question Time panels, I’ve now pulled together a complete list of the people who have made at least one appearance on a Question Time panel since January 2009 and am looking for a little crowdsourced assistance with the next stage of my analysis.

Yor mission, should ou choose to accept it, is to help out with tagging the political links and associations of some panelists.

What I’m actually looking for is information and opinions on some of the other, less obviously political names on the list, either in terms of a verified link to British political party – I thnk we all know now that Carol Vorderman is rabid Tory, even if that wasn’t entirely obvious until she appeared on the show, or a reliable assessment of where they sit on the standard left-right political axis.

To keep it simple, stick to left, right and centre as answers where possible, although I’ll also take with neutral or independent if you feel that someone is genuinely operating outside the usual categories.

Final instructions if you do feel like ptiching in:

– any responses in comments and not via Twitter please, as its just easier to keep track of things that way

– no tracking people down via Twitter to ask them about their political views if you don’t already know where they stand, it;s not nice to hassle people for trivial reasons, and

– for the avoidance of any doubt, the Brian Cox who appears on the list is the actor, not the scientist.

So now, without further ado, on with the list, which is given in rank order by number of appearances:

Rank Panelist Appearances
1 Vince Cable 10
2 Nigel Farage 9
3 Caroline Flint 8
3 Kelvin MacKenzie 8
3 Theresa May 8
6 Caroline Lucas 7
6 Chris Huhne 7
6 Kenneth Clarke 7
6 Peter Hain 7
10 Andy Burnham 6
10 Diane Abbott 6
10 Liam Fox 6
10 Nicola Sturgeon 6
10 Sarah Teather 6
10 Sayeeda Warsi 6
10 Shami Chakrabarti 6
17 Alan Johnson 5
17 David Starkey 5
17 Douglas Murray 5
17 Elfyn Llwyd 5
17 Jo Swinson 5
17 Melanie Phillips 5
17 Menzies Campbell 5
17 Paddy Ashdown 5
17 Shirley Williams 5
26 Alex Salmond 4
26 Andrew Lansley 4
26 Ben Bradshaw 4
26 Charles Falconer 4
26 Charles Kennedy 4
26 David Laws 4
26 Douglas Alexander 4
26 Ed Balls 4
26 Iain Duncan Smith 4
26 Janet Street-Porter 4
26 Margaret Beckett 4
26 Mehdi Hasan 4
26 Michael Heseltine 4
26 Michael Moore 4
26 Peter Hitchens 4
26 Philip Hammond 4
26 Ruth Lea 4
26 Simon Hughes 4
44 Caroline Spelman 3
44 Charles Clarke 3
44 Chris Bryant 3
44 Chris Grayling 3
44 Christopher Meyer 3
44 Damian Green 3
44 David Davis 3
44 David Miliband 3
44 Ed Davey 3
44 Fraser Nelson 3
44 George Galloway 3
44 Grant Shapps 3
44 Harriet Harman 3
44 Ian Hislop 3
44 Jack Straw 3
44 Janet Daley 3
44 Jeremy Browne 3
44 Jeremy Hunt 3
44 John Denham 3
44 John Redwood 3
44 Julia Goldsworthy 3
44 Justine Greening 3
44 Ken Livingstone 3
44 Leanne Wood 3
44 Liam Byrne 3
44 Max Hastings 3
44 Michael Gove 3
44 Nadine Dorries 3
44 Norman Baker 3
44 Piers Morgan 3
44 Polly Toynbee 3
44 Salma Yaqoob 3
44 Susan Kramer 3
44 William Hague 3
44 Yvette Cooper 3
79 Alastair Campbell 2
79 Andrew Mitchell 2
79 Bonnie Greer 2
79 Boris Johnson 2
79 Brian Cox 2
79 Camila Batmanghelidjh 2
79 Charles Moore 2
79 Cheryl Gillan 2
79 Chuka Umunna 2
79 Clare Short 2
79 Clive Anderson 2
79 Daniel Hannan 2
79 Danny Alexander 2
79 David Mitchell 2
79 David Willetts 2
79 Ed Miliband 2
79 Fern Britton 2
79 Francis Maude 2
79 Germaine Greer 2
79 Gloria De Piero 2
79 Hilary Benn 2
79 Jane Moore 2
79 Jenny Tonge 2
79 John Sergeant 2
79 Jon Gaunt 2
79 Katie Hopkins 2
79 Kirsty Williams 2
79 Margaret Curran 2
79 Max Mosley 2
79 Michael Forsyth 2
79 Monty Don 2
79 Nick Ferrari 2
79 Rachel Reeves 2
79 Richard Dannatt 2
79 Rory Stewart 2
79 Sadiq Khan 2
79 Shaun Woodward 2
79 Simon Jenkins 2
79 Simon Schama 2
79 Stephen Pollard 2
79 Tessa Jowell 2
79 Toby Young 2
79 Will Self 2
79 Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 2
123 Aaron Porter 1
123 Adrian Adonis 1
123 Alistair Carmichael 1
123 Amanda Platell 1
123 Andrew Roberts 1
123 Anna Soubry 1
123 Annabel Goldie 1
123 Archbishop John Sentamu 1
123 Benedict Brogan 1
123 Benjamin Zephaniah 1
123 Bianca Jagger 1
123 Bill Rammell 1
123 Billy Bragg 1
123 Bob Crow 1
123 Brent Hoberman 1
123 Brian Paddick 1
123 Bruce Anderson 1
123 Carol Vorderman 1
123 Carwyn Jones 1
123 Charlotte Harris 1
123 Christina Schmidt 1
123 Christine Blower 1
123 Claire Perry 1
123 Clarke Carlisle 1
123 Clive James 1
123 Colin Blakemore 1
123 Constance Briscoe 1
123 Cristina Odone 1
123 Dambisa Moyo 1
123 Dame Ann Leslie 1
123 David Blunkett 1
123 David Frum 1
123 David Lammy 1
123 David Steel 1
123 David Trimble 1
123 Deborah Meaden 1
123 Derek Simpson 1
123 Digby Jones 1
123 Dr Phil Hammond 1
123 Ed Byrne 1
123 Edwina Currie 1
123 Elin Jones 1
123 Elizabeth Truss 1
123 Eric Pickles 1
123 Esther Rantzen 1
123 Fiona Phillips 1
123 Frank Skinner 1
123 George Osborne 1
123 George Pascoe-Watson 1
123 Gerry Kelly 1
123 Hardeep Singh Kohli 1
123 Helena Kennedy 1
123 Hugh Grant 1
123 Hugh Hendry 1
123 Iain Gray 1
123 Jacob Rees-Mogg 1
123 Jacqui Smith 1
123 James Caan 1
123 James O’Brien 1
123 Jan Royall 1
123 Jarvis Cocker 1
123 Jeanette Winterson 1
123 Jeffrey Donaldson 1
123 Jim Allister 1
123 Jim Knight 1
123 Jimmy Wales 1
123 Joan Bakewell 1
123 John Prescott 1
123 Julia Hartley-Brewer 1
123 Julian Fellowes 1
123 Justin King 1
123 Justine Roberts 1
123 Kate Mosse 1
123 Kirsty Allsopp 1
123 Liam Halligan 1
123 Lionel Barber 1
123 Liz Kendall 1
123 Louise Bagshawe 1
123 Lynne Featherstone 1
123 Margaret Ritchie 1
123 Maria Misra 1
123 Mark Littlewood 1
123 Mark Malloch Brown 1
123 Mark Serwotka 1
123 Mark Steel 1
123 Marta Andreasen 1
123 Martin Bell 1
123 Martin Sorrell 1
123 Martina Anderson 1
123 Mary Beard 1
123 Mary Bousted 1
123 Matthew Parris 1
123 Michael Howard 1
123 Michael Winner 1
123 Mike Russell 1
123 Nerys Evans 1
123 Niall Ferguson 1
123 Nick Griffin 1
123 Nicola Horlick 1
123 Nigel Dodds 1
123 Nigel Lawson 1
123 Noreena Hertz 1
123 Norman Lamb 1
123 Owen Paterson 1
123 Patrick Harvie 1
123 Pauline Neville-Jones 1
123 Peter Oborne 1
123 Phil Willis 1
123 Pierre-Yves Gerbeau 1
123 Priti Patel 1
123 Rageh Omaar 1
123 Richard Lambert 1
123 Richard Littlejohn 1
123 Richard Madeley 1
123 Richard Perle 1
123 Robert Winston 1
123 Roy Hattersley 1
123 Sally Bercow 1
123 Sammy Wilson 1
123 Sarah Sands 1
123 Shappi Khorsandi 1
123 Sherard Cowper-Coles 1
123 Simon Callow 1
123 Simon Heffer 1
123 Simon Wolfson 1
123 Stephen Dorrell 1
123 Stephen Twigg 1
123 Steve Easterbrook 1
123 Stuart Rose 1
123 Suzanne Burlton 1
123 Tariq Ali 1
123 Tim Farron 1
123 Tom Conti 1
123 Tom Hunter 1
123 TristramHunt 1
123 Vera Baird 1
123 Victoria Barnsley 1
123 Victoria Coren 1
123 Will Hutton 1
123 Will Young 1
123 Willie Walsh 1

Exclusive: How the government is exaggerating the cost of abortions

by Unity     November 25, 2011 at 11:02 am

Last week the Telegraph revealed ‘new figures’ from the government that put the cost of abortions £30m ‘higher than previously thought’.

Lord Alton, the crossbench peer who obtained the new figures, said: “I have written to Lord Howe setting out a number of concerns about how Parliament came to be so very badly misled about the costs to the NHS associated with abortion.

I think the most pressing concern Lord Howe needs to address is why Lord Alton’s can’t understand his own bloody correspondence.
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Poor memory? Blame evolution, not Google

by Unity     July 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

If you mooch around the science sections of popular news websites this weekend then chances are you’ll encounter something called ‘The Google Effect’.

From what I can tell, the BBC’s report started out the headline “Internet is ‘changing our memory’” but have since backed off a little and are now running the story as ‘Internet’s memory effects quantified in computer study’.

The Guardian – with perhaps more than half an eye on climbing Google’s own search rankings with its take on the story – has gone for the headline; ‘Poor memory? Blame Google.
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Nadine Dorries claims backing for her campaign but it’s not so simple

by Unity     July 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

Yesterday, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries posted a press release on her blog, claiming that the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) backed the amendment that she and Frank Field MP have put forward.

The amendment calls for ‘independent’ abortion counselling for women who want an abortion, with the aim of excluding respected organisations such as BPAS and others, and is tacked to the contentious Health and Social Care Bill.

She wrote:
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