Saturday, July 30, 2005

Carolyn Parrish NOT a Liberal? Gimme a break

There has been tempered praise around the blogs at the decision of the Liberals not to allow Carolyn Parrish back into the fold.

At first appearance, this seems a principled decision -- they have chosen to forgo stronger numbers rather than take back a person who at the very least, has a knack for making insensitive comments at sensitive times.

The truth is, while she remains outside of the Liberal caucus, Carolyn Parrish is an asset to the Liberals, and they know it -- which is why she'll happily remain on the outside, while continuing to vote with her 'former' party.

Carolyn Parrish can say anything about anyone -- getting a Liberal message out there, without technically representing the Liberals. She is an unofficial spokesperson from whom they can distance themselves when the rhetoric gets too over-the-top.

It's brilliant really. Whether it's by design is anyone's guess. But I believe they know that with Parrish just on the periphery of the party, they can have their cake and eat it too. Parrish can continue with her diatribes, and because she is not a member of the party, they have no authority, nor any reason to reign her in. She'll be like a trial balloon -- if her rants have traction they can go with them, and if they are unpopular, they can shrug and say 'she's not one of us.'

It is the perfect Liberal set up and typical of the duplicity of their leadership.

crossposted to Civitatensis.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

al-Qaida Cherie

The US has their Hanoi (now Baghdad) Jane, we have our Carolyn Parrish -- but they have nothing on Cherie Blair, wife of British PM Tony.

Cherie Blair says that courts have to "act as guardians of the weakest, poorest and most marginalised members of society against the hurly-burly of majoritarian politics". This statement, this sentiment, in and of itself is not a bad thing -- but when this kind of statement is made with terrorism as a backdrop, it implies that the government has not shown due diligence when drafting, implementing and acting upon legislation. It is the sort of cautionary statement made when a society impinges on the rights of its citizens for no other reason than because it can.
Cherie made clear that judges must resist pressure to convict on the proposed new laws -- inciting or glorifying terrorism -- in order to preserve British civil liberties. "The important task of reviewing executive action against the benchmark of human rights. . . In our troubled times where terrorism, division and suspicion of others are the order of the day, this role for judges is perhaps more vital than ever before."

While Cherie's assertions are perfectly reasonable when a country is not at war, or there is no threat of imminent attack from within, these comments were made yesterday in Malaysia. All the while her husband is on the homefront fighting for stronger powers to detain, convict and deport the terrorist suspects in their midst.

So far, Britain has tried 20 cases with people charged under their terrorism laws. Nineteen of those cases have been unsuccessful because judges are so reluctant to convict. This has resulted in international condemnation of Britain, with Tony Blair trying to defend against critics who call the nation's capital 'Londonistan' because of its reputation as Europe's centre of Islamic extremism.

Tony Blair says when trying to remove suspected terrorists the government has been prevented by judges .

"We have been trying to get rid of these people," he said at his monthly press conference. "Now I am afraid occasionally what has happened is we have tried to get rid of them, and we have been blocked."
When asked how he was blocked, he said only: "You can go back over the court cases and read them."

How does that square with what Cherie is saying?

Jane Fonda spoke for Jane Fonda. Carolyn Parrish speaks for herself and her constituents. Who does Cherie Blair speak for? I realise the woman is a 'respected human rights lawyer' -- but beyond her last name -- what else about her compels anyone to listen?

The Scotsman (linked in title) has the article, at the end of which is this interesting little piece:


She says
An independent judiciary has the important task of executive action against the benchmark of human rights
He says
The independence of the judiciary is a principle of our democracy, but I hope that recent events have created a situation where people understand that it is important that we do protect ourselves

She says
It is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines our commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions
He says
I think it perfectly reasonable for us in circumstances of great difficulty to have a greater detention, in order that there can be the interrogation of people who are suspected of doing this

She says
Courts have to act as guardians of the weakest, poorest and most marginalised members of society against the hurly-burly of majoritarian politics
He says
I think when the main political parties present a united front then you send an important signal to the terrorists of our strength, our determination, our unity to defeat them

She says
As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress - Speaking about a suicide attack in Israel where a Palestinian bomber killed 40 people -- JUNE 2002
He says
It is just a lie when they say that people have got no option but to engage in terrorism. They do have an option

Blair is publically defending his wife's comments again -- as I suppose he must to keep peace in the house -- but when you read the Scotsman article, you'll see where he directly contradicts what she's said.
Their dinnertable conversation must be electric.


Monday, July 25, 2005

It's all about sex

They said that changing the definition of marriage was an equality issue, and would not change the nature of the institution -- but it has.

The opposite-sex component and the procreative potential of the typical marriage is what defined the institution. (Note: typical not universal -- laws are not made for individual situations, but in recognition of the general situation). If recognition of marriage is no longer about couples having and raising their children within a committed unit, then sexual intimacy has to be the defining criteria for marriage.

There are many non-sexual, intimate, co-habitational, committed relationships that still don't qualify as marriages. These relationships provide mutual comfort, support and companionship -- yet are not allowed the special benefits, privileges and status of marriage -- and the only thing absent from these unions is sex.

Peter Worthington wrote yesterday about Veterans who are considering using the new marriage law in order to qualify for survivor benefits in situations where two heterosexual Vets live together in order to share expenses. As it stands now, when one of these people dies, the other must find a way to continue paying the bills alone. They are not entitled to death benefits by virtue of the fact that their relationship is non-conjugal. Some feel uncomfortable with 'marriage' because it implies a sexual relationship -- but one has to wonder -- why should it? Now that we have dispensed with the notion that a couple must be of the opposite gender, why must the government be in the bedroom at all? Why must we insist that the relationship must include sexual intimacy in order to fit the criteria for marriage. Formerly, we were glorifying the special function and role that opposite-sex couples fill through their ability to increase society -- now we are glorifying sexual intercourse.

It is truly discriminatory that the only relationships recognised by the government are those where people are having sex -- I mean, what about those who are paralysed? or impotent? frigid? or ill in some other way that inhibits their ability to express themselves sexually? Does that mean their marriages are invalid? If the government has no place in the bedrooms of the people -- why do they care if the married relationship is platonic?

By making the defining criteria for marriage sexual, rather than procreative, the government has not only changed the institution from a child-centred institution to an adult-centred one -- it has changed it to an institution that is solely defined by sexual intimacy.

When marriage means everything, it means nothing -- but at least if the marriages of non-conjugal couples are allowed -- Vets, family members or friends caring for loved ones would qualify for governmental recognition and support of their relationships.

If not, then it appears that we have created an institution where sex is the reason d'etre.