Missed Flight and a degree
Posted Friday, 29 June 2007 at 12:22
Constituency for me, however, the day has not been uneventful so far in the ‘team Dorries’ office in London.
My PA is off to Paris on her hen weekend today, which has been organised by my very first intern; a group of them are leaving from Heathrow early this morning - or they were... Everyone has made the flight, except my PA and my first intern, team leader.
The next possible flight is 6pm tonight.
My advice by text so far has been; go to BA desk and explain situation in calm logical manner, if no result CRY – if this doesn’t work hyperventilate – do not leave the desk once you reach it, make sure a long queue forms behind you and cry louder.
Anyone got any other suggestions?
Decided not to take Quentin's office. It’s no where near as nice as the one the Labour whips offered me!
Blog Update for friends and family! - Philippa got a 2.1. I am about to burst with pride!!
Office To Let
Posted Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 11:43
I sent an email to the Deputy Chief Whip yesterday asking if I could have Quentin Davies’s office. Still no reply.
How long does it take to type a one word answer?
Just seen Deputy in the voting lobby - told me to go and check out Quentin's Office and have a look around.
Did so, felt slightly awkward as Quentin was still sat at the desk; he offered me a cup of tea - I asked him what the neighbours were like; measured up for curtains and squeezed past the packing cases on the way out!
PMs QT Blog
Posted Wednesday, 27 June 2007 at 09:35
I spent today’s historic PMQs sitting on the step next to the Deputy Chief Whip; I would be lying if I said that the sight of Quentin Davies, sat two up behind Tony Blair, hadn’t bothered me at all – it was in fact a sight which made me quite ill.
For 20 years Mr Davies has, supposedly with conviction, opposed and fought against the principles of socialism and New Labour. To witness him nodding, smiling, and agreeing with every statement of praise heaped upon the outgoing Prime Minister, was quite shocking.
Sat inanely grinning on the bench, propped up between two Blair babes, he embodied all that people believe to be cynical, shallow and self-serving about politicians.
He will probably be in the House of Lords within the next few years - that will have been the deal. His own ‘self-importance’ meant more to him than the people who voted for him; they wanted him to represent their principles and beliefs. And what about all those poor people who for 20 years have delivered his leaflets and help run his constituency?
I hope he sleeps well at night - I couldn’t. No prize is worth betraying your principles for. Maybe that’s the point, maybe he never had any? I am going to miss Tony Blair – there is absolutely no way Gordon Brown is going to be anywhere near as interesting or as funny. I suspect that PMQs is about to become very boring.
Tony Blair was directly in my line of vision. There was a strong feeling in the chamber that we were witnessing a very historic event – as the Father of the House, Alan Williams MP (Swansea West), said, he led the Labour Party out of 18 years in the wilderness into 10 years in government, no small achievement.
When the Labour MPs stood up and clapped, I said to the Deputy, “Shouldn’t we? He is after all the Prime Minister” – just after I said it David Cameron stood up and mentioned for us all to join him, which, in the spirit of the occasion was absolutely the right thing to do.
The Long goodbye.
Swana and Platform six and a half
Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2007 at 10:08
On platform six and a half on Kings Cross station, there is a kiosk which sells tea and coffee. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night you arrive, Swana is always there on the stand, waiting to make your tea.
He arrived here from Darfur in 1992, and he likes nothing more than to chat about the country he now describes as a ‘horrible place’, and tell you all about when it was ‘paradise’.
When Swana was growing up in Darfur, whether you were rich or poor, it cost just 20p per day to feed a family. It didn’t matter how much money you had, everyone ate the same kind of food cooked in the same way.
Before Swana’s family sat down to eat, his mother would go to the door to check if there was anyone in the street who wanted to join them for food. Neighbours knew and helped each other, and, cared for each others children.
Although Swana lived in the city, he would often travel with his father to visit relatives.
Today, it’s dangerous to travel outside of the city boundary.
Swana talks about global warming; how the desert in the south has receded year on year; how the trees have disappeared; and how the weather has changed to the point of creating havoc with the daily lives of rural farmers.
He talks about corrupt politicians and how they set tribe upon tribe to kill each other, arming them with knives and guns. “He knows this” he says lowering his voice, “I have seen this”.
He will tell you about the battle of the North and South and the thousands of lives that have been lost and how the recent resolution may not last.
When you ask Swana what happened, where did it all start to go wrong, who does he blame, he will answer you very emphatically, “with clever politicians” he will state as he hands you your tea and looks you in the eye.
I haven’t told him what I do yet. I am not sure what I am going to answer when he asks me, which will be very soon now.
Not long to go.
Behind The Scenes At The BMA
Posted Monday, 25 June 2007 at 09:30
The pro-abortion choice movement have most of the big trade unions on side, this is evident when you take a look at ‘Emily’s List’.
Emily’s List is a union funded organisation which provides financial assistance to female Labour candidates when attempting to be selected for parliamentary seats; the only criteria a candidate has to fulfil is to be pro-abortion choice. The funding is provided to Emily’s List by the trade unions, and others.
The pro-abortion choice movement is keen to have the BMA on side so that they can push for abortion on demand by laying down amendments to the Human Tissue and Embryology Bill, when it comes before the House of Commons this Autumn.
It is the BMA Ethics Committee which is calling for the changes to be made to BMA policy. Obviously, if the BMA votes on Wednesday to adopt a policy to support relaxing the laws controlling access to abortion, then this would have a significant impact going into the parliamentary debate.
Now a quick scan of the members of the Ethics Committee produces some startling results, one member is Professor John Harris from Manchester University.
He has made some very alarming quotes over the last few years. I would have thought he was just the sort of person you would NOT want to have on an ethics committee, eg, “It is not plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal.” He also questioned whether there was any moral difference between infanticide and a late abortion in the event of severe brain damage.
Click Here To Find Out More
Dr Evan Harris, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon is also a member - Evan Harris has made many public comments regarding abortion and is a strong advocate for pro-choice.
The BMA Agenda Committee has decided which motions are to be discussed by the Ethics Committee. A number of motions were submitted regarding abortion, some calling for a full investigation into the mental health effects of abortion on women and other such sensible measures.
Three called for abortion to be made available on demand in the first trimester; for abortions to be able to be carried out by nurses rather than doctors; the need for two doctors' signatures to no longer be necessary; and for the rule concerning the best state of the mother’s mental and physical health to be scrapped.
Only three motions will be discussed on the day, the rest are dropped into the ‘grey area’ and don’t see the light of day.
Guess which three motions are to be debated and voted on? The three calling for easier access and for abortion to be available on demand.
The other more sensible motions calling for further research to be carried out into the effect of abortions on women are sat well and truly in the ‘grey area’.
Tell me that’s not rigged!
The BMA conjures up an image of decency and credibility. You don’t think about it in terms of being a union. The general public could be forgiven for thinking of it more as a professional association, but it’s not.
As with all politically motivated unions, there will be lots of manoeuvring behinds the scenes. If one of the three motions debated is passed on Wednesday, there is one huge question left hanging in the air.
Please sign this online petition to find out more and send to everyone on your contact list.
Posted Friday, 22 June 2007 at 21:50
I don’t normally blog over the weekends, however, please visit this site;
There is much going on behind the scenes at the BMA in preparation for a vote on abortion next Wednesday. All is not as it seems.
Will post full details on Monday, in the meantime, please forward the above online petition to everyone on your contact list,
GMTV and a Glass Slipper
Posted Friday, 22 June 2007 at 09:54
I did a pre-record yesterday afternoon for Sunday’s edition of GMTV. It’s going out three times on Sunday morning, I think at 6.30, 7.30 and again at 8.30am on ITV2.
Peter my researcher, otherwise known as Mr Brakes, came with me to the TV centre on the South Bank for the interview. When we had finished we decided to walk along the embankment and over the bridge to Embankment tube and jump down one stop back to Westminster.
I wasn’t very talkative, but that doesn’t deter Peter, he didn’t stop.
He talked all the way along, pointing out the sculptures dotted around on the building tops, wondering if they would stay in London after the exhibition or if they would go on tour; chatting about the steam room in the exhibition and how it didn’t steam up his glasses; how only 25 people at a time are allowed in; and on and on in a way he never did when he, then a shy young man, first started to work for me over two years ago.
We turned right over the bridge. I had begun to wonder if walking had been such a good idea given that I was wearing black court shoes with five inch heels.
Ten yards onto the bridge my heel sank into a gap. Peter didn’t notice. He carried on walking and talking to himself for another three minutes at least.
He suddenly stopped, turned around, and marched back. By the time he reached me I had extracted my foot from the shoe, and he, like some prince charming, removed the shoe from the gap.
In a very un-prince like way, however, he dumped the shoe on the floor, sighed and said in an almost exasperated tone “why you?”
Now, he wouldn’t have done that two years ago either.
It is a question I ask myself every day though. Peter started to walk and resumed his narrative from where he thought he had originally lost me. I stood and looked down the river, slipped my foot back into the shoe, and just for a second, wished it was a glass slipper, and I was a princess.
Lads' Night Out
Posted Thursday, 21 June 2007 at 11:04
The male contingency of the 2005 parliamentary intake invited me out for a drink. Thanks to my general disposition, the city of my birth and my accent, I became the butt of all the jokes - all evening. They are merciless and relentless. The worst thing is, I laugh myself. If I begin to pout, even for a second, I get thumped on the back as they all proclaim “You don’t mind, you’re one of the lads”. That’s nice then, I think?
Being one of the lads means that occassionaly I do feel the need to make a statement with regard to my feminimity; such an opportunity arose yesterday.
Sat around a table - with the rest of the lads - we started to talk about films.
"I can recommend a good one" said one of my peers – The Girl In The Room. It’s all about Gordon Brown going to a G8 summit, full of politics, really good. "I think Crush is definitely one to be recommended" said another, "lots of violence." Another recommended a war film - yawn. We all leaned into the table and picked up our mugs of tea at the same time – "I know a good one" said I as everyone sipped their tea – six pairs of male eyes looked at me expectantly – "The Devil Wears Prada." The tea sprayed all over the table.
Oh well, something else for them to laugh at next time it’s a lads' night out!
Life And Death
Posted Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 09:30
The number of abortions taking place in the UK has gone up by just short of 4% in the last year. 4% may not sound a great deal, however, it means that for every four babies conceived, one will be aborted; that’s a lot of life, a lot of potential wasted; many tears and much heartache.
I don’t know if I should be contacting you about this, you will probably be disgusted with me, if it’s not something you wish to read then I apologise.
I wanted to say that I wish I had found your website weeks ago; it could have stopped me from having an abortion. I was in such despair that I thought there was no other way out. I didn’t realise that the feelings I was having other women had as well. I didn’t realise that feeling so depressed and overwhelmed and unable to cope could be anything to do with the fact that I was pregnant. I thought it was just me.
My GP told me I was suffering from hormones - I thought I was going mad, that the only way I could remain sane would be to have an abortion.
Now I can see more clearly I realise things could have been so different, if I could have had some support and help maybe; it makes me very sad. I may never get pregnant again, that may have been my only chance.
I hope your web site helps other women to get the help they need.
Ante-natal depression is often undetected and is a contributory reason to why a number of women have abortions. Ante-natal depression is simply suffering from depression whilst you happen to be pregnant.
If you are depressed, pregnant or not, you cannot make a rational judgment about personal issues. Many women assume that their feelings of anxiousness are, in fact, an inability to cope. They slowly descend into a deep low feeling and are overwhelmed at the prospect of having a baby. They feel the only way they can cope, to end the feeling of sadness and helplessness, is to have an abortion.
GPs need to learn to be smarter at detecting depression; they need to provide immediate counselling services and pro-active help. Women who receive help in the form of medication and counselling tend not to resort to abortion.
It may be a call made in the States; however, it could have been anywhere. The morning after pill absolutely must be made available at every high street chemist free of charge for anyone who believes they have had unprotected sex and may be pregnant. This has to be a must in the attempt to bring down the number of abortions carried out in the first trimester.
At the present moment, in most areas across the UK, the morning after pill is only available from a GP, and costs £25. Unfortunately as I have commented before, if you are a teenager and you are faced with the prospect of spending £25 or taking a chance, you may well wing it.
The morning after pill needs to be taken as soon as, it’s not called the morning after pill for nothing, the sooner it’s taken the better. Waiting four days for an appointment from your GP means it’s simply too late.
We are living in a post- liberation era. The majority of women over the age of eighteen are sexually active. Anyone who thinks this is not true are kidding themselves. Women make the decisions - they decide. Our responsibility is to ensure that young women (there is a marked increase in the number of abortions taking place under the age of eighteen) know how to protect themselves from both disease and pregnancy.
The erosion of pregnancy advisory services in this country is scandalous. Contraception advice should be easily available and accessible for all women and should not have to involve a visit to the GP.
Contraception and protection should be a public health priority. It is not. The staggering increase in the number of reported cases of Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia alone, regardless of the number of abortions taking place, show this very clearly. The increase in the number of diagnosed cases of HIV amongst young heterosexual couples is increasing at a rapid rate and accounts for the majority of newly reported cases.
Abortion and disease. Some teenagers may be thinking that sex isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The upper limit at which abortion takes place should be cut from 24 to 20 weeks.
Four ways in which we could reduce the number of daily abortions taking place in our civilised society, and none of them would involve brain surgery – just a bit of common sense - and a government which gets its priorities right.
Making GPs more aware of how to deal with ante-natal depression; making the morning after pill more easily available; providing accessible walk-in pregnancy advisory services; and cutting the upper limit for abortion. Done!
Bring on the next election. If there is one thing I am sure of it is that David Cameron is more in touch with what is going on with our teenagers and young people than Gordon Brown could ever be.
It’s Gordon Brown who has presided over the ten years of Labour spending reviews. If pregnancy advisory services have been cut, it’s Gordon Brown who has cut them, no one else.
Great way to start a premiership.
Whilst political commentators and pundits worry about how he will handle the 'EU leaving present', Tony is going to hand over his as he leaves office. Teenagers up and down the country are crying themselves to sleep wondering how to get help and how on earth they got themselves into the mess they find themselves in.
They will think “why me?" "It’s not fair". "What did I do to deserve this?” - the answer of course is nothing – they are simply a child of our times, let down by a generation of adults who had neither the where with all or the ability to teach them the value of family; the importance of self respect; or the importance of morals. Worse than that, we gave them a government who cared even less than we did.
Whatever happened to Mary Whitehouse?
The Gordon Brown Meme
I have been tagged by Iain Dale to list things Gordon Brown should be.
Having stayed in the Cabinet despite Cherie’s best efforts to get him out
Letting Tony win at the Granita restaurant.
Cutting back on spending on pregnancy and contraception advisory services
Do immediately when he becomes PM:
Sack Patricia Hewitt.
Sack the Chipmunk!
Things he should do whilst PM.
Send more troops to Iraq to help prevent full on civil war.
Privatise the BBC.
I tag, and this is the one and only time I am doing this.
Ed Vaizey, Archbishop Cranmer, Man In A Shed, Ellee Seymour, and Prague Tory
Badly Drawn Boy
Posted Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 09:48
I have wasted my ten minutes blogging time this morning downloading music, share this one with me;
It is a long intro, he really gets going after he dedicates it to his girlfriend. I have been trying to track it down and then heard it on ‘Talk to Me’ the other night. Thanks MikeH!
Badly Drawn Boy - The Shining
Live at Festival Hall
Will blog when I get five later I promise!
New abortion figures out today are shocking. I will post a long blog tomorrow on which I will make three suggestions as to how the number of abortions taking place each day could be reduced almost immediately. Meanwhile, Iain Dale has blogged on the same issue today.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Davids speech and the grey red haired girl
Posted Monday, 18 June 2007 at 11:21
David Cameron will make a speech today which will worry Gordon Brown.
There is one small paragraph which means more to me than the rest of the speech and in just a few words encapsulates the biggest failure of this Labour government.
“It is simply no use talking about opportunity for all unless we give every child in our country the secure start in life which comes from a stable loving home. We are far from that position in Britain today, and turning it around will be the greatest challenge - and I hope the greatest achievement - of the next Conservative Government”
On Saturday I had to visit Leicester - having missed my way I found myself completely lost on a huge estate. As I waited at a set of pedestrian lights, in the pouring rain, trying to make sense of the road signs ahead, I saw the girl, who had pressed the button that made me stop.
She can’t have been more than seventeen. She was wearing the obligatory addidas track suit bottoms and pushing a buggy with a small baby, whilst holding the hand of a toddler who was also wearing matching trackie bottoms; all three had red hair; I assumed both the children were hers.
Her demeanour and the expression on her face told that life no longer held any surprises, the best was probably past.
As she struggled over the crossing I wondered what on earth it was that possessed girls as young as this to have children.
I imagine we were on the dull grey estate where she had grown up, as she was still a mere child herself and I pondered how pregnancy may have transformed her previously dull grey life.
When you are pregnant you become special. Everyone wants to congratulate you; you have a ready made effortless topic of conversation. People don’t pass you by they talk to you. “When is it due?", "Do you want a boy or a girl?" "Is the morning sickness over?” and a hundred other discussions which strike up between mothers to be - of whatever age or background - and the rest of the female population,
You have an excuse to go to the doctors and a reason for him to be interested in you; you become the centre of the midwives attention; you have hospital appointments to attend; you have claim forms to fill in; and a reason for the housing association to offer you accommodation all of your own.
The hospital writes to you, they are interested in you - and letters addressed to you come through the letter box on a regular basis; they want you to have scans and blood tests and everyone wants the best for you, because you’re having a baby.
There are new shops to visit; things to buy; baby clothes to coo over; and everyone wants to coo over them with you. Being pregnant makes you the centre of attention and that is something this young girl may never have been before - having people notice who she was may have been addictive, this particular girl may have enjoyed it so much, that she did it twice.
The grey red haired girl crossed the road with stooped shoulders shielding her face against the rain and pushed the buggy into a block of soulless flats. She would have been about six years old when New Labour came to power.
Life may indeed no longer hold any surprises. Both pregnancies may have been the high points of her life; it may never get so good again.
Labours failure to inspire and elevate the people has been catastrophic. The social consequence enormous and as David will point out today, a huge challenge which he is prepared to both acknowledge and brave enough to take on. He wants a better future for the baby in the buggy, we all do.
Is anyone else watching ‘Talk to Me’ on Sunday nights? Predictable and completely addictive! I hope they release a CD of the tracks they have played in the series. One track is driving me mad from last night’s episode and I can’t remember who or what it was! Can anyone help? Long wind instrument intro and then fades into song….very mellow? It’s not Snow Patrol…
The Lady in red.
Shadow Cabinet and Parkfields Middle School
Posted Friday, 15 June 2007 at 14:30
Conservativehome readers have voted for me to be in the Shadow Cabinet. So, that’s that sorted then.
I am very grateful to ConservativeHome readers for having such faith in me. Thank you.. a million times!
Tried to fit in too much today. Constituency first, then up to London to meet the children from Parkfields Middle School in the House of Commons, and now back to the constituency.
The children were fantastic, as they always are. We had a big group hug photograph, deliberately, to say yah boo sucks to anyone who says children in schools should stop hugging each other – we think hugging is great!
Once again the feeling of being before the firing squad overtook me as the children took aim with their bullet questions. It never fails to amaze me the depth of knowledge some of our children have with regard to issues such as the Iraq war.
Got to dash….
Parkfields School Were Great!
In the name of the Intern....
Posted Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 14:46
I had to sit in front of five priests last night and explain my two blogs from last week about abortion and Cardinal O'Briens remarks.
I sat on the edge of my chair on one side of the room. I over used my hands, over-enunciated, and, spoke way too fast.
They sat in a semi circle on the other side of the room like a firing squad, relaxed, leaning back in their chairs, sipping red wine - every time one put his wine glass to his mouth – my mind played tricks - I saw him blowing down the barrel of a smoking gun as he raised his eyebrows and grinned at me. It wasn’t easy to explain myself, such guilt, and I’m not even a Roman Catholic!
At the end of the evening, the Irish one (no they aren’t all) told me that he wasn’t the biggest fan of Cardinal O’Brien, and that he had made lots of barmy remarks when he had first been made a Cardinal.
Phew, guilt dispersed without even a sniff of incense or a visit to the confession box.
We had a fascinating discussion which focused largely on how society today is becoming anti-religious as opposed to non religious, and obviously, abortion.
A previous (not as in dead but as in some time in the past) intern joined my table at lunch today. She is gorgeous, witty, charming, intelligent, and, has moved on from being an intern to secure two parallel political jobs.
She also has very strong opinions and chose to regale me this lunch time with her latest thoughts on middle class conspiracies. Did you know the marathon was one? “All this health kick nonsense” she states, as she scoops up another chunk of strawberry cheesecake and showers me with biscuit base, “if you have no money you don’t train for the marathon do you? You’re more interested in putting food on the table than running around London for Flora.”
She has a very good point. I wonder if she will consider this when she takes her dual income holiday at Sandals in the Caribbean in a few weeks?
Keep on running
Dr Peter Saunders.. and chemical castration
Posted Wednesday, 13 June 2007 at 14:19
Dr Peter Saunders is the General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship.
Yesterday, we sat on the terrace and over a couple of diet cokes we discussed abortion issues.
I like Dr Saunders, he listens, and I think, he understands. He has the ability to talk you through your point of view and your reasoning in the gentlest way, without being dogmatic or absolutist.
Suddenly, via this clever process, you realise you have been led to a new place.
When it happened yesterday I was a bit startled, although I shouldn’t have been, he’s done it to me before.
Today the government has announced that it will begin a pilot scheme to chemically castrate child sex offenders.
The scheme is voluntary. Only those wishing to take the drugs will be given them.
You won’t be surprised to know that I think every child sex offender should be made to take the drugs, proof being supplied via weekly blood tests. The last time I mentioned this I was besieged by comments from liberal luvvies asking me to recant my comments.
Note to all liberal luvvies – every child sex offender should be chemically castrated – period.
In the Chamber
Posted Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 11:35
Most of yesterday was spent in and out of the Chamber - I wanted to hear William Hague deliver his speech in the debate calling for an Inquiry into the war in Iraq, but even more I wanted to hear Margaret Beckett's response. I had heard William on the Today programme, and guessed that his speech would be an elongated and detailed version of the morning interview.
William never fails to impress.
In his droll unemphasised way, he pointed out that the Select Committee report into the Iraq war had failed to take evidence from Alistair Campbell; Tony Blair; the head of GCHQ; the Cabinet Office intelligence coordinator; the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee; the Chief of Defence Intelligence; and the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service – all of whom are top secret and nameless of course!
So, the report the government holds up as 'independent' and uses as an excuse not to have a full Inquiry into all aspects of the war - and not just why we went in the first place - didn’t take evidence from anyone who knew anything about what happened.
I was complimented by no less than eight MPs and two government ministers yesterday. I preened my way through the afternoon under a barrage of praise with a smile all over my face.
The compliments ranged from, “love the hair", "very cute” to “gorgeous hair sweetie”. Did this surprise me? Well actually it did, but it didn’t stop me lapping it up!
Anne Main - MP for St Albans - brought me down to earth with a thud. After hearing the fourth or so compliment she exclaimed “You had it cut six weeks ago, what’s wrong with them?”
Well…… they are male MPs, will that do?
We deserve an Inquiry.
Posted Monday, 11 June 2007 at 10:21
Please note the Blog below was originally posted on the Cornerstone group website, where I was the guest blogger last week.
I once had a meeting with Nanny Hewitt in her office. I was early. Her PPS probably wishes I hadn’t been. The office wasn’t very big, but did contain a sofa, which was adorned with a duvet and pillows. The sofa was in fact, an Emin-esque unmade bed.
When Nanny Hewitt arrived for the meeting, she sat and ate a packet of sandwiches as she talked, literally. You would think all good nannies would know not to talk with their mouth full wouldn’t you?
She was obviously overstressed and overworked.
It takes some effort to bring about the almost complete collapse of the NHS. Making 17,000 redundancies, ensuring there are no jobs for junior doctors, extending waiting lists, emptying the bank accounts of all the PCTs, cancelling operations, closing down new hospitals – just as they are about to open the doors. This is a lot for one woman to do; she obviously doesn’t have time for sleep.
Another thing a nanny will do is always make you say sorry when you are in the wrong.
Patricia Hewitt must go down in history as the worst Secretary of State for the NHS. It isn’t just what she has done to the NHS, what makes it so much worse is that voice.
It’s the combination of the voice, the actions, the inability to appear anything other than android, and to come across as probably the most uncaring woman on the planet, that has made her job so untenable.If she just said a little sorry, like nanny would make you do, or just showed a little human womanly kindness, she would be in an entirely different position. After all, we can all forgive someone who makes mistakes, to err is human – and there of course is the point.
New Comment Policy For Nadine's Blog
All comments will from now on, only be accepted or deleted during working office hours.
The Office of Nadine Dorries MP.
This Policy will be enforced!
Birthday boy and the importance of memories...
Posted Sunday, 10 June 2007 at 00:40
Today was the 12th birthday of Sam, my friends little boy, and his birthday was spent at my house.
It was the usual gathering of friends and kids. Lots of laughter and noise.
Giles, a friend who has just become the new man in the life of another friend, moaned at me for making him put three bags of charcoal on the BBQ, which made it so hot he couldn’t get near it to turn the meat over.
Tom took over. I became concerned and asked him, whether he was OK? “Yes" said Tom, "you can trust me, I’m a doctor's son”. Everyone laughed, even though we have all heard Tom cracking the same joke since he was six years old.
I looked at everyone laughing and wondered if when Sam was grown up and his own child was having his 12th birthday party, would he remember today?
It is so important for families and friends to get together when there are children around. It’s one of the ways they learn the importance of family, it’s the way memories are made and cascade by word of mouth down through the years.
Now that people no longer live and work in the place they were born, does it happen less now than it used to? Are family gatherings on the decline?
After lunch we took the children for a fun ski. I negotiated a path off pitse which involved a jump over a fair sized mogul and a sharp left turn back onto the piste.
I had a race with the kids. As I charged down the slope the story in the Beds on Sunday flashed in front of my eyes ‘MP breaks leg in reckless race with group of 12 year old boys and girls on ski slope on hottest day of year – in Milton Keynes.’
I slowed down. Sometimes it’s no fun being an MP.
Happy Birthday Sam!
Posted Friday, 8 June 2007 at 12:15
Yesterday, I was most honoured to receive a bottle of Champagne, presented by Sam Coates, on behalf of Archbishop Cranmer.
The Archbishop had won the Champagne as an award for his blog, however, due to his lack of corporeal state, he was unable to accept.
In honour of this event, I feel far too humble to blog myself today and would therefore ask my readers to go straight to the Archbishop's site and read the kind words he has to say about this one.
Many Thanks Archbishop!
Posted Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 10:37
Please note the Blog below was originally posted on the Cornerstone group website yesterday, where I am the guest blogger for this week.
Teachers are complaining that when some children begin their education, they no longer know how to share, socialise, or even make friends - creating problems within the classroom and necessitating teachers to teach the most basic of interpersonal skills.
We have a problem with childhood obesity - for the first time ever it is predicted that parents of today will be the first generation to begin to outlive its offspring. And according to UNICEF, British children are the unhappiest in Europe, by a long way.
What are we doing to our kids?
It would be some comfort to think that an entire generation of parents were wrapping children up in cotton wool and living by the stranger danger code, thereby misguidedly killing childhood with love. Unfortunately the problem is two fold, each problem resulting in the same outcome.
The ‘afraid to let the kids move’ parents are the first half of the problem, but there are also parents who allow the computer, TV and play stations to dominate their children’s lives, and find it easier to let this happen. In many households, parenting has been handed over to a console. Many parents justify this occupation of their children’s mind by a third inanimate by saying, “at least if he’s in his bedroom he’s not out on the streets”. The inference being that the streets are a bad place to be and full of stranger danger.
Our streets are not dangerous, in the way almost all children and parents think today anyway.
While he is sat in his bedroom avoiding the imaginary child abusers and kidnappers, he’s also not socialising, making friends, sharing, compromising, extending his imagination, learning to be creative, playing, getting muddy, ripping trousers, falling out of trees, making dens, kicking a ball around or pushing back the boundaries of acceptable behaviour therefore reinforcing those boundaries even further; he never gets to be the cowboy or the Indian, unless it’s on a plasma screen.
The recent disappearance of Madeleine McCann, desperately sad as it is, will only serve to make this situation worse.
Evidently 95% of children who contact the charity Childline, know who their abuser is. It is usually either a family member or someone in a position of trust, not someone they just met on the street.
I know a number of people who have been sexually abused as children; it goes like this, the vicar, the hospital porter, dad’s friend, uncle.
Any child is more likely to be run over in the street than to be abused in it. 29,000 children in the UK were involved in road accidents last year, 156 of which were fatal.
We should be ingraining the Green Cross Code into our children’s brains, not stranger danger! According to the NSPCC, on average one child is killed by their parent or carer every week in Britain – far more accidents happen in the home than in the park, the fields or the streets. That fact is going to present any parent with a cotton wool mentality with a problem, do we make the home out of bounds?
Parents need to start relaxing and trusting their children’s instincts and become more aware of their children’s most basic needs. Our children should be healthy and free to explore. Someone needs to get the message out that in order to learn the lessons needed for life, how to be responsible and independent, children need to learn to via the most basic first steps how to do this.
How to find your way home when you get lost; how to help your friend down who is stuck in the tree; how to look after the younger children and little siblings in the group; how to a make a picnic last all day; and how to trust.
But of course the most important lesson of all, the one you call on over and over again throughout your adult life - how to fight and make up.
In politics that can be known as conflict resolution. It’s a skill people in high places use with deft diplomacy, a skill which when deployed can mean the difference between life and death for many.
A skill based on instinct which very definitley begins as a process when we are children, in the playground, on the streets, or in the park.
Let our children play
Posted Wednesday, 6 June 2007 at 09:27
I frequently have what I call my 'Susan Moments' - Susan is a character from the C4 programme Desperate Housewives, who is, ever so slightly, accident prone.
A minor 'Susan Moment' happened in a restaurant on Saturday night, when I flicked a plate onto the floor using the corner of the menu - loud noise, smashed glass (all over the feet of the people at the next table) all of that stuff – but that was, as I say, a minor moment.
Most of my Susan moments I manage to conceal from onlookers.
Yesterday was not one of those days, it was a major Susan high visibility moment. My gym bag is packed with lots of things I might need, just in case; spare swimming costume, spare underwear, hairbrushes, make up etc etc.
Yesterday morning I wrote my blog very early, left it to be checked, and then went down to the gym for a swim. My bag was in the usual disarray with belongings spilling out all over the place, with no time to re-pack it properly - I threw it into the back of the car and headed off.
One long ivigorating - don't I now feel smug about myself - swim later, I left the gym and walked across the car park to my car. It was 8.45am and the morning bums and tums were all arriving for their usual classes, before they go and lunch, obviously.
I noticed something white and lacy in the middle of the car park, starkly silhouetted against the black tarmac. I noticed all the bums and tums look and point and laugh at the white flimsy lacy things as they walked past.
A thought crossed my mind.
As I walked towards the objects of much mirth, I laughed along with the others, even adding to the hilarity, "poor woman" laughed I, "how embarrassing", sat in the car and thought, “yep, they were mine”.
Vehicles left at owners' risk
Posted Tuesday, 5 June 2007 at 10:07
To add further to yesterday’s blog, I agree with the majority of what the Cardinal said in his homily.
The Abortion Act of 1967 was based on lies and more lies. It was an appallingly drafted piece of legislation which, under intense pressure from the abortion rights lobby, allowed the present day situation of abortion used as a form of contraception to occur.
I have made it a commitment that throughout my time in Parliament I will do all that I can to reduce the number of abortions which take place each day. My objection to the Cardinal’s statement was that I believe his threat to withhold the Holy sacrament from MPs may actually have had the opposite effect and that he may have in fact given further ammunition to the pro choice lobby, who will describe his actions as extreme and irrational and use that argument to discredit all attempts to amend abortion legislation.
There will be many commentators who will now use the terminology ‘right wing evangelists’ when describing attempts to limit access to abortion as a result of his comments.
Despite the effect of cultural change, which is a necessary part of legislative change, the law has to be amended, and that is a political process.
The majority of politicians are not Christians. In order to persuade them to vote for a change in legislation, the legislation needs to be reasonable and measured. It is unlikely that MPs will vote for a piece of legislation they think may have been coloured or hi-jacked by the church.
I also do not believe that the Holy Sacrament should be withheld from anyone for any reason. God is, above all things, loving and forgiving.
I know that many of my fellow Christians despair at my inability to condemn all abortion at any stage. To them, abortion is the taking of innocent life, based on the argument that if left uninterrupted a foetus at any stage would grow into full life.
These same friends however, all use various forms of contraception, and in an attempt not to be indelicate, some of which allow an egg to be fertilised and wasted.
It is a logical position that if you condemn all abortion, you must condemn various forms of contraception, if you truly believe that life begins at conception - I cannot do that. So I stay as true to my belief as I can, without hypocrisy or slight of word.
It is interesting that the Cardinal didn’t mention the Catholic Church’s position on contraception in his homily. Maybe because to do so would have been so obviously counterproductive?
The Catholic Church will never be able to alter its position with regard to contraception and nor should it. It has every right to uphold its beliefs also without hypocrisy. I admire the Church for the brave position it takes.
Unfortunately, this in itself compromises the abortion message of the church, as without the massive world wide use of various forms of contraception, the abortion rate would, undoubtedly, be much higher.
Of course, it is right that the Cardinal preaches the gospel in and out of season, as one of my bloggers commented. However, at this point in time, in this British society, the message is out of beat with the modern values of today.
I do not advocate changing the message but in educating society in order to bring it to the point whereby the message is heard. I simply believe that is best achieved via methods other than threats issued from a pulpit.
Maybe life begins with the first beat of the human heart in the way that it ends with the last?
As we now have 4D scanning and medical science advancing at the rate it is, maybe one day we will know for sure when life begins.
When we truly know that, there will be no argument as to when and what limit abortion law is set, whether suspended in a safe dark womb or lying in a hospital crib, life is life.
Communicating beyond the pulpit
Posted Monday, 4 June 2007 at 14:53
So, the Roman Catholic Church has gone nuclear on abortion.
As someone who has a Bill currently running in the House of Commons - to reduce the upper limit at which an abortion can take place from 24 to 20 weeks, and, to introduce a period of informed consent (a cooling off period) - which is about to come back onto the floor of the House for its third reading in October, the month of the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, this is a position I should welcome. However, I have very mixed feelings.
Where has the Catholic church, or for that matter, any Christian church been for the last 40 years?
The Abortion Act of 1967 was introduced to legalise abortion in order to end the back street abortion racket.
Illegal abortions were costing lives or leaving women with horrific physical consequences and infections. Something had to be done.
Pre 1967, abortion was a last resort, something a woman resorted to in the most desperate of situations. The reason being because the frightening alternative was the back street abortionist. Everyone knew someone who had a horror story to tell. Breaking the law was not something people undertook lightly either.
Today the Act is undoubtedly used as a form of contraception, and the law, as presently drafted, allows for this to be the case.
It is a fact that the law needs to be amended, however, it is also the case that the public need to be made more aware of what is actually taking place with regard to abortion within society today.
The graphic 4D images which have been put into the public domain by Professor Campbell have assisted hugely with this process.
There has never been a pregnant woman who has not wished, at some stage of her pregnancy, that she had a window which she could peep through to see her unborn child. Professor Campbell and 4D screening has done just that, a miracle in itself. We can see the foetus at all stages of development to the point where we can watch a smile, or a thumb being sucked, a hiccough, or even a little cry.
The reports which show that women who have abortions are three times more likely than other women to suffer from depression later in life needs to be constantly highlighted. It should be incumbent upon every GP who counsels a pregnant woman seeking an abortion to inform her of this fact.
600 abortions a day take place in the UK, this is an unacceptably high number within a civilised society. We have one of the highest rates of abortions within Europe along with the highest rates of teenage pregnancies.
Abortion has become a growth industry, facilitated, and, aided by the law.
The recent stance the Catholic Church has taken will assist in putting all of these facts into the public domain. I welcome the fact that it will heighten public awareness with regard to the sheer abuse of the Abortion Act and will once again push abortion up the public and political agenda.
However, public opinion has recently shifted with regard to abortion, but not to the position of the Catholic church.
The public agree that the upper limit should be reduced, that we should work to offer women alternatives, help them to think very clearly about what they are doing, and, where possible, help to provide another solution.
But it hasn’t shifted so far that the public want to ban abortion altogether.
For some, the moral dilemma of subjecting women to becoming criminals and seeking the services of the back street abortionist is as big a moral issue as abortion itself.
All this will be considered by Roman Catholic MPs when discussing the dictat of the RC church.
Personally, I wish the Church had taken in the bigger picture. Had tried to see that seismic change isn’t going to happen overnight. That the process of reducing the number of abortions which take place each day needs to be approached from a number of angles.
We need to address the fact that the reason why so many unwanted pregnancies occur is due to the fact that so many young people are having unprotected sex. They think it is cool to have sex from a very young age, and that the majority of teenage boys think that the responsibility for the consequences of sex has nothing to do with them.
That the morning after pill costs £25 from a chemist and that is only free with an appointment from a GP, which can take up to four days rendering such a solution useless.
If you are a 16 year old in full time education or on benefits who realises that you may be pregnant and are faced with spending £25 or chancing your luck, you will probably chance your luck.
Addressing the high number of abortions which take place is not just about making statements to ban abortion.
Making dramatic statements such as withholding the holy sacrament from MPs who don’t vote to ban abortion completely will only serve to feed and galvanise the pro choice lobby. The comments made by Cardinal Keith O’Brien make the RC Church look out of step with public opinion and extreme.
Eye-catching for the day I will concede, however ammunition for the pro-choice lobby to use for a long time to come.
The pro-life lobby has achieved very little since the introduction of the '67 Act as the rate of abortions continues to increase. It is a fact that the pro-choice lobby are winning the battle.
I would like to see the debate move away from the argument to ban abortion altogether and to approach the problem form a number of fronts, in a reasonable and considered manner. Free from political and religious dogma.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the Roman Catholic Church has really assisted a great deal in this process.
Maybe the Church could try knocking some big moral stakes into the ground which inform society of its position with regard to sex before marriage.
The Church could, if it were adventurous enough, once again become a force and set the moral agenda within the communities it serves. But that is much harder work than making a grand statement.
Meanwhile another 4,200 abortions will take place this week. Maybe if those who wish to ban abortion thought a little harder about the heartache and the tears many of those girls and women will go through this week, not all, I know, but many, they maybe everyone will try just that bit harder to find a realistic solution.
If the pro-life lobby thought a little more about the pregnant woman, and if the pro choice lobby thought a little more about the baby - if everyone accepted that we don’t live in an ideal world, yet, and everyone has to give a little, then maybe we might just begin to get somewhere near a solution that the majority of people who live within this society would like to see.
A reduction in the number of abortions carried out each day achieved via a number of measures – a reduction in the upper limit from 24 to 20 weeks and a period of informed consent, not ideal, I agree, but a massive improvement from where we are today.
Which, whatever way you look at it, boils down to the Roman Catholic Church blackmailing MPs .Almost as desperate a measure as resorting to a back street abortionist. In my limited experience MPs don’t take well to being backed into a corner or having their independence challenged. Not a good move.
My Bill's 3rd Reading Is In October 2007
Digger and Tosca
Posted Friday, 1 June 2007 at 11:39
A friend in the Cotswolds invited me for supper last night. As I walked in through the door, supper was being laid out on the table. A bottle of red wine was open and had been breathing for an hour, and a fire crackled in the grate in the sitting room.
After we had eaten we collapsed onto the sofa in front of the fire, with a Jack Russell on each lap, a glass of wine in each hand, and as I settled down for a long chat my friend said, “So what’s been going on with all this education stuff then”?
I am alone in the house this morning and I am sat in this beautiful Cotswold garden typing my blog with only the birds and the two Jack Russell’s for company.
Digger dived on my lap. I don’t have a very big lap. Tosca has dived on top of Digger; if any more arrive we can play Jack Russell Jenga.
My friends Housekeeper has just arrived and brought me a cup of tea into the garden, she has sat down to join me; she wants to talk about grammar schools.
This is my sign off blog on education for now. This is the last thing I have to say.
The issue for me was about the decision not to select by academic ability in the state sector.
It was about not putting any more children through further educational experiments, when we know what works and has worked for many years, perfectly well.
For me it was about trying to ensure that in the future, children in the state sector could compete on a level playing field with those from the private sector for the type of jobs which seem to pass state school kids by today, since the demise of the grammar.
I disliked the fact that the argument became bogged down in infrastructural issues. Became all about institutions and buildings and names. When really in amongst all of the media political hype, hardly any mention was given to the children who would benefit from academic selection.
I did not see one child being interviewed on TV and hardly any parents.
What I would have liked to see was a film showing how children in a prep school are prepared for the common entrance exam at 13, and how children in a state school are taught in a non academic environment.
I would have liked to have seen the media focus on how under this Labour government the private sector has boomed, and how in the state system over a million kids are failing.
I am delighted the private sector is booming, so it should, however, I am horrified that children in the state sector have been so badly let down by us politicians. Shame on us.
There you go then, done. Back to Mid Beds. Digger and Tosca both asleep with Tosca’s face in Diggers mouth. Funny dogs Jack Russell’s!
How's my grammar?