Campaigns: July 2009 Archives

"Ulster says no to sodomy."

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A friend of mine from university grew up gay in Belfast in the 1970s, and vividly remembered billboards with this slogan on them being put up just as he realised girls weren't for him. 

They were funded by "Dr" Ian Paisley prior to his reincarnation as one half of the Chuckle Brothers, and it's fair to say they didn't inspire a warm glow of tolerance and happiness.

It was also factually inaccurate, for one thing. Plenty of people in Belfast and elsewhere were saying yes to sodomy, even then. Secondly, what it really should have said was "Ian Paisley says no thanks to sodomy", which is of course his absolute right, even if I doubt he'd have had many such offers.

The same problems apply in spades to the current debate over assisted suicide and euthanasia. Campaigners against it, mostly arguing from dubious religious grounds, want to prevent others from dying with dignity, and they claim popular support. We're a "vocal minority", apparently. 

In Scotland, however, 82% of people wanted a change in the law in 2004. What Scotland says and what the "pro-life" gang say are totally different. "Pro-pain" or "pro-misery" might be better descriptions, incidentally.

It's strange that some people can't see that this must be a choice for the individuals concerned. Nothing makes this more obvious than when people with terminal illness or with an unbearably low quality of life go up against shiny-faced young apologists for fundamentalism, usually outside the High Court. 

The bottom line for these misguided campaigners: you can say no to dying with dignity for yourself if you want, but hell mend you if you try to force others to endure painful and prolonged deaths. More power to Margo and her Bill.

Pic from Von Pip.

Leave it in the ground.

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patsmainshill.jpgIt's been a while since I've been on any actual direct action, but I'm sorely tempted to get down to Mainshill to support the activists and the community taking on a massive opencast project. 

Patrick went down earlier in the month to show solidarity and ask how we could help, but I think they'll wait a long time before any of Scotland's other party leaders make it.

I had a long weekend tunnelling at Manchester Runway Two in the mid 1990s, and I'd commend Disco Dave's guide to the practice to the Mainshill crowd. I'm sure the coal isn't that close to the surface to make it hard work. There's even an "opencast" model in his list of types. The irony would be pretty pleasing.

One thing Mainshill has in common with Runway Two is the community support. There are sometimes protests like this where the community think "dammit, we want our bypass", and others where the shopping arrives to keep the campers fed, families come for a tour to say hello and little kids get told that the nice people with dreadlocks are trying to save the woods for the badgers and the birds and so on.

Here's a couple of residents quoted in the Herald:

"I have done everything I can possibly do for them. We are surrounded by open-casts and it's the health issues as well. This area has one of the highest cancer rates in the whole of Scotland."

"It's all about money. I grew up here and it's always been forestry. They say they will restore it but how long will it take to be back to this?"

Finally, the camp have put together this wee youtube video. Most persuasive bits: bloke in the middle nailing Scottish Government hypocrisy on climate change, and the pan to existing opencast sites looking like moonscapes.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Campaigns category from July 2009.

Campaigns: June 2009 is the previous archive.

Campaigns: August 2009 is the next archive.