Kenneth Roy’s recent editorial, 'The had enough Scots’ (October), does Scotland something of a disservice. Regardless of the outcome, the work done by the Radical Independence Campaign to encourage Scots to register to vote in the 2014 referendum campaign was a huge success story by any standards, as was the turnout itself. Surely that should be lauded. And they have not been disbanded. Two years on, regular meetings are still being held throughout Scotland. That’s vibrant surely.
Turn-outs at local elections, particularly by-elections, are notoriously low. Why might that be? Perhaps because the electorate believe that their vote for someone appointed by a political party, and not someone who will truly represent their local concerns, will count for nothing. Or perhaps it’s because many of the electorate don’t even know it’s even taking place? Whatever the reason it can be hardly be compared to a referendum vote on the future of a whole nation, presaged by two years of non-stop publicity, and which might be the only one you’ll have in your lifetime.
'Project Fear’ was the soubriquet which the No campaigners created to describe themselves, not an atmosphere of intimidation by Yes campaigners. I attended some 30 debates on the referendum. There was plenty of heckling and booing, but I didn’t witness a single violent or threatening incident. I did read about an egg being thrown at Jim Murphy and a young woman being assaulted in George Square – post-referendum. On the whole though I thought it rather civilised compared to the way politics are conducted in other countries. How many incidents were actually reported to the police?
'Some of us remember that friends, colleagues and families were bitterly divided and that the damage to personal relationships has never properly healed.' I have a reasonably extensive social network and I’m not aware of a single instance of damage to any personal relationships. On-going arguments yes, but damage, no.
Given the potential outcome of the referendum – dramatic change or status quo – it’s hardly surprising that there were fewer No posters displayed in windows given that the No side were expected to win easily. There was no need for them. Was this down to intimidation, over-confidence, or was it just the embarrassment of being accused of not supporting your country? Who knows?
The demonstration outside the BBC in Glasgow was the direct result of a news report by BBC political editor Nick Robinson, who claimed that Alex Salmond had not answered certain questions he put to him – 'Answer came there none’ – when in fact Salmond had taken several minutes to address the questions. It was an outrageous lie, broadcast on the BBC’s main news channel. Given that it was subsequently defended by the BBC, a modest protest was surely a natural reaction. Surely responsible journalists should decry the BBC’s blatant bias.
I read with great interest, the article by Ruth Morrissy (October) on abortion and its place, or its actual absence, in Ireland. This country is now in the 21st century yet it still holds on to ideas placed into the constitution by the Roman Catholic Church. The public’s view of the Roman Catholic Church has taken a very downward swing from the 1980s to date. Why, then, should the Irish people follow its beliefs when churches all over Ireland are empty during services?
The eighth amendment to the constitution, promulgated on 7 October 1983, '...acknowledges the right of life to the unborn, with due regard to the equal right of life to the mother...'. So while people are worried about the rights of the unborn, there have been or will be many times where there was a mistake, accident, burst condom, etc, where the pregnancy was never actually wanted.
The pro-life group have always argued about the number of children whose lives have been saved since the introduction of the eighth amendment but, currently, there are many homeless people, drug addicts, young criminals, etc, who, but for the introduction of the eighth amendment, may not have been here, had their mothers had the choice that should be available to all humans. The aforementioned are the unwanted in our Irish streets today – could this be thanks to the introduction of the eighth amendment?
This may sound cold, but it is a well-known fact that the number of abortions worldwide is phenomenal. However, there are always valid reasons behind these decisions and the woman should be the person who makes any valid decision as to what will change her life forever. On 24 September, tens of thousands of people gathered in Dublin requesting that this eighth appeal be revoked. The chants of 'Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate', 'Get your rosaries off my ovaries' and 'Pro-life that's a lie, you don't care if women die'.
Some journalists have stated that they do not believe that the eighth should be abolished but these people are have one thing in common with the people who voted in the amendment in 1983: they have more faith in theocracy than democracy.
If you would like to contribute to The Cafe, please send your copy to: email@example.com