Light Blogging

Many apologies for the lack of demented rants recently--though I suspect that if I left things a little longer my hits would actually start going up. I have been working like a mad person, and am down in the country for my little Sister's wedding today. Normal service will soon be resumed.

I hope that everyone is having a good December so far, though I've been paying attention to the unemployment figures and met a soon-brother-in-law last night who has been burying friends from the Iraq conflict regularly. These are not light times,but today is going to be very happy for me.

One question has occurred to me which I would have blogged about if I had time. This present crisis is in large part a banking crisis. Big countries have been put on life support whilst small ones have gone down. That's why Ireland and Iceland are in the state they are in.

Does the pattern of collapses and weakness in the UK suggest that 'the North' and Scotland are functionally separate places? It's hard not to see that the British Banks and Building Societies that have gone down, bar Northern Rock (part of which is still based in Ireland)were Scottish. What does that say about the UK, and what does London's rescue of them mean for the idea of Britain?


Anonymous said…
Urgent! whats is likely to come
out of this Case,

European Court to Hear Case Next
Week Seeking to Overturn Ireland Abortion Ban,

European Court to Hear Case Next Week Seeking to Overturn Ireland Abortion Ban

Please reply before wednesday much
appreciated ours Laim.
Martin Meenagh said…

There have been a string of cases, not least in Portugal, linking human rights (because it is the Strasbourg court, not the EU one) to abortion. I was disappointed to find, a few years ago, that Amnesty International were in on that act.

I will put up a post about that tonight. The bigger danger, I would have thought, is the EU muscling in, in a few years time, on the basis of the free movement of citizens and equal treatment clauses, to state healthcare systems. They have overriding authority, whilst the European Court of Human Rights, I think I am right in saying, could issue a judgment that Ireland could only follow after a constitutional change.

Anyway, more later. Many thanks for your comment.
Martin Meenagh said…
The situation is complicated, by the way, by the Treaty of Lisbon, which I think means that the EU is party to the European Convention on Human Rights. This means that something the European Court of Justice has always resisted--oversight by the Court of Human Rights--might now slip in. They'll have to think about this case in any future judgment.

I'd also point out that a host of European countries are likely to share Ireland's concerns, and so the case is going to be an interesting one. My faith aside (just) I find it difficult to believe that anyone can portray abortion as a right and not an elective medical procedure that can't be forced on people who don't want anything to do with it.

Well, not too difficult. I've met these sort of people....
Anonymous said…
"find it difficult to believe that anyone can portray abortion as a right and not an elective medical procedure that can't be forced on people who don't want anything to do with it." Why not! look at the roe
verus wade in the america, and the
prevous case involing Polands
abortion law. As far as i know
nations that don't complie are
expelled from the council of
europe.poland is not yet.
Please reply again Urgent!
Martin Meenagh said…

No, I didn't mean that I didn't believe it--it's all too believable--just that I find it difficult when people are wilfully deluding themselves.

Russia, I think, was asked to leave the Council of Europe over the death penalty.

I think that what you may term 'the international judicial class' and their hangers-on would dearly love abortion and euthanasia to be 'rights'. I think that if they can advance that case, and fit with the logic of free movement and access to healthcare that others have access to, they will do so. But I think, equally, that Ireland's ban is akin to a refusal to provide certain breast cancer drugs, or cosmetic procedures in the NHS that can be obtained in, say, Germany. A court cannot claim that a state has to provide them; it could suggest that it must not impede them. I can't see that the Irish state is. Northern Irish courts, which are subject to a human rights regime of long standing, have not recognised abortion as a right. Indeed, in Britain, abortion is technically illegal; a doctor with the advice of another has a defence of medical necessity but no one else does and the defence is never investigated.

Roe v Wade, as I understand it, was based on the problem that state attorneys general were not allowing private provision and were impeding individuals from moving around, and that they were compromising their fourteenth amendment rights. There are equivalent ideas floating around at the minute in Europe, but the problem is that the European Court of Justice (the EU one) really doesn't want to be overseen by the European Court of Rights (the strasbourg one). It also doesn't want to suggest to the German courts that it is supervising human rights, because the German courts are not having any of that.

None of which answers your original question. I think that the court has few grounds to do what it probably wants to do, which would be to spread abortion through Europe. It may invent some. I am under the impression that, unless the ECJ adopts the ECHR ruling, the Irish will be able to say that a constitutional amendment would be required to change their rules. Northern ireland Judges would then be able to deny that abortion was a human right under their own regime, but Irish ones would not--a very odd situation.

That is as good an answer as I can give, I am afraid.

Many thanks for your comment
Anonymous said…
Me again,
here is brief outline of the
case and why the Pro-abortion
side on this seems confitant of
Robust defence of Irish abortion
CARL O'BRIEN, in Strasbourg

Robust defence of Irish abortion laws
Martin Meenagh said…
Many thanks. I have been asleep most of the day, or not well, so have not followed as I would have wanted. I promise to blog later.

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