Friday, 15 July 2011

Nadine Dorries and the Time Travel Machine

Firstly I'd like to apologise for my lack of updates recently - we've moved house and I was busy sorting out which bits of my life I could carry in my hold luggage. I've also been feeling under the weather after taking my first few antidepressants but I've been told normality should return in a few weeks. Illness also got in the way of me going to the Pride march so unfortunately I have nothing to write about that this year. I'll make an effort to show up in 2012, assuming it still goes ahead.

I've also discovered my new favourite toy on the internet during my travels as well: the Wayback Machine. Basically it lets you see what a website looked like at a certain date and displays a calendar of when changes were made, even giving you an exact image of what the page looked like at the time. As well as reliving pointless nostalgia this little time machine is also great for tripping up incompetent figures of authority.

This week's target has been Nadine Dorries and her unsettling love for dishonesty when it comes to women's naughty bits. Basically our sexuality is something shameful rather than a completely normal part of our day-to-day lives which we should be given impartial information on. Normally hilarity would ensue but this particular advocate of bullshit has influence and power - crude attempts at emotional and intellectual shaming are rife in her writing but I've yet to see any reliable evidence in her arguments.

Yesterday we had the dubious honour of an article from Nadine Dorries on The Guardian's Comment is Free section, where she attempted to provide her proposed changes to abortion law and sex education with an air of respectability. Did she use reliable studies and sound evidence to back her arguments up? No, of course not - it was bluster and emotive rhetoric without substance as usual. Any doubts you may have about this assertion will soon be dispelled by a look at even the first page of comments on her article. Here's my (relatively) quick summary for any of you who haven't explored the shady past history of Dorries' previous anti-choice campaigns and actions:
Madame Dorries... I appreciate that you might want to come on here portraying yourself as pursuing the middle ground on this issue, but we have reason to believe that your motives on this subject are suspect.

You claim you want to see "unbiased information", as most of us would. Let's start by looking back over a past campaign.

Do you remember that 'Alive and Kicking' campaign you ran back in 2007? You pulled the plug on the website for it back in 2009 in an attempt to cover your tracks over the controversy of which information was and wasn't in the public domain. Using the wonders of the internet we've managed to uncover the entire past history of this campaign.

The findings were somewhat sinister. You and your associate, Peter Saunders', aims on banning abortion even in cases of rape, severe disability and danger to the mother's health were nowhere to be seen. And yet they appeared in his presentation on the campaign's aims to the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. I should also add that the studies you both used to try and justify these measures with were completely bogus and of dubious value.

The technology available to us is great, isn't it? We can still see the evidence of your dishonesty even though you and your associates have gone nuclear and closed the site down.

You criticise the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of acting in a "cloak and dagger manner" when reviewing the guidelines for women seeking a procured abortion. Your record on honesty is far from perfect, as we've already seen above. And the worst part of it all is that we don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes. There's a huge map of your connections with known anti-choice advocates.

Suzanne Moore wasn't 'fantasising about your intentions', she was bang on the money voicing her concern about your extremely shady credentials and past history in this topic. I'm really beginning to wonder what bothers you so much about other women having autonomy over their own bodies. I don't control your genetalia, please get your ideology away from mine.

I will not take you seriously on this matter until you start revealing your own motives and intentions honestly as you are asking of others. Care to enlighten us? I'd love to know what knives you're hiding behind your back with this one.
If Dorries did not have any access to power of have any influence over such matters she could be safely dismissed as someone blindly following their ideology in spite of the evidence at hand. However, she has already been known to display a remarkable resistance to evidence which doesn't fit in with her views - she'll ignore the rational and logical arguments of Ben Goldacre (and even throw a hissy fit about it sometimes) while promoting known hoaxes with her eagle-eyed medical observations:  
"My second point is look at the tear in the uterus. See how jiggered it is just above the hand; and yet the rest of the surgically incised openings are controlled and neat. This is, in all likelihood, because the hand unexpectedly thrust out. It would be a poor surgeon who allowed the uterine tear to be so messy, and this is no ‘poor’ surgeon." 
Ben Goldacre provides us with an explanation for this:
My recollection, from assisting in many Caesarean deliveries in my earlier years, is that instead of making a big clean cut into the uterus (not a good idea for obvious reasons ie there’s a baby in there) you make repeated shallow superficial incisions into the uterus, between which you spread the tissues by hand with your fingers, until it eventually (and satisfyingly, surgery’s great fun) opens up. 

Not that Nadine Dorries will pay much attention to any rational explanation, of course. Who the hell keeps voting for this woman?

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