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YES - Prohibition of Abortion repealed in Ireland

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 25th, 2018 at 11:25:01 PM EST

The Eight Amendment to the Irish Constitution, passed by a margin of 67% to 33% on a 54% turnout in 1983, made abortion all but equivalent to murder in all circumstances except where there was an immediate and certain risk to the life of the mother. 35 years later a referendum to repeal that amendment was held yesterday.

The Irish Times exit poll predicts a 68% to 32% victory for the repeal side. A much higher turnout, approaching 70% is also expected to have occurred. This is a better result than the Yes side dared to hope, given that the No campaign had the full support of the Catholic Church and assorted well funded right wing think tanks and organisations who used emotive posters and language basically portraying YES supporters as baby killers.


As might be expected, the younger the voter, the more likely they are to support repeal. However the contrast between the 50-64 demographic (YES 63-37) and the 65+ demographic (NO 60-40) is stark. A sea change appears to have occurred between voters born before and after 1953, a period which saw the Catholic Church defeat the first attempts by government to introduce publicly funded health care for mothers and children.

Women and urban voters also supported repeal in greater numbers, but again, it is striking that there was no great Male/female or Urban/rural divide. All parts of the country voted for repeal, and men supported repeal by 65-35%.


An exit poll published later on Friday night by RTÉ during the Late Late Show mirrored the projection seen in The Irish Times exit poll. The RTÉ poll showed 69.4 have voted for Yes, while 30.6 per cent have voted for No.
At a political level, I was concerned that a no vote could stall and perhaps reverse a 30 year trend towards greater secularisation and liberalisation in Ireland. Every reactionary group seemed to jump on the No bandwagon and sought to harness an anti-establishment vote similar to what we have seen with Brexit and Trump. Once again Ireland has bucked that trend - similar to the popular vote for Marriage equality in a referendum in 2015.

There may also have been something of a backlash against the Catholic Church and assorted otherwise marginal right wing and religious groups such as the Iona Institute seeking to hijack the issue to support their political agendas.

A number of voters have protested about the presence of religious symbols at polling stations amid voting in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, but no formal complaints are understood to have been made to authorities.

A Department of Local Government spokesman said the removal of religious symbols or covering them up is a matter for local returning officers, who procure the venues for voting.

A Co Leitrim voter was angered to find a bible in front of him on the desk where he got his polling card in Co Leitrim.

“The last thing I saw before I voted was the Bible,” Declan McGovern (33) said. “I thought there was a very strong message being communicated there.”

Mr McGovern stressed he was not pushing his views on the referendum, but wanted to raise the issue of a Bible being present at a voting centre. Similar concerns had emerged during the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015.

Describing himself as a Yes voter and a non-practising Catholic, he had voted in the village of Drumshanbo, where he grew up.

Many politicians seem to have been some way behind the people in changing their views on this issue:

Exit polls a shock to political system

The findings of these exit polls will surprise and even shock many in the political system.

There was undoubtedly a sense that the Yes side had gained momentum in the final week of the campaign but the likely scale of this result was unexpected.

It means the Government's proposals to allow abortion up to 12 weeks will progress through the Oireachtas before the end of the year.

It's likely the early work on this will now begin when the Cabinet meets on Tuesday.

And the result could even see the process set in train in the Oireachtas a little sooner than originally planned.

For other political parties too the result is significant.

A majority of Fianna Fáil TDs may have opposed constitutional change, but party leader Micheál Martin's decisive backing of the proposal strengthens his position.

And the new Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald can, with no little authority, ask her party members to support the upcoming legislation, when it holds a special Ard Fheis next month.

Based on these poll findings, the Government too has carefully and skillfully addressed a difficult social issue.

Its approach spearheaded by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health Simon Harris has won support in all parts of the country and across almost all age groups.

The Citizens’ Assembly, which plotted the path to this point, has also proved to be reflective of the public mood.

And that is something very few in political circles would have accepted before now.

[Update]

The final results are now in and in turns out every one of Ireland's 40 constituencies except Donegal voted for Repeal - and the Donegal vote was a close 48-52% call. The overall result was 66.4% to 33.6% - a resounding 2:1 margin of victory and a complete reversal of the 2:1 margin by which the original amendment was passed in 1983. However the turnout this time around was 64% - a full 10% higher than the 54% turnout in 1983.

The government is now free to legislate for "abortion on demand" up to 12 weeks and afterwards where there is a fatal foetal abnormality or a risk to the health of the mother. It is expected that the legislation will be passed before the end of the year. Technically the government is a minority government and doesn't have the seats in Parliament to pass the legislation on its own. However it would be a brave party or politician who would now block the legislation given the decisiveness of the people's verdict.

Display:
Congratulations to the Yes Campaign.  

The size and breadth of the win is truly remarkable.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 03:53:36 AM EST
Yes, Yes, Yes. A resounding, emphatic Yes
Yes, Yes, Yes. A resounding, emphatic Yes. And what a way to say it - the only way to say it: with conviction and clarity. This massive vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution leaves no doubt. The Irish people have taken ownership of their abortion issue. They have taken it out of the hands of unrepresentative lobby groups and celibate clerics and decided how they want to approach it.

On Friday, with steely assurance, a new generation of all the generations faced down the suffocating old certainties and swept them aside. On Friday, May 25th, 2018, they stood up and were not afraid to be counted. Because those days are gone now.

--snip---

There couldn't have been a better day for a vote. The sun shone on the island, welcoming back the thousands of men and women who traversed the globe and returned to vote. The sight of them arriving at ports and airports with their "Repeal" jumpers and wheelie cases moved the most hard-hearted observers to tears.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 07:44:33 AM EST
It's a nice birthday gift, isn't it, Frank!

It would be interesting to break up the "over 65" class of age. I am not sure the 65 to 70 would give the same figures as the whole class.

Slainte!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 08:27:14 AM EST
I don't know whether the exit pollsters asked respondents their exact age. or just what age group they belonged to. The latter is the more usual practice, I believe, so a more detailed breakdown may not be possible.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 09:31:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At 65 today I am at the exact cut-off age for the divide between people who voted YES and No in this referendum. Having lived through some dark times, particularly the 1980's when the Catholic Church mounted a counter-offensive against what it saw as the secularising and liberalising tendencies then emanating from Europe, I was always a bit worried we could see a return to those days.

Having always felt like a radical or an outsider on the fringe of acceptable debating paradigms it is a little disconcerting to now find yourself at the heart of the mainstream consensus. History doesn't always move in your direction. If only now we could see a re-animation and re-invigoration of the social compact contained in the earlier visions for the European Union we could roll back the reactionary tide of Brexit and Trumpeteers.

Climate change, environmental sustainability, over-population, growing inequalities and the rise of corporate rule are challenges we are only beginning to address, but at least some historical baggage has now been discarded. Onward and upward!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 10:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of incoming results and commentary is Here

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 10:14:52 AM EST
And results are here

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 01:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The tallies as they open boxes are bearing out the exit polls.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 10:20:48 AM EST
Savita Halappanavar's father thanks Irish voters for 'historic' abortion vote - Guardian
The father of Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year-old dentist who died of sepsis in 2012 after being denied an abortion during a protracted miscarriage, has said he is "very happy" at the projected result of Ireland's referendum.

Speaking to the Guardian by phone from his home in Karnataka, south-west India, Andanappa Yalagi said: "We've got justice for Savita, and what happened to her will not happen to any other family now.

"I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment."

by Bernard on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 04:32:47 PM EST
The final results are now in and in turns out every one of Ireland's 40 constituencies except Donegal voted for Repeal - and the Donegal vote was a close 48-52% call. The overall result was 66.4% to 33.6% - a resounding 2:1 margin of victory, a complete reversal of the 2:1 margin by which the original amendment was passed in 1983. However the turnout this time around was 64% - a full 10% higher than the 54% turnout in 1983.

The government is now free to legislate for "abortion on demand" up to 12 weeks and afterwards where there is a fatal foetal abnormality or a risk to the health of the mother. It is expected that the legislation will be passed before the end of the year. Technically the government is a minority government and doesn't have the seats in Parliament to pass the legislation on its own. However it would be a brave party or politician who would now block the legislation given the decisiveness of the people's verdict.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 08:54:40 PM EST
It'd be a brave government that didn't work out how to do better than "end of the year" ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 09:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, this puts Fianna Fáil, the only party really split on the referendum and whose core voters voted slightly against it, on the back foot. Fine Gael ministers got out in front in good time and are basking in the reflected glory of the result.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 09:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still. Would you agree with me that the next 6 months controversy about execution will feature a parade of "hard cases" until some one is left for dead again?

Weaving restrictions is such a tricky business, yanno.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 26th, 2018 at 11:00:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think - but would have to consult counsel to be sure - that simply removing the clause about right to life of the unborn removes a lot of trouble for the medics, so people not getting medical treatment because they're pregnant should go away relatively quickly - maybe this week. Getting the infrastructure in place for elective abortions will take longer.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 02:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For one thing, hospitals and clinics would have to agree, staff up and train to provide abortion services. Some "Catholic" owned or controlled hospitals will probably refuse outright. Some medical professionals may exercise their "right" to conscientiously object to being party to such procedures. Given the health service is already under capacity pressures, additional facilities may have to be built.

Trust may also be an issue: can you trust your doctor to provide unbiased advice? Some specialist clinics may be set up by centres such as the Well woman centre. Will they be subjected to protests by anti-abortion extremists? Existing legislative restrictions will have to be repealed or else remain at least technically in force despite the referendum.

There may be legitimate reasons why providing an appropriate legislative framework and service delivery infrastructure could take quite a bit more than 6 months.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 04:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The management arrangements for the new maternity hospital are going to have to be redone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 07:30:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect there are two schools of thought on this within Fine Gael. On the one hand, they could expedite the passage of legislation implementing the referendum result over the summer/early autumn and call an election when the "confidence and supply" agreement runs out after the budget in October and hope to benefit from the reflected glory of the result and a populist budget.

I suspects this would be Fianna Fail's worst nightmare but there is no guarantee that the result would be much different from the current Dail but with Fianna Fail committed to NOT agreeing a new confidence and supply agreement.  Forming a new government in that context would be nigh on impossible without agreeing a coalition with either Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein both of which would be very difficult for different reasons.

Any afterglow from the referendum result would die out very quickly in the government paralysis/stalemate likely to occur in that context.

The alternative strategy would be to drag out the legislative process to the end of the year keeping Fianna Fail divisions in the spotlight and discouraging them from ending the "confidence and supply" agreement any time soon. Then, once the legislation is passed before Xmas, Fine Gael could point to the Brexit negotiations being at an absolutely critical stage before Brexit in March and the "irresponsibility" of forcing an election in the middle of that "national crisis".

Given that public approval ratings of Fine Gael's performance in government on that issue is relatively high, Fianna Fail would also be reluctant to pull the plug at that stage. Then, after March, once Brexit actually happens and we (might possibly actually) know what the post Brexit landscape looks like, Fianna Fail could blame Fine Gael for what I see as a likely no-deal Brexit and subsequent utter chaos, and elections could be called to coincide with the European parliament elections due in May/June.

Then at least, we might have a national debate on competing visions for dealing with the post Brexit situation as it emerges and a government with a mandate to pursue a particular policy line. From a Fine Gael perspective, anything which distracts public attention from their failures in housing, homelessness, health care and sundry public service crises has got to be a good thing.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 09:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The other delay is going to be court challenges to the outcome of the referendum. They're specious, but it'll take a bit of time to process them and for the court to tell them to piss off.

Once the legislation is in place that'll all be challenged too, unless the President and Council of State refer it to the Supreme Court for an opinion on its constitutionality.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 09:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is possible for the no side to lose even more ground in public opinion, these challenges should do it...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's mostly deniable loonies who represent themselves, but at least one is a mysteriously funded serial litigant who took action against several previous amendments.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 02:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the No campaign was made up of deniable loonies who represented themselves or small groups and who claimed to speak on behalf of God or the majority. I think they will lose further ground in opinion polls if they seek to frustrate the obvious will of the large majority and this will help to ensure Constitutional provisions on blasphemy and "woman in the home" are also removed with a minimum of opposition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 at 04:18:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about Northern Ireland? Is abortion regulated like in the rest of the UK, or do they have some restrictive legislation?
by Bernard on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 04:36:24 PM EST
No - abortion is still illegal in N. Ireland, so you could have a strange reversal whereby Northern women will come to the south for terminations. The DUP is against all divergence between N. Ireland and Britain except where it is in favour of such divergence: for example on gay rights or abortion...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 04:40:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just saw this from the Guardian:

Theresa May to oppose MPs' vote on Northern Ireland abortion law

Theresa May will oppose plans to let MPs vote to liberalise Northern Ireland's oppressive abortion laws, Downing Street has signalled.

The prime minister believes that it would be wrong for Westminster to legislate on a matter that should be decided by the devolved administration in Belfast and ministers fear that imposing pro-choice laws on Northern Ireland could backfire.

But May is likely to face strong pressure to allow a parliamentary vote, with her cabinet colleague Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, saying at the weekend that the hope for change in Northern Ireland "must be met" amid calls for the region to have a referendum.

The landslide vote in favour of liberalising abortion laws in the Irish Republic has put the spotlight on Northern Ireland, which will be the only place in Britain and Ireland where abortion is illegal in most circumstances. The 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to the region and abortion is only allowed if the life or mental health of the mother is at risk.

by Bernard on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 06:20:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly all modern European "abortion" laws are restricted by "reasons" determined by the state, eg. term limit, age, "socio-economic" tests, "mental health", (Todd Akin) rape, incest (rape), and everyone's favorite, certain death.

I did some research into status worldwide last night. Then cross-tabbed to R.Catholic population by country (2005) just for kicks. The most recent survey data is 2014. (You'll want to magnify the image X6 to read the legend. The green zone is not what it appears.)

By closely examining the legend of arcane disclaimers, I identified exactly (5) nation-states located in the continent and its ahh antilles that fully sanction unrestricted choice to terminate pregnancy: Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldava, Switzerland, and, yes, yer crazy cousin Russia.

Abortion is legal in NI and the Big Island. The difference between restriction to abortion in UK and NI is not simply the letter of the laws

Abortion is possible but only in very specific circumstances
The law is far stricter than in the rest of the UK.

In 1945, the Infant Life (Preservation) Act, which permits terminations to preserve the life of the mother, was extended to Northern Ireland.

but the spirit with which it may be executed.
Abortion is regulated by the Abortion Act 1967, which permits a doctor to perform an abortion if two doctors agree that there are medical grounds for it. The Act has rules about the premises where abortions may be conducted and about certifying and registering abortions.

In practice, the Department of Health allows doctors to sanction abortions without genuine medical grounds and seeks to ensure that abortion is provided in every possible case.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 09:26:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crabs in a barrel
DUP will use veto to block abortion rights in Northern Ireland
The host asked veteran politician Mr Wells if the law should be changed to allow easier access to abortions in Northern Ireland.
[...]
DUP leader Arlene Foster said the referendum will have no impact on Northern Irish law and Mr Wells echoed her comments.
[...]
Mrs Ewart said she had a meeting to discuss the issue with Mr Wells when he was serving as Health Minister and that she left the meeting "very upset."

"This is medical care. We need help with our consultants at our home with our family around it," Mrs Ewart said. "If it's good enough to send us away, why can't we have it here?"



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 03:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breda O'Brien: Anti-abortion movement has not given up and will not disappear

Breda O'Brien is a columnist in the Irish Times and a patron of the Iona Institute - the leading right wing think tank dedicated to various right wing and religious causes in Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 06:35:55 PM EST
But as it's now been demonstrated that listening to her is likely to be inimical to electoral success it doesn't matter.

The amount of attention given to the same self appointed US funded  ten people by the media here has to be addressed too.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun May 27th, 2018 at 07:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulations to the Republic for being on the right side of history, as opposed to Anglo-American World which is goose-stepping at the double quick into the Fourteenth Century.
by rifek on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 06:22:19 AM EST
Please leave the 14th century out of it. The Anglo-American world is pure 20th century.
Muller also points to a court case from the of town of Brno in Moravia from the year 1353, which offers some interesting insights into medieval views on a woman's control over her own body (and her offspring). A woman had been arrested while trying to drown her newborn child in a river, and the case went to 24 male jurors. The jurors concluded that she was not guilty of infanticide, stating:
The woman is not to be punished by any means. And this is so because she bore a baby boy and had her own right to him. Thus, she may kill him and make him perish, for everyone is free to do with what is his, or hers, that which he, or she, pleases to do
While infanticide was generally considered a crime, the idea that abortion was illegal was not as widely held. Muller notes that we have very few cases from the Middle Ages of women being prosecuted for having an abortion or that officials were actively seeking to arrest them. We know of more people being executed for prenatal abortions in some individual German towns from the 16th and 17th centuries than we do for all of Europe in the Middle Ages.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 08:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting. Reminds me of something I read in either Graeber's Debt or the Invention of Capitalism by Pereleman. The Enclosure of the English countryside went along with an increased litigitousness. There was, if my memory is accurate, the example of a woman who had an agreement with the village clothier to exchange a basket of scraps for a new dress. Her exchange partner changed his mind, the law got involved and she was hanged as a thief. Not because her version of events was in doubt but because apparently the aggreed upon exchange was not of the legal kind involving currency. The argument here is the increasing application of the law was used to destroy the non monetary economy, based on personal relationships, of the country side.
Though after having typed this I must admit that it only is very tangentially related to the original quote.
by generic on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 01:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow the money.

As the rivers run dry, so the ppl turn the notion of wealth inside-out. What have I left?

WHO OWNS this? they cry, rending their garments and gnashing teeth. WHO OWNS this divine vessel?

I do, said the baker.

I do, said the wife.

I do, said the priest.

I do, said the physician.

I do, said the merchant marine.

No, you don't, said the guvnor.

I do, said the field marshall.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 03:27:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have the polling organizations come up with excuses for getting it wrong yet again? Is anyone drawing the conclusion that the UK polls must mean that Corbyn will win in a landslide?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 08:39:41 AM EST
Don't knows broke to Yes, I think. I suspect that No turnout was depressed because the idea of voting No in the face of the Yes campaign was just depressing.

Which is where I got it wrong: my fear was getting people to vote Tes would be hard. The Yes campaign - so many personal stories of horror and sadness and fear - made it easy and made voting No hard. Good work by a lot of brave (mostly) women.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 09:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RTE is bullish. What could go wrong?
Harris to consult officials tomorrow over abortion legislation
Ms Zappone said she would like to see the legislation on the floor of the Dáil before the summer break but conceded this may not be possible.
weeeellllll, lesseeeeee...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon May 28th, 2018 at 03:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they got it obviously wrong. Both exit polls were within the margin of error and the most recent opinion poll, taken in mid-April, had figures of 47% yes, 28% no and 24% don't know/won't vote/won't say. Pollsters were at pains to say that any poll is just a snapshot of the current situation and not a predictor of future behaviour and it is very hard to predict an actual result then the don't knows are so high. Also campaigns actually matter, and the No side may have alienated moderate voters with their extreme rhetoric and propaganda.

Concerns on the YES side that it could be much closer were based on the YES side losing 9% from January to April, a trend, if continued, could have made for a much closer result. There was some controversy over unrestricted rights to abortion in the first 12 weeks, with some swing voters concerned concerned it might be too liberal a reform. The NO side had a huge organisational advantage with the Catholic Church allowing it's spokespeople to speak at masses throughout the country as well as some dark money from the USA.

So all in all, the 2:1 YES victory is a huge blow to the Catholic Church and associated conservative organisations especially with the Pope due to visit this summer. Some Bishops have suggested that Catholic voters who voted yes should go to Confession but others are acutely aware their power over even practising Catholics is much diminished. With N. Ireland protestants (in particular) also opposed to abortion, an alliance catholic and Protestant conservatives against secular liberal reform is the more likely shape of the future.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 29th, 2018 at 11:47:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Former Supreme Court Justice and campaigner against the 1983 referendum proposal to insert the anti-abortion clause in the Constitution, Catherine McGuinness has an interesting article on the success of the Yes campaign here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 29th, 2018 at 02:14:31 PM EST
o. dear. Run, unionist, run.
Irish referendum spurs pro-choice campaigners in Gibraltar
Spurred by the result of the Irish referendum on abortion, the Equality Rights Group signalled this weekend that it will intensify its lobbying for a change in Gibraltar's law too.
Above and beyond the call of duty to punish.
In Gibraltar, where abortion is a crime except in very narrowly-defined circumstances, the result of the Irish referendum will renew debate around a subject that has already proved deeply emotive.
Not really. Not even on the map. The two putative sponsors of Gib EU membership endorse conspicuously greater liberty than the wanna-be-sovereign nation-state. Fun fact: The catholic-hierachy pegs Gibraltar's ratio of flock to total population ~ 60%. In a good year. Ireland's at 87%. (More on theories of quantitative "peer pressure" later.)
The ERG said it would campaign with other like-minded individuals and groups to proactively engage with legislators to amend the "outdated provisions" of the Crimes Act 2011, which makes abortion a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.
Read it and weep.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue May 29th, 2018 at 11:49:08 PM EST
If only Brexit had been run like Ireland's referendum
In all the excitement of what happened in Ireland's referendum on abortion, we should not lose sight of what did not happen. A vote on an emotive subject was not subverted. The tactics that have been so successful for the right and the far right in the UK, the US, Hungary and elsewhere did not work. A democracy navigated its way through some very rough terrain and came home not just alive but more alive than it was before. In the world we inhabit, these things are worth celebrating but also worth learning from. Political circumstances are never quite the same twice, but some of what happened and did not happen in Ireland surely contains more general lessons.

If the right failed spectacularly in Ireland, it was not for want of trying. Save the 8th, one of the two main groups campaigning against the removal of the anti-abortion clause from the Irish constitution, hired Vote Leave's technical director, the Cambridge Analytica alumnus Thomas Borwick.

Save the 8th and the other anti-repeal campaign, Love Both, used apps developed by a US-based company, Political Social Media (PSM), which worked on both the Brexit and Trump campaigns. The small print told those using the apps that their data could be shared with other PSM clients, including the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and Vote Leave.

Irish voters were subjected to the same polarising tactics that have worked so well elsewhere: shamelessly fake "facts" (the claim, for example, that abortion was to be legalised up to six months into pregnancy); the contemptuous dismissal of expertise (the leading obstetrician Peter Boylan was told in a TV debate to "go back to school"); deliberately shocking visual imagery (posters of aborted foetuses outside maternity hospitals); and a discourse of liberal elites versus the real people. But Irish democracy had an immune system that proved highly effective in resisting this virus. Its success suggests a democratic playbook with at least four good rules.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 30th, 2018 at 07:50:38 AM EST
It is relatively easy to posit the pros and cons to an abortion vote given that both positions are well tried and tested, so the council of 99 were working with facts.

With brexit, it would have been so much harder. Nobody really knew the pros and cons. I genuinely feel that, given the debate we are still having and the revelation of new and previously unsuspected issues still happening on a weekly basis, it's fair to say that neither Leave nor Remain actually knew a damned thing they were tlking about.

Both sides poured the bullshit because that was all they had.

It didn't help that the major news item was the Tory party psychodrama that sucked all the oxygen out of the room. Boris and Gove versus "Call me Dave" and George. Who did you support/hate most?

How to run a referendum? Easy. Whatever the UK did with brexit, do something else

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 30th, 2018 at 06:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...you could also look at the dismal way of Dutch government in how the recently established advisory referendum is now in the process of being dismantled (remarkably by a party who made that very same referendum possible) after the results of the first advisory referendum were deemed to 'populist' by the Dutch political elites.

Sigh.

by Bjinse on Wed May 30th, 2018 at 08:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kinda brilliant
The Irish Referendum: Why Did Anyone Even Notice?
The same referendum in most countries wouldn't have aroused much comment. Everyone knows who will be on which side, and which arguments they will make. The modern, secularist liberals are up against the religious crowd and the far rightists, the pro-choicers are up against the right to lifers, the regulators against the freedom of conscience advocates, all rehashing positions which have not changed since the seminal Roe versus Wade judgement in 1973, in which the US Supreme Court decided under Roe vs. Wade that the constitutional right to privacy
hmm, yes, this doctrine derives specifically from the 4th Amd admonishment to the state: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated" &tc, against which a host of devilish detail it has unleashed in subsequent centuries in order to do just that --from frisks, no-knocks, wiretaps, qualified immunities and qualified Miranda readings to street-wise, summary executions.
also extends to having an abortion, when balanced against some other moral and political considerations.

The reason the Irish referendum was so important, and the result came as such such a shock to many, including those who voted to repeal the ban, was not to do with the rights and wrongs of abortion itself. That debate will continue to take place, on the same terms and between the same sides. It was about the identity of Ireland, or rather, what identity the world is able to give it.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 07:03:49 PM EST
The article to which you link is interesting but not really accurate. As a young, small, dirt poor, insecure ex-colony Ireland may have been over-anxious to define itself as not-British and very conscious of the image other nations had of it.

But that was some time ago.

The votes on abortion (and marriage equality before that) were taken on their own merits, and because when the human stories of the difficulties faced by gays and women with crisis pregnancies came out, people wanted to respond in a compassionate and considerate way.

Those votes may or may not change perceptions of Ireland abroad, but that wasn't really the point. People didn't vote yes or no because they wanted to redefine how Ireland is seen abroad.

The author, Seth Ferris seems to think that Ireland now has a problem explaining to the rest of the world that it is not really about pubs and leprechauns but a modern, liberal, western European Nation. He expects this to cause difficulties for Ireland.

But that's only a problem if you are still overly concerned about what people think of you - and if you are insecure, dependent, and  not comfortable in your own skin.

The reality is somewhat different. Irish people are generally happy enough to play along with the pubs and leprechauns image if that's what tourists really want. But we all know that's just the drink talking.

What really matters is that we solve our ongoing problems with housing shortages and public health care waiting lists, and that we don't allow ourselves to be screwed by the Brits over Brexit.

These are the issues which will decide the next general election which is likely to be within the next 12 months. Varadker has done well in his very short time in office leading a very weak minority government.

But he won't win re-election unless he makes progress in resolving these real issues. The leprechauns are for the tourists, and they don't vote.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 at 09:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
about the See, tradition and troubles, The Past, and, well,  parochial habits which my own man (2G US Quinn) brought to my attention more than once. That's how I read it. To dismiss stereotyping and persevere in the striving to decolonize the scope of your (pl.) ambition. Varadker and the referenda are symbols, rather than the agency, of inchoate modernity in the polity, the 'new Ireland'.

I have inquired here about the significance of these good intentions as a practical matter.

Because I am also reminded of God's Bits of Wood, a cautionary film by Ousmane Sembene, in the manner of Fanon's lingering conception (pun intended) of "the new man." Ferris, I think, is merely reminding his readers like you do framing a house is the least of the work ahead.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 03:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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