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Monday, 14 July 2008

How politicians win votes

In a grubby, calculating move not to upset Catholics before the Glasgow East by-election, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has delayed today's planned vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

He must think the Catholics in Glasgow East are pretty thick and stupid if he expects them to believe that merely postponing this vote means it won't happen at all. Unfortunately, there are all too many who do believe that politicians really have their best interests at heart, and that's why they continue to get away with it.

Brown knows there are Labour voters who may think twice about voting Labour if this thing – which he has declared himself in favour of – goes ahead. Brown postpones vote. Labour voters vote Labour. Brown's Labour colleague wins the seat. Brown then craps on the people he duped.

Fortunately, there are newspapers willing to show up the evil shananigans and outright deceit that politicans are capable of, such as the Scotsman, which published a story last Friday headlined "Brown delays embryo bill 'in bid to sway Catholic votes in by-election' ".

In a surprise announcement, the government said that a crucial vote on the embryology bill due to take place on Monday would now be delayed until the autumn.

This will help keep the issue – and the threat of changes to the abortion laws – off the agenda before voters go to the polls on 24 July. It also allows the legions of Labour MPs ordered to campaign in Glasgow to avoid having to make a speedy return to London.

Glasgow East, says the Scotsman, has "the fifth-highest number of Catholics in Scotland, with more than a third of its voters – some 23,185 adults – declaring themselves Catholics in the last census".

On the other hand, it could be true that Labour feels that there are so many clauses to debate that it's being put back for purely practical reasons.

Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, has said that, because of the shortage of time left before the summer recess and the number of MPs who wished to speak and propose amendments to the Bill, it had been decided that "as much time as possible needs to be found for it".

And did they now know that a lot of MPs would wish to take part in such a controversial matter? Did they not know how many clauses there would be to deal with?

Meanwhile, poor old Opus Dei Catholic Ruth Kelly connived to get out of voting on this (see our link in the first paragraph), and now the poor dear will have to think of something else that she will just happen to have to attend rather than a whipped vote.

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