Being told not to be emotional

Hectic day – meetings until eight. Then a box to do. “Poor you,” I hear you cry. Yes, well…

Today’s votes on the Embryology Bill produced some interesting alliances, but it all went through unamended, as far as I know. I voted for the clauses on hybrid embryos and abstained on the so-called “saviour sibling” clauses.

The problem with trying to add amendments on abortion to a Bill like this is that the debate will only be given three hours tomorrow. While I understand campaigners’ frustrations at this, they have to accept some responsibility. The government can hardly hand over a whole day’s debate to clauses that weren’t even in the Bill at the start of this process.

I’ve had a few – mostly positive – reactions to my being outed by the Sunday Times yesterday. From the discussions I’ve had, there’ll be more than seven ministers voting for a reduction in the time limit tomorrow. What was less positive was the faceless, impersonal lobbying I’ve had from an organisation that shall remain nameless. Two copies of the same four-page form letter appeared in my pigeon hole at different times of the day. It warned me against “emotive” arguments in favour of a time limit reduction. I find this kind of argument entirely unhelpful. If you support the status quo, you’re being logical and scientific; if you want to reduce the time limit, well, you’re just being emotional, aren’t you?

Equally – perhaps more – unhelpful was an email from SPUC. This debate would be a lot more bearable if the staunchest advocates on either side spent a bit more time being human and a lot less time congratulating themselves on being right all the time.


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