Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bigmouth strikes again

He may be a semi-literate, bulldog-faced pugilist who would probably be outwitted by a pair of socks. His stand-in role at prime minister’s questions may bring to mind a large strawberry cheesecake put into bat against skilled fast bowlers, who are using it as aiming practice. With hammers. But I had to smile at John Prescott’s outburst yesterday.

Having been royally wound up by William Hague (standing in for Big Dave), Prescott, alluding to the Conservative Party’s anti-debt ad campaign which compels young people to “ignore the tosser in you” (never understood this one, I must say. Presumably it’s a play on words, but to my mind there is only one real definition of the word ‘tosser’), said:
I do not know which person this man was modeled on from the Tory frontbench. But let me tell him, I always thought that party was full of them and that is why they lost three elections.
Touché. Is it unparliamentary language? Is this appropriate? Do we care? Well, the speaker didn’t intervene, so it seems that this word is now permissible and, to be frank, it’s a pretty fitting epithet for most of them, whatever side of the Commons they sit on.


ph said...

Problem with Prescott is that he is not bright enough to make anything he says funny. His 'insults' are just insults, whilst Hague's are insulting but funny, and that is what is important.
We need more Hague, he cheers us all up.

p.s. I am trying to think of some extreme reply so that it will encourage debate amongst your other readers, but am failing in the task.

Citizen Sane said...

I know. We need something to kick off a debate.

How about: "You're all a bunch of bastards"?

Maybe challenge everyone to a fight?

ph said...

I am afraid that is from the Prescott school of arguement, doesn't really get the debating juices flowing amongst your readers. Also I had noticed that as time went on there was more and more concensus amongst the readers.

mAc Chaos said...

Stem cell research: the commodification of human life adopted under the pretense of compassion by jettisoning scientific ethics in favor of ends-justify-the-means experimentation.

I mean, really. Haven't we been here before? You'd think the rest of the world would learn from Germany.

Citizen Sane said...

It's shocking, isn't it? These amoral scientific Nazis dabbling with eugenics and trying to undo all of God's good work: Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's. Those poor, discarded embryos!

We should listen to them there religionist people. If 'god' wants people dying of dementia or eaten up by tumours then that's just the way it has to be. We oughtn't go meddling. We should have respect for life. Err.

ph said...

Problem with these things is that each little step leads to a bigger and then a bigger step, so you end up doing something that originally you would have regqarded as completely unacceptable. In the mean time we have become more morally desensitised. The death with dignity bunch do make a lot of sense, but I just worry that over time it will lead to an unacceptable position

Citizen Sane said...

Ah, but what is an unacceptable position?

If there is a possibility that we can cure or completely eliminate these dreadful, debilitating diseases then we have a moral imperative to do so, don't we? No point getting squeamish about embryos that would only be going to the incinerator otherwise.
Let's make life better for people who actually do live on this planet, rather than worry about clusters of cells that could, potentially, become human life. Let's also drop the references to the 'rules' of some supernatural man gas that doesn't even exist.

Ah. This is more like it.

The Realist said...

Which is exactly why we here in the UK have the Medical Research Council - to keep the church out of these crucial decisions. They take into account little things like, ooh, current public opinion, (elected) governmental policy, secular moral philosophy, etc. This means that we are able to fund research that you in The States are not.

Now, the knee-jerk position will be 'Y'all doin' Frankenscience! Playin god!', which is, of course, nonsense. What it means in reality is that careful decisions are made based on science and morality, not (blind) faith.

If and when a cure for some hideous disease is found, will Americans not save their loved ones as the creation of the cure involved the 'death' of cells? Will they b*llocks! They'll be scrambling for the syringes. Let's not forget what Christ's-ones said about insulin in the 50s - 'PIGS CELLS?!?!?! Over my dead body!' - but now they're the first to shoot that pork-based life-saving device into the buttocks of their children. Oink Oink!

So, it's only natural to be fearful, it's only correct to have debate, however in the context of a strict code of ethics as laid out in (secular) law, the 'slippery slope' argument is facile, nay dangerous.

ph said...

An unacceptable position would be killing sick people who do not want to die. I could easily see how we could get to this position using the slippery slope approach.

And what is current public opinion. I would say which journo shouts the loadest. Public opinion has always been ignored except when it supports the views of the illuminati. If public opnion held sway there would be hangings, floggings and no immigrants.
Secular moral philosophy - it may be moral but not in the common understading of the word. It has fostered some right tyrants.

Citizen Sane said...

But we're not talking about euthanasia, we're talking about stem cell research. Prolonging people's lives, not killing them.

The Realist said...

The MRC conducts massive public consultations (qualitative AND quantitative) to assess the current public mood and takes that into consideration when making its decisions. Thought. Process. Checks. Balances. Surely that's the way forward?

And perlease do not claim that morality cannot exist outside of the confines of religion because you know that's not true (and please don't give recite 'the Hitler argument', it's a religious knee jerk to their fear of the rational).

ph said...

C.S. You were I wasn't.

T.R. You stated that people who have a religious faith should be kept out of these decisions - somehow they are not a part of public opinion.
Are there any other groups who views should be excluded from public opinion. Tory voters, Daily Mail readers, middle aged men. It would be much easier if we decided that public opnion equates to whatever the editors of the Indy and Gaurdian think.
Of course morality exists outside religion, although there have been very few societies which have been irreligious, and most morality is held in place by some sort of religious belief. That is not to say however that religions always produce a 'good' moral code. (Take the Aztecs for example). However Christianity (and others) have yielded a good moral code, by emphasising the 'kinder' side of human nature.
On a slightly separate note, Do you not think that if Richard Dawkins had been born 300 years ago he would have been a frightfully ardent witch burner.

Citizen Sane said...

Well, I'm going to carry on talking about stem cells.

Interesting article in The Economist this week about research into self-renewing stem cells, which are less controversial because they are taken from living tissue, not embryos.

And all thanks to some unfortunate Chinese lady having a chopstick rammed through her eye into her brain.

You can read all about it here