Thursday, April 29, 2010

Extremists to the left of me, fundies to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with Evan

It has been a very hectic campaign here in Oxford West & Abingdon for weeks. We were already getting a tremendous response from local voters even before the first TV debate, and it has got even busier since.

I can't remember an election like it since 1997 when we got Evan in for the first time, and with the ease of email we are now being flooded with even more offers of help, poster requests, Garden Poster sites etc.

Two days ago we completely ran out of boards, and we had quite a big stock to start with!

During the last few days things have got even busier.

Online donations are pouring in (from here) and we are getting requests for Garden Posters at about twice the rate we can possibly get them up.


Because the extremists have attacked.

As many readers of blogs like this one will know, Evan is a pretty straightforward politician who goes out and argues for what he believes to be right.

Like the majority of people, he believes that scientists and researchers should be allowed to conduct properly regulated medical research within the law without facing threats of violence against them and their children.

As a result he is facing this.

Like the majority of people, he believes that competent adults with terminal illnesses facing pain and misery should have right to ask for assistance if they want to die with some dignity.

As a result he is facing this.

Both leaflets are riddled with inaccuracies and untruths and misrepresent Evan's views on many of the issues mentioned.

Now I happen to agree with Evan on most issues, but I am happy to accept that some people don't. Evan has always been more than willing to debate these issues with just about anyone and always does so by putting a reasoned and rational case.

The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, has responded to the leaflets by saying:

"I have worked with Evan on social issues in Oxford, in Parliament on legislation, and outside Parliament on ethical issues.

"We do not always agree, but he takes a responsible and intelligent position on what are always divisive and controversial matters to do with the beginning and end of life.

"I greatly respect him as a Parliamentarian"

I understand that there are people who honestly believe that life starts at conception and that abortion is the equivalent of murder. I disagree with them, but I believe they should have the right to state their views and campaign to change the law, which is what most of them do.

But to produce and distribute leaflets tagging someone with the nickname 'Dr Death' - a name usually associated with Nazi torturers and serial killers - is simply disgusting.

And the really good thing is that the vast majority of local voters seem to agree.

We have had a flood of emails and phone messages backing Evan, including many from mainstream Christians.

Donations are flooding in as a direct result of these smear leaflets and several people have said the leaflets have firmed up their vote for Evan.

If you would like to help defend Evan against attacks like these, please go here and donate.


Anonymous said...

"Both leaflets are riddled with inaccuracies and untruths and misrepresent Evan's views on many of the issues mentioned."

As far as the second leaflet is concerned, it seems to me to be factual summary of his voting and campaigning record. Would you mind pointing out the inaccuracies and untruths?

Jeff Graham

Liberal Neil said...

Happy to.

Evan is not 'enthusiastic' about abortion. In fact he supports policies which would redeuce the number of unwanted pregnacies in the first place in order to reduce the level of abortions.

Nor is he 'enthusiastic' about voluntary euthanasia.

He is not against women having access to information and counselling before having an abortion for foetal abnormality.

Evan has never campaigned for the closure of church schools.

Alix said...

Results of a bit of googling which you may or may not have done:

The second leaflet is "promoted by Lynda Rose" of an address in Oxford. "Lynda Rose" is also the contact name for the Oxford branch of a charity called Life. Their website suggests they are opposed to stem cell research, sex before marriage, and promotion of contraceptives. One of their projects is going into schools to promote pro-life views. They are a limited company as well as a charity and offer a range of fertility and counselling services and sell baby clothes and equipment.

Liberal Neil said...

Thanks Alix,

Lynda Rose is well known to us and has been campaigning against Evan for many a year, as she is entitled to do.

Please do spread the word about how people can help Evan though!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response. So everything else in that leaflet is accurate, then? That leaves most of what they're saying as intact.

I think it's fairly untenable to argue that Evan Harris is not enthusiastic about abortion and euthanasia when he has one of the most active campaigning and voting records in favour of both those practices of any MP in the Commons. I'd say that demonstrated what could fairly be described as enthusiasm.

Evan Harris is against Christian counsellors being allowed to offer advice and information to any woman before having an abortion (and not just for foetal abnormality). That's more disturbing.

As for church schools, it is a policy in the Liberal Democrat manifesto that a LibDem government would ban church schools from selecting on the basis of faith, which in effect would mean closing down church schools or changing them into secular schools. Presumably he supports that.

Jeff Graham

Anonymous said...

Life is a national charity that also provides housing and shelter for women who have decided to keep their babies in the face of pressure from "partners" and families to have abortions. As a result of exercising their choice to say "I want my baby" they are kicked out of home by their "pro-choice" relatives and boyfriends. Life helps them.

Life also provides counselling and support to women who have had abortions and are suffering the form of clinical depression known as Post Abortion Synrome - a condition suffered by thousands of women as a result of having abortions and then realising too late the emotional and psychological problems that result. This is never mentioned by abortion providers (or the parliamentary advocates of abortion).

So you see, organisations such as Life see at first hand the ruined lives that abortion causes. No wonder they oppose Evan Harris when he actively campaigns for more and easier abortion access.


Liberal Neil said...


There is a clear difference between being in favour of a change in the law to allow assisted dying under certain conditions, and being 'enthusiastic about euthanaisa'. the first is a considered position based on compassion for those who are suffering, while the latter suggests enjoyment at the idea that people may die.

This is therefore a misrepresentation of Evan's position, and, I guess, deliberate.

A similar point applies to Evan's position on abortion.

In fact Evan supports policies that he beleives would lead to young more young people leaving itlater before they have sexual intercourse, reduce the number of unwanted pregmacies and, in turn, the number of abortions.

That does not suggest 'enthusiasm for abortions', quite the opposite.

Evan is not 'against Christian counsellors being allowed to offer advice and information to any woman before having an abortion'. he is more than happy for them to offer it. He just doesn't believe women should be forced to have it, a very different position.

And yes, Evan does not beleive publicly funded schools should be allowed to discriminate on religious grounds in their admissions policies. That is not the same thing as 'campaigning to close faith schools'.

I fully appreciate that you may not agree with Evan on these issues, as is your right.

But personally I do not like it when anyone's position is grossly exagerated or distorted, particularly when I know that Evan's motivation on these sensitive issues is driven by compassion for people who are suffering.


Liberal Neil said...


I'm trying to find any research on 'Post Abortion Syndrome'.

Can you point me to any?



Anonymous said...

For example:


Liberal Neil said...

Thanks Daphne.

I see that the Catholic Nesw Agency report suggests that 80% of women aborting their first pregnancy subsequently suffer from depression, but quite a lot of the commentary on the study suggests that it was 80% of those who suffer psycological problems after aborting their first pregnancy which is quite a different suggestion.

Also there has been a lot of criticism of the methodology of several of the studies into the issue.

It is suggested that there is a correlation between those women who suffered psycological problems before the pregancy and those who suffered problems afterwards.

What do you think about this point?

Anonymous said...

'the vast majority of local residents'? Best wishes, Dr Christopher Shell