Caroline Farrow: A Left-wing council, a pro-life group and a blatant misuse of power

In an absolute mockery of democracy, Labour-controlled Ealing Council in west London has voted to impose Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) on the area surrounding a Marie Stopes clinic in the borough to stop peaceful prayer vigils by pro-life groups. With absolutely no sense of irony, the council meeting designed to suppress and prohibit Catholic prayer vigils was opened with Islamic prayers. Dan Crawford, one of the councillors (more on him later), was at pains to point out to me on Twitter that there was no slight to Christians intended. Like all right-thinking councils these days, Ealing is proud of and wishes to celebrate diversity, so the only right and proper thing to do when it comes to public meetings is to forget the Judeo-Christian foundations of this society and for the different faiths to take turns when meetings are convened. It just so happened that at this particular meeting it was the turn of Islam.

In any event, it exposed the faux diversity so eagerly championed by Ealing Council. Most of mainstream Islam is, like Christianity, opposed to abortion, so the councillors had absolutely zero interest in that faith being represented either. The gesture was pure tokenism.

When it came to the meeting itself, one might have thought that as well as hearing submissions from the petitioner wishing to ban the pro-life group the Good Counsel Network (GCN) from continuing the vigils outside the Mattock Lane facility where they have been for the past 23 years, the council would be interested in hearing from those on the vigils themselves.

No such luck. Only the petitioner, one Anna Vegilo-White, founder of the pro-choice group Sister Supporter, who had mounted a local campaign, garnering 3,593 signatures on a petition from residents, was allowed five minutes to speak, before the council ‘debated’ her motion, a ‘debate’ which consisted of councillors saying how terrible it was that these poor women were being harassed, before taking a vote.

During said debate, a pile of ‘evidence’ was produced. Evidence which GCN was pilloried by councillors for not responding to. The reason why it had not responded? It had never been shown or presented with it! Furthermore GCN was given no opportunity to make any representation to the councillors at the meeting, neither was it given any information whatsoever by this Left-wing council about the process. Having been left in the dark in terms of what was happening, GCN rang Ealing Council a number of times to ascertain what was happening and when, and was told that this was not the evidence-gathering stage; this would happen after the petition had been presented. Therefore it was something of a shock for GCN members to find themselves under fire for not having responded to evidence which they had been told was not even being collected as yet!

At the end of the meeting, councillors congratulated themselves on what a marvellous debate it had been, causing several attendees, including Catholic clergy, almost to burst at the seams, because nobody aside from the petitioner and various Labour councillors, including those who had supported and encouraged Anna Vegilo-White, had been invited to speak.

According to one of my sources who attended, two of the councillors abstained from the vote, which was incredibly brave in a charged situation of hostility and under pressure from their colleagues. Afterwards one of them stated that having heard only one side of the story they felt simply not in a position to decide.

GCN helps hundreds of women to keep their babies and not to choose abortion every year. When contacted by media outlets to comment on events, it has offered to put forward some of the women who were helped by the vigils to tell their story. Not one single media outlet has taken up the offer. Neither has any of the elected councillors taken GCN up on its offer to meet these women.

One of the Labour councillors, Dan Crawford, who was tweeting triumphantly about the proposed ban on GCN and defending the Muslim prayers, indignantly claimed on Twitter that he has supposedly met six women helped by GCN in his constituency surgery. This was news to GCN, which is somewhat incredulous about this claim. If true, it beggars belief that a councillor could meet six women who were given the assistance that they needed to enable them to choose life for their baby, assistance not provided by the government, and then tweet that his proudest moment as a councillor was being able to vote in favour of a motion which would deny this choice to other women. Councillor Crawford clearly felt that these women who had taken the time to meet him were not important enough to represent.

GCN acknowledges that no woman ought to be prevented from entering an abortion clinic and neither should she be subject to any kind of abuse of the type which is claimed by Marie Stopes. As Clare McCullough, one of the founders of GCN, notes, their aim is to get women to engage with them, and they are hardly likely to do that if they are subject to abuse. In any event, Marie Stopes International has two cameras pointing at those on the vigils 24/7 and has not provided any video or photographic evidence of such wrongdoing. The evidence which has been submitted consists of unsubstantiated hearsay. If the entrance to the clinic was being blocked, or women were being abused and heckled, then the police would rightly come and arrest those involved.

It is precisely because there is no illegality or wrongdoing that Sister Supporter (who engage in aggressive protests of their own) have had, with the backing and encouragement of Labour councillors, the Labour MP Rupa Huq and the abortion providers Marie Stopes and BPAS, to resort to taking the extraordinary measure of PSPOs, which the Tory government assured the public were not designed to prevent freedom of speech.

This is not about the behaviour of those attending the vigils, but about the feelings of women having an abortion, who are deemed to know their own minds, have made a firm decision, know exactly what they are doing and to have researched all of the available options (even when they are in a position of coercion) but way too fragile to be able to cope with a physical reminder of people who think that taking the life of an unborn baby is tragic and wrong.

What a shame that in their earnest deliberations about how dreadful the Good Counsel Network is for attempting to offer desperate women a last-ditch choice, Ealing Council did not consider Marie Stopes’s own woeful record when it comes to ensuring women’s safety. Only last year Marie Stopes was prevented from performing abortions on under-18s and women formally recorded as vulnerable, thanks to issues of safeguarding and consent. Perhaps if it gave out accurate information and offered a genuine alternative to abortion, then there would be no need for the vigils whatsoever.

Caroline Farrow

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    Excellent article showing how biased, one-sided the whole system is.

    Bravo is the appropriate comment when you wrote:
    “According to one of my sources who attended, two of the councillors abstained from the vote, which was incredibly brave in a charged situation of hostility and under pressure from their colleagues. Afterwards one of them stated that having heard only one side of the story they felt simply not in a position to decide.”
    I would like to shout bravo from the rooftops for those two counsellors.

    The only thing I would say is ….
    “Most of mainstream Islam is, like Christianity, opposed to Islam, so….”
    From personnal experience, no “mainstream Islam” is NOT oppsed to (extremist) Islam because the Quran itself supports such actions.

    • Reborn

      Non extremist muslims are de facto ex muslims.

      • Harley Quin

        I agree with that. There is no such thing as a ‘moderate’ Muslim, just a bad one who does not follow the express dictates their Holy Book and the ‘beautiful’ example of behaviour of Mohammad.

        Just as there are Christians who do not live according to the Sermon on the Mount.

        Or apparently moderate Muslims are biding their time and dissembling their true intentions, as required by Islam in certain circumstances.

        • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          Then you have what I refer to as the Jack Nicholson-in-Chinatown Muslims– after telling Faye Dunaway that he used to work in the District Attorney’s office handling cases in Chinatown, and she asks him what he actually did there, he replied, “As little as possible.” i.e., just enough not to be sacked, seeing as how he was dealing with people who wanted nothing to do with him anyway.

          I suppose enough Muslims are “Muslim enough” just to keep other Muslims off their backs, and are tepid at best in their holding to the tenets of Islam. But they are still in no real respect nearly as Westernized as we should like them to be. As a Yiddischer old time East Ender might have put it, “By YOU, they’re a ‘Muslim,’ by ME they’re a ‘Muslim,’ but by a MUSLIM, are they a Muslim?” Many of them are neither fish nor fowl.

          • Harley Quin

            They may be as you say. The problem is though that even Muslims like that will at least remain culturally Islamic and their religion may be dormant but is always somewhere in the background.

            And dont forget race either, as people prefer to. I strongly suspect that racial feeling comes into the attitudes of Muslim ethnics who attack our Civilisation, whatever the strength of their attachment to their religion. It is certainly a factor present in the cases of organised abuse against white girls we have seen across this country,

            How often have we heard about some Jihadi terrorist, ‘He didn’t practice Islam; he never went to the mosque.’ Etc.

            Practicing or not, the potential is there,

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Even though it MAY hark a bit to the more inflammatory type of rhetoric of the BNP and others of that stripe, there comes a time when you must consider that “Your skin is your uniform” in a race war, and I’m sure this has not gone unconsidered by South Asian Muslims. Whether you believe they are now conducting a racial “cold” war is for you to decide, I suppose.

    • Little Black Censored

      The writer of the article said correctly that mainstream Islam in opposed to abortion, not that it is opposed to Islam, which would have made no sense.

      • Simon Platt

        It’s been fixed since this morning.

  • paul parmenter

    Take note of how Labour councils operate, because this is a paradigm. It is what you can expect if and when Corbyn and his bully boys and girls get into power. Under the guise of democracy, they will use intimidation, suppression of opposition, downright lies and every other dirty trick in the book to force through actions about which the decisions have already been made. You can see it happening already in the PLP. This is socialism in the raw. They already have all the answers, which is why debate is, to them, nothing more than a pointless exercise in rubber stamping, and no other opinion is worth listening to.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      If and when Corbin & Co get into power?
      They already are in power in every town hall and council in Britain, whether Tory or LibDem, let alone Labour.
      Every council is now controlled by common purpose cabals working to a 1984 Islamic agenda.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The role of Common Purpose and its “neuro-linguistic training” in changing this country and especially the freedom of its language since 1989 when the Wall came down should be the real subject of an audit. It won’t be because it is empowered and sustained by the very people who should be scrutinising it on behalf of the public they are supposed to represent.

        As a result unelected bureaucrats re-style themselves as “leaders” and “lead beyond (their) authority” to pursue a tightly woven incestuous agenda recognisable by the response of “who voted for this?” whenever it clashes with ordinary tax-paying, good men and true.

        • Reborn

          Colonel. You raise a vitally important point.
          Most UK citizens have not heard of Common Purpose, still less its agenda.
          Funny how TV programmes that set out to expose conspiracies &
          corruption have yet, to my knowledge, do an expose on this sinister
          organisation.

        • KilowattTyler

          I think perhaps the ‘common purpose’ of Common Purpose is to form the managerial/professional classes into a homogenous caste to completely dominate all aspects of society for its own benefit.

          Before 1989 communism provided a model for the managerial/professional class, of a society stripped of its upper echelons and entirely controlled by technocrats, which is perhaps why communism had (has?) a soft pass from academe and the media (a bizarre example – I remember an episode of the TV series “Tomorrow’s World” devoted to China (then under Mao Zedong’s iron rule), in which the presenter Raymond Baxter solemnly stated that China had no crime). Right up to the very end, West German students expressed ‘solidarity’ with the GDR. The upper-middle classes were and are disproportionately represented in far-left groupings – in fact modern leftism could be described as de facto ‘worker-free socialism’.

          Since the catastrophic collapse of communism due to its fundamental inability to deliver the goods in the literal as well as metaphorical sense, the Uebermenschen of the controlling layer of society have had to caste around for another model of command and control. The corporate model of society provides this, with certain modifications. Big business, especially oligopolies, and more especially transnational corporations, are able to lobby, fund political parties, finance propaganda and ultimately exert “influence” on governments, including “democratic” ones. Big corporations more closely resemble technocratic bureaucracies than real businesses, with those at managerial level depending for their advancement not on entrepreneurial flair but on pleasing their superiors.

          Outfits like Common Purpose provide the smooth, oily sheen on the sordid power grab by the neo-Nomenklatura. Forms of equality not fundamentally altering the pattern of wealth distribution are pushed (LGBT rights; the right of exceedingly well-paid women to have the same income as exceedingly well-paid men). Conspicuous charity activity is pushed (highly-visible do-gooding is always a useful way of camouflaging not-so-visible do-badding). Since the educated elite are so uniformly morally superior, it follows that anyone outside this bubble are wicked and need to be controlled for the greater good.

  • Harley Quin

    Caroline, although I agree with you, I confess myself baffled by one sentence:
    ‘Most of mainstream Islam is , like Christianity, opposed to Islam.’

    Should that be ‘abortion’?

    • Reborn

      Incidentally,
      Of what importance are the feelings of muslims towards any aspect of our
      lives ?

      • Harley Quin

        We are ruled by the feelings and attitudes of minorities. That’s the practical effect of ‘Equality’ as construed by our masters – the negation of majority rule.

    • MrBishi

      Muslims are against Muslims having abortions because it limits the supply of future suicide bombers. They don’t give a toss about non-Muslims.

  • discoveredjoys

    Although I find the idea of abortion distasteful for all sorts of well-being and secular reasons I am not ‘pro-life’ in the same way as religious believers. So my question is how active and vociferous the protesters were. If they went as far as ‘harassment’ (and I have seen it reported as such elsewhere) then a PSPO order does not seem unreasonable – just as with any other groups of protesters (e.g. union picket lines) that intimidate or harass others.

    The legal availability of abortion or the procedural rigour of the Council are separate matters
    and can be handled by different methods.

    • paul parmenter

      I have given you an uptick because I appreciate your point which is well made. But I think it misses the key issue in this case, which is not whether the PSPO was justified or not, but the way that question was decided. Judging people guilty behind closed doors when they are not given a chance to defend themselves or see the evidence, is no way for any decent organisation or body to behave, let alone a local authority.

    • Caroline Farrow

      See my point above.

  • timbazo

    Perhaps some information as to the question of space. Is the demonstration blocking a pavement? Or offering on obstruction? I’m sure those supporting the pro-life campaign do not want someone run over because they stepped into the road.

    I note the use of ‘prayer vigil’, instead of ‘demonstration’. No doubt you can justify this choice of words. However, it is a tactic of the Left to use different words to describe the same thing. No one should be ashamed of ‘demonstrating’ for a cause they believe in.

    • Caroline Farrow

      The demonstration does not block the pavement. It consists of a handful of mainly elderly pavement, on the grass, on the opposite side of the road to the pavement.

      I call it a vigil because it consists of people praying the rosary. There are no signs or slogans of a political nature. The signs consist of an offer of help, specifically saying “pregnant worried, we can help you” and a picture of the Virgin Mary and a saying from a psalm.

      The clinic entrance is not obstructed, or the pavement, which would consist of a criminal offence. One person stands near to the clinic entrance, offering passers-by a leaflet, which they are of course free to decline.

      It is this offering of a leaflet, which is deemed harassment.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Somewhat less offensive and intrusive than the behaviour of Momentum supporters outside the Tory conference then. For which, as far as I know, there were never any sanctions.

      • LoveMeIamALiberal

        It’s deemed harassment by abortion supporters but it is not harassment under the law, which is why no anti abortion protestor has been arrested let alone charged or convicted of any offence.

      • timbazo

        Thanks.

      • It is a pity you were not invited onto the Sunday Morning Live panel today.

        • Caroline Farrow

          I talked to the researchers but because I have been on twice already this series, under impartiality rules I was disbarred from appearing again.

          It was good to see a mother who choose life thanks to the vigil appear. Anna from Sister Supporter was wrong to state that women are unable to bring prosecutions because of anonymity etc. Actually were the clinic to have footage of harassment (surprising they don’t given the 2 cameras constantly trained on the vigil & the ubiquitous nature of phone cameras), they could bring the prosecution. Anti-vivisectionists have already had existing legislation used against them without the need for PSPOs.

          To be clear: Abort 67 do not display graphic images outside Ealing.

  • Little Black Censored

    How did this business in Ealing become a matter of party politics? Or of Labour versus Catholicism? The repulsive Rupa was on the Daily Politics and benefited all too much from the “even-handed” chairmanship of Jo Coburn..

  • Pretty Polly

    The Duke of Wellington said in 1830 that the upcoming universal suffrage would ruin Britain, and it looks like he was right..

    • Royinsouthwest

      Actually this article is not about the dangers of democracy. It is about the contempt for democracy shown by politicians. You can say they were elected democratically but even though there is more difference today between the two main parties than there has been for some time the political class still ignore public opinion on some issues, e.g. the Conservative party has been even quieter about Rotherham than has Labour.

      • Pretty Polly

        Given that voters have been putting socialists and communists with their own agendas into parliament for decades, what exactly would you expect other than disaster ?

        I support the Duke of Wellington. Universal suffrage is a dangerous political experiment which he forecast would lead to national catastrophe, and how right he was.

        • J. Driscoll

          Wellington also said that: “Being born in a stable does not make one a horse”, a suitable caution for our seemingly suicidal readiness to accept immigrants who often openly despise us, and their British-born off-spring who have proved so by action.

  • J. Driscoll

    If such council actions is not to the taste of the voters of Ealing, then vote them out, or, be like the rest of the country’s voters, vote them back in and then whinge at the result. Repeat for decades.

    • Pretty Polly

      Better still, abolish universal suffrage as it’s wrecking our civilisation.

      • JabbaPapa

        Why not propose a programme of genocidal euthanasia while you’re about it ?

        • Pretty Polly

          No, withdrawing the vote from people like you is all that is necessary..

          • JabbaPapa

            oh looky, another anti-democratic totalitarian moron …

            Are you on the Ealing Council by any chance ?

          • Pretty Polly

            Democracy is wrecking Britain, thanks in part to people like you.

  • MrBishi

    It’s no big deal. They are still free to protest and engage in their quaint practices somewhere else.

    • JabbaPapa

      Good jolly old snowflake censorship and no-platforming cultural Marxism eh ?

      • MrBishi

        Church is the place for that kind of hand wringing.

        • JabbaPapa

          Sorry, I was under the impression that it was all those lefty polytechni *** hrm ! hrm !! hrm !!! “universities” ….

          Just out of curiosity, did you do “social studies” at Colchester or somewhere else equally brainless, or some other moronic pseudo “curriculum” elsewhere ?

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      I thought, that saving lives in the 21st century was progressive – not ‘quaint’.

      Can you advise if killing more females (based upon sex), than males, prior to the 24 week limit is wrong?

      • Dollop

        Don’t you know? Really?

  • UKCitizen

    “Most of mainstream Islam is, like Christianity, opposed to abortion”
    I’m not sure that is necessarily true. I believe some have quite liberal views on abortion.
    Remember if it isn’t mentioned in the holy books then it can’t be a big deal.
    Even transgenderism is okay in Islam as it isn’t forbidden.

    • JabbaPapa

      I believe some have quite liberal views on abortion

      So given what “liberal” means these days, then it’s “totalitarian dogmatic views”, then.

      • UKCitizen

        Quite! Words ain’t what they used to be.

  • UKCitizen

    Abortion is sacred to the left so it is no wonder they are prepared to throw their grannies (or yours at least) under the bus to support it.

    • MrBishi

      It’s about the human rights of the woman and what goes on inside her body. Of course abortion must remain a legal option.

      • JabbaPapa

        Good jolly old refusal of human rights to the unborn, eh ?

        I suspect that you just want to promote the despicable ideology of “consequence-free” fornication for your own personal gratification.

        You’re like all those imams who claim that burka-wearing is the “women’s choice” …

        • Dollop

          After the 24 week cut of time they do have human rights. There is a woman in jail for aborting herself outside the legal limit.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Arbitrary: 23 weeks, 6 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes.

            In a fallen world, the pro-child killer’s moral inconsistency stands naked.

          • Dollop

            You have to set the time limit somewhere, and of course, for a number of reasons, legal abortion is a must.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            The invite is: ‘You have to set the limit somewhere’.

            Then we can set the limit at 23 weeks, 6 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes.

            No one is going to object to that.

          • Dollop

            Indeed. Nobody would object to a two minute adjustment.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Then how about 22 weeks?

          • JabbaPapa

            You have to set the time limit somewhere

            From the moment of conception onwards is the correct time limit to begin the protection of human life.

            for a number of reasons, legal abortion is a must

            No it isn’t — medical procedures to save the life of a mother which result in the death of her unborn child are not willful abortions.

          • Dollop

            I would suggest the current abortion law has it about right. A good compromise.

          • JabbaPapa

            The deliberate manslaughter of millions of unborn for ideological purposes is not a “compromise”, you nitwit.

      • UKCitizen

        Who has said that they wanted to make it illegal.
        My issue is more to do with should those human rights be attached to some level of responsibility for the functioning of their bodies. They have the unique ability to create life and that life should have slightly more rights than removing a carbuncle.
        I don’t agree with no abortion but I also don’t agree with unlimited abortion even up to birth which is what a lot of the wilder shores of the pro abortion would like.

      • DespiteBrexit

        You are supporting murder.

        • MrBishi

          Murder is illegal. If you know of one it’s your duty as a good citizen to report it to the authorities.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        You have undermined your own position: if there is no right to life, then the woman’s ‘right’ to kill is meaningless.

        • Dollop

          Only in your fluffy mind.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Just like National Socialists.

            When in doubt, respond with ad hominem.

      • Partridge

        The issue here is not abortion, but the undemocratic mis-use of powers by the local authority in order to deny freedom of speech and expression.

        • Dollop

          Well no, it’s harassment of the women going in. If they want to protest about abortion law they should protest outside the Houses of Parliament.

          • JabbaPapa

            Why ? Are the Houses of Parliament an Abortion Centre ?

          • Partridge

            All the evidence shows they are NOT being harassed.

  • simon bellord

    Dont forget Councillors are subject to Standards. If Cllr Crawford is lying about his surgery this should be challenged and he will be investigated. Also lets not get carried away on this. The councillors have asked their authority in a motion to look into this matter. I have been there several times. What the motion says about the GCN is blatently untrue. They will look foolish if they bring in measures that dont apply to anyone in practice and surely they cant. All the nasty aggressive behaviour is by the feminists. All the disruptive behaviour is by the feminists. The GCN have saved lives and caused untold joy by this.

    If the Council bring in repressive measures for left wing political expediency this could surely not stand up in a court of law. If they did hoever manage to bring in some scaremongering measures can you imagine the blessing that the Almighty will give to those served with an ASBO by the serpent? Untold blessings! These will became relics to be handed down and worn with the greatest humility. I am sure even the hierarchy of the Church would seek them out as the first thing St Peter will say at the gates on the day of judgement is show me how much you loved, show me your ASBO of love for the little ones.

  • Pretty Polly

    Universal suffrage is destroying Britain and most Western countries. Allowing incompetent and irresponsible people to decide the destiny of nations can only lead to catastrophe.

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      Do you mean women having the vote?

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    Miss

    The imposition of Public Space Protection Orders, are in contradiction to the British judiciary’s position on freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act 1998. Why is a National Socialist Labour council undermining human rights?

    Lord Justice Sedley in Redmond-Bate v. Director of Public Prosecutions: Admin 23 July 1999, said that:

    ‘‘Freedom of speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. What Speakers’ Corner (where the law applies as fully as anywhere else) demonstrates is the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear. From the condemnation of Socrates to the persecution of modern writers and journalists, our world has seen too many examples of state control of unofficial ideas. A central purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights has been to set close limits to any such assumed power. We in this country continue to owe a debt to the jury which in 1670 refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead for preaching ideas which offended against state orthodoxy.”

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    Miss

    This is another issue where the children of Tatchell and Greer, are eating their parents.

    What is the position of the British National Socialist when Asians kill more female babies compared to male?