I've been back from holidays for most of the past week, but I've really been struggling to find things to write about. What's going in Lebanon just seems to overshadow everything happening here. It's horrifying and I think it's going to get worse before it gets better.

There's been enough posted elsewhere about the situation, and I don't feel I have anything particularly new to offer to the discussion, so I'm just going to register my utter revulsion at Israel's brutality and arrogance, and leave it at that. Hezbollah's tactics are wrong, but the Israeli response has been so exorbitantly out of proportion that one can only conclude they're enjoying themselves.

Death toll as of right now:
Israel - 51 deaths, 18 civilians
Lebanon - 523 deaths, mostly civilians

It's a sick joke for the Israelis to describe what they're doing as "self defence". It's gratuitous slaughter, nothing less.
I've been on holiday, in case you hadn't guessed.


Enda Kenny today: "We support the implementation in full of the Good Friday Agreement."

Except for the release of a few of the prisoners covered by its terms, you mean.

Coalition still confused

For the second week running, Labour have abstained on a bill supported by their intended coalition partners.

Bertie is absolutely right when he says that if he did call an early election the "Rainbow" would have a heart attack. Who do they think they are fooling? They have no joint policy programme; they can't even agree on their own legislation, much less Government policies such as the privatisation of Aer Lingus, the erosion of neutrality, etc.

Furthermore, all indications are that if FG and Labour did manage to cobble together a Government, FG would be by far the senior partner. Have Labour ever indicated what their redline issues would be in such a coalition? Does anybody know, even Labour themselves?

I know I go on about this a lot but I'm genuinely baffled that any Labour supporter would be in favour of this agreement.
I've been following with interest the battle between an estranged couple over their frozen embryos.

This is one of those cases that creates strange bedfellows, as I realised this morning when I heard John Waters talking on the radio about it and found myself nodding in agreement. As a feminist and a vocal advocate of women's reproductive freedom, I might be expected to side with the female half of this (former) couple. But while I sympathise with her, I cannot agree that she has the right to have these embryos implanted against the wishes of the father.

For me the fundamental issue of reproductive freedom has always been the right of a woman to control her own body. An embryo inside her is a part of her body, and she has the right to decide whether to carry it to term or not. But in this case, obviously, the embryos are completely and totally separate. A decision not to implant them will not affect her bodily integrity and therefore this decision is not hers and hers alone.

Besides all that, if the court rules in favour of the woman the likely justification will be along the lines of "these embryos are human lives and destroying them is murder". That's obviously not a ruling which supporters of reproductive freedom would welcome.

But I wonder what those who make that argument would do if the partners' wishes were reversed and it was the woman, rather than the man, who wanted the embryos destroyed. Would they argue that she should be forced against her will to have them implanted in her uterus? The thought of that is horrifying, but it seems to me to be the logical conclusion of that line of thinking.
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