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By Jason Michael
According to Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, the “rape clause” is the most sensitive way of navigating Westminster’s two child policy for victims of sexual violence. She is refusing to find common ground with the SNP no matter the issue.
It is bad enough that George Osborne’s 2015 plan to cap Child Benefit to two children per family ever made it into law – forcing rape survivors to prove their third or subsequent child was “conceived without their consent,” but that it is now being supported by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, quite beggars belief. The removal of government support from families, considering 25 per cent of Scottish children are living in poverty, is an obvious attack on ordinary working people – especially the most vulnerable. Asking a woman or a girl to prove they have been raped in order to gain financial support for their child is reprehensible. It is indefensible.
Across Scotland support groups and charities, calling the so-called rape clause “cruel and inhumane,” have withdrawn their support; stating that they refuse to act as third parties to this obnoxious government policy. In a joint statement with the Baptist and Methodist churches, the Church of Scotland condemned the welfare reconfiguration, saying it “deliberately ignores” people’s rights and the needs of the United Kingdom’s poorest children and families. There are no rational or moral grounds on which this policy can be defended. It is a blatant attack on struggling, lower income families, on women and girls, and on children. It is a disgrace.
When pressed on the rape clause, however, Ruth Davidson described it as the “most sensitive way” to get around the two child cap on benefits in cases of conception by rape or in the context of abusive relationships. What Ruth fails entirely to see in all of this is that there is no sensitive way to degrade and humiliate a human being. There is nothing kind or humane about asking a survivor to relive their harrowing experience. Reason dictates that no one in such a position can be so “blinkered,” as the Daily Record suggests, and so we must assume that something else is going on in Ruth Davidson’s clearly distorted mind.
Ms Davidson returns over and again to her theme of the politics of independence being “divisive,” and yet demonstrates in her support of the welfare reform and the rape clause her inability to find common cause with any position of the Scottish National Party. That the crusade against the rape clause was led by SNPs Alison Thewliss has forced Davidson to position herself on the side of the British government, effectively ensuring that Scottish politics are polarised in every respect and on every issue. Davidson and the Scottish Tories have shown here that they are prepared to wage trench warfare in the Scottish parliament no matter how many people they hurt by their irrational policy of opposition at all costs.
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