A couple of media stories:
Powerful piece on our double standards over abortion law, in the light of the paralympics.
Natalia Partyka was born without a right hand and forearm. She won her first international table tennis medal at the disabled world championship when she was 10. She has won more than 30 medals since. Steve Brown is Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby captain. Following an accident he broke his neck and trapped his spinal chord and is now paralysed from the chest down.
Both these individuals smash the convenient myth that aborting a disabled child is an act of mercy that cut shorts a miserable, undignified and frustrating life. This specious argument is incessantly advanced to justify Britain’s abortion law, which allows abortion up to birth if the child is “severely disabled” (but in practice covers easily corrected conditions such as cleft palates).
And a bizarre reaction to the latest retail sales figures. "The feel good factor from the Olympics failed to inspire spending" said the British Retail Consortium. It's a peculiar idea that automatically links feeling better to spending more. How many people, after watching Mo Farah win his second gold, immediately jumped off their sofas and though 'right, I'd better get down to Tesco and buy something' as an integral part of their celebrations?
There's something insidious about the suggestion that our response to anything significant ought to be shopping. Is that all we are? The government thinks so: it's rumbling about making the Olympic extension to Sunday trading hour permanent. Good to see the boss of Sainsbury's speaking out against this last month. What a dismal Olympic legacy that would be.