Jail sentence for illegal abortion makes Britain look backward

Comment

Opinion digest: the sad case of Sarah Catt, zombies feasting on the economy, and Romney’s 47% gaffe

LAST UPDATED AT 12:03 ON Wed 19 Sep 2012

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WHAT GOOD COMES FROM JAILING SARAH CATT?
SIMON JENKINS ON ILLEGAL ABORTION
The case of Sarah Catt, who used a drug bought over the internet to abort her pregnancy, possibly within a week of full term, cannot evoke much sympathy, writes Simon Jenkins in The Guardian. But what good can be served by sentencing her to eight years in jail? The judge said Catt had been "cool and calculating", as if any women expecting sympathy should be hot and emotional. But Catt is not the first woman to go through an illegal abortion. “Many women must have panicked in these circumstances, and might afterwards have seemed ‘calculating’ to a male judge, when what they were was totally traumatised.” In any case, should the justice system be passing judgment and sentence on the basis of female demeanour? Locking Catt up for eight years will destroy her life and her family. “In this matter Britain is still in the middle ages.”

ZOMBIES ARE FEASTING ON OUR ECONOMY
DAVID WIGHTON ON UNDEAD COMPANIES
Experts are baffled by the strange behaviour of the British economy, says David Wighton in The Times. The fact that employment is strong but output is weak and investment is sluggish is being blamed on “zombie companies”, a phrase used to describe troubled businesses which can continue trading thanks to low interest rates, but which don’t have the money to invest in long-term growth. “In normal downturns, troubled companies would be subject to the forces of ‘creative destruction’ that drive market capitalism. The undead would be restructured, with debt written off, or broken up with their assets sold to other businesses that could afford to make better use of them. Many would die and be reborn as much healthier businesses.” The banks face a dilemma over zombies. If they pull the plug on these companies, they “get slammed”. But if they lend to unproductive companies, they can’t provide credit to growing companies.

BACKING ROMNEY - MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN?
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL ON MITT’S 47% GAFFE
Mitt Romney has to win over America’s undecided voters but before he can do that he has to pass a basic competence test, writes Alastair Campbell in The Daily Telegraph. The problem is, with every new gaffe the credibility of the candidate falls further. And every time credibility falls, morale in the camp falls with it, “giving heart to your opponents, agony to your team”. With a strong candidate, a clear strategy, a united team, and lots of money the Republicans could hope to close the narrow gap with the Democrats in the all-important swing states. Romney scores well on the last of these, but without the first three, backing him could be “money down the drain”. And the sort of wealthy fundraisers who gathered for his ‘47 per cent’ speech may now have realised that. · 

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