Mark is obsessed with barbers. Not that he ever goes to one, you understand: he considers the mere cutting and shaving of hair to be a superfluous addition to the essential, traditional services a barber should offer; such as – well, major surgery.
‘Seriously?’ I say. ‘You think barbers should be able to amputate limbs and do open-heart surgery?’
‘Well, maybe not those,’ he says. ‘But they could offer vasectomies.’
‘So when they’d finished doing your hair they could ask: something for the rest of your life, sir?’ I said.
One thing barbers are unlikely to be offering, either now or at any time in the future, is an abortion. I was shocked to discover yesterday that Ireland has only now passed an amendment to allow abortions in cases where the woman’s life is in danger. It is astonishing how long it has taken them to get to even this position, and there is still no sign of them allowing abortion after a rape.
Yes, abortion is horrible. It’s a very sensitive subject and life is worthy of respect. But the alternative is to say that a woman must carry to term every seed planted in her, no matter how it got there, no matter if it kills her. It is to say that the unborn child is more important than the grown woman – and that is unacceptable. Women must have control over our own bodies, otherwise we are mere vehicles for life, controlled by others.
And finally… I was pleased that the government did not go ahead with the minimum alcohol pricing, because it would penalise moderate drinkers (like me) as well as heavy drinkers. But I was not so happy with the refusal to commit to generic cigarette packaging. Whereas moderate drinking is not harmful and can be beneficial, the same cannot be said of moderate smoking – and once again the government has not had the balls to stand up to the tobacco lobby.
Happy sunny Saturday