PREVIEW: Lord Alton at OSFL, this Wednesday
by Oxford Students for Life
‘You can feel like that little boy in Robert Louis Stevenson’s book who says, ‘The world is so big and I’m so small I don’t like it at all’ and feel overawed, or you can say is there something specific I can do to try and make some small difference.’
Lord Alton is one of the most accomplished public speakers in Parliament, and there is perhaps no member of either House whose career has been shaped so much by life issues. Something of a quick starter, he became Britain’s youngest City Councillor at the age of 21, and seven years later entered the Commons as Britain’s youngest MP. (Some great vintage footage in this excellent BBC profile.) During the Thatcher years, he was one of the more prominent Liberals, serving as Home Affairs Spokesman and Chief Whip. Perhaps – who knows? – David Alton might have ended up in the Coalition Cabinet.
But by 1988, when the Liberal-SDP merger formed the Lib Dems, he was increasingly at odds with his party’s pro-abortion stance. He eventually left, but in 1997, refusing to break the habit, he became the youngest life peer in the Lords. Since then, he has worked, travelled and campaigned tirelessly on many causes, from child poverty and human trafficking abroad to social issues at home (he is Professor of Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University).
His talk on Wednesday has a deliberately broad title: ‘From the Womb to the Tomb: A Consistent Life Ethic’. But you can expect it to be informed by vast political experience, and by the tenaciously-held principles which guide everything Lord Alton does. ‘Being pro-life,’ he insists, ‘means being pro-human rights, and being pro-human rights must surely mean being pro-life.’