In perhaps the most embarrassing display of virtue-signalling ever seen in the Palace of Westminster, five newly-elected Labour MPs waved transgender flags, made with marker pens on sheets of A4 lifted from the printer tray. Posting the video on Twitter, this woke quintet probably expected accolades, but apart from a few gender-fluidity fanatics like Owen Jones, the reaction was scathing.
Paul Embery, a lone voice of wisdom in the electorally vanquished Labour Party, urged these inexperienced MPs to remember their constituents and what their party should be fighting for. Provocatively, he suggested an age threshold for MPs. Ringleader Zarah Sultana bit the bait, calling Embery a ’40-something’ on the wrong side of history. But surely Embery was right when he asked how this transgender jig would win back northern Labour voters. There can’t be many votes in gender-neutral hospital wards and toilets in traditional coal mining communities.
If she had her way, Sultana would get Embery kicked out of the party. A disturbingly Maoist declaration signed by leadership contenders Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long Bailey would expel any member who refuses to accept trans women (men who have changed gender) as women. Feminists in the party are in uproar.
Gender sceptics are no more welcome in the Liberal Democrats. The party has changed its logo on social media, the white dove now flying on a rainbow background. Undoubtedly Oxford West MP Layla Moran had something to do with this. A permanent guest on BBC political programmes, Moran wrote a sinister article in the Evening Standard last week. Having come out as a ‘pansexual’, after a troubled heterosexual relationship, Moran has a policy to impose her ideology on you and I.
‘As a Liberal with a big L, I’m not a fan of introducing laws for no good reason. But making LGBT+ hate crime an aggravated offence, bringing it in line with racial and religious hate, would send just the right message at the right time. That’s a good enough reason for me.’
In short: lock them up! While all decent people would abhor incidents such as the nasty attack on a canoodling female couple on a London bus last year, the Lib Dem lass wants any criticism of the panoply of gender identities to be criminalised. So, if you opine that pansexualism is nonsense, because there are two sexes and therefore ‘bisexual’ is the natural limit, Moran would have the Old Bill knocking on your door. This is the state of supposedly liberal politics in the twenty-first century.
For too long citizens have been cowed into silence, fearing for their jobs and livelihood should they speak out of turn. But the tide is beginning to turn on woke ideology. The launch of the Free Speech Union by Toby Young, already a bête noire of the liberal-left establishment, has gained tens of thousands of members.
Fearing a backlash, the censors are manning the barricades. A Guardian piece by Evan Smith, a research fellow in history at Flinders University in Adelaide, dismissed the free speech crisis in academe as a right-wing myth.
‘In an era when conservatives and the populist right have been in the ascendancy, the culture war has descended on universities, because they are a significant battleground against racism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.’
Smith, author of a book Fascism: How to Smash It, argued that ‘no-platforming’ is so rare it’s not worth worrying about. But with irony lost on the woke, a day after his Guardian article denying a censorship problem in academe, Smith argued that gender-critical feminists should be no-platformed: –
‘Not responding to the ‘gender critical’ feminists in my TL, but will leave this quote by Sara Ahmed here to show why trans rights isn’t up for debate, and why some push for the no platforming of GC feminists.’
Here, Smith follows the fallacious argument that nobody should be allowed an audience if they express opinions that deny the right of a particular group to exist. This conflates debate on the veracity of identity status with extermination.
Yet Smith does believe there is some undesirable censorship on campus. Muslim students are being silenced, apparently. Like many British student unions, Smith regards Prevent, the government’s scheme to nip extremists in the bud, as ‘the real threat to freedom of speech at universities’. Misgendering someone is a hate crime, as is demanding separate toilets for women, but any prohibition of murderous musings for the cause of jihad is institutionalised Islamophobia.
The progressive liberal establishment and its post-millennial foot soldiers will never understand the fuss about free speech – because their speech is not being curtailed. Media such as the BBC and the Guardian have declined from principled defenders of truth to partisan propagandists. Police forces are enforcers of a moral hegemony. Laws against hate speech criminalise widely-held beliefs.
The struggle for liberty must be fought on the principles of Magna Carta and the Enlightenment. Incitement to violence or civil strife is illegal. But nobody who speaks or acts within the law should be excluded from the public sphere, be they Germaine Greer, George Galloway or Katie Hopkins. For real virtue is not relative.