When you try to hurl that label, #TERF at my feet, as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it will not work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honour …

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The Scottish Parliament, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the SNP deliberately voted to “… protect the rights of (sexual) predators to get into (biological) women’s refuges and prisons …”

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“Men defining what a woman is, what women should and shouldn’t fear, what women should and shouldn’t say, what rights women should be fine with giving up and, of course, what constitutes ‘real’ misogyny: get a bloody mirror. That’s real misogyny, looking right back at you.”

JK Rowling on Twitter on 25th January 2023

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill and Equality Law

“1 The GRR Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 22 December, 2022. The Bill reforms the 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) for Scotland only. It changes the process for obtaining a gender recognition certificate (GRC) for anyone born or ‘ordinarily resident’ in Scotland. It aims to change the basis on which people in Scotland can change their sex in law from one of a shared medical diagnosis to that of self- declaration alone (‘self-ID’) and lowers the qualifying age from 18 to 16.

2 On January 17 this year, the UK government used its powers under Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act to stop the Bill receiving Royal Assent. This power of veto can be used in circumstances where an item of Scottish parliamentary legislation is judged by the Secretary of State for Scotland to have an adverse impact on law in areas of policy (‘reserved matters’) for which the UK Parliament and government are solely or chiefly responsible. Similar provisions apply to the devolved parliaments of Wales and Northern Ireland.

3 The so-called Sewel Convention obliges the UK government to consult the devolved administrations when its own proposed legislation impacts on the powers and policies of the devolved parliaments. Ultimately, the UK Parliament can disregard refusals of consent from the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland legislatures.

4 The Communist Party of Britain and its leadership bodies in Scotland and Wales believe that the current devolution settlement must be protected and improved. However, in the case of the GRR (Scotland) Bill, the intervention by the UK government was entirely predictable given the political struggle over Scotland’s constitutional status and the controversies over issues of sex and gender.

5 The flawed approach of the Scottish government over the Bill and its wider effects has been brought persistently to the attention of Scottish ministers over the past four years. During the Edinburgh parliament’s scrutiny of the Bill, serious problems were raised by a range of women’s and other civil society groups who asked for the Bill to be paused so these could be discussed and resolved, as well as by legal and policy experts and other organisations. Yet ministers consistently denied and dismissed the problems being raised.

6 Unfortunately, discussion around the GRR bill has now become so acrimonious and toxic as to obstruct meaningful and respectful debate. The SNP-Green government in Edinburgh’s action has been portrayed as part of their attempt to secure separation from the UK; the Westminster veto – while defending the constitutional status quo and the Equality and Scotland Acts – has been described as taking an opportunity to discredit the SNP and its separatist goal.

7 The Communist Party of Britain believes that the current system for transgender people to gain access to services and achieve safe and legal gender transition requires substantial resourcing. If the aim of this Bill is to make the lives of trans people easier, then it is a failure. The Communist Party supports the right of trans people to live free from discrimination and prejudice. This attempt to change the law does nothing for their access to health, medical, housing, advisory and other services sensitive to their needs.

8 For Communists, the main concerns are about how the GRR Bill (as devolved legislation) interacts with the operation of the 2010 Equality Act (as reserved legislation) across the UK. This is a complex area of law but the crux of the matter rests on two main things.

(i) ‘Gender recognition’ is both reserved and devolved

9 A system for allowing someone to change their legal sex has to work across Britain as a whole. This is because the legal term ‘sex’ is referred to in hundreds of pieces of legislation which are both reserved to Westminster and devolved to the Scottish Parliament. For this reason, when the Labour government decided to introduce the 2004 Gender Recognition Act it reached agreement with the devolved assemblies/ parliaments that the Westminster government would create a single legal framework for Britain as a whole. To make this possible, the Scottish Parliament passed the Sewel resolution granting consent for Westminster to legislate in devolved areas for this specific purpose.

10 These facts were known by the Scottish government and by civil servants before it embarked on going it alone in reforming the GRA in Scotland. It was always clear that a Scotland-only scheme would mean that Gender Recognition Certificates issued in Scotland would apply only to reserved areas of law. Anyone applying for and obtaining a GRC in Scotland under the new scheme could be sure of their rights in relation to devolved areas – such as the recording of births, deaths and marriages by the National Records of Scotland, or the Scottish NHS – but would have no idea where they stood in relation to reserved areas such as pensions, (most) social security benefits and areas covered by the Equality Act such as employment protection during pregnancy, maternity pay and other important rights.

11 Instead of resolving these issues, ideally in advance of introducing legislation, the Scottish government stuck to its position that the GRR bill had no effect at all on the operation of the Equality Act. They continue to claim it is an administrative change only and there is simply nothing to consider.

12 This is despite a legal judgement clarifying the matter, made on December 13, 2022 (For Women Scotland vs The Scottish Government). This ruling established that a GRC changes someone’s legal sex for all purposes under the 2010 Equality Act. Legal counsel for the Scottish government successfully argued this case in court. Despite this, Scottish ministers chose not to pause the Bill so that the implications of this important ruling could be understood before MSPs had their final vote on the Bill.

13 The face of the Bill may include wording that it ‘does not affect the operation of the 2010 Equality Act’ (a Labour amendment), but this is meaningless because by effect the Bill certainly does.

(ii) The GRR Bill means there would be different legal definitions of sex in Scotland and in England & Wales

14 The effect of the Bill is that the legal definition of a ‘man’ and a ‘woman’ and the people who are included in these categories will be different in Scotland than in England and Wales. In other words, there will be two different legal definitions of sex in operation within the UK. No-one knows how that will work in practice. It has never been examined. It is likely to mean that people with a Scottish GRC will have separate legal identities for different purposes.

15 The effect is to create legal chaos for service providers and organisations in the different countries of the UK and for UK- and Britain-wide organisations. The groups of people in sex-related categories will be entirely different in Scotland on one side and England and Wales on the other.

16 In particular, the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 focuses on people with ‘gender dysphoria’ – their sexed body causes psychological distress such that medical/ surgical interventions are deemed necessary. They are the only group eligible for a GRC and thereby entitled to change their legal sex on their birth certificate.

17 The Scottish GRR Bill allows anyone over the age of 16 access to a GRC, with no medical requirement. Anyone is eligible who self-identifies into an ‘acquired gender’ and can provide fairly minimal evidence of living in this for at least three months is eligible. Sex offenders and those charged with sexual offences can apply, MSPs having voted down amendments to exclude them. The implications of self-ID as the sole requirement for access to single-sex spaces and facilities are serious when it comes to safeguarding women and children from predatory and abusive behaviour by men who can simply declare themselves to be women.

(Editor: Imagine the Commentariat’s reaction, particularly that of liberal progressive men, if the Tories said anyone might apply for a gun licence, including those convicted of gun crime and receive one after a waiting period of three months, next to no background checks and the payment of £5. They are very relaxed about self ID, however)

18 This reform could pose great difficulties for education institutions, sports organisations and other clubs and societies. They have to work out how to meet their legal duties under the 2010 Equality Act and make defensible decisions. They must balance conflicts of rights under the Equality Act and, if they are public sector bodies, fulfil the public sector equality duty and promote good relations between people with different ‘protected characteristics’ (which include ‘sex’ and ‘gender reassignment’). This is not a simple matter, and there are sure to be legal challenges. Navigating complex legislation while managing different legal definitions of sex which contain very different groups within them will not be easy.

19 When these questions were asked as the Bill went through the Edinburgh parliament, the Scottish government said it was up to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to draw up guidance. It refused the EHRC’s request for the Bill to be paused so these issues could be examined. Some argue these changes involve very small numbers of people and therefore the impact will be minimal. However, the wider context of the social transitioning of children in schools under government guidance puts that in doubt.

20 Meanwhile, the Welsh government has announced its intention to assist trans people to gain GRCs without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria; enhance their access to a full range of tailored services; and ‘ban all aspects’ of conversion practices. No Bill has yet been published and it is recognised that powers currently reserved to Westminster under the Wales Act may be necessary to carry out this programme in full. The UK central government has made clear it will veto any Welsh Bill which seeks to assume these reserved powers unilaterally.

21 The Welsh government also pledges to uphold women’s rights and spaces. Its LGBT Action Plan (2023) claims there is a ‘lack of evidence’ that trans-inclusion would have any adverse impact on women’s single-sex services and facilities and no evidence at all to justify a blanket exclusion of trans people from them. Instead, exclusion from single-sex services should be considered on a case-by-case basis as provided for in the 2010 Equality Act.

22 Heavily influenced by Stonewall rather than by a desire to boost the case for independence, the motivations of the Welsh government appear to be different in this fundamental respect from those of its Plaid Cymru partners and the SNP government in Scotland. Nonetheless, should it choose to go down the same constitutional cul-de-sac as the GRR Bill by attempting to provide for gender self-ID, the same opportunity will be missed to provide and improve services for trans people.

In summary and conclusion

A. The UK government’s veto of the GRR (Scotland) Bill was entirely predictable. The real issue here is self-ID and the impact of legislating for it.

B. If the aim of this Bill was to make the lives of trans people easier then it has not only been a failure; it is also proving to be counter- productive.

C. Anyone gaining a GRC under this Bill would have no certainty about the rights it confers. This is because of the fundamentally flawed approach taken by the Scottish government which, among other things, has meant that specific measures in its Bill have not won broad public support.

D. The real innovation of this Bill is to legislate for the self-ID of someone’s legal sex, embedding self-declared ‘gender identity’ in law. But when pursued to the exclusion of such considerations as the sex-based rights of women, and the fragmentation of equality legislation across Britain, it undermines the drive to build unity within and between the working class and the oppressed and disadvantaged groups in our society.

E. The Communist Party is the only political party with a coherent political analysis of sex and gender. Gender as an ideological construct should not be confused or conflated with the material reality of biological sex. Gender is the vehicle through which misogyny is enacted and normalised. Gender identity ideology is well- suited to the needs of the capitalist class, focusing as it does on individual as opposed to collective rights, enabling and supporting the super-exploitation of women.

F. For these reasons, the Communist Party rejects gender self-ID as the basis for sex- based entitlements in law to women’s single-sex rights, spaces and facilities. The Party will continue to oppose any proposed legislation – whether at Scottish, Welsh or British level – that seeks to enact such a provision.

G. We call for ‘sex’ as a protected characteristic under the 2010 Equality Act to be defined as ‘biological sex’.

H. At the same time, Communists are clear that efforts must continue to improve the resourcing of the current system for transgender people to access services and to transition legally, not just in Scotland but across Britain. Together with the defence and improvement of women’s sex-based services and facilities, this is part of the broader struggle for democratic rights, social justice and socialism.”

Communist Party executive committee statement of March 2023

A major constitutional crisis is now brewing between the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament and at the heart of it is the sanctity of the human rights of biological women, 51% of the electorate.

Humza Yousaf, the leader of the SNP and Scottish First Minister going to court over the Section 35 Order denying Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act Royal Assent is set to make constitutional law sexy once more and bring the negative impact of the GRRA on the human rights of biological women back into sharp focus.

Humza Yousaf’s legal challenge to the Section 35 Order denying Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act Royal Assent has been taken up by Tories.

The Tories now have everything to gain by campaigning for women’s rights when senior members of opposition parties cannot even define a woman.

Moreover, the APNI, Greens, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and the SNP all voted at Westminster for the GRRA to receive Royal Assent.

Brave, decisive Sir Keir Starmer KC, the leader of the Labour Party, despite Scottish Labour having enthusiastically voted for the GRRA at its final reading in Edinburgh and despite himself believing one woman in one thousand women has a penis, had Labour in London abstain in the Section 35 Order vote.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose … #LabourLosingWomen

Sharon Graham, the savvy woman who declines to doff her cap to Sir Keir

Rosie Duffield another chapter in the history of Labour’s institutional misogyny?

If the smouldering skip fire of misogyny within the Labour Party bursts into flames

PS “This never happened to Tony Blair, Sir Keir …”

To what exactly did the followers of Ayatollah Khomeini originally take offence in The Satanic Verses?

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“And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

Matthew 18:9

Ayatollah Khomeini lived for a while in Paris before the Iranian Revolution.

Whilst living there he moved amongst the Parisians not exactly in a daze, but averting his gaze from the decadent, depravity of Gay Paree.

Khomeini averted his gaze to the point that he stared at the pavement whilst walking around the French capital, protected by the Government agents of a Western liberal democracy from the unhealthy attentions of the secret police of an autocracy.

One might be forgiven for thinking that Khomeini in his railings against the corruption of Western civilisation, might have made a deep study of it or at least sampled it a little whilst living in Paris.

Seemingly not.

From whence did I learn about all this?

Why, from reading The Satanic Verses, of course.

I read The Satanic Verses when the book first came out and, frankly, found it hard going.

Clearly, the Iranian clerics who went in for literary criticism as a sideline had not read it or maybe they were really offended by the obvious, to my reading, mocking of Khomeini himself within its covers?

Was that as much of a reason for getting worked up over the book as any perceived slight of Islam?

After all, sometimes, a cigar is just a smoke, but taking personal offence is not the behaviour one expects of a Holy Man (although it is common amongst followers) so best to make it about your faith rather than about yourself so as not to seem petty and, well, rather worldly?

Had the French Government not extended him the protection of its security forces during his time in Paris, Khomeini might well have been murdered by the Shah of Persia’s secret police.

Khomeini in 1981, like Lenin in 1917, was late to the start of the revolution.

And until his return from Paris to join the fray Khomeini had not been experiencing the arduous conditions under which many of his fellow revolutionaries had been living in Iran.

Allah (or, if you prefer, the Great Satan) had moved in a mysterious way, using the forces of Western liberal democracy to preserve the life of a prophet.

Khomeini certainly never expressed any gratitude for the intervention of very earthly powers at a key moment in his life when he was personally very vulnerable.

Never any thanks to people thinking his life was worth preserving, even if only for sordid political motives.

Paris has often been a hangout for revolutionaries tolerated by the French Government whilst it enjoyed amicable relationships with the very governments those revolutionaries would overthrow.

And they have the cheek to label us, Perfidious Albion.

Birmingham is, as some folk discovered recently, the proud beating heart of a Western liberal democracy.

A Muslim chap, a fellow Brummie, interviewed by the BBC here in Birmingham some years ago said, of course, you have got a right to spit on my doorstep, but why do you feel the need to exercise it?

To behave like a bully.

That chap was not an abstract concept and I felt at the time and still do that he made a reasonable point.

Islam is as much as anything else a religion of the downtrodden, the poor and the marginalised.

Every day it gives hope and solace to 100s of millions of our fellow members of the human race.

In all the talk about free speech and the right to offend, middle class Western liberals seem to forget that or maybe they do not care about the feelings of those 100s of millions when they are punching down.

I do not think you may claim to be a liberal or a progressive if you do not have at least a degree of empathy with the views of those with whom you would disagree.

Proudly displaying a lack of empathy is hardly a great advert for the moral superiority of Western liberalism.

Perhaps they need to check their privilege on such occasions?

Those 100s of millions cannot respond to what they have been told by people they trust to be a slighting of their faith by writing a letter to The Times or The Guardian or by posting an article on Unherd.

They must sit down under it and turn the other cheek or do the other thing.

To march; to demonstrate; to protest, even violently, and to undertake acts of violence, both premeditated and unpremeditated.

Khomeini and zealots of all stripes, liberals amongst them have no time for the messiness that comes from not believing in absolute truths.

And they have an unfortunate tendency in this context to see fellow human beings on the other side of the argument as abstract concepts, not individuals like themselves.

“As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any the worse for it.”

George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius

However, “… what is admirable on the large scale is monstrous on the small …” in the battle of ideas.

Orwell went on to write, “He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.”

How does they are standing for their faith, their ideal, their principle, which has the power to absolve them from evil sound, in place of Orwell’s “serving his country (blindly)”?

“Righteous people terrify me … Virtue is its own punishment.”

Aneurin Bevan

However, no one has a right to stick a knife in Salman Rushdie’s eye, whatever their motivation, even if they may have a right to spit on his doorstep.

An Agnostic, an Atheist and a Theist Go Into a Café …

“The first opinion that is formed of a ruler’s intelligence is based on the quality of the …” people “… he has around him …”

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We’re meeting because Labour thinks it can do better. As the Conservative Party descends into what is likely to be a scrappy and savage leadership contest, a Labour victory at the next election is starting to feel distinctly possible, perhaps even likely. Keir Starmer, if he does end up being prime minister, doesn’t know one end of a yield curve from the other. So Reeves, his economics Yoda and close political adviser, is auditioning alongside him to get us out of the acute mess we find ourselves in.

…..

“Her thinking has evolved quite considerably,” says a senior colleague from her Bank of England days, noting that her first pledge on becoming shadow chancellor was that Labour would buy, make and sell more in Britain. “I wouldn’t say she’s been a radical thinker — she’s not going to scare the horses. But she has a real command of the concepts and detail.”

…..

Starmer was advised by his Blairite counsellors to pick Reeves as a replacement, which he duly did last May. Since then the pair have become genuinely close. Starmer relies on Reeves for regular economics guidance but also recognises her political savvy, honed over 12 up-and-down years at the Westminster coalface.

“We developed a rapport quite quickly and he sought out my views on issues wider than my brief,” Reeves says. “We message pretty much every day. He says, ‘I forget who works for you and who works for me.’ ” The harmonious relationship between their offices is a strength for Labour, for it was not always so. “It’s different from my other experience of a leader and a shadow chancellor — Ed and Ed [Miliband and Balls] did not always work constructively together,” Reeves adds. “We’ve had none of that with me and Keir.”

Starmer is many things but a natural politician is not one of them, which elevates Reeves. “He lacks political experience and political judgment,” says the former Labour shadow minister. “Rachel offers him more than just numbers. He relies on her and others to make up for a lack of experience.

…..

“Coherent is definitely within her wheelhouse,” her Bank of England colleague says. “Compelling remains to be seen.”

Is Rachel Reeves Labour’s secret weapon?

“The choosing of ministers is a matter of no little importance for a prince

… and their worth depends on the sagacity of the prince himself.  The first opinion that is formed of a ruler’s intelligence is based on the quality of the men he has around him.  When they are competent and loyal he can always be considered wise, because he has been able to recognize their competence and to keep them loyal.  But when they are otherwise, the prince is always open to adverse criticism; because his first mistake has been in the choice of his ministers.

No one who knew messer Antonio da Venafro as the minister of Pandolfo Petrucci, prince of Siena, could but conclude that therefore Pandolfo was himself a man of great ability.  There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the second appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others.  This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.  So it follows that Pandolfo, if he did not have the first kind of intelligence, at least had the second.  If a prince has the discernment to recognize the good or bad in what another says or does, even though he has no acumen himself, he can see when his minister’s actions are good or bad, and he can praise or correct accordingly; in this way, the minister cannot hope to deceive him and so takes care not to go wrong.

But as for how a prince can assess his minister, here is an infallible guide: when you see a minister thinking more of himself than of you, and seeking his own profit in everything he does, such a one will never be a good minister, you will never be able to trust him.  This is because a man entrusted with the task of government must never think of himself but of the prince, and must never concern himself with anything except the prince’s affairs.  To keep his minister up to the mark the prince, on his side, must be considerate towards him, must pay him honour, enrich him, put him in his debt, share with him both honours and responsibilities.  Thus the minister will see how dependent he is on the prince; and then having riches and honours to the point of surfeit he will desire no more; holding so many offices, he cannot but fear changes.  When, therefore, relations between princes and their ministers are of this kind, they can have confidence in each other; when they are otherwise, the result is always disastrous for one or the other of them.”

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

Further down the line, many in Labour can imagine Reeves — who has a strong support base inside the parliamentary party — as a future leader.

Is Rachel Reeves Labour’s secret weapon?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose … #LabourLosingWomen

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Are you wondering what the fuss over self id and Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act is all about?

The Communist Party has produced a handy guide.

Incidentally, the Tories could enact the penultimate bullet point and mostly resolve the issue, but they see great electoral advantage in not doing so.

“Discrimination knows no party boundaries. A former chair of my local Ward Party berated female members about their not campaigning on issues like the equalisation of the pension age.

A little while later, he nearly had apoplexy when the party put on women only learning and development sessions to help them with campaigning and seeking election. The sessions were, understandably, on Saturday mornings and on site crèche facilities were provided.

He had, like I had, received through our work the sort of training needed to turn raw talent into campaigners and candidates. I got the impression he failed to grasp that.”

Another sorry chapter in the history of institutional misogyny within Labour?

That chap was very much Old Labour in the 1990s.

Today in 2022:

“It is perhaps stating the “bleeding obvious”, but Starmer needs to clean up Labour’s act on women’s rights. A leader who, at his own party conference, struggled to state clearly what a woman actually was, is now not trusted by a growing segment of Britain’s women, particularly those who are politically active. And, while Labour continues to support the politically-suicidal policy of trans self-id, that group will continue to grow.

If you are one of Labour’s many members and supporters who still firmly believe “this never comes up on the doorstep”, or “it’s not important, it will never swing anyone’s votes”, let me tell you two things.

First, you are probably a man. Women understandably find it hard to duck this one.

Second, please wake up: you are underestimating the potential of this single issue to provide a razor-sharp dividing line between Labour and Conservatives come the election (if it is not, why are almost all the Tory leadership candidates coming out against self-id, including Penny Mordaunt, so desperate to row back from her previous support that she outright lied about it?)”

The real work for Keir Starmer starts here

Reforming or weakening, depending on your perspective, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is only popular with Labour Party members and 18 to 24 year olds.

It is not a wedge issue, but a Tory General Election steamroller.

Odds on, the next leader of the Tory Party will say no woman has got a penis whilst the current leader of the Labour Party is giving the impression he thinks some men have got vaginas.

How does that credibly advance the cause of trans-rights and improve Labour’s chances of winning a General Election?

If transwomen were women they would not need discreet rights and services.

They would just need to campaign for enhanced rights and services for women.

That is patently absurd.

Transwomen clearly do need discreet rights and services for which they needs must identify as transwomen.

Labour is brave enough, it seems, to advocate GRA reform that is unpopular with almost every group of voters, but will not advocate electoral reform, deals with other parties and softening Hard Brexit to “build a coalition of voters to win an election” as Rachel Reeves says is necessary, because those policies would make Labour unpopular with some (Tory?) voters.

Labour currently seems to be doing its level best to give the finger to every group from which it needs to draw voters to build that necessary coalition.

By the way, 51% of the electorate are women.

I gather the concerns that many women have over self-id are not a big issue for Tory Party members.

I wrote this passage a while ago about Team Corbyn.

To be fair to Team Starmer, there are many more women amongst their number than were in the ranks of Team Corbyn.

Many of the women in Team Starmer are middle class, some of whom say Labour needs to (re?)connect with socially conservative voters to win a General Election …

“The vast majority of those with a stake in formalising trans rights for transwomen want a solution that establishes those rights without subtracting from or trampling on the hard won rights of women.”

Smouldering skip fire of misogyny and the intolerance of extremist activists

As I see it, only a tiny, tiny minority of transwomen want to dismiss the legitimate concerns of women.

A minority of blokey blokes within a minority group think the world should revolve around them and that they should be free to trample over hard won women’s rights.

The fact that group of blokes does not empathise with those concerns rather suggests they have not transited much, if at all, because if they had they would not surely be so dismissive?

That at heart, they remain blokes?

Is it too much to ask that the leader of the Labour Party advocates seeking a solution that satisfies the vast majority of those with a stake in this matter rather than speaking up for a vociferous, intransigent minority within the trans community?

Post Script

There was no obligation for any of the parties in the Scottish Parliament to support a policy, not set out in their respective General Election manifestoes, that deliberately placed sexual predators into a confined space containing vulnerable women, ostensibly to check out the risk assessment and security arrangements.

The Labour Party in Scotland did …

“To the uninitiated, self ID means, in the name of “trans rights”, that any Scottish male will soon be able to declare themselves female – and any female male – by filling in a few forms and paying the princely sum of £5. They can then get all their government records changed to the opposite sex and, crucially, those who are men can legally insist on access to women’s spaces, in direct contravention of the single-sex exemption enshrined in the UK’s Equality Act.

This is a development that, if most of the public were made fully aware of it, would likely think insane.

However, it is not just the SNP: Labour MSPs also voted for this*, even though they did not need to. Their votes were unnecessary, they could have abstained or voted against and the SNP would still have won. But they were whipped to vote for the bill, because the top team seemed to actually think it was the right thing to do; their collective reputation now in the bin for nothing.”

“And now for the coup de grâce: last week, in Scotland’s primary legislature, MSPs of all parties except the Conservatives actually mobilised to vote against an amendment preventing known sex offenders from registering for self-id. Yes, let’s protect the rights of predators to get into women’s refuges and prisons: makes total sense.”

Labour MSPs should be ashamed of themselves

Imagine the media and political outcry, if sexual predators in Scotland were introduced into a confined space containing vulnerable women, ostensibly to check out the risk assessment and security arrangements?

Ah …

Trans Rights Activists in Scotland thought if they could prove it was safe to house criminals self iding as women in prisons for women born as women then access to no other single sex space for women born as women could be denied to them.

Mostly working class women have suffered physical and mental abuse in British prisons so self styled middle class progressives might get off on self id.

When Lee Anderson starts crucifying every political party that supports Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act, some of us on the Left will be handing him up the nails.

The Trans Rights Activists behind this sick social experiment in self id in Scotland deserve to rot in Hell, because it seems they will not face justice in this life for the damage they have wreaked on some of the most vulnerable women in our society.

For God’s sake, they deliberately placed known sexual predators into women’s prisons in the name of the Cult of Gender.

It is a pity, perhaps, that more middle class women do not go to prison or work in prisons then maybe working class women in British prisons would not have had to endure this inhumane treatment that may well have infringed their human rights as set out in Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights.

To cap it all, Sir Keir Starmer KC has recently found time in his busy schedule to have a private meeting with Tory, Iain Anderson, Chair of Stonewall, and clearly promised him a Gender Recognition Reform (UK) Act à la Nicola Sturgeon.

I think it is reasonable to assume that when Anderson speaks positively of Sir Keir ending the culture wars, as Anderson did in the Financial Times, Anderson is talking about ending the culture war over self id in favour of his and Stonewall’s position on the issue.

I do not get any impression Anderson is worried about the culture war over statues.

“We have a tabloid debate going on about people’s lives. It’s not a respectful debate, it’s turned into a woke war. It’s turned into a wedge issue… I was LGBT Business Champion not LGB or T, and that’s why I’m walking away.”

Sir Keir has yet to find the time to meet with Labour women and their supporters to discuss their concerns about self id.

Some people say culture wars are, by definition a bad thing.

But the campaign for equality for women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, gays, lesbians, bisexuals … for anyone, in fact, who isn’t straight, white, male, middle or upper class, has always been a culture war.

Anderson is gay, admittedly, but he is also white, male and middle class and clearly happy to suck up to anyone who promises him a Gender Recognition Reform (UK) Act à la Nicola Sturgeon.

Post Post Scriptum

Want to tie back Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Act?

Then sign Maya Forstater’s petition on the United Kingdom Parliament’s website, calling on Parliament to update the Equality Act to make clear the characteristic “sex” means biological sex in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

“There is one important subject I do not want to pass over, the mistake which princes can only with difficulty avoid making if they are not extremely prudent or do not choose their ministers well.”

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“There is one important subject I do not want to pass over, the mistake which princes can only with difficulty avoid making if they are not extremely prudent or do not choose their ministers well.  I am referring to flatterers, who swarm in the courts.  Men are so happily absorbed in their own affairs and indulge in such self-deception that it is difficult for them not to fall victim to this plague; and some efforts to protect oneself from flatterers involve the risk of becoming despised.  This is because the only way to safeguard yourself against flatterers is by letting people understand that you are not offended by the truth; but if everyone can speak the truth to you then you lose respect.  So a shrewd prince should adopt a middle way, choosing wise men for his government and allowing only those the freedom to speak the truth to him, and then only concerning matters on which he asks their opinion, and nothing else.  But he should also question them thoroughly and listen to what they say; then he should make up his own mind, by himself.  And his attitude towards his councils and towards each one of his advisers should be such that they will recognize that the more freely they speak out the more acceptable they will be.  Apart from these, the prince should heed no one; he should put the policy agreed upon into effect straight away, and he should adhere to it rigidly.  Anyone who does not do this is ruined by flatterers or is constantly changing his mind because of conflicting advice: as a result he is held in low esteem.

I want to give a modern illustration of this argument.  Bishop Luca, in the service of Maximilian the present emperor, said of his majesty that he never consulted anybody and never did things as he wanted to; this happened because he did the opposite of what I said above.  The emperor is a secretive man, he does not tell anyone of his plans, and he accepts no advice.  But as soon as he puts his plans into effect, and they come to be known, they meet with opposition from those around him; and then he is only too easily diverted from his purpose.  The result is that whatever he does one day is undone the next, what he wants or plans to do is never clear, and no reliance can be placed on his decisions.

A prince must, therefore, never lack advice.  But he must take it when he wants to, not when others want him to; indeed, he must discourage everyone from tendering advice about anything unless it is asked for.  All the same, he should be a constant questioner, and he must listen patiently to the truth regarding what he has inquired about.  Moreover, if he finds that anyone for some reason holds the truth back he must show his wrath.  And though many suppose that a prince may rightly be esteemed shrewd not because he is so himself but because of the quality of those there to advise him, they are undoubtedly mistaken.  For this is an infallible rule: a prince who is not himself wise cannot be well advised, unless he happens to put himself in the hands of one individual who looks after all his affairs and is an extremely shrewd man.  In this case, he may well be given good advice, but he would not last long because the man who governs for him would soon deprive him of his state.  But when seeking advice of more than one person a prince who is not himself wise will never get unanimity in his councils or be able to reconcile their views.  Each councillor will consult his own interests; and the prince will not know how to correct or understand them.  Things cannot be otherwise, since men will always do badly by you unless they are forced to be virtuous.  So the conclusion is that good advice, whomever it comes from, depends on the shrewdness of the prince who seeks it, and not the shrewdness of the prince on good advice.”

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

Labour “will change rules on insurance, which are currently taken directly from EU regulations, to allow British pension savers to own and build British infrastructure.” A #Brexit benefit?

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“… we estimate that roughly £500bn is probably missing somewhere. And this isn’t a paper loss. This is a real loss because pension funds were selling assets …”

Pensions experts ‘shocked’ at hidden borrowing across UK schemes

“Now we’re no longer a member we can change our domestic legislation as much as we want and sell new (financial) products to a market of 67 million rather than the 450 million in the EU.”

“Being able to change rules for our domestic market is very small beer and not a great Brexit benefit.”

Charlotte Moore, Twitter, 11th February 2022

The Labour Party has an especial obsession with buying, making and selling more in Britain and now investing our money in Britain.

This economic philosophy, if one may call it that, borders on autarky with a dash of mercantilism.

Labour’s obsession with buying, making and selling more in Britain is not unique to them. It is one they share with the Conservative Party.

The pledge set out in the title of this blog post was made by Sir Keir Starmer QC on Monday 4th July 2022.

“We will not seek regulatory equivalence for financial services as that could constrain our ability to make our rules and system work better.”

“Labour will use flexibility outside of the EU to ensure British regulation is adapted to suit British needs. 

As an example, we will change rules on insurance, which are currently taken directly from EU regulations, to allow British pension savers to own and build British infrastructure.”

Turn “toxic” Brexit around, says TSSA

Rachel Reeves has good friends in the City of London, if not future employment prospects there. Reeves once turned down an exceptionally good job with Goldman Sachs, she says to go into much less financially remunerative public service.

Labour’s proposed policy is actually one currently being pursued by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer as I discovered earlier this year on reading this informative and accessible blog by Charlotte Moore, entitled, “The government’s new piggy bank“, although, in December 2021, Reeves told City AM that Labour would “keep the City close to the EU post-Brexit”.

“Hot on the heels of Ian Duncan Smith’s suggestion that pension schemes should invest in unicorn technology companies came last week’s challenge from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor for institutional investors to participate in an investment big bang.”

“While the pensions industry made polite noises in response to …” a joint letter sent to them by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak “… it wasn’t hard to discern the frustration with the government’s latest wheeze to use pension schemes as its new piggy bank.”

“The letter says: “For example, over eighty per cent of UK defined contribution pension funds’ investments are in mostly listed securities, which represent only twenty percent of the UK’s assets.”

In other words, the government would like pension schemes to provide capital to those UK businesses which are not listed on an exchange. That would mean allocating assets to private equity and infrastructure funds.

It’s not clear why private equity companies would need a significant cash injection from UK pension schemes. These strategies are popular with other investors and often suffer from a dearth of investable companies.

The government’s new piggy bank

……………

“The letter also makes clear the government sees pension schemes as their new source of capital to fund the infrastructure projects needed to convince their Red Wall voters it can deliver on its promises of levelling up.

“It’s time we recognised the quality that other countries see in the UK, and back ourselves by investing more money into the companies and infrastructure that will drive growth and prosperity across our country,” says the letter.

This is not the first time the government has seen pension funds as a way to fund infrastructure projects.

In 2015, George Osborne announced the pooling of the local government pension scheme’s 89 separate funds in England and Wales to add efficiency and make infrastructure investing easier.

That pooling has now been completed with the 89 funds grouped into eight pools. This scale has enabled pools to negotiate better rates with investment managers and made them more professional.

But there has not been a material improvement in infrastructure investing. That’s because it is not a lack of capital which is holding this back.

Pension schemes around the world are thirsty for these projects – they have just the right kind of long-term income streams which match their liabilities. This is why, as the letter acknowledges, pension schemes from Australia and Canada, have invested in the UK.

The hold-up in infrastructure investment is lack of supply. These are highly complex undertakings which take years to implement and are frequently held up by planning headaches.

(Editor: Rachel Reeves wants to make procurement processes for major projects like HS2 more complicated to aid buying, making and selling more in Britain …)

It is also a question of risk management. While pension schemes like infrastructure as an investment, they want projects which have a guaranteed income stream.

They will not fund speculative developments. Often schemes want governments to take the initial risks and become involved later on. And that’s because a pension scheme’s primary purpose is its fiduciary duty to its members not a government’s economic agenda.”

The purpose of a pension scheme is to provide the best possible retirement income for its members. This fiduciary duty is the guiding principle of its investment policy.”

And even if a pension scheme were to decide to allocate to either private equity or infrastructure, it would not only be invested in the UK.

The government’s new piggy bank

Is it perhaps not insignificant that both Rachel Reeves and Rishi Sunak are graduates of Oxford University’s (in)famous PPE course and have strong links with Goldman Sachs?

Sir Keir Starmer QC freely admits he does not understand much, if anything at all about trade, industry and economics so he leaves all that to Rachel Reeves, “by far the best economics brain in the Labour party.”

Sir Keir Starmer QC just reads out what he is given to say, like Make (Hard) Brexit Work

Why is Sir Keir Starmer QC a moral coward and a lousy electoral politician for not putting down a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson? He’s no heir of Major Clement Attlee that’s for sure …

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Mogadon Man

“Sir Keir Starmer has all but withdrawn his previous calls for Boris Johnson to resign as he said the country needs “unity” in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Now is not the time to call for PM to quit – Starmer

Putting down a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson’s Leadership

Sir Keir Starmer QC does what he does best, arguably all of which he is capable, and takes Boris Johnson to pieces at the Despatch Box.

Johnson has to sit for hours and endure a debate about himself and his character.

Many Tory MPs have to squirm to give Johnson vocal support, even those who have come to hate him.

Fabricant and Dorries make themselves look prats, again.

The Tory whips use up more of their power to intimidate recalcitrant backbenchers, threatening and pleading with them to sit throughout the debate and vote for Johnson.

Tory MPs known to have submitted letters to the backbench 1922 Committee, calling for a vote on the fitness of Johnson to lead their party would be taunted by Opposition MPs to speak in support of Johnson in the debate.

All of this would take place before the world’s media and attract way more interest amongst voters than any performance of Starmer’s at PMQs.

But Starmer would lose the vote cry Starmerites who frequently whine about Labour not getting enough media coverage.

Attlee and Morrison did not expect to win the division during the Norway Debate in May 1940 when Chamberlain had a bigger majority in the House of Commons (242 seats) than Johnson has today (81 seats) and we were actually at war.

They knew they were putting down a marker.

“In view of the gravity of the events which we are debating, that the House has a duty and that every Member has a responsibility to record his particular judgment upon them, we feel we must divide the House at the end of our Debate to-day.”

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing …”

If you do not think Sir Keir Starmer QC would win the argument in the light of the world’s media and screw Tory MPs to the sticking place, even those who have come to despise Johnson then maybe it is about time Starmer resigned in favour of, say, Yvette Cooper?

One has to question the future of a leader of the Labour Party who is a moral coward, who knows sod all about electoral politics and is in thrall to a bunch of white, mostly elderly, many Leave voting, some racist folk in a Leigh café.

Incidentally, no one ever dared to say to Major Clement Attlee, the second to last man off the beaches at Gallipoli, that he was any sort of coward.

Aneurin Bevan did not join the wartime coalition Government. He remained on the Opposition benches and sometimes even criticised the Government not for continuing to fight the war, but for the manner in which they were going about it.

He reminded people of that for which they were fighting, suffering and dying, a functioning democracy even in a time of war. Something we have seen in Ukraine where Parliamentarians have met under the threat of death from Putin’s thugs to carry out their democratic duties.

Sir Keir Starmer QC’s instinct at the first whiff of grapeshot is to beat a sensible retreat when past Labour leaders would have marched towards the sound of the guns.

Someone once said that wars are not won by evacuations.

Sooner or later Sir Keir you have to turn and fight.

Better to do it on a ground of your own choosing than on a field of battle that favours Johnson.

“Lord Patrick Cormack, who had been an MP for 40 years before joining the Lords, said the setting up of a national government should be considered given the huge significance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I think the time is coming when we should think of a national government,” he told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, as he praised Mr Starmer’s response to the Ukrainian president’s address.”

ITV News Politics, Tuesday 8th March 2022

Why is Sir Keir Starmer QC a moral coward and a lousy electoral politician for not putting down a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson? He is no heir of Major Clement Attlee …

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Mogadon Man

“Sir Keir Starmer has all but withdrawn his previous calls for Boris Johnson to resign as he said the country needs “unity” in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Now is not the time to call for PM to quit – Starmer

Putting down a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson’s Leadership

Sir Keir Starmer QC does what he does best, arguably all of which he is capable, and takes Boris Johnson to pieces at the Despatch Box.

Johnson has to sit for hours and endure a debate about himself and his character.

Many Tory MPs have to squirm to give Johnson vocal support, even those who have come to hate him.

Fabricant and Dorries make themselves look prats, again.

The Tory whips use up more of their power to intimidate recalcitrant backbenchers, threatening and pleading with them to sit throughout the debate and vote for Johnson.

Tory MPs known to have submitted letters to the backbench 1922 Committee, calling for a vote on the fitness of Johnson to lead their party would be taunted by Opposition MPs to speak in support of Johnson in the debate.

All of this would take place before the world’s media and attract way more interest amongst voters than any performance of Starmer’s at PMQs.

But Starmer would lose the vote cry Starmerites who frequently whine about Labour not getting enough media coverage.

Attlee and Morrison did not expect to win the division during the Norway Debate in May 1940 when Chamberlain had a bigger majority in the House of Commons (242 seats) than Johnson has today (81 seats) and we were actually at war.

They knew they were putting down a marker.

“In view of the gravity of the events which we are debating, that the House has a duty and that every Member has a responsibility to record his particular judgment upon them, we feel we must divide the House at the end of our Debate to-day.”

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing …”

If you do not think Sir Keir Starmer QC would win the argument in the light of the world’s media and screw Tory MPs to the sticking place, even those who have come to despise Johnson then maybe it is about time Starmer resigned in favour of, say, Yvette Cooper?

One has the question the future of a leader of the Labour Party who is a moral coward, who knows sod all about electoral politics and is in thrall to a bunch of white, mostly elderly, many Leave voting, some racist folk in a Leigh café.

Incidentally, no one ever dared to say to Major Clement Attlee, the second to last man off the beaches at Gallipoli, that he was any sort of coward.

Aneurin Bevan did not join the wartime coalition Government. He remained on the Opposition benches and sometimes even criticised the Government not for continuing to fight the war, but for the manner in which they were going about it.

He reminded people of that for which they were fighting, suffering and dying, a functioning democracy even in a time of war. Something we have seen in Ukraine where Parliamentarians have met under the threat of death from Putin’s thugs to carry out their democratic duties.

Sir Keir Starmer QC’s instinct at the first whiff of grapeshot is to beat a sensible retreat when past Labour leaders would have marched towards the sound of the guns.

Someone once said that wars are not won by evacuations.

Sooner or later Sir Keir you have to turn and fight.

Better to do it on a ground of your own choosing than on a field of battle that favours Johnson.

“Lord Patrick Cormack, who had been an MP for 40 years before joining the Lords, said the setting up of a national government should be considered given the huge significance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I think the time is coming when we should think of a national government,” he told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, as he praised Mr Starmer’s response to the Ukrainian president’s address.”

ITV News Politics, Tuesday 8th March 2022

Sir Keir Starmer QC went to Grim Oop North Land with Lisa “Down Your Way” Nandy to play a discarded Faragiste card on the state of UK manufacturing. Now they’ve got Angela Rayner at it …

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It is a classic journalist’s and politician’s mistake to measure the importance of manufacturing to the economy of the United Kingdom by the number of direct jobs within it.

The latest politician to make that error is Sir Keir Starmer QC, who recently went Oop North to the very part of England in which a significant number of manufacturing jobs and companies just happen to be located, to pledge a revival in manufacturing under a Labour Government he led.

A revival in the context of Hard Brexit.

The casual observer might be inclined to think UK manufacturing in 2022 was a basket case.

Au contraire, Sir Keir …

Faragiste card?

Well for a while, Nigel Farage too used to run UK manufacturing down, in fact, in 2014 Farage made much of ukip’s plans to make our country a great trading nation again.

An early sighting of Global Britain?

To be fair to Farage, he did, a month or so after announcing his party’s trade ambitions, do something few in the media or politics ever do and revised his view of UK manufacturing and its place in the world.

Sir Keir Starmer QC’s chief policy adviser, Claire Ainsley, whom he appointed on becoming Labour leader, is a Brexit advocate.

Ainsley has no background in trade, commerce, industry, economics or, it would seem, basic research.

Ainsley’s last taste of political campaigning was at university when as a member of the Socialist Worker’s Party, she campaigned against the Labour Government elected in 1997.

Ainsley compared the conflict in Kosovo to the Vietnam War and tried unsuccessfully to convince her student union to formally condemn the US-led intervention in Kosovo. “People see that what Nato is doing is wrong,” she told Nouse, the university’s student paper, at the time.

I trust that she is now in line with Labour’s position on NATO in 2022.

One would hope Lisa Nandy and Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, with their Parliamentary seats in the North West and Yorkshire, respectively, would be better informed about the state of UK manufacturing at least in the places they represent.

Seemingly not, given Nandy was Starmer’s minder during his procession through the North and Reeves recently told the Financial Times that Labour was now pro business, planned to reverse a decade of lost growth with capital (not revenue) spending and wanted partnerships with businesses, but that the UK would not rejoin the Single Market in her lifetime.

A renaissance in UK manufacturing when manufacturing in the UK is being hard hit by the Hard Brexit Labour has now adopted as policy seems highly unlikely.

Would our economy be safe in the hands of folk who seem woefully ignorant about its fundamentals?

Starmer’s pledge, combined with Hard Brexit might well appeal to folk like those pensioners in that café in Leigh, but it is not a credible one for the young; the working aged, especially those in work in manufacturing and business people.

Did Farage change his position, because he thought he might come across as unpatriotic in a place like Leigh, perhaps be seen as running Britain down or because he knew he was making one claim too many about the benefits of Brexit or a combination of both?

Whatever the reason for Farage’s change of position in 2014, Sir Keir Starmer QC’s pledge in 2022 to revive a relatively healthy industry sector, slowly being ground down by Hard Brexit, is hardly grounds for folk in business in England to vote Labour at a General Election.

And just to confuse matters further, there are currently 1.298 million unfilled vacancies in the UK as of March 2022.

And, despite that, the leader of the Labour Party and his advisers want not to fill those jobs, but to create more vacancies …

Late Breaking News

“Research carried out by the Labour Party has found that more than 230,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost across the UK since 2015 as Angela Rayner prepares to set out the party’s vision to “make Britain work for working people”.”

More than 230,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2015, Labour research finds

I wonder what happened between 2016 and 2021 …