We like you, Lisa Nandy, so why are you throwing women under a bus?

by Rob Marchant

Current Labour leadership campaign status: both cautiously encouraging, and flat-out disappointing.

Encouraging, because the nominations stage is making it look like the far left – in the shape of Burgon, Butler and Long-Bailey might finally, finally be on the back foot (that said, the actual vote for leader is likely to be far tighter and no-one should be complacent).

Disappointing, because for any moderates, there is actually no candidate at all aligning with their views. The choice is soft left, or hard left. That’s it.

And all are playing, to a greater or lesser extent, to the Momentumite gallery. Perhaps foolishly, given the occurrence of members of new members joining to oppose Continuity Corbynism and who are now crushed to see all candidates espousing dumb policies (not that policies will even matter for the next year or two, as the party tries to rebuild).

And then there is the debate on trans rights.

Let’s get one thing perfectly straight. No-one, on any wing of the party – or at least, practically no-one – is anti-trans. This is the gay-friendly, lesbian-friendly, every-orientation-party par excellence.

The issue most people are concerned about is a simple and specific one, and it is this.

Self-id, in any sphere of life where privileges are conferred by the attribute you are self-id-ing, is clearly open to abuse. It is obvious that pathological cases can falsely id themselves as having that attribute and claim the privilege. And it is happening right now with trans self-id.

So, women’s sport is being disrupted by suddenly having disingenuous people with male bodies competing against women and, surprisingly, winning everything. And a small but pathological minority of trans women with male bodies are predatorially invading women’s toilets and changing rooms, molesting or even raping them.

It. Is. Happening.

It is what economists call “moral hazard”, and anyone who has ever run an organisation or a large project understands that. You should never allow this type of moral hazard: at best, it is merely unworkable and, at worst, highly damaging to that organisation or people in it. Relatively few, of course, will abuse the system, but the only way to protect against that abuse is to disallow the moral hazard – in this case, self-id.

This, patently, has nothing to do with one’s feelings on trans, non-binary and so on. It is not treating people as second-class citizens. It is protecting women, end of.

And then we come to the Labour leadership election.

The cult of the modern left not only feels it needs to forcefully rebut this common-sense argument – because, y’know, thin end of the wedge and all – but aggressively pursues those who advance it with insults, social media pile-ons and general, bullying behaviour.

Three leadership candidates – Long-Bailey, Thornberry and Nandy – have voiced support for the Trans Rights Charter, a list of twelve pledges that are at best, bonkers and at worst, horrifically damaging, both to the cause of trans people and the rights of women in general to privacy and safe spaces (Starmer has signed up to a more general pledge card from LGBT+ Labour, but that too endorses self-id, although it is clearly not as radical as the other).

Among these twelve pledges are not only self-id but calling Women’s Place UK, an organisation full of decent women concerned about safe spaces, “transphobic”, a slur which would be libellous, were it directed at a single person. All the while not actually defining what “transphobic” means, signifying that the word can be used as a catch-all smear, to isolate and expel any member who disagrees with this disturbing set of pledges.

Other supporters of this radical agenda are frequently to be seen on Twitter and other social media, using the word “TERF” (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) as a term of abuse against non-trans women who dare to cross them. Which is, essentially, hate speech.

How Labour ended up here is simply yet another outcome of the last four years of Corbynite nonsense, but the painfully divisive nature of this issue has wider implications for both Labour and society in general.

Not to mention the optics of this in the country, where Nandy’s assertion that trans rapists belong in women’s prisons contribute to the perception of a leadership campaign, for a prospective party of government, descending into farce.

Lisa, we like you. You are decent. You are clever and articulate, and clearly have a bright future ahead of you. You interviewed brilliantly with Andrew Neil, Britain’s toughest interviewer. Many of us want to believe that this was an aberration.

And we also want to think that, perhaps through inexperience or perhaps through naiveté, you genuinely cannot see that this cannot work and is furthermore a social bad, not a social good, which is likely to set the legitimate trans cause back decades.

Trans is not “the new gay rights”: the two paradigms are not remotely comparable, because gay rights never risked this moral hazard, did it? You will note that there is no legal measure which depends upon someone “proving” that they are gay or lesbian, because you cannot. So why would you introduce a self-defined, legal status for trans which cannot be legally tested or proven, either? And which is clearly open to abuse?

I, and many others who do not share some of your soft-left worldview, were thinking very seriously about giving you first preference. But now we cannot, and you have to understand why: the terrible, unworkable and divisive nature of what you have just signed up to.

In particular, as a woman MP, it should concern you greatly to know that an awful lot of these people giving up on you are women, who feel strongly that you have just thrown them under the bus.

Please – reflect on your support for this measure. Yes, you should support the vast majority of decent trans people and trans activists – but not this small, nutty brigade of sociopaths and haters, who happen to have the loudest voices and have grabbed control of the agenda.

Most jarringly still, they are representative of precisely the kind of extremist, malign forces you have convincingly pledged to drive from this party.

In short: you can credibly hold one or the other position: you cannot have both.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour party manager who blogs at The Centre Left

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12 Responses to “We like you, Lisa Nandy, so why are you throwing women under a bus?”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Although Paul embery is the one blue labour person who’s not budging in this
    I testing to see Eddie Dempsey, Brendan Chilton , Ms Vic Miller and Maurice glasman eating slot of humble pie on this

    All I can say is no ones perfect
    And not having a candidate in 2016 challenge I’m desperate to have someone to vote for this time

  2. Alf says:

    Lisa is a bit BNP-lite. Starmer is a bit wooden. That’s why I’m backing Becky for a better Britain.

  3. JoHn P reid says:

    alf she’s half Asian, and when did the BNp think self identifying for trans was their policy

    no what you’re thinking of is anti semites like Richard brugon who are backing RLB for leader ,despite he’s standing for deputy himself

  4. steve says:

    Nuttiness proliferates in today’s Labour Party.

    Its origin can be traced to Blair’s statement: “I only know what I believe.”

    Reality now takes a back seat.

    On the one hand we have Starmer’s disastrous pro-EU, 2nd Ref/Remain nonsense. On the other, the ‘you can be whatever you believe yourself to be’ twaddle. No doubt Starmer and RLB, latching onto New Labour speak, will call this ‘opportunity’ and ‘aspiration’ respectively.

    Labour’s self-replicating Westminster elite has never been more out of touch. There is only one option, not Nandy, Starmer or RLB, the only option is to get out before you succumb to the madness.

  5. Tafia says:

    Labour’s obsession with student union trendy-lefty identity politics is crippling it and destroying it’s credibility among it’s traditional voter base and I was surprised at Nandy – the least worst of a poor bunch, for coming out with it.

    In day-to-day life, if you possess a block and tackle – by birth or or surgery, you are a bloke. If you wear womens clothes and make-up and self-identify as a woman you are still a bloke – just a bloke in a frock. If you have internal plumbing – either by birth or by surgery, then you are a woman. Please use the correct designated toilet and changing facilities or just use the bloody disabled ones.

    In sports, if you are genetically a male then you are a bloody male and if you genetically test as female then you are female. It is unfair on female (by birth) athletes to have to compete against female (by surgery) athletes who are physically more powerful than them because they were originally a male.

  6. Anne says:

    I like Lisa – I think she has a lot to offer, but she has got this one wrong. There is also an issue with trans women competing in female sports – how can this be an equal contest – this applies to most sports – tennis, golf, athletes.

  7. anosrep says:

    No, Marchant, you’re the one who wants the party to throw women under a bus – specifically, trans women.

  8. John P Reid says:

    Anosrep if this Article had been written by a woman, then you’d be getting more criticism now
    For slamming Kevin
    But Many women who fought for women rights for decades such as Julie Bindel have been assaulted aren’t men allowed to Criticise the policy

    When is it ok for Men to slam the criticism of women by the party , was it wrong for Union leaders to say Gordon Brown was wrong you call Mrs Duffy a bigoted woman?

  9. OirishM says:

    “Trans is not “the new gay rights”: the two paradigms are not remotely comparable, because gay rights never risked this moral hazard, did it? You will note that there is no legal measure which depends upon someone “proving” that they are gay or lesbian, because you cannot. So why would you introduce a self-defined, legal status for trans which cannot be legally tested or proven, either? And which is clearly open to abuse?”

    You having a laugh, Rob?

    When gay people wanted more rights, the level of fearmongering was also high over things that were either outright false or complete generalisations.

    Gay panic / gay men assaulting innocent straight men, that gay men were a threat to children, that they would pass on diseases to people, etc.

    Yeah, exactly the same sort of bullshit arguments we see directed at trans people now, some nebulous sense of ‘threat’ from a demographic that is vastly outnumbered by cis people. There is literally nothing stopping someone of any gender identity from walking into a bathroom right now and assaulting someone, and the idea that people are self-iding as trans in order to do this frankly barely ever happens. That level of statistical non-event is not a reason to be shittier to an already marginalised group. If someone of any gender identity starts breaking the law in a bathroom, call the police. There are already laws against it, irrespective of whether self-id is permitted or not.

  10. merseymike says:

    How come self ID has caused no problems at all in the countries where it has been adopted?
    Professional sport is an irrelevance. The prison issue easily sorted by ensuring trans sex offenders are housed in a secure zone in the women’s estate. Indeed sex offenders are segregated for their own safety anyway.
    The rest of the issues are things trans people have to do to be considered for medical or surgical transition and have done for a long time.

  11. John P Reid says:

    Merseymike and women’s refuges that have men in them the countries that also have innocent till proven guilty would see men who are suspected of abuse going in there, despite women’s wishes but no conviction to stop them
    I get there are lesbian couples where there’s been abuse in one side that are powerless to stop The Abusive woman of the couple going in

    This also means That labours all women shortlists are pointless for offices delegates and candidates(I get AWS discriminated against black people, ALA the lewisham clique who only prefer Socially liberal middle class women so working class black men who’ve got Christian values don’t fit in with their views (I recall the Days Dwayne brookes before he joined the libdems didn’t have a positive discrimination view to quotas and labour couldn’t understand why he didnt support the abolition of double jeopardy so he he joined the libdems who didn’t agree with it

    But then we had Jack Dromey win a AWS due to his wife was

    And then there’s changing rooms at swimming pools , there disabled ones why can’t they use them
    I’ve actually heard of trans men complaining they have to use Male changing rooms as now they’re just becoming men they don’t want to see men naked till they’ve had a fake organ sown on

  12. steve says:

    “Professional sport is an irrelevance.”

    Au contraire.

    Even the majority of amateur sport events are divided into male and female categories.

    In the races organised by my running club, for example, males always achieve the quickest times. This is due to biological advantage are always prizes for 1st male and 1st female.

    If male-bodied women are to enter female categories, female sport whether team or individual, will be ended.

    Unfortunately. Labour’s out-of-touch Westminster elite, with its Blairite disregard for fact and evidence, is blind to the reality in which the majority live.

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