James Kirkup

The trans rights activists’ latest target: Corbynite royalty

The trans rights activists' latest target: Corbynite royalty
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If you have any doubts about how far a small (and unrepresentative) group of “trans rights” advocates and activists will go to further their cause, read this story in the Daily Mail today. Linda Bellos, 67, is a lifelong feminist. She is facing a private legal action for saying, at a public meeting, that if associates of a trans woman who assaulted a 60-year-old feminist approached her with hostile intent, she was ready and willing to fight back. She’s already faced complaints to the police (and been interviewed) over that comment. The police decided there was no case to answer. So Bellos’ pursuer has gone down the private prosecution route. A pensioner of limited means now faces significant legal costs and possible legal sanction for saying, in effect, she was prepared to defend herself from the sort of assault that another women with similar characteristics had suffered.

That would be interesting (and troubling) enough if Linda Bellos was just anyone. But she’s not just anyone. She’s a big figure on the British Left, a political godmother to the people who run today’s Labour Party and write bad articles for the Guardian comment section. She led Lambeth Council in the 1980s. She created Black History Month. She spent a lifetime campaigning for equality and equal rights. She is from the same Labour Left vintage as Jeremy Corbyn.

I don’t expect that all Spectator readers would agree with all of Bellos’ politics – I don’t either. But I do ask you to acknowledge her fierce courage: to take and hold the positions she has, she has had to be immensely tough (I know one Tory MP who names Bellos as a hero of modern politics).

And I ask you to consider this: if Linda Bellos – a black, Jewish feminist lesbian socialist who is practically Corbynite royalty — is being targeted by trans rights activists, no-one is off-limits.

P.S. Jeremy Corbyn said in January this year he was willing to meet feminists such as Bellos to discuss their concerns about Labour policy on gender, and their worries about the toxic, fearful debate around this issue. There is, at time of writing, no evidence to suggest such a meeting has yet taken place.