I wonder if we are about to see a mass resignation of women from Labour, furious at the party’s collapse before the shrieking transgender army? Only last week it said that the 50 all-women shortlists for parliamentary seats would indeed be restricted to women, rather than opened up to people with penises and weighty scrotums who like to dress up as ladies. This followed the threat of action under equalities legislation from feminists enraged that their long fight for equal representation was once again under threat from men; this time men in a not-too-cunning disguise.
The legal threat was crowdfunded by a bunch of sisters and fellow travellers — but then the NEC backtracked. It said it intended to be ‘ahead of the law’ (i.e., against it) on the issue of women shortlists. And men who identify as women will be allowed. Now it has seemingly changed its position again, mindful of legal action. The problem is, in Labour’s deranged hierarchy of victimhood, women come a very long way down the list these days. Even — perhaps especially — lesbian women. But then they always were, they might argue a little wryly. It was ever thus.
Dig a little deeper and a pit of hell opens up before you, and now the police are involved. Beside themselves with rage at the petition from feminists to exclude their kind, the transgender army set up a ‘secret’ Facebook page to compile dossiers of evidence and hound out of the party anybody who disagreed with their views, especially people they refer to as ‘Terfs’ (trans-exclusionary radical feminists).
Files have been prepared against 29 individuals (almost all of them are women, and almost all of those doing the compiling are men), including that old hero of the radical lesbian far left, Linda Bellos. When Bellos, who once suggested that Margaret Thatcher intended to gas the working class, is considered too right-wing for the Labour party, you can see what kind of government in waiting we have. The trans army demanded their site be kept secret — ‘please, please, please’ they begged — but these dimbos in dresses didn’t realise that nothing on Facebook stays secret for long. I’ve seen screenshots of their somewhat Stalinist black book. So have lots of the people they call Terfs. The personal details of the people on the list have been published, which may have infringed the Data Protection Act. At the time of writing at least one complaint has been made to the police — by Emma Salmon, the former vice chair of Bexhill and Battle Constituency Labour Party (CLP), who signed that original petition calling for proper all-women shortlists and subsequently found herself on a wanted list. Salmon told me that it’s not just about the technicalities of infringing the Data Protection Act. These dossiers are designed to bully, uh, fraternal Labour party members. She is sick of it: ‘We’ve had serious, perpetual aggression. When we state our point of view we’re told we are Nazis, no better than Hitler. They go absolutely mental.’
Salmon is the former vice-chair because she, along with almost everybody else who held a position in the CLP, resigned as a result of the bullying of the local party’s women’s officer by the same crowd. And yet the actual number of transgendered Labour party members is vanishingly small. Indeed, Salmon says that the real problem is not so much transgendered members themselves, but the men (it is always men) from Momentum. ‘If you can get past the screaming, virtue--signalling men, you can sometimes have a perfectly reasonable discussion with transgendered members,’ she said.
Ironically, that original crowdfunded demand for proper all-women shortlists did not actually exclude transgendered women. They would be allowed to take part if they had gender definition certificates, or something. I don’t know where you get those from — maybe that counter at the back of Morrisons which does laundry and photographic prints.
For Zoe Kemp, another woman who has resigned from the party, it is all about censorship: basically, men stopping women from speaking and trying to get them kicked out of the party. And she likens Labour’s current obsession with transgenderism to the far left’s championing of the Paedophile Information Exchange in the 1980s. ‘This is nothing more than gender dysmorphia. And we’re indulging a mass delusion that is very harmful for the country,’ she said.
Do you care? It is tempting not to. This is the way identity politics always ends, with competing victims ripping each other limb from limb. Maybe one day the entire radical left will devour itself and all that remains will be a brownish, slightly damp stain on a sofa. There are plenty on the right who would argue that the wimmin are at last getting their come-uppance, having hogged the victimhood limelight for so long. And there’s a certain pleasure to be gained from seeing the likes of Linda Bellos and Germaine Greer comprehensively outvictimed.
But I still carry a torch for that second-wave feminism which is now under the cosh. Not a large torch, maybe, but a torch all the same. Its aims seemed to me laudable and its radicalism had about it a heady idealism rooted in the patent discrimination suffered by ordinary women in the home and in the workplace. To have men now insisting that the feminists, the Terfs, are the oppressors seems to me pushing it a bit. But that’s Momentum for you: resolutely male and not above bullying and hounding women who disagree with its views. Last week Momentum published its shortlist of candidates for regional chairs. There were 17 candidates. And 17 of them were men. So there you are, girls — meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Except that sometimes, beneath the hipster beard, he’s wearing a nice frock.