22 September 2021 | OPINION
As the Labour Party’s annual conference approaches, it was announced that Rosie Duffield would not attend due to red-on-red online threats of violence. She is being portrayed as an extremist for holding everyday views.
Rosie Duffield is resented by large elements of her own party because of her views on the transgender debate, for which she is often labelled as being “transphobic”. LGBT Labour have called upon Sir Keir Starmer to remove the parliamentary whip from her for some time – meaning she would no longer be able to sit as a Labour MP, but as an Independent – and there are other outspoken critics of her view within the party and its supporters.
She has asked for a meeting with the Labour Leader to clarify the party’s position on the matter, but thus far, this has not transpired. Starmer has apparently not yet decided how to handle the vocal voices in his party calling for Duffield to be ousted.
But what has she actually said? In a recent tweet, Duffield referred to transgender women as “male-bodied biological men”… which they are. She also sided with Piers Morgan’s comment that only women have cervixes… which is also true. It is absolutely outrageous and absurd that she is being reprimanded for these “views”, which are arguably not even views, because that would suggest these comments are opinion, when they are – in fact – fact.
It is maddening, especially in a society where the basic principle of free speech is increasingly under threat, that a politician is being castigated for holding views that are perfectly reasonable and true, and for which she is being painted as some sort of bigoted extremist. Despite self-identification, a transgender woman is, objectively, a biological man. If one ceases to identify with the sex with which one is born, and instead chooses to identify with the opposite, this does not mean one ceases to be what one is born as. Identifying as a transgender woman does not mean one ceases to be a biological male. This is not a “transphobic” belief – this is an objective truth. To suggest that such a view is “transphobic” would be to skew the lines of ideologically-based opinion and objectivity.
Of course, these views may be offensive or hurtful to biological men who identify as transgender women, and one could even argue that it undermines their gender identity. However, feelings and emotions – and “social constructs” as many of the trans lobby supporters are intent on labelling genders – should not impede or supersede objective truths. Subjective beliefs and ‘social constructs’ must never be deemed to be of higher importance than biological facts. That, in itself, is a fact.
It was always inevitable that Duffield’s ideological opposition would try to oust her, especially with regard to such a divisive subject. As a result of the ideological takeover within the Labour Party, and the shift from class politics to identity politics, her views and positions within the party were almost certainly going to be threatened and called into question. But what is mad is that these demands are totally unwarranted; Duffield is just another victim of the unelected, autocratic cancel culture witch-hunt.
However, with the current reputation of the Labour Party, and the negative opinion the public generally have towards them, removing the whip from Duffield and making an ‘example’ out of her and her views would harm Labour, and Starmer’s leadership – in addition to his chances of being elected Prime Minister. To further attempt to punish Duffield would, as the party is increasingly doing, alienate working-class voters. Their priorities are not those that the MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party seem to believe them to be.
Contrary to popular belief, working-class people want a party focused on class politics, rather than identity politics. This much should be obvious, but not so to the politicians who spout absurd identity nonsense (like ‘men can have cervixes’) and then stick their fingers in their ears or – worse – reprimand party supporters who raise concerns over Labour’s lack of representation of workers’ politics and excessive emphasis on woke politics.
However, not only should the case of Rosie Duffield raise concerns over the ideological direction of the Labour Party, but grave concerns over the behaviour of the Labour Party, of its MPs and of its voters. All MPs should and must be safe to attend their own party’s conference without the fear of being verbally or physically abused for individual views held. Should this not be a common view, what sort of precedent does this set? Why get into politics at all, if individual politicians are not free to hold and express individual views without fear of being reprimanded by their own parties? These would not be the standards of a free country, free politics or free speech.
If anything, the fact that Duffield is one of few voices within the PLP who is more outspoken in the transgender debate is a good thing, unless Labour want to be seen as the party of intolerance and one that merely perpetuates its own echo chamber – a narrative its politicians so frequently attribute to the Conservatives. A range of views in the transgender debate allows for just that: debate – not to attack, nor marginalise or demonise, but to hold an honest discussion over deeply important social and identity issues facing our society.
If Duffield, regardless of her alignment with the Labour Party or her own ideological views, cannot question the idea of transgender women sharing women’s spaces with biological women, the absurdity of the view that not only women can have cervixes, or that trans women are biological men, then this is the end of politics, discourse and free speech as we know it.