Monday 27 November 2023

The Demise of Rosie Duffield

Oh dear. The Times reported on Sunday that Rosie Duffield is under investigation by the Labour Party and is no longer on the NEC's list of approved candidates for the next general election. This is despite her being reselected by her local party last year. The sticking point is her liking a tweet by notorious transphobe and obnoxious celebrity troll, Graham Linehan. Eddie Izzard, who's hoping to represent for Labour against the Greens in Brighton Pavilion, tweeted about how in Nazi Germany someone like him would have been murdered for who he was. Linehan responded with the line "Ah, yes, the Nazis, famously bigoted against straight white men with blonde hair." Anyone who knows anything about the Holocaust are well aware that hundreds of thousands of gay men and women perished in the death camps alongside Jews. "Liking" such a statement is, of course, grotesquely offensive and brings the party into disrepute.

Duffield has, since this occurred, been on the receiving end of an investigation by the party's compliance unit. According to her "friends and allies" - who were much hotter on the Holocaust when the politics of the occasion demanded it - this is all a put up job because of her "gender critical" beliefs. "They haven't been able to get her on trans issues" they whinge, "so they've gone for her on antisemitism". Quite who this "they" are, given how Keir Starmer completely controls the Labour Party apparatus and has capitulated time and again to the transphobia on his front and back benches, is a complete mystery. LGBT Labour who, despite being a right wing organisation are pretty sound on most LGBTQ issues - as you would expect - aren't exactly powerful nor listened to by the leadership. So who is doing the targeting, and why?

As far as Starmer's authoritarian project is concerned, now the left have either been chased out of the party or forced into a Trappist-like silence, it stands to reason to widen the offensive against imagined and would-be opponents and critics. We saw how, in early September, Starmer moved against two prominent women in his shadow cabinet. Better for him to surround himself with pod people lest they outshine the dear leader. We've also seen how Angela Rayner has systematically been sidelined and humiliated by Starmer's office and the apparat. It also makes sense to take out no mark right wingers, like Duffield, who can only give the party grief further down the line.

Starmer might not know politics, but he's employed people who do. Despite his many surrenders to the lobbying of the gender cops, they are not satisfied and they will keep open this line of attack on Labour as the party enters into government. When it encounters difficulties, as it surely will, would they rather suffer someone like Duffield who can open lines of right wing pressure on the authoritarian modernisation project, or dispense with her dubious services now while there is a big poll lead and most of the media are soft soaping his leadership? The smart money should go on exclusion now. Headlines today are chip wrappings tomorrow, and Duffield will be a name seldom heard once Starmer's got his feet under the table in Number 10.

Dumping Duffield also serves another function. As we know, there are plenty of Labour MPs who are too cowardly to openly declare their transphobia. Removing their self-appointed spokeswoman reinforces the message that they should keep their views to themselves. Not because Starmer cares about trans people, but again because of party reputational issues. Unlike Rishi Sunak's contracting out of racism and anti-woke politics to the dear departed Suella Braverman, Starmer does not want Labour identified with the extreme transphobia associated with the likes of the Linehans and other gender obsessives. He has fixed Labour's prejudice at the level of "genuine concerns" and not outright bigotry, and for entirely cynical political reasons that's where he wants it to stay.

Still, it's not a done deal yet. Starmer and his friends might be spooked by the backlash from all the worst people who fought in Labour's antisemitism wars and who, ultimately, paved the way for his leadership. But just as they made him they are entitled to think they could destroy him too. If Duffield is reinstated is peace now at the price of strife later. The alternative is a few moans, whinges, and trending topics on Twitter now for one less headache in the future. What's it to be?


Shai Masot said...

The cherry on the cake would be for Starmer to shaft Lansman, Mason, and Akehurst on charges of antisemitism. I would love to see it.

Jim Denham said...

Only problem being ... they're *not* antisemites, are they?

Graham said...

Being gender critical is not being transphobic any more than being anti-zionist is being anti-semitic.
Claims of transphobia and anti-semitism are both used to curtail debate.

Phil said...

Funny how so-called gender criticals without exception uphold rigid gender binaries and criticise any deviations from their very vanilla, very normative conceptions of what women and men are. The most misnamed "movement" in politics today.

And, once again, this is not and will never be the place to debate the existence of trans people. Any contributions that try and do this will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Utter transphobic gibberish. As a trans woman who has used and worked in womens spaces for almost 10 years if the“Gender Criticals” got their way they would ruin my life.

Anonymous said...

The very same Shai who has seen to undermine our democracy by false accusations? Google him

Anonymous said...

I personally find that the best way of being critical is to completely accept conservative stereotypes of gendered behaviour as inevitable results of physiology , whilst being bullishly proud of having no more detailed understanding of anatomy than the average 10 year old ("basic biology"). My hopes aren't high for Starmer's government, but if they could make it slightly easier and less invasive to obtain a GRC that is at least something.

Zoltan Jorovic said...

I may have misunderstood, but how was liking that tweet antisemitic? Unless the idea is that she was approving of the Nazis in general, and so implicitly being antisemitic. That seems tenuous, as it was clearly aimed at Izzard and a snarky reference to his fluidity. No cephalopods were involved either.

Also, the whole argument for why they are wanting to get rid of her is confusing. You seem to suggest that it is because they are worried she might say something damaging. But surely almost anyone in the party, including the Dear Leader himself, might do that. In fact, I'd be prepared to bet that he and several of his most senior colleagues will, between now and the election after next, say something that damages the prospects of the party. I suspect you might be overthinking, Phil.

Anonymous said...

It's Phil's job to overthink. Reading his overthinking is why we're here.

And as Zoltan pointed out, the stated reason for Duffield being stitched up seems flimsy as hell, so what's the actual reason?

Phil's reasoning seems plausible to me. She's a loudmouth who gets attention by pushing a wedge into a social issue which is very divisive (both outside and inside Labour). So the chances of her being inconvenient later are pretty good. Starmer doesn't have to care about her odious views, and I doubt that he does really, but he does have to care about the potential impact of those views on his project.

Anyway, good riddance.

Rodney said...

Starmer might use this as an excuse to get rid of Duffield because her transphobia is so overtly hateful it causes Labour problems but it won't be due to pressure from those who accused Corbyn's Labour of being antisemitic.

The tweet she liked is in line with the increasingly common claim that only Jewish people were victims of the Holocaust and that bringing up other victim groups is "whataboutery". Those who were extremely focused on the possibility of Corbyn being an antisemite likely won't regard what Duffield said as antisemitic and, given how many of them are TERFs, may well be actively defending her.

Jim Denham said...

Rodney, can you cite some examples of your statement: "the increasingly common claim that only Jewish people were victims of the Holocaust and that bringing up other victim groups is "whataboutery". I can honestly say I have never heard that claim being made by anyone. The nearest was a complaint a few years ago that a left group (might have been the SWP or possibly Stop the War - I can't remember) had listed victims of the Nazis and *not* included the Jews.

Rodney said...

@Jim Denham

You've lived a very charmed life then. The example I was thinking of was Bonnie Greer on Twitter ardently claiming that Aktion T4 didn't count as part of the Holocaust because disabled people we're targeted by the Nazis as much as Jewish people were but then I remembered former Labour MP and "journalist" Nicole Lampert, who both regularly accused Corbyn of being an antisemite and who're committed TERFs claiming LGBTQ+ people weren't victims of the Holocaust.

And it's becoming more common for less prominent people to make similar claims.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Lampert is a "former Labour MP" - when exactly?

Rodney said...

The former Labour MP is Mike Grapes.

Apologies for the typo but if you'd gone to the link that would've been explicitly clear.