It’s time to stop giving in to gender lobby bullies Janice Turner in The Times 05.03.20

The original article is here; this is just the relevant section.

If you want to see well-meaning liberals self-destruct in real-time, watch organisers of an Oxford feminist conference explain why they capitulated to threats and “cancelled” the historian Selina Todd. It is a YouTube tutorial in the importance of having a spine.

Professor Todd is an academic so radical her first book bears a glowing blurb from Guardian journalist Owen Jones. She’d helped organise and secure funding for this celebration of 50 years of the women’s liberation movement and was due to give the vote of thanks. Yet the night before, another speaker, who claimed Todd’s belief in the existence of biological sex was transphobic, threatened to drop out. On this video, organisers explain their “compromise” to a crowd of rowdy veteran feminists. Professor Todd could attend but not speak. Her words could be read out by a male colleague. (Cue scornful disbelief.) This, they said, was to “save” the conference from an empty schedule. Except having got her way, humiliated a noted historian and derailed a conference, the speaker who threatened to pull out didn’t even show up.

So herein lies a lesson. The next event blackmailed like this — whether festival, screening, lecture or debate — must hold firm. Stop moral handwringing, don’t bargain, forget spurious “security” concerns, remember last-minute cancellations are deliberate sabotage. Face down bullies. Like the Oxford speaker who ran away, they’re all cowards.


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