Barry Gardiner

Labour MP compares opposing gender ideology to apartheid

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It is the week of the annual Labour Party conference and Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has started it in memorable fashion, responding to Andrew Marr in a TV interview today:

This exchange was preceded and succeeded by Keir Starmer babbling about the trans community being the most marginalised and abused. This is one of those go-to phrases that are used nowadays to divert attention from the fact that you’ve just said something so absurd, so appalling and so revealing about your utter contempt for women, which has become a hallmark of the Labour Party.

Let us remind ourselves how three years ago in Liverpool the woman definition billboard designed and paid for by Kellie-Jay and put up near that year’s Labour conference venue got taken down after complaints that the truth might cause some men to get all hurty feels.

And let’s remember how two years ago gender activists – including Labour Party members – behaved outside a feminist meeting that was held in Brighton during the week that the Labour Party was holding its conference there. It was an unofficial fringe meeting held by Women’s Place UK, a campaigning group that involves many Labour Party members, trade unionists, women from the same socialist feminist tradition that I come from myself.

Dozens of protesters stood outside the venue, taunting, abusing, screaming and throwing water at people going in, many of whom were old enough to be their mothers and grandmothers and had spent their adult lives fighting for women’s rights. The aim of these pseudo-fascist thugs was to try to intimidate those attending and they succeeded to some extent because some women were too scared to go in. Those that did  – over 100 of them – had to endure shouting and banging on the windows of the venue for over three hours. The police stood around outside just allowing it to happen.

Watch Julie Bindel reporting.

It was the worst behaviour I’d seen so far from the gender nutters in this country but many Labour Party members publicly applauded this behaviour. I only saw one Labour MP publicly condemn it and I knew then I wouldn’t be voting Labour again in the foreseeable future – unless my local MP proved to have the courage and integrity to take a stand against the misogyny of what appeared to be most of his party.

He didn’t.

Every major political party has sold women out on the issue of women’s rights compared to men’s rights to adjudicate on what it means to be a woman but the biggest betrayal comes from the Labour Party, supposedly the natural home of the genuinely progressive left. There is nothing progressive about giving men the right to claim to be women. It is an anti-woman policy.

Now, two years after that, a woman MP, Rosie Duffield, who does have the courage and integrity to stand with women, who dares to recognise the importance to women’s safety and dignity of single-sex spaces, who dares to speak up against the indignity of being reduced to our body parts and who had the temerity to say that only a woman has a cervix, won’t dare to attend her own party conference because of the sheer hatred and the threats from the same kind of misogynist scum that intimidated and abused feminists and allies at that meeting two years ago. She doesn’t feel comfortable because of the woman-hating thugs of the regressive left, some of whom evidently find the Labour Party to be their natural home these days.

Now, there’s something I’ve been wanting to say about my local Labour MP for some time. Now seems a good time to do it.

A couple of months after those awful scenes in Brighton and in the run-up to the General Election held in December 2019, my husband, Alan, contacted our MP, Barry Gardiner, about a couple of issues of concern, including how women’s rights and protections would be affected by proposed so-called “reform” of the Gender Recognition Act in favour of gender self-id.

He finally received a reply at the end of July the following year – eight whole months later! The reply is viewable here. Here is one sentence:

Delays in reforming the GRA have created a hostile environment for LGBT+ people and I am committed to protecting the rights of the trans community who often suffer some of the worst violence and hate crime.

A hostile environment?

He has no clue what it has been like having to endure the gender extremists’ lies and the mockery and the hatred and the gaslighting and the harassment and the bullying; the attempts to silence and intimidate people who disagree and get them fired from their jobs – including even trans people – regardless of the fact that they have themselves and their families to support.  People who consider themselves to be on the political left do this.

Some of the worst violence? Indeed they do – as do men and women who are not part of the trans community. Murdering a woman because she’s a woman isn’t even called a “hate crime” – not even if she was murdered by a partner or ex-partner who hated her, which accounts for 62% of all cases of femicide in the UK. But that is just run of the mill. Not a “hate crime”.

That passage was typically vague unevidenced politician-speak. It came as no surprise to us to discover that Alan was not the only constituent to receive the exact same response to concerns raised on the same topic. In light of what had been happening to women expressing those same concerns both online and at real-life meetings around the country and most recently at Brighton and involving his own party’s members, this was an unbelievably crass response.

His whole email had no redeeming features but the inclusion of one paragraph served to make me angrier than had any email or letter I’ve ever received before. This is the paragraph:

Every identity has its gatekeepers: those who determine who does and who does not belong. I am old enough to remember the human suffering caused by the race classification boards in apartheid South Africa. Gender identity too has its gatekeepers.

Yes. He really did that. He used the analogy of the race classification boards in South Africa for those of us who refuse to go along with a lie and accept as women –  just because they want us to – those members of the sex class that has historically oppressed women. In other words, men.

I too am old enough to remember the human suffering caused by apartheid in South Africa. In fact, learning about apartheid as a schoolgirl during the heavily-protested Springboks rugby tour of Britain in 1969-70 profoundly impacted the development of my political sympathies and steered me resolutely and extremely leftwards.

Learning that there was a country whose people had been dispossessed, exploited and abused by European colonists over the centuries and which had – only a couple of decades earlier – instituted a system of racial segregation based on white supremacy, blew my mind. Seeing footage of the conditions Africans were forced to live under in their own country by their white colonising self-appointed rulers, broke my heart.

I vividly remember my feelings of helplessness at the time of the Soweto uprising in 1976 when so many Africans were killed. I wanted so much to do something. I did the only thing I could think of: I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement, I gave it what little financial support I could afford and I worked as an admin volunteer on some campaigns for both the AAM and the then outlawed African National Congress.

Some words from a one-time president of the ANC, Albert Luthuli:

I would like to tell you what Apartheid really means to us. It means that instead of our children being educated, they are indoctrinated. It means that our men cannot move from country to town and from one part of town to another without a Pass. Now our women too will be unable to leave their houses without a Pass. It means that 70 per cent of my people live below the breadline. It means that in my own province of Natal, 85 per cent of our children are suffering from malnutrition. Believe it or not, it means that by law, it means that our people cannot aspire to do any work other than ordinary manual labour. It means massive unemployment. What Apartheid means is a long tale of suffering. In a word, it means the denial of dignity and ordinary human rights.

Now, bearing in mind what Barry Gardiner said, “Every identity has its gatekeepers: those who determine who does and who does not belong,” can anyone tell me what the brutal oppression of the majority of the population of South Africa by the minority rulers of European heritage, has to do with “identity”. I mean, those people were not oppressed because of how they identified. They didn’t have any choice. They were oppressed because of what they were – Africans ranked at the bottom of the four-tier racial classification system in their native country.

Right, let’s talk about “gender identity”.

Barry Gardiner doesn’t define it but this definition from the Office for National Statistics is concise and I doubt Barry Gardiner can do any better:

Gender identity is a personal internal perception of oneself and, as such, the gender category with which a person identifies may not match the sex they were registered at birth. In contrast, sex is biologically determined.

In other words, it’s a feeling. A feeling that your personality, your tastes, your natural inclinations either fit the stereotypes that are culturally imposed on the basis of whether you are male or female or they don’t. Or they do some of the time, but not others. Or you feel that some of the expectations of one sex fit you and some of those of the other sex do. That probably goes for most of us actually, but we don’t all feel the need to deny our sex and to pin some fashionable but ultimately meaningless label on ourselves.

Gender identity is regressive nonsense!

We are now at a stage when you don’t even have to try to look like the opposite sex, you don’t have to have any medical interventions at all to be accepted by the wokeists as what you say you are – and that is the inevitable result of widespread institutional and policy capture by gender identity ideology. If you feel like a woman, by God, you are a woman! Womanhood is reduced to a feeling – that is what the Labour Party wants enshrined in law.

What was the point of all those struggles, all those campaigns to liberate women if we were just going to end up with the absolute madness of legislating that people should be accepted as the other sex – and pretending that it’s about gender identity?   The absolute madness of asserting it is wrong to say only women can have a cervix? The madness of comparing resistance to a misogynistic ideology that is erasing women as a sex class to policing people’s ethnicity and wanting to establish white supremacy?

It’s not about gender identity, it is about men’s sexual rights, it’s about mental health and it’s about young women wanting to escape the horrors of womanhood.

Like the victims of apartheid, women are not oppressed because of our identity, we are oppressed because of what we are – in our case female.

That is all.


Published 26.09.21

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