Guest post: You ignore the anger of women at your peril

Originally a comment by KB Player on Any Man.

Jo Swinson, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was on Today Radio 4 BBC this morning. Sarah Ditum spoke about it on LBC.

“When the leader of the Liberal Democrats was asked, “Do you recognise biological sex exists?”

J Swinson replied: “Not on a binary – I don’t think things are as binary as is often presented. Yes most people are male or female.”

“I think it’s an answer that sounds extremely strange if you haven’t been immersed in the whole debate about sex and gender for a really long time,” said Sarah Ditum, feminist critic and columnist, “the problem for Jo Swinson is the Liberal Democrats have cultivated this policy, had lots of internal discussion but all from one perspective.

“Having put their promises about recognising self-identified gender and an x option for passports,” she continued, “they’re having to answer questions on the national platform and they haven’t actually developed the answer to these questions at all. So what she’s said is actually nonsense – sex is clearly binary.”

It’s astonishing how something as off-beat as this has now become an election issue in the UK.

It’s causing ructions in the Scottish Nationalist Party (yay!). Unfortunately it’s a couple of the nastier Nats who are the most vocally anti-trans. Joanna Cherry, MP a contender for being leader of the party and who is a bully, is now denounced as a transphobe for speaking out about the abuse and for being chary about self-identification. Most divisive of all is Stuart Campbell aka Wings Over Scotland who has very much taken against the trans issue. Wings is a revolting character who brought a lot of nastiness and abuse to social media during the independence referendum. He also has a huge following.

I won’t link to his site but I thought this was an interesting comment – that parties taking on the trans issue and not allowing discussion on it has put off women from doing the activist work that women chiefly shoulder i.e. the envelope stuffing.

“This is the SNP Women’s Pledge:

Women have the right to discuss policies which affect them, such as the proposed self identification of sex, without being abused or silenced

Women have the right to maintain their sex based protections as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female only spaces such as changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons.

Women have the right to refuse consent to males in single sex spaces or males delivering intimate services to females such as washing, dressing or counselling.

Women have the right to single sex sport to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.

Women have the right to organise themselves according to their sex class across a range of cultural, leisure, educational and political activities.”

All of the points listed reflect current UK law. And I repeat again what I said earlier – you ignore the anger of women about this assault on our rights at your peril. As in any political movement, women are doing most of the drudge work, the heavy lifting behind the scenes of the independence movement. The supporters of the 2017 SNP campaign locally who did the envelope stuffing and leafletting were about 75% or so women.

I’ve already heard about several local SNP campaigns that are struggling because so many of the women have walked or been bullied away. And the youngsters who caused that don’t seem to be willing or able to fully replace the capable, hard-working and dedicated women they’ve driven away. Worse still, a great many women have now said this is the last time they’re putting all of their time and effort into a party intent on stripping them of their rights. They’ve gritted their teeth this one last time.

Women are the sex least likely to vote yes. They will be even less likely to vote yes when they realise that the only way we can hold on to our legal rights is by staying in the UK because the Scottish Government is funding and partnering with organisations which have publicly lobbied the UK Government to remove women’s legal protections.

So when the pro-indy women leave the SNP independence movement in droves because the SNP leadership will not listen to our concerns, don’t blame Stu. He tried to warn you all what was going on, but he’s been told to stay in his lane and stick to writing about independence. But as Stu is trying to tell you all, independence will not happen without the support of women and the SNP is hellbent on disenfranchising us.

It’s a simple choice the men in the independence movement face – make this the first political movement that doesn’t take the women fighting alongside them for granted. The first not to treat the women in its ranks as second class members. Don’t echo the contempt and disdain all these other movements have shown to the needs and rights of its female members. Be the kind of men an independent Scotland needs and accept us as equals and our rights just as important as those of a group of your fellow men.

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