Accounts

Billy Bragg writes in the New Statesman about how “reactionary” people have to be accountable, apparently to people like for instance Billy Bragg.

When pressed on whether his idea of accountability included the abuse suffered by JK Rowling following her statements on trans women, [Graham] Norton suggested that it might be more illuminating to talk to trans children and their parents, rather than merely amplifying the opinions of a celebrity or author – even a very good one. 

Says a celebrity writing in the New Statesman, which he probably wouldn’t be able to do if he weren’t a celebrity.

But more to the point: what are “trans children”?

What if there are no “trans children,” but only children swept up in a fad for pretending that people can be “in the wrong body” and can know that from earliest childhood? What if “talking to trans children” simply means talking to children who have been misled by their gullible parents and teachers? What if children are better off not being told that if they don’t conform to gender norms they are actually the other sex? What then?

I have long believed that what right-wing media call “cancel culture” is nothing more than the tendency of reactionaries to cry wolf when caught conducting a rearguard action against the progress made by minorities over the past half-century. 

But what if we’re not the “reactionaries”? What if it’s not actually reactionary to say that children should be free to ignore the stupid gender norms instead of making permanent drastic changes to their bodies? What if the fans of gender ideology are actually not on the same team as the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation movement? What then?

Rowling retorted, Bragg didn’t like that, Norton suspended his Twitter account.

I believe that freedom of expression gives us the right to offend, provided that our statements are generalised rather than directed at an individual, but those who offend should expect to be held accountable for their behaviour – and celebrity confers no protection.

Then why did Norton hide when he was held to account?

He doesn’t say.

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