Or else

Rosie Duffield on the bullying:

I have lived through an abusive relationship and have spoken about it in Parliament. I was reminded of making that speech earlier this week — the daily trauma that inspired it, how hard it was to make and, afterwards, the overwhelming support of my colleagues. That was the Labour Party I joined.

On Tuesday, when two of those colleagues traded that sympathy for aggression, shouting down women in the Chamber, it felt like a very different Labour Party. I was defending the need to protect vulnerable women in single-sex spaces, and had just criticised Scotland’s Gender Reform Bill, when Ben Bradshaw yelled his disapproval at me. Sitting nearby, Lloyd Russell-Moyle went puce — perhaps less surprising — and started to heckle every woman who spoke of their similar concerns. Later, when Miriam Cates, a Conservative MP and friend, spoke of her concerns around safeguarding, he accused her of being a bigot before crossing over to the Tory side of the Chamber to sit on the side benches, very close to her, staring as if to intimidate her.

But it’s ok, because these men are just doing it to women. If it were racist bullying that would be a whole different story, but just intimidating women is no big deal.

“I recognise that I failed to control [my] passion”, was how he later “apologised”. In other words, he had done nothing wrong. It wasn’t his fault; it was ours for daring to disagree with him.

Ironically, or inevitably, what we disagree about is agreeing that men are women if they say they are, and part of why we disagree is exactly because of the whole bullying-intimidation-violence issue. Men are a potential threat to women, and the threat becomes the reality all too often; that’s one major reason we don’t and won’t and can’t agree that men can be women. Lloyd Russell-Moyle kind of makes our point for us by carrying on the way he does.

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