Shahrar Ali

Shahrar Ali would be a disaster for the Green Party if elected leader, or even if he got a significant vote. His “Elect Shahrar” page says almost nothing about the climate crisis, and a great deal of lightly coded argument against trans rights.

He starts with four bullet points. The first refers to “climate and ecological emergency”. If anyone would not prioritise that, they should not be in the Green Party. The second promises to reach out to “politically homeless women”.

Who are these women? Not all anti-trans campaigners are “politically homeless”. Nobody agrees with everything a party would do in government, as the Greens soon will be in Scotland. Anti-trans campaigners could vote Green despite the party’s trans inclusive policies, if they too would prioritise the climate emergency. They are only “politically homeless” if they make their campaign against trans rights the most important political issue. The other two points refer to his race, and his popularity.

Then there are 224 words on the climate crisis. Why can’t humans co-operate, he asks. “We are the last generation able to save the planet from ourselves”- a stirring call, but with very little on policy. He mentions short-haul flights, but would he ban them? The Greens should be more popular, he says.

Then there are 342 words, all dogwhistles against trans rights.

“We are fractious,” he says. Well, yes. Ali and others turned the Spring conference into a series of demands to fight against trans rights. He lost, but he sought to mandate misgendering. This wastes time and creates the “fractious” atmosphere he claims to oppose.

He wants “Services provided on same sex lines”. This is an anti-trans dogwhistle. Services are provided on same gender lines. Trans women are women. This is how the Equality Act works. “Same sex” is the wording used to make anti-trans campaigners angry and resentful, as if they might lose something. Trans women are in women’s spaces already.

He opposes “bullies”. So do I. Does he mean any bullies in particular? Trans people and our allies. This is clear from the next paragraph- he refers to an author receiving death threats “for publishing a thought piece”. Who could that possibly be but JK Rowling, who has said some pretty nasty things about trans people. It’s the most provocative way of putting it. All women on the internet get death threats. I have had a death threat, though my twitter is moribund. Any anti-trans campaigner, or trans ally, will get the reference immediately.

I would take a stand against abuse of women. Any Green voter would. That does not mean opposing trans rights. Trans women get abuse too.

He will defend all the protected characteristics, he claims. Someone trying to fool a person who was not transphobic, but did not understand the debate, might claim that means he is pro-trans. However, he qualifies it, by saying he will support “sex-based” rights. That is the anti-trans campaigners’ argument that cis women’s sex is female, and while a trans woman’s gender may be feminine her sex is still male. In other words, he would oppose trans people being treated badly as he defines it, but excluding all trans women from women’s spaces is absolutely fine by him. Then he refers to those “politically homeless” women again.

The page is deeply dishonest. If he were honest, he would say straight out that he wants to exclude trans women from all women’s services. Instead he says that in code, wanting to get all the votes of anti-trans campaigners while alienating as few as possible of the members who are vaguely pro-trans but don’t follow his coded references.

The website is almost entirely aimed at getting the votes of anti-trans campaigners. Ali is a front bench speaker for the party already. If he gets a significant vote, either trans people and our allies will leave, or the debate about trans rights will consume the party, crippling its ability to affect local politics or campaign on environmental issues. Shahrar Ali’s election would be a disaster for the climate.

1 September: Siân Berry dared to say Green party members should not vote for him, and this made him produce a ridiculous, long-winded reply. He condemned her for tweeting that, an uppity woman daring to express a political opinion he did not agree with, and then made the scurrilous accusation that because she disagreed with him she would not perform her last duties as acting leader properly. His grievance and sense of entitlement is as great as that of the extremist haters who would drive all trans women out of all women’s spaces.

1 October: the results were as follows.

First round:
Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay: 5062
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond: 3465
Transphobe Ali: 2422.
Others: 554.
Reopen nominations: 22
1349 votes were not transferrable- there was no second preference marked. 1627 votes transferred.

Second round: Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay: 5062+1212=6274.
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond: 3465+437=3902.

This almost certainly means that some voted for Ali first, Womack and Omond second. Very few people are extreme enough anti-trans campaigners to join the party in order to vote for an anti-trans campaigner. I suppose that’s a mercy. I am glad the nonbinary person thrashed the transphobe. The new leaders say they will oppose the misinformation and false fears which is mobilised against trans people, and support GRA reform and improved trans health care.

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