Morning Star

The Morning Star has apologised for its transphobia after it published a cartoon of (select text to show transphobic content) a crocodile “slithering” down a path towards a pond with frightened fish, saying “Don’t worry your pretty little heads! I’m transitioning as a newt!” Never mind that crocodiles eat land animals, striking out of the water, portraying trans people as predators has been pretty much the Morning Star shtick for the last two years.

The cartoon was printed on 18 February, and initially was online, but then removed. The Star apologised on Sunday 23 February, saying bizarrely that “The cartoon had not been authorised for publication”. Then how on Earth was it printed? Can anyone just stick something in the paper, does no-one in charge check?

After the apology they printed an editorial on Thursday 27th, headed “We failed in our duty to equality and liberation”, admitting “we let our readers down… we understand that trans people experience discrimination, harassment and threats to their safety and even lives”. They are holding an enquiry on how it got published, and reviewing past coverage “which has sometimes failed to reflect the priorities of our trans readers”. They even will promote reform of the Gender Recognition Act! But they are keen not to alienate feminists- The Morning Star also recognises that sex discrimination at work arised from deeply ingrained patriarchal and systemic oppression of women and that we will continue to campaign against gender stereotyping, gender occupational segregation, violence, harassment and pay discrimination.

They say they will campaign against any attacks on the Equality Act, which they may not understand. Generally, trans women are allowed in women only spaces but may be excluded in particular circumstances. A blanket ban on trans women is probably not lawful. Yet the Star says, The Morning Star supports women-only spaces in addition to gender neutral spaces and is particularly concerned that our trans readers should be protected from harassment and violence they face from the lack of gender neutral space. But binary trans women want women’s space, not gender neutral space. They say they “will work to heal divisions between the women’s movement and the LGBT+ movement” but the divisions are within the women’s movement, most feminists supporting trans inclusion.

On 28 February they published an article by a trans woman headed “How transphobia hurts”, stating the obvious truth that Nobody goes through the hardship of transition and the difficulty of living as a trans person to prey on other people.

However they still have transphobic rubbish on line. On 20 February, Mark Serwotka wrote, “The drive to expel feminists from Labour is creating a hostile environment for women”. No-one wants to expel feminists from Labour unless they indulge in repeated prejudiced hatred of trans women. The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledge is Support the expulsion from the Labour Party of those who express bigoted, transphobic views. That is in line with Labour Party rules: party members are not allowed to “demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on… gender reassignment or identity”.

Serwotka writes, some on the Left are retreating from sex-based rights. “Sex-based” is code for “No trans women”. He refers to the McCarthyite demand for the expulsion of feminist women in Labour who dare to call for debate about sex-based rights. Trans people are bullies, “promoting the harassment of women”. He is hostile to the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights. The drive to expel feminists is times immediately after the defeat of a left-led radical Labour Party at the 2019 general election. Well, the drive to expel trans women from women’s spaces was launched during the election campaign, a far more divisive and prejudicial time. Serwotka speaks out for Selina Todd.

What old transphobic articles survive on line? An adulatory review of the WPUK conference on 2 February is full of dog-whistles and attacks on “identity politics” where they mean trans rights. The subheading says women gathered “to discuss their sex-based rights”.

On 20 December they wrote, “Magical thinking should have no place in law”. It states repeatedly, in the most offensive ways, that trans women are men: “It’s as plain as the cock on the Cerne Abbas giant”. It refers to “extremist and unscientific transgender ideology”. “I keep expecting a grown-up with authority to take a stand and call out the Emperor as not just naked, but as a predatory flasher.”

On 17 October, also still on line, they wrote “Time for Socialists to take action against gender stereotyping”. It says trans women should not be on women-only shortlists. The writer said there was a complaint about her views outstanding. I don’t know what the complaint is, and I don’t trust her account of it, but the Morning Star prints it without question. The writer refers to a trans rapist as if she is typical of trans women. She says equal rights for trans women are “a sexist ideology… the end of freedom of speech and belief”.

Monstering trans women, and portraying phobes as brave but vulnerable victims, abounds in the Morning Star. Thank goodness Unison stood up for us, challenging the Morning Star’s transphobia.

Labour Campaign for Trans Rights

Labour Party members should sign the founding statement and pledges to support trans rights. I signed before there were five hundred signatories, and by 1pm on 11 February the MPs Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Karl Turner and Nadia Whittome, as well as over a thousand activists, had signed. Lisa Nandy also tweeted support. She was faced with some thanks and a deluge of self-pitying abuse. So was Rebecca Long-Bailey. By 13 February at 00.00 Lisa Nandy, Dawn Butler, Emily Thornberry and Alex Sobel had also signed. Later MP signatories: Zahra Sultana, Clive Lewis, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Olivia Blake. So the women who are leadership or deputy leadership candidates have all signed.

Before the election, the so-called Labour Women’s Declaration demanded that trans women be excluded from “changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons” and women’s sports. It was a deliberate attempt to create division just before the election, and may have suppressed some Labour votes. Now, after the election, trans people and our allies have answered it. No MPs have signed the transphobes’ declaration.

These are the pledges, with my commentary:

1. Accept the material reality that trans people are oppressed and discriminated against in British society, facing a rising risk of hate crime, and difficulty accessing public services, healthcare, housing and employment.

Hate crime is not, as the twitterfreaks would have you believe, merely using the wrong pronouns for someone. That can be hate speech- but hate crime is a crime motivated by hate: intimidation, harassment, damaging property and violence may be hate crimes.

2. Believe that trans liberation must be an objective of the Labour Party, and that transphobia is antithetical to our collective aims.

Trans people have existed for centuries, and have been harmlessly in women’s spaces for over fifty years. I have never caused a problem in women’s spaces. Supporting working people, women and minorities was always Labour’s aim. The right creates hierarchies, of wealth and of out-groups: Labour subverts them.

3. Commit to respecting trans people as their self-declared gender, and to ensure that the Labour Party is an inclusive environment for trans people.

This was one achievement of the Equality Act, which the last Labour Government enacted.

4. Accept that trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary people are non-binary.

I don’t have a uterus- but I am socially and culturally a woman, and have lived as a woman since 2002. Trans inclusion makes society more tolerant of gender variance, so benefits everyone.

5. Accept that there is no material conflict between trans rights and women’s rights, and that all trans women are subject to misogyny and patriarchal oppression.

What would WPUK and their like gain if I was expelled from women’s spaces? Nothing. Trans exclusion is a symbol. We are harmless, and we are only about 0.1% of the population. 2500 children were referred to the Gender Identity Development Service in a year, out of 11.5m children in the UK, and that is for investigation- not all will be treated. That is why the hard right supports WPUK’s campaign- it sets the Left against ourselves, and diverts feminist campaigning energy to the right-wing cause of creating an out-group to be hated or despised.

6. Listen to trans comrades on issues of transphobia and transmisogyny, allowing trans people to lead the way on our own liberation.

7. Support the work of trans members and organisers within the Labour movement, including supporting motions on a local, regional and national level which are presented for the furthering of trans liberation.

8. Oppose transphobic motions which run contrary to our own party equalities policy, and support the NEC striking down such motions on this basis.

9. Organise and fight against transphobic organisations such as Woman’s Place UK, LGB Alliance and other trans-exclusionist hate groups.

There was much tweeting claiming WPUK is simply a women’s rights group. The problem is, it takes no notice of any women’s rights issues, only campaigning for trans exclusion. Here’s a dissection of a speech by their founder Kiri Tunks. As for the LGB alliance, their only concern is excluding trans women. See their About page: the threats they are fighting against are “gender doctrines” (reasons people transition), pressure on lesbians to accept trans women partners, the concept of gender identity and assigned sex: a series of myths and distortions about trans people. They claim supporting my right to wee in peace is “abandon[ing] any commitment to women’s rights and the rights of [LGB] people”. Fortunately Stonewall, the main LGBT charity and campaigning organisation, and lesbian publications like DIVA support trans people.

We must be very clear about what we mean by hate: WPUK wants trans women out of the spaces we have been in for decades, as harmless as any other women. That would make my life considerably more uncomfortable. Of course you can “believe sex is real”; the problem comes when you use that to exclude trans women like me- this is personal- who are culturally women. Possibly it might be better to write about “groups which would ban trans women from women’s space,” as that would make clear that they are haters.

10. Support the expulsion from the Labour Party of those who express bigoted, transphobic views.

Transphobes started tweeting #expelme. Well, they asked for it. The “Labour Women’s Declaration” was divisive. However while they were complaining, I was campaigning.

11.Support reform of the Gender Recognition Act to improve transgender rights, as well as supporting policies which would improve trans people’s access to necessary healthcare, housing, and employment.

12. Organise against and oppose any further transphobic policy from our own party or any other.

It came up on Newsnight, where the leadership candidates were asked questions from a trans-exclusionist point of view. “Is it transphobic to talk about biological sex?” Of course it isn’t; but it is transphobic to demand that all trans women be excluded from all women’s spaces, from domestic violence services to shop changing rooms. “There might be Labour members who would feel uncomfortable about people can self-identify their gender. Would you expel them having signed this pledge?” That casts the exclusionists as ordinary people with “discomfort” and trans people as the threat. But they are haters: see this twitter thread when Marks and Spencer made plain that trans women could be in women’s changing rooms. I tried on jeans yesterday, to see if they fit, not “to get sexual kicks”. They allege no woman would be comfortable with me there and say they will never shop there again. I don’t think anyone noticed me.

Rebecca Long-Bailey: “I am a firm believer in self-identification and I want that brought into UK law.”

Emily Thornberry, long-term LGBT ally, said she does not like to talk about “hate”. Here’s her statement from her twitter feed:

On hate, see above. Not everyone attending WPUK meetings hates all trans women, but when someone gloats about us committing suicide she clearly does. Ms Thornberry says “trans women are women, trans men are men”. She wants us able to talk to each other.

Lisa Nandy: people who wilfully go out to hurt other people has no place in the Labour party. We are free to raise concerns. The bullying and discrimination are awful.

Keir Starmer said “Trans rights are human rights.” He said treating this as a political football is wrong. Of course it is. The haters turn this into a zero-sum game, but we trans women just want to live our lives in peace.

LGBT Labour have their own ten pledges for LGBT rights, including this: “2. Trans rights and reforming the Gender Recognition Act.
I will campaign to reform the Gender Recognition Act to introduce a self-declaration process and for the introduction of legal recognition for non-binary gender identities. I believe that trans women are women, that trans men are men, and that non-binary gender identities are valid and should be respected.
” Keir Starmer signed that. And there are Labour women standing up for women’s rights rather than seeking to persecute trans women.

Trans and politicians

The Labour Party leadership contest is on. What are the candidates saying about trans people? What would we like them to say?

There is a principled position- trans women are women, trans people know who we are, including trans children. And there is a “principled position”- sex is real, gender is meaningless; there should be no men in women’s spaces; trans women are men; children are under threat from trans ideology. It’s nasty, it’s unrelenting and it is unwilling to compromise.

So what I want is pragmatism. I want politicians to affirm certain clear truths: it is wrong to judge a class of people by one or two individuals. It is a propagandist way of fomenting hate. Even if someone can name a trans rapist and several trans people she dislikes, most trans people are decent folk trying to live ordinary lives. Trans women are mostly harmless, and mockery and hatemongering is wrong. No man will pretend to be trans in order to assault women: rapists don’t need to. Yes “sex is real”, but gender is all-pervasive in the culture and some people deal with gender nonconformity by transitioning. Children below puberty may identify as trans, and allowing them social transition in school improves their mental health. All children should be supported and bullying is unacceptable. Children above puberty are not a threat until proved so, if they are trans they can be accepted in schools in their true gender. Children who feel safe, valued and respected will thrive and seek their own best interests. With an increase in child referrals, child gender clinics need more funding and more training for professionals.

You have a right to free speech, but if you claim the right to insult someone you may suffer consequences. The law, which says trans women can enter women’s space but be excluded if that’s reasonable (a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”) is good enough.

Then we could get over the drama. There is a huge amount of abuse: when Jess Phillips tweeted “I was one of the MPs who wrote the report on improving trans rights” an anti-trans campaigner made an excellent point: “Nothing you do or say will ever be enough”. Exactly. He meant for the “Trans Rights Activists” who s/he thinks make unreasonable demands, but the transphobe who tweeted that she is a “traitor to her sex” won’t be satisfied by anything less than total ideological purity either. And some oaf tweeted “Can’t wait for you to lose embarrassingly”: twitter is a place for hatred and spite where opposing groups meet, and for extremists to encourage each other into even more uncompromising positions.

There will be more direct questions. Keir Starmer said something worthwhile, and a video is circulating: We have instinctively to protect and defend, and we mustn’t make a political football and I’m really worried on this particular issue that a particularly vulnerable group is being used as a political football across the Labour Party and we have to deal with it in a much much better way than that and the Government has effectively now abandoned this and any legislative change I think won’t come under this Government so we’ve got to make the argument on this loud and clear and start with the proposition that this is a group, a small group of people who have been subjected to incredible abuse and discrimination for a very very long time.

Precisely. He did not say what “the argument” was, so he could weasel out of challenges from the transphobes, but it’s pretty clear he is not condemning the small, vulnerable group (us).

And, let them move on! Jess Phillips worked in women’s refuges. Of course she is interested in, say, the Weinstein trial. As the Weinstein trial begins I am reminded of the bravery of those who spoke truth to power– neatly including her slogan for the leadership, Speak Truth. Win Power. Trans women should be too. Violence against women and girls is a women’s issue, so a trans women’s issue, so everyone should be concerned with it.

Lisa Nandy put it well: see her video.

More Simeon Solomon: the androgynous beauty of Bacchus.

Social Conservatism

When people object to immigrants, and my American-born friend says “I’m an immigrant”, they often say, “oh, we don’t mean you”. She has British nationality, but not all those people would know that. It’s the same with a Canadian woman I met. I wondered what the difference was from my German friend, who has a slight accent, noticeably foreign if you’re listening out for such things, who is a successful professional woman whose grown up sons are English, who has been told to “get back where you came from”. Is it because Canada, US, Australian and New Zealand citizens speak English as a native language? Is it because Germany has won the World Cup more than England, and we fought two world wars against them?

I think it’s because no-one’s been taught to hate the Americans.

There’s certainly no real distinction other than nationality at birth, and I am not sure why that should be a distinction.

So what does social conservatism achieve for the average social conservative? It gives them someone to look down on. It gives them someone to blame, even to hate. It gives a symbol, like Brexit. We, the 17m, matter because Parliament is at last giving us what we voted for. I may be struggling from wage to wage, never knowing I will have enough, but at least I’m not gay. (Irony ALERT!) It gives them a cat to kick. When their manager has humiliated them and they can’t speak back, they can take out their rage on Immigrants (which includes Black people whose parents were born here).

It gives them something to care about which will either make no difference to their lives, or hurt them. Brexit is no good for anyone unless they have a spare £500m to short the £. But it is made a symbol of Democracy and the value of Leave voters. It’s what they are told they want. Similarly with gender self-declaration: no woman will be any safer if all trans women are excluded from all Single Sex Spaces, but it is something they can campaign for to show they matter. Equal pay would be better, but the Tories are not going to do anything to achieve that.

Social conservatism is corrosive to the soul. It lets people judge others harshly without even knowing them, by stereotypes divorced from reality. It produces the sensation of righteous anger, but you cannot warm yourself by the frigid flames of this hate.

It achieves nothing. It may make others’ lives more miserable, LGBT folk, BAME folk, immigrants, with no gain to the average social conservative.

It gains something for the plutocrats and the conservative politicians who serve them. It increases anger, and the angry and fearful are more likely to vote conservative. Don’t come here expecting handouts. Don’t change our country to suit your way of life, ranted someone on facebook, and I imagine him puce with anger at a myth. People want to work and better themselves. No-one just wants handouts. It suppresses votes on the other side, which have to be votes for hope for something better. Someone else ranted, Our country is run by the major capitalist conglomerates and vastly wealthy individuals worldwide who politicians merely serve. Lets not fall into the trap of believing that politicians of any persuasion actually “care” about the common man. I think John McDonnell, for instance, went into politics to make life better for people. Possibly even John Major. Voting for better public services means voting for hope. It’s not “free stuff”, it’s basic services which make everyone’s lives better and build communities.

So Labour should make no concessions whatsoever to its “traditional voters’ reasonable concerns” about immigration, gay-inclusive education, or “streets where no-one speaks English”.

Labour could have made real differences to people’s lives, making Britain better for everyone, but now we have a government of the reptile overlords, “unchained” from Parliamentary scrutiny by their huge majority. The choice as always is rage or hope. The Left can only win through hope.

People matter

The message of the Left to unite the working class and the middle classes, the liberal metropolitan types and the “left behind” of the towns blighted by Tory (or Republican) governments, could be condensed into two words: You matter. Or, People matter.

The Tories lie to set us against each other. It’s all a lie. Few immigrants come here “wanting a hand-out”. They come here wanting to get a fair chance to get on in the world, as most people here do. Benefit claimants would rather be earning a decent wage for a fair day’s work. Tories and the Tory press demonise all kinds of people. There are dog-whistles. People complain about immigrants, and when my white friend says she is an immigrant and the other person says “Oh we don’t mean you”- because she is from North America, and there are no dog-whistles about people from there- she knows what they mean.

As a member of what the Tories would call the “Metropolitan Elite”- remainer, socially liberal, though I live sixty miles from a city, six from a large town, and my income is low- I don’t necessarily talk easily to the working classes. I don’t know someone knows I see them as equals. When nervous I might have a superior air. The film Pride, about Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, may be part of a model.

There are Tory lies. Immigrants/ benefit claimants are on the take. It is natural to dislike people with a different skin colour to yours. Islam is an authoritarian religion. The Metropolitan Elite (Hello!) tell you these things are lies, and that’s because they patronise you, despise you, are not in touch with the beliefs of Real People. We understand you. We respect you, they don’t. When you voted to take back control that was the Will of the People, and the Elites have blocked the people’s will ever since. But now we can Get Brexit Done. 

All lies, all reinforced by the Sun and by particular facebook memes enthusiastically shared- on Election night,
MPs off to the Jobcentre!
Wait for the riots and teeth gnashing from the poor remainers
Good Riddance Traitor (with a picture of Mr Corbyn in an electric chair)
Sore Losers Sore Losers Everywhere

That evening:
Never mind Dad, at least you tried (with a picture of Steptoe and Son)

Yesterday:
Even if we disagree about everything we can still be kind to each other
This weekend, please be excellent to each other.

Everyone should have a facebook friend like that. Or, I read this crap so you don’t (usually) have to.

I don’t know how to approach. You matter, even if we disagree, is not the same as I am better than you. Unfortunately the accent and the North London- bien pensant was the slur before Metropolitan Elite- attitudes set off feelings of inferiority in some, leading to an angry response.

However there are people who value you as worthwhile human beings, and want to provide decent public services for all including you, and people who pretend to value you by telling you you want Brexit therefore you should get Brexit and if they deny it they are disrespecting you and being democratic. And because we, the hard right, want it too it can’t possibly be us who blocked it in March. Or telling you yes, equal pay might be a good thing, but the real symbol of women’s oppression is trans women in the loos.

Onywye. That’s part of it. This is a blog post. The Left is about respect for everyone. The Right is about setting everyone against each other. And that includes the working classes, those who think immigrants “treat this country like their own” as if that could be a bad thing, Queers, Guardian readers, people who would pay more tax for decent public services…. none of these can be free unless all are.

I went to the National Gallery again today, and saw three paintings of the Coronation of the Virgin, when Mary rises into Heaven and is crowned by Jesus. In one, she is bowing her head, and he is clearly a Person of the Trinity, God, the one in control. In another, they seem to love and respect and celebrate together as equals. I prefer the latter.

Jesus as God:

Or Jesus and Mary as equals.

On the doorstep

I heard many criticisms of Mr Corbyn. He was derisively called the “Magic Grandpa,” making ridiculous promises which enticed the youth but could never be kept. One, older than he, said he was too old. He was called antisemitic, unpatriotic, extreme left.

One Union man wanted to get Brexit sorted, and only the Tories could. I tried to argue with Brexiters: Johnson, and the little local climate-denier, had voted against Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement. Brexit had not been done because the Tories are incompetent, and hated each other as much as they hated their non-millionaire voters, so fought amongst themselves and could not co-operate with other parties. No, they said, it was Parliament what blocked it.

I stayed and argued longer than I should. One woman told me that she worked for the NHS, but she still would vote Tory. I told people that Labour reduced the debt better than the Tories, and increased economic growth, and a man said the world financial crash had affected Britain so badly because Gordon Brown had reduced banking regulation. It is Labour’s fault when they are too right wing, and Labour’s fault when they are too left wing. After one, the man running the board told me to go to another house, and I said I had to take a moment, to let go of my feelings about the last one before I could approach yet another door and say, with a broad smile, “I’m with Beth Miller, your Labour candidate. We hope you will vote Labour in the election”.

One woman told me that’s private, one woman told me we should not be canvassing on a Sunday, which led me to wonder if she would read a novel or only her Bible on Sunday. Another woman started shouting at us that we should not be canvassing after dark, the old people would not open their doors, so when could we canvass and meet people who had office hours jobs?

I spoke to LibDem Remainers who would vote tactically for Labour, and enthusiastic Labour voters. A man told me he was comfortably off so would vote the way his daughter requested. A woman told me she would vote as her husband did, which did not please my feminist co-canvasser. Women told me they wanted strong women MPs, and I referred to Diane Abbott, Angela Rayner, Jess Phillips… Barbara Castle… Beth Miller.

I wanted name recognition. Name her. Make the name stick in people’s memories.

I walked around sticking leaflets through doors until my ankle went and I was dragging my right foot. I leafleted in the rain and the dark so that I could not see the step on someone’s path, and stumbled, grazing my knuckles. I did more canvassing, wearing an ankle support.

One man drove all over the constituency putting up signs in gardens, and drove me to Corby to campaign. We chatted in the car, of economic and other arguments. I have another facebook friend. I hope to see him again if we campaign again.

And today we have a Tory MP with an increased majority and a mad Tory government of monsters, which deselected its least hard-right MPs including several ex-cabinet ministers. It is a Tory party without talent led by a lying sociopath who went into politics out of vanity rather than conviction and likes to incite hatred against “bumboys”, “letterboxes” and “piccaninnies with watermelon smiles”.

I went to the library to return The Testaments, and got chatting to the volunteer there. No, now she is only reading for her sermons, she is a Baptist preacher. She takes great care over the wording of her sermons. She preaches for ten minutes, but makes each word count. I would talk of sermons and theology, of incarnation and its meaning, of “cast down the mighty from their thrones, and lift up the lowly”. I am a Quaker, I said. Oh, really? Do you know –? Yes. She is a lovely person. Yes, she is. She is Ruth’s good friend. I say my name was popular twenty years ago, and she says Ruth is never a popular name, it always goes on. I had wanted to talk of sermons, but saying I am a Quaker made the conversation more shallow rather than deeper. Then she answered the phone and went all pastoral, listening to someone’s concerns.

I brought the bin back in. As I passed his back door my neighbour was smoking, and I said hello. The gate jammed against the path. It will stay open, I thought, even though it is so windy, long enough to get the bin. It slammed shut. I went to climb over it, but my neighbour came and opened it. I was grateful. I had not thought to ask him.

Vote Labour for a better life

My best guess for what a social conservative gains from voting for Right-wing parties is that they feel they are part of a more cohesive society. So Boris Johnson or Donald Trump say that immigrants are bad, we’ll stop them coming and make a hostile environment for those who are here, and they feel part of something greater than themselves, a society which thinks like they do.

Few people who voted for Brexit will gain from it. Mr Mogg will increase his hedge fund, but others only gain a symbol. We voted for it so it’s undemocratic to oppose it, they say. Or they say you should work and support yourself and stand on your own two feet, having lost hope that they could get benefits and clinging to the illusion that they can have a decent life.

The Right gives symbols instead of reality. It never happens that you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. But the Right is spreading the same myth in Britain because Labour wants to decriminalise abortion. And people who imagine they are good Christians vote to protect innocent babies from a non-existent threat, and incidentally for tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor.

The campaign against trans women is a perfect symbol in this way. The Right can get feminists worked up and get feminist campaigning energy diverted from goals that will improve women’s lives, such as equal pay, or even more women on public company boards of directors, and against innocent trans women. Men may pretend to be women to get into women’s private space! say the fearmongers.

Before radicalisation a woman might see me in a loo, think, oh, a trans woman, and forget me in a couple of hours. After radicalisation she sees me as a man, wants me expelled, and is affronted that her rights are “erased” by “redefining what it means to be a woman”. So queers are more uncomfortable, people who hate queers are encouraged, and feminists are suddenly working for the Right rather than the Left, however hard they deny it. Being gender variant is difficult, and it should be supported I any way people have of expressing it, as the Left traditionally has. The Right wants to decrease gender variant behaviour, harming feminism, and increasing that social conservative feeling of being part of a regulated, homogeneous society.

The Tories or Republicans will give nothing to anyone but the ultra wealthy. They promise illusions, and even the feelings of self righteous anger they arouse harm their supporters.

Look at Labour’s record in government, of children’s centres and social care, of economic good management.

Labour will attack the growth of inequality which makes everyone more stressed with fair taxation and decent public services. Labour’s record on economic growth and reducing debt is better than the Tories’. Everyone should vote Labour for a better life.

Listening and speaking

Lunch out with a woman I like and admire a lot, and a man who talked all the time. I asked her what she did at uni and she answered with an apologetic air, as if it was clichéd for someone like her, rather than his boundless self-confidence. She talked of living abroad, at one time she could get a word in edgeways, and I hardly remember a thing he said.

Similar unjustified self-confidence can be seen in this Tory leaflet:

There’s Spaffer Johnson, his tie neatly knotted, and Mr Corbyn in- a t-shirt! Shock, horror! They accuse Labour of “wrecking the economy” though under Labour, the debt generally goes down and economic growth is higher than under the Tories. The Tories claim they will “deliver Brexit”, though through incompetence, infighting and an inability to get a good withdrawal agreement they have delayed it eight months already. It’s lies and bluster. I take some hope from their negative, fear-mongering leaflet: it shows they do not believe they have anything positive to offer. They fearmonger against Mr Corbyn because they are running scared.

Here, by contrast, is Labour.

It begins, I believe that we can make real changes when people come together. So do I. This is the message of hope, the promise of working together for the common good, that makes politics worthwhile.

I went leafleting on Friday for 2 1/2 hours, and on Sunday morning I was still stiff. I went leafleting again, and now my ankle feels weak. I will have to wear a support. I had hoped to leaflet on Saturday morning but the depression stopped me. I don’t know it will until it does. I imagine I will be able to get up and do what I (think I) want to do, and then I don’t.

When my ankle went weak, though, I asked for a lift home. I did not push myself beyond what I could manage.

Caroline asked me what instruments I played, and then if I wanted to join a band. I felt anxiety. I am glad of being aware of it. No, I do not want to join a band. I have a synth and an amp, and have no wish to play with others. Possibly if I built some self-confidence. But I would not have known.

So, I improve at listening to myself, noticing and valuing myself.

The Tories are happy to waste public money, if they can increase hate and misery. 89% of people informing on ESA and PIP claimants to the Department for Withdrawing Payment are making baseless allegations. Yet the Tories spend, and the DWP investigates all allegations.

I love this paragraph of the Labour manifesto:

We will improve the safety of the
family court system for domestic
violence victims and prohibit their
cross-examination by their abuser.
We will introduce protections for victims of so-called revenge porn. Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure. We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

But nutcase Christians have gone apeshit. The Labour Party have pledged to introduce abortion, on-demand, for any reason, up to birth, lies one site. Abortion should be no concern of the criminal law. It shoulfl be between a woman and her medical advisers. No doctor will do an unnecessary abortion. Any abortion after 24 weeks will be traumatic for the woman. No one does these lightly. Doctors’ organisations will enforce ethical rules.

Corbyn in Corby

Beth Miller, I hope our next MP, introduced Jeremy Corbyn with her highlights from the manifesto: a green revolution. A living wage of £10 an hour so working people would o longer rely on food banks. A thousand new Sure start centres, which were modelled on Pen Green in Corby. Counsellors in schools to address the growing mental health problems.

She said we need members involved, to stuff envelopes, deliver leaflets and knock on doors. There are pledge forms to promisw help. We don’t have Tory money, but we have Labour people.

Jeremy Corbyn said people from all over country came to Corby, but lost jobs in the continuing deindustrialisation. In the debate last night, we got a voice to say what we want to say.

This morning he was at a warehouse in Sheffield. There was a line of white vans and people queuing up for zero hours jobs like dock workers fifty years ago. Zero hours contracts give all the power to the employer. Workers on zero hours hope for a call or text from their employer offering a few hours.They don’t know if they can afford their rent or feed their family. Level of stress is wholly unnecessary and wrong. Bezos is multi-billionaire.

We will introduce corporation tax rules so that mumultinationals pay on what they do and earn in this country.  They are short changing our public services. Everyone should pay into thesystem to be part of society from which everyone benefits.

Labour will end zero hours contracts immediately. Workers will have full rights at work from day one. There will be a Dept of Employment rights to enforce rights, giving Employment law real force.

Yesterday the media was full of our manifesto. Will we crash the economy? Corporation tax and highest rate Income tax will go up, to level of public expenditures of middle European economies.

We should be proud of the manifesto. It is shocking that in the world’s fifth richest country, the UN rapporteur on poverty concluded that the social contract of 1940s was replaced by cold and uncaring ethos where some people lose out totally.

To homeless, children and old people we are determined to give security so children can develop. This manifesto has many things in it.

The poor are paying the price of austerity.The Tory budget cut expenditure and benefits, and froze public sector wages. With council grant cuts, working class communities have 25% less spending power. Parents must get into debt to support kids through uni.

Social care was not unaffordable ten years ago. We will take the debt burden off the next generation and the sick. There will be social care for people who need it.

The Tories want this to be a Brexit election People voted leave for anger or hope. Other people up against it in housing and other ways. Under a Tory no deal, there would be tariffs on all goods. The Trump trade deal is now being negotiated: we have documents through FoI. They don’t tell us any of discussions, which are all redacted. US published their aims, that the deal must include access to public services including our health care “market”. US companies would run our NHS and make money.

Under Labour, within three months we would negotiate a trade arrangement with the EU to protect jobs and the Good Friday agreement. We would be honest brokers in a further referendum, in which Mr Corbyn would not take a side. That would be end of matter. Then we would transform the country for the majority of the people. We would bring people together. Appeal to leave and remain.

Our campaign all over country. Huge spike in registration to vote, above 2017. Three million new voters.

We have to persuade voters on the doorstep. We will invest for the future, in Cradle to grave education, a National investment bank, Broadband free for the whole country. When this was announced, within ten minutes the Media called this communism. Then they found it was popular. Most people pay about £30 a month for web access. It is essential to all business, so businesses don’t go where broadband is poor. The investment will be over ten years.

On the climate crisis, Labour’s Motion in parliament declared an emergency. Tories abstained. The Paris accord of 2015 is not enough. We need to achieve net zero well before 2050 by investment, in Home insulation, and 300 000 jobs in green energy sector. He is inspired by climate protesters.

It’s no good if we export pollution to others by Importing goods which pollute elsewhere. That merely moves the problem.

He would be so proud to host the Climate conference here next year. It is a Class issue: the poorest around world breathe the worst air. Floods in Yorkshire show we are suffering unusual weather events. Labour will Invest in river management. The Market will not, so water companies must be brought into public ownership to stop their asset stripping.

The campaign is exciting. We knock on doors. Imagine Tories in government on Dec13?  Who would be cheering? The billionaires. There would be no end to the Misery and suicide on UC. Head teachers would still have to scrimp. When Labour wins nurses students and workers win. Our Manifesto was written by people all over country.

We must put in an unbelievable effort. There is far more interest than the media thought. This is an election about our future. We can make a Country proud of environment, spreading our peace values round world, defeating poverty. When we win everybody wins. Let’s work flat out.

My thumbs are not fast enough to transcribe, but that’s the gist.

Labour manifesto and trans

The Labour manifesto is launched. Labour government is the best hope of enhancing trans rights.

Labour has a proud history of standing shoulder to shoulder with LGBT+ people. We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and only with Labour votes could equal marriage become law. Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people, but we are not complacent about the culture shift required to make LGBT+ inclusivity a reality. The Conservatives have been slow to understand the scale of abuse and discrimination LGBT+ people continue to face in our society.

Self-declaration is different from the TERF term “self-ID”, used to foment fear. We declare who we really are, rather than “identify” in a way they dispute and claim men would use to harm women.

Section 28, the appalling provision outlawing “promotion of homosexuality” in schools, normalised hatred of gay people just as the hard right seeks to normalise hatred of trans people now.

I take this as a pledge to shift the culture. It is brave and bold.

We will ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate.

I love this. Discrimination law must be enforced by victims of discrimination, often without legal help. I represented a pregnant woman who experienced health problems during her claim, and could not continue. She was scathing about the brilliant reference she settled her claim for, like the excellent appraisal she had just before her pregnancy, so unlike the dreadful appraisal she had when she announced her pregnancy.

Discrimination law must be enforced by the State, or victims will go unheard and uncompensated. I hope pregnancy is just the start.

Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.

I am not sure about that one. The single sex exemptions allow trans women to be excluded if it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. As that’s a defence which has to be proved by the excluder, TERFs allege that services do not exclude as they are frightened of court action.

I don’t know what it means. TERFs could take comfort from it.

Excluding trans women is not a proportionate step to make women safer. This is:

Ensure women’s refuges receive the long-term sustainable funding they need. Misogyny and violence against women and girls will become hate crimes.

After the Windrush scandal and the Tory islamophobia scandals, this is essential:

Achieving racial equality is a bedrock Labour value. It has never been more important than in the current climate. We are proud of the way our country has been shaped by the contributions, cultures and values of people from around the world.

All minorities should support this. Right wing hate seeks to oppress us all. All of us should stand together.