Saturday, February 20, 2021

The SNP's adoption of an overly-broad definition of 'transphobia' is a backwards step into factionalism, and will give the green light for McCarthyite witch-hunts

Let's be specific about exactly what is - and what is not - problematical about the definition.  There are nine examples given of behaviour that supposedly constitutes transphobia, although it's stressed that even these are not exhaustive.

"1. Hate crimes such as physical or sexual assault, threatening behaviour, criminal damage of property."

Pretty much everyone will be in agreement with that section.

"2. Gender reassignment employment or service provision discrimination."

I suspect this may, in the opinion of some, conflict to some extent with women's sex-based rights.

"3. Bullying, abuse, harassment or intimidation of people for being trans or for supporting trans equality and inclusion."

This is where the problems really begin, because it's wide open to different interpretations.  We've all seen people claim to be the victims of bullying or harassment "because of their support for inclusion", when in fact all that was happening was that other people were debating robustly and putting forward an alternative and perfectly legitimate point of view.

"4. Deliberately outing someone as being trans without their consent."

Obviously it's wrong to out someone against their wishes, but the question is whether this should be a disciplinary - and potentially an expulsion - offence.  I can foresee some problems with that, if for example there's a dispute over whether it was known beforehand that a person was trans, and how widely known it was.

"5. Deliberately misgendering someone."

Misgendering someone is clearly bad manners, but as a disciplinary offence this is opening up a huge can of worms.  There isn't a consensus on the principle of self-ID, and by extension there isn't a consensus on the boundaries of misgendering.  Some people will feel that continuing to regard certain individuals as male or female is part and parcel of their legitimate opposition to self-ID, which means that their exercise of free speech will be pathologised as "transphobia" - and they may be faced with an impossible choice between self-censoring and facing suspension or expulsion.

"6. Deliberately using a trans person's previous name ('deadnaming') instead of, or alongside, their current name without their consent."

This is absolutely ridiculous.  The ability to speak about others in mildly disrespectful ways is, whether we like it or not, an indispensable part of free speech.  Give people lectures about courtesy if you wish, but this has no place in a disciplinary code.  Do we have to ask Boris Johnson's permission before calling him "de Pfeffel"?  The idea that each individual has to give express consent to the names people call them would destroy satire, just for starters.

"7. Dehumanising, prejudiced language about trans people."

Absurdly vague.  Again, this could be interpreted as meaning robust disagreement with activists on social media.

"8. Accusing wider trans people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single trans person or group, or even for acts committed by people who do not identify as trans."

This will presumably be used to try to silence people who use real life examples of assault or disturbing behaviour in single-sex spaces as arguments against the principle of self-ID.

"9. Making mendacious, malicious, conspiracy-theory, or stereotypical allegations about trans people."

My guess is that people who make criticisms of "trans rights activists" collectively will be (falsely) charged with stereotyping trans people in general.  And if I was to say there were concerns about entryism by identity politics activists into the SNP, and that this definition of transphobia is potentially evidence of that, hey presto, I'll be a "transphobic conspiracy theorist".

We could be entering a very dark period of McCarthyism within the SNP.


  1. The party's over for the next 10 years minimum. Nicola and her identity political infants have left the SNP high and dry with nowhere to go. I now think HR21 will be a disaster for the SNP and inter alia for Independence. How badly did we blow it in 2014!

  2. Devil's advocate time.

    Would this have caused as much fuss? What about for Black people...jewish? What about Irish people living in N. Ireland, which would be the closest comparison for my example?

    "3. Bullying, abuse, harassment or intimidation of people for being Scottish or for supporting Scottish equality and inclusion."
    "5. Deliberately calling Scottish people british or English against their express wishes"
    "6. Deliberately calling Scottish people British / English against their express consent."
    "7. Dehumanising, prejudiced language about Scottish people."
    "8. Accusing wider Scottish people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Scottish person or group, or even for acts committed by people who do not identify as Scottish."
    "9. Making mendacious, malicious, conspiracy-theory, or stereotypical allegations about Scottish people."

    I think it's just controversial because trans is controversial.

    Which it shouldn't be. While it's impossible to change sex in any real way, some people do have a medical condition that makes them desperately desire that and try to attempt it.

    And they should be left alone to do so / not discriminated against for that. I'll call people the name they prefer to use, end of.

    I've been attacked for being a 'woke transfan transphobe' for my scientific views, but hey ho. I will happily defend trans people even if the wankers (and there are some) in their ranks abuse me.

    The SNP's position is well intended, but potentially open to abuse.

    It is the open to abuse that's the problem, not the intention. Likewise it is those that would try to abuse the rules that are the issue, not the rules.

    The day the SNP start posting articles picking out a evil trans person (and about the same % of trans people are nasty as the population as a whole, so you can find these) and pushing that why we should fear transfolk daily mail style - like say Wings does - is the day I stop putting SNP in at the top of my voting preferences.

    'We could be entering a very dark period of McCarthyism within the SNP.'

    Could, but very likely not. I am a member and don't think my free speech is in any way being curtailed. Seems to me senior people like Cherry can openly voice opinions. As long as they are not deliberately offensive, they will be fine.

    1. Your rewording of it to replace "trans" with "Scottish" is a really bad example, because that's never been done. You'll struggle to find an institution or organisation that has a definition of anti-Scottish hatred in its disciplinary code.

      "Would this have caused as much fuss? What about for Black people...jewish?"

      It seems you slept through the very similar controversy over the definition of anti-Semitism, which is so broad that it includes criticism of the State of Israel.

      "Seems to me senior people like Cherry can openly voice opinions."

      Can she? You're basing that on the fact she hasn't been subject to disciplinary proceedings prior to the new definition of transphobia being adopted. In other words, you're basing it on nothing at all.

    2. Actually, I have expressed my concerns previously about definitions of anti-Semitism and how that should not prevent criticism of the Israeli government.

      You'll struggle to find an institution or organization that has a definition of anti-Scottish hatred in its disciplinary code.

      This is a problem. Scots are an ethnic minority in the UK and regularly subject to racist abuse for that, just as the Irish have been historically.

      I personally have been subject to anti-Scottish racism regularly. If you spend time in England, it will happen. You can bet your arse that wings is very British when out and about in bath.

      I've had it from Academics of a professional level in England. I couldn't believe it. People I thought were intellectual colleagues. But then they've been conditioned by their own media / PM to view English as superiors and Scots as 'vermin'.

      Lets wait and see James on free speech james. I'd have thought you'd know I'm happy to be 'controversial' so this applies to me too. The problem is abuse of the rules, not rules. It is the former I fear, not the latter.

      I am an SNP member and freely air my views. If that stops, I will be out.

    3. Smearer Skier (liar since 2014) says " the problem is abuse of the rules, not rules."

      You really post some utter pish. That's me freely airing my views and I am not a member of any political party thank goodness.

    4. SS. You do know no that Scots can be prejudiced racist and all the other things too. I think the way you talk about the English British could be interpreted as being prejudiced. I too lived in England for a long time and experience some of the stuff you going on about. You seem to put Scots and Irish people up on a pedestal

    5. Hehe: Comment deleted, and I'll start blanket-deleting every single comment you post if you keep trying my patience in this way. The same goes for "Please Release Me" and "andypoliticsscot".

    6. Smearer Skier (liar since 2014) - see when you put it down to anti Scottish racism ever thought it might be because of your characteristics e.g. A lying obnoxious arse.

    7. Will this new transphobe definition go full on authoritarian and unlawful by applying it retrospectively to make sure they get who they want to get. They tried that with Salmond and got a Judicial Review beating. So any sensible person would be wary of doing this, but of course, they clearly are not sensible people so another court case may be in the offing and feature a certain J Cherry. More crowdfunding?

    8. That seems spot on Scottish Skier.

      For some, their intention in pushing this forward may be about factional infighting rather than the issue itself. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a good move.

      James rightly expresses concerns about how this might get used, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need to move forward on this as we did on women’s rights, gay rights, etc.

      In hindsight it will seem as bizarre that people objected to this as it does that people supported clause 28 and objected to same sex marriage.

      In hindsight it will also seem a real mistake that both sides in this seem so unable to start from understanding the understandable reasons why people take a different position, preferring to castigate them rather than have a reasoned discussion and sharing of lived (as opposed to second hand) experience that wins them over.

    9. SS. You do know no that Scots can be prejudiced racist and all the other things too. I think the way you talk about the English British could be interpreted as being prejudiced. I too lived in England for a long time and experience some of the stuff you going on about. You seem to put Scots and Irish people up on a pedestal

      Hi, yes of course there are racists in Scotland. The BNP, UKIP, British National Front etc do win votes here, as to the UK Tories. The link between unionism and the hard to far right is well established. Right-wingers tend to like large, powerful empire states that dominate smaller nations like the British have a record of.

      I'm not aware of any pro-Scottish indy fascist groups of any significance; these are by far predominantly British in Scotland. Of course, under indy they will become 'Scottish' in time.

  3. "4. Deliberately outing someone as being trans without their consent."

    "5. Deliberately misgendering someone."

    Use their new pronouns - guilty of No.4
    Dont' use their new pronouns - guilty of No.5

    1. To be fair this is different from outing someone as gay. If you out someone as trans you are guilty of 4 and 5 because you have both outed them as not having been born their current gender and used their previous gender to do so. Being trans at the weekend might be a thing but I think this is aimed at revealing previous genders. (I'm now retired but I recall the rules on this from the annual equality and diversity e-learning course and test).

    2. The key issue here is 'deliberate'

      I'm gay and have had a husband for 8 years. Someone asking me about my marriage might say 'oh your wife' on finding out I'm married which is quite common. Doesn't bother me. But if they keep saying 'wife' even after I've told them or say 'you can't have a husband because I don't believe men can marry other men' then that could be malicious in intent.

  4. Another excellent article James. You really are on a roll.

    Why why why are people in the SNP doing this. My MP Oswald who I voted for in Dec 19 ( and was delighted to see the back of the Tory Masterton) seems to be involved in all this muck. I want to vote for independence not all this shit. I will be writing to her asking "what about independence".

    We get a stupid definition of transphobia designed to attack certain people ( reminds me of a certain process designed to attack a former First Minister called Salmond ) so what the f**ck has this got to do with independence. Where is the mandate for independence to vote for. As I said on the last article this is authoritarianism and the longer it goes on unchecked the worse it will get.

    You will wake up one day and say to yourself ( well not Smearer he is a fanatic) how did I let this happen to my party. You will also have put back the chance of independence as well.

  5. The SNP leadership just angers me and leaves me seething. We will not be Independent ever at this rate and that just leaves me empty of anything but hatred for the SNP leadership now.

  6. I find it hard to get engaged in this issue. I don't know any Trans people. I am aware some people take that journey and I have no feelings for or against. As fringe issues go this must be right up there, a fringe on the fringe. It is not something I ever thought about until it became a new in the bonnet of the interwebs.

    I don't have a problem with treating others as I would like to be treated and as rule of life it is simple, easy to understand and to apply. I do have concerns about over enthusiastic political correctness. Introspective navel gazing whilst walking is the quick way to landing flat on one's face. Just look at Labour. If the purpose is aspirational and supportive then OK, I'm not that bothered. If it results in Stalinist show trials to purge the party then I guess all the purged can reassemble in the car park and continue as the National Party of Scotland and leave the politically pure to what will be a very small huddle. I hope that doesn't happen.

    1. Utterly baffled as to why my tablet changed bee to new. It also has an obsession with changing words to poo...which has left me with my trousers down a couple of times


  7. bràthair sìthe Stadaidh mi✌

  8. You could see this coming when Sturgeon degraded the position of First Minister of Scotland by posting a video begging a very small group people who left the SNP in a strop to come back to the SNP.

    It was an embarrassment.

  9. To those (Ramstam) who naively said Salmond should have just rejoined the party I would say he would not be in long before he was booted out due to a trumped up transphobe charge.

    1. Sorry, I just cannot see Salmond using abusive right-wing language like 'woke transfans / trans cultists'. It's why he doesn't associated with those that pretend to support indy while abusing scots minorities in that way.

  10. One of the key benefits of Scottish independence is that we can get the government we vote for. That obviously includes being able to vote out a government that carries out unlawful and unacceptable actions.

    The current position - we cannot vote out Johnstons UK government and we are stuck in a Groundhog Day of having to vote for the SNP Scottish government or it will be seen as a vote against Scottish independence. The worst of both worlds. Devolution has turned in to a trap for independence supporters.

    1. "Devolution has turned into a trap for independence supporters".

      JESUS ...... H......... CHRIST!!!

      Will you listen to yourself? Do you SERIOUSLY imagine ..... for one SECOND ....... that we would be this close to independence if devolution hadn't happened?

      Can you imagine what Winnie Ewing would say, (if we could resurrect her), and tell her that we are in a worse position than we were when she was ploughing HER lonely furrow?

      Come on!! Let's try and retain SOME kind of perspective!......

    2. Alex, trolls will keep trolling. If these pop-up parties don't win any seats which is more likely than not, are they wasted votes too?

    3. Alex Birnie - how are we that close to independence other than in your mind? How and when is it going to happen?

      Shades of Smearer Skier Alex - I never said we were in a worse position than back then when Winnie was winning Hamilton so please don't go down the route of Smearer and make up stuff.

    4. I imagine that if devolution hadn't happened independence would have by now.

    5. Salmond of course championed devolution.

  11. IFS, since you've accused me of naievety, Jings!
    I pay attention, and as far as I'm aware Alex Salmond hasn't made any specific comments anent trans issues so your comment is weird.
    Also devolution is certainly not a trap for Scots. Unionists have relied on the devo settlement for over 20 years now, and the people see it as a poor substitute for the real thing - independence.
    If its a trap then the unionists are in it with nowhere else to go.
    When the Scots are asking "what happens to Scotland's money" the game is up.
    Every penny of Scotland's taxes and revenues should be under Scottish democratic control.
    Until it is the YES figures will just keep on rising.
    Devolution is not a trap, but it can be a springboard to Independence.

    1. Ramstam, clearly you do not pay attention as you have completely missed my point. Salmond didn't carry out any sexualt assaults either did he but that didn't stop them. So my comment is not weird but yes you are naive and don't ever call me a Unionist from England again.

      My point about devolution is valid - I would not vote for a government like the SNP that has acted like it has other than for independence. I remember the National organised rally at George sq in Nov 2019 and it was all about independence and how important it was to win the election in Dec19 to get a referendum next year in 2020. 48 SNP MPs out of a total of 59 and what happens - a surrender speech by Sturgeon in Jan 2020. No referendum she says. And please don't give me the Covid stuff - she never mentioned the virus in her speech. She had no intention of a referendum in 2020.

    2. I assume you support devolution / voted for it in 1997 IfS?

      No true indy supporter could have voted for direct London rule; it's why Salmond championed Yes-Yes in the referendum.

  12. I think you'll find that Winnie Ewing will be voting SNP1&2 on May 6th.
    A true inspiration to all indy supporters.
    I joined the SNP not long after Winnie won Hamilton.

  13. It's easy enough to tell who is transphobic and who isn't.

    Concerns for people's human rights, dignity and the use of scientific / dictionary definitions of e.g. 'woman' vs 'transwoman / womxn' in debates on this matter are not transphobic.

    By contrast, if folk are insulting people with terms like 'woke transfans', then the right-wing hate of minority groups is obvious enough.

  14. Unionists legally challenging the union.

    You couldn't make up this madness. The most British brits in greatest glorious britainshire are hated more than the 'vermin' Scots by the English nats, yet they go to court to ensure they continue to be hated.

    English nationalism is one mother of a union wrecking ball.

    Northern Ireland parties take legal action against Brexit deal

    DUBLIN (Reuters) - Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties are set to take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union, the parties said on Sunday.

    The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) are to join other pro-British figures to challenge the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has created trade barriers between the British region and the rest of the United Kingdom...

    ...The DUP said several senior members would join “other likeminded unionists” as named parties in judicial review proceedings challenging the Northern Ireland Protocol’s compatibility with Act of Union 1800, the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 and the Belfast Agreement, it said in a statement.

  15. Yougov UK Scots sample Westminster intention:
    55% SNP
    24% Con
    14% Lab
    4% Lib
    2% Grn
    1% RUK

  16. Now this is corruption, but you won't read about it on English blogs / in comments from supporters of said blogs because, you know, 'wheesht for the union'.

    Conservative ‘corruption’ puts UK politics at major turning point, SNP MP says

    AN MP on an anti-cronyism crusade has accused the UK Government of “blatant” corruption.

    Owen Thompson says the awarding of public contracts worth billions to Conservative Party donors and contacts has put the UK at a pivotal moment that could shape politics for years to come.

  17. Sturgeon didn't mention Covid in her speech in 2019 because it wasn't here then!
    IFS, You must be the only man in Scotland that thinks it would've been a good idea to declare an Indyref in the spring of 2020.
    Seriously, you should double-check what you write before you post.
    As for 55% SNP in the latest poll.
    Bring it on!