Wednesday 12 February 2020


The latest pledge sheet that has been forced on Labour leadership candidates has descended into an almighty row.  The previously unheard of 'Labour Campaign for Trans Rights' is urging all "trans Labour members and allies" to sign up.  Among the twelve pledges is one that asks signatories to support the expulsion of members who express transphobic views.  This is preceded by a strongly worded pledge that lists what it calls "trans-exclusionist hate groups" and demands that party members "organise and fight" such groups.  Another calls for recognition that there is no "material conflict between trans rights and women's rights".  On Tuesday night these three pledge in particular led to the creation of the Twitter hashtag #expelme.

The #expelme hashtag is a direct challenge to the pledge culture currently enveloping Labour and also exposes a very awkward clash of woke values.  Many feminists are opposed to genderfluid and non-binary identities as they feel that a six foot bloke in the ladies toilets is uncomfortable at best and at worst a physical threat.  Such concerns didn't stop someone at Labour HQ deciding to make their toilets 'gender neutral' recently, but when did the party of Rochdale and Rotherham concern itself with threats to women's safety anyway?

This is not the first time that Labour's commitment to LGBT rights has clashed with one of its other core values.  Who can forget Owen Jones's on-screen meltdown when he went on Sky News to discuss the front pages the same day an Islamist gunned down 49 people in an Orlando gay club?  Then there were the Muslim protests outside primary schools in Birmingham over LGBT lessons, leading to similar confusion among local Labour politicians.

One of the driving forces behind the #expelme hashtag is Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan.  A long-standing critic of transgender activism, he appeared on Newsnight on Monday in a tense encounter with Sarah Smith (see below).  Smith, the daughter of former Labour leader John Smith, gave Linehan a hard time and he soon found himself trending on Twitter.  During the interview Linehan spoke out in defence of feminist acquaintances and 24 hours later was tweeting in defence of two of the 'hate groups' singled out in the latest pledge sheet. 

Rebecca Long-Bailey was the first leadership candidate to publicly endorse the transphobia pledges.  Her pal Angela Rayner followed suit and late on Tuesday Lisa Nandy also tweeted her support.  Expect lots of bullying for the remaining candidates until they cave in for fear of being accused of 'transphobia'.