Thursday 13 April 2023

Operating Principle?

In answer to Paul Goodman, it took Rishi Sunak well over a minute to say that he believed in biological sex, "as a general, as a general, as a general kind of operating principle." But he will do nothing about even that. The entire public sector and its vast network of contractors have come to treat gender self-identification as already the law entirely since 2015. Go back to 2010, and the concept itself was unheard of.

All of the right-wing media outlets are in internal turmoil over this issue, although none more so than the Daily Telegraph. Its contributors' columns have rarely borne any resemblance to their lifestyles, and the rising stars, the Conservative MPs and Ministers of the future, have been told in no uncertain terms that their careers inside the Conservative Party were being at least potentially frustrated by the line against gender self-identification. Accordingly, a shift is already discernible, and will soon enough be complete.

Whither Suzanne Moore? She and her sisters have a point that the views of young men are given priority over those of mature women. The question is which young men. In the early Corbyn years, I remember very young, very left-wing men who were totally sound on this and on Brexit, just as Jeremy Corbyn's own very old friends around Counterfire and the Morning Star were and are. They were no crypto-Greens, either. But Corbyn chose whoever it was that he chose instead, so here we are. And behind that was what is also behind the right-wing media's emerging choice of sides on, mark my words, all three of those matters. The old, old favourite. Class.

The best that can be said for The Guardian is that, unlike on the right-wing papers, its writers do at least believe what they are saying. If you wanted a daily, print newspaper that supported Brexit, opposed gender self-identification, and was sceptical of Greenery, or even that managed to be any one of those things, then you will always have the Morning Star. Give it two years, and you will have nothing else. It would be less than a year, if the General Election were sooner. Moore might become a columnist on the Morning Star, having started out on Marxism Today, the voice of the other side of the split between Eurocommunists and those who had continued to insist on the priority of class.

It was in Marxism Today that Moore's mentor, the late Professor Stuart Hall, first wrote of "Thatcherism", and this is where Thatcherism has inevitably ended up. Margaret Thatcher was last depicted on British television, for the first time in quite a while, in December's Prince Andrew: The Musical, the title of which spoke for itself, and in which she was played by one Baga Chipz, a drag queen. Well, of course. Gender self-identification is the inexorable logic of the self-made man or the self-made woman, and a figure comparable to Thatcher, emerging in the Britain of the 2020s, would be assumed to be a transwoman, just as Thatcher herself emerged in the Britain of everything from Danny La Rue and Dick Emery to David Bowie and The Rocky Horror Show. In a generation's time, everyone will be saying out loud that Tony Blair had always been as androgynous as Thatcher was. Leo Abse wrote eye-opening books on both of them.

Corresponding to Eurocommunism on the ancestrally Trotskyist side was the Pabloism that vaguely formed such politics as Keir Starmer may be said to have. Starmer's view that a person with a penis might be a woman is wrong, but unlike Sunak's waffle, it is at least clear. Not even full strength Pabloism would frighten Middle England if they knew about Starmer's background as some of us always have, since it is only the theoretical systematisation of their own opinions. Starmer is one of them to the core, and his so-called Red-Greenery would strike them as "moderate" and "centrist", if rather highfalutin in its articulation of what was "just common sense". It is fully compatible with the Trussonomics that, having even so much as pretended to oppose only one measure in the abandoned mini-Budget, Labour alone will go into the next General Election continuing to advocate.

But in October, Labour's poll lead was 37 per cent. It now hovers between 11 and 15, with an average of 12.5. When I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. Sunak is still only blocking the Scottish Bill on constitutional grounds.

    1. He and Starmer have exactly the same position. It includes insisting that this issue is "complex".