Labour’s position on Gender Recognition Reform demonstrates, alongside their recent string of failures of basic human empathy on issues ranging from child poverty to air pollution to the climate crisis, that they are in no way a party of the left, a party of progress, or even a party that has any values of its own whatsoever.
Labour have also shown that they will be no more willing to work with the Scottish Government on a fair and equitable basis than the Tories have. Annaliese Dodds today accused the SNP of being ‘cavalier’ with the GRR Bill, once again revealing Labour’s utter refusal to understand how devolution and the Scottish Parliament work.
GRR was not solely an SNP project, but was voted for by 2/3 of the Scottish Parliament, with many amendments and with votes from all parties. An approach that required six years, two consultations, and 32,755 responses can hardly be called ‘cavalier’ – but you’d have to know a single thing about Scotland to recognise that.
Dodds also accused the SNP – not the Scottish Parliament, who overwhelmingly passed the legislation – of taking this approach to GRR to pick a fight with Westminster. This could not be further from the truth as, when this legislation was planned and the process started, reforming the GRA along these lines was also the policy of Theresa May’s government and May’s own Westminister-level consultation stated that Scotland could develop its own legislation. It seems that Labour cannot fathom acting out of principle rather than political expedience.
While showing their inexcuseable ignorance about Scotland, by singling out the SNP in this process Labour have decided to use the lives of trans people – a small, vulnerable minority subject to soaring rates of hate crime – as political footballs to score cheap partisan points. It is hard to fathom the inhumanity of such an approach.
Labour claim that by taking this approach they are somehow rising above the culture wars approach of the likes of Lee Anderson, but by buying into and continuing to promote the idea that there is a conflict between trans rights and women’s rights – something that has been repeatedly rejected by leading women’s rights organisations – they only further hatred and fear of trans people.
The trans community deserves better than this. Children living in poverty deserve better than this. Scotland deserves better than this. We all deserve more than a cheap weathervane that chases polls rather than leading with vision.
For as long as we are stuck in the union, we deserve a government in Westminster that will respect trans people, care for its most vulnerable citizens, and respect devolution. As they have made clear that they will do none of these things – what is the point of Labour?