The Guardian has been convulsed after publishing an article by its longstanding columnist Suzanne Moore. Its appearance triggered a letter of protest to the editor, signed by 338 Guardian and Observer employees. Getting on for half the workforce thus believe that their readers should not have been allowed to see what Moore wrote.
Cue a blazing row at The Guardian’s editorial conference, with one trans member of staff claiming as a result to be too frightened to go to work. This employee subsequently resigned after reportedly receiving anti-trans comments from “influential editorial staff”. In these circumstances, this might have been something as terrifying, aggressive and life-threatening as being told “I am a woman and you are a man” (or vice versa). Raw bigotry indeed.
Moore’s column, said this member of staff, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” after a series of pieces pitting trans people against women. One example was said to be a Guardian editorial claiming that trans rights were in “collision” with women’s rights. Isn’t that merely to state what trans supporters are claiming in this row — that trans rights are under attack from those like Moore who declare women’s rights are distinct and inviolable?
These are the same forces that have now gone after Trevor Phillips, who has been suspended by the Labour Party after being accused of Islamophobia, a term that, ironically, became part of political life after the 1997 Runnymede Trust report on Islamophobia that he commissioned.
Both these witch-hunts show once again how the revolution eats its own. In the 18th century, the French Jacobins started by guillotining enemies of the revolution and then decided that certain revolutionaries were themselves enemies of the revolution.
In response to the furore over Suzanne Moore, there have been references to The Guardian being a “great liberal newspaper”. This is about four decades out of date. It stopped being a liberal paper when liberalism became corrupted by ideologies which permit no opposition and are therefore inimical to truth, freedom and reason.
Suzanne Moore wrote: “I self-identify as a woman who won’t go down quietly.” We may not agree with everything she says, and she may not welcome all of us as supporters, but those who stand for freedom against such sinister attempts at social and cultural control will be cheering her on.
To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.