This week, Labour MP (and candidate for Deputy Leader) Dawn Butler stated on national TV that children are born without a biological sex.
Barely reported in the press because the bonkers bar has been elevated to so high a level that pure, unadulterated biological flat-earthing is no longer man bites dog.
I’m looking forward to a Labour-controlled NHS when midwives up and down the country will be exclaiming ‘Congratulations, it’s a baby!’
Welcome to continuity Clownsville.
You would have thought that such comments would be rewarded with a one-way ticket to political oblivion, but that’s not how these cats roll. Butler looks to have already secured the position as shadow minister for eternal unelectability, and in a party dominated by space cadets, that’s one hell of an achievement.
Not content with her sexing down of sex, Dawn then went on to say:
Talking about penises and vaginas doesn’t help the conversation because then you’re saying that a trans woman isn’t a woman.
Mentioning a penis and vagina apparently amounts to a transphobic dog whistle, which you may not have heard her say if you’d been bent over, blowing into a paper bag.
The thrust of the interview centred both on gender and biological sex and the subject of the penis came up to make that differentiation clear: you can adopt a new gender and obtain legal rights and status, but the biological facts of sex remain unchanged.
Butler wasn’t having any of it. She jumped on the penis (metaphorically) and rigorously beat out her blinding argument – on the basis of sex alone – and maintained her ruthless pursuit of the sledgehammer double-down, escalating her commitment to the folly with an unflinching stoicism.
Ironically, for someone who doesn’t believe in the concept of sex, she didn’t go on to explain from where or to where the transition would go in relation to the trans rights she was defending. Nor at what point biological sex was acquired, or how. But then, I’m a sucker for consistent detail even if she isn’t.
At least she may achieve some sort of Internet immortality long after her quest for high office has bitten the pillow, or the dust, depending on how hard the party membership shafts her.
A few days later, she followed it all up with a claim that accountancy came into being in order to count the earnings of sex workers. A bizarre standalone in itself, but after the smash hit of her penis-vagina monologue, it was always going to be a difficult second album.
God knows what her Labour constituency members will be saying at their next (moon) cheese and whine evening. Probably very little because the art of factual rebuttal has all but disappeared from politics.
Post-fact aficionados eschew credible rationales, which immediately puts their opponents on the back foot because all favoured counter-moves are rendered irrelevant by their pea-brain, left-field, and unpredictable opening gambits.
Any attempt by opponents to get the debate onto a clearer facts-based footing is met by a two-pronged tactic of:
- Disqualifying the the relevant facts from the debate and;
- Repeating wacko policy points over and over again.
This brings everybody onto an equally factless footing. For a majestic example of this, see Butler’s dismissal of a penis and a vagina for a debate on biological sex and her repeated assertions in this regard.
It’s sculpting obtuseness into an art form.
This approach doesn’t gain intellectual support, but it does harness some numbers through emotional solidarity. As a consequence, Butler’s position became immediately bolstered to a degree by trans-activists whose inner faith and lived experience will never be trumped by matter-of-fact, robust argument.
In the EU referendum, Leave did it with Liberation and Remain did it with Fear. Neither did it with facts until the horses had scarpered and the stable doors were banging in the wind.
And look where that left us.
The biggie for Labour is that opposition is about opposing someone with something. It’s not about campaign-based student politics that nurture pockets of support that are doomed to fall short of a critical mass for power. And only power brings change.
Surely, this now means articulating policy on the basis of rationale, but there are few signs that they’ll be pull anything intellectually cohesive out of the bag any time soon. Ironically, the Tories are in no better shape themselves, but they beat Labour to the punch. They’re in power and won’t be going anywhere for a while.
Unless some dipstick lefty simply announces that Labour are now in power because votes are no longer relevant in a democracy.
Don’t rule it out.unsplash-logoTim Mossholder