UKC

A Free Speech Champion

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.

I was going to write something about today's news item about the new 'free speech champion' doing the news rounds today. Then I read something by Billy Bragg which covered it all beautifully. I hope he doesn't mind me cutting and pasting it here...

A front page article in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph seemed to bear out something that I've been saying regarding the motives of those claiming to be the victims of 'cancel culture'.

The article reported that Tory ministers intend to fine universities that "stifle freedom of speech" by seeking to dismiss or demote people overviews they have expressed which the university deems damaging to its reputation. To that end, the government is appointing a "free speech champion" who will be given powers to defend freedom of expression on campuses.

The article went on to state that the culture secretary Oliver Dowden is to tell 25 of the UK's biggest heritage bodies and charities that they must "defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down".

This is in reaction to the National Trust's recent decision, taken in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, to highlight the connections between slavery and the riches on display in some of its stately homes. This led to accusations from Dowden that, by drawing attention to this historical fact, the Trust was seeking to 'rewrite history'.

Without any sense of irony, Sir John Hayes, chair of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs (yes, really) spoke in favour of the "free speech champion" stating that "without the ability to speak freely soon we will not have the ability to think freely". Tell that to the National Trust, mate. He added his concern that "debate was being closed down to new ideas by the thought police" - unless, presumably. those 'new ideas' were about British history, in which case the Chief Inspector for Thought, Oliver Dowden, is standing by with his truncheon.

These paradoxical policies bear out something that I have been arguing for some time now - that those calling out 'cancel culture' have no interest in the principle of freedom of speech for everyone, no matter their point of view. Rather, they are using the 'cancel culture' trope as a means by which to silence criticism of the status quo.

At least the Sunday Telegraph had the decency to put 'cancel culture' in inverted commas on its front page.

- Bill Bragg, on Facebook

 Offwidth 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I've been banging on about this for years. I defend academics with research and views that can be inconvenient with mangagment and  talk to many similar people across the sector. Very often after threats of disciplinary action and countered arguments about law and publicity they leave with a pay-off and a gagging clause.  That's the reality of UK universities in the 21st century. Almost no-one was cancelled without management agreement. Even on the Germaine Greer style rows managerial cowardice (on overblown security matters) was more of a problem than real threats from protest.

Not only is this an abuse of academic freedom its publicly very expensive.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/apr/17/uk-universities-pay-out-90m-on-staff-gagging-orders-in-past-two-years

We desperately need a charter of academic freedom in the UK (like versions elsewhere...the US version is OK) and, like Scotland, compulsory academic staff representation in top level governance (most English post 92s have no openly elected academic.... those who are elected come from committees with management majorities).

In case people mistake this for a leftist rant the most egregious and expensive cases I've seen were non political middle management departures based on moral disagreement with ill thought through proposed academic policy led by VCs.

Post edited at 11:34
 john arran 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

> Ive been banging on about this for yeras. I defend academics with

Someone appears to have cancelled Offwidth. Should we be pleased or concerned?

 Offwidth 16 Feb 2021
In reply to john arran:

Temporarily self cancelled, no need to worry.

 Bilberry 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

A whiff of irony that you've posted this Alan, having deleted one thread, and threatened to delete another, about the environmental vandalism a climber has wrought at Anstey.

I don't see there's a risk to UKC in those threads remaining public.  It looks like deliberately hiding the turth.

 elsewhere 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

It will be funny if the government end up in the embarrassing position of protecting the rights of IS supporters to speak on campus.

 Offwidth 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

I don't think so. Alan is running a smallish climbing business within legal and financial constraints not a huge newspaper with massive contingency funds and insurance for disputes. Remember Supertopo forums were lost because legal argument became too expensive for the site owners to defend freedom of speech? 

Post edited at 11:40
In reply to Bilberry:

> A whiff of irony that you've posted this Alan, having deleted one thread, and threatened to delete another, about the environmental vandalism a climber has wrought at Anstey.

> I don't see there's a risk to UKC in those threads remaining public.  It looks like deliberately hiding the truth.

Happy to defend that, although I don't want to derail this thread so I will be very brief and invite you to either start another one or contact me directly if you want more.

I have no objection to discussing that issue, however, the prominence of these debates in Google search results means that we have to be careful leaving these 'dirty laundry' discussions up simply because they may be used by those seeking to prevent climbing access as evidence. There are several precedents of this happening. The aim is to allow the debate to run its course, but then to remove the search legacy.

Alan

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Please God don't let it be the serial inadequate Toby Young.

 Bilberry 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Ok.  I also don't want to derail, so only one observation: if access is lost at Anstey then that's probably unwelcome but fair, given the damage.  Deleting the threads impedes the owner getting a fair outcome.  feels like defending the indefensible.

 Ramblin dave 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Is it just me that sees the irony in the government saying that we should hear out ideas that we disagree with and put forward rational arguments to convince people not to follow them, and that's why they're straight-up banning student bodies from adopting no-platform policies?

Particularly in the context of the stuff about heritage bodies, and also the governments Prevent strategy (which is essentially no-platforming radical Islamists on a national level), this does smack of "we can't have lefty students deciding which views are acceptable to discuss - only WE should be deciding which views are acceptable to discuss."

 jkarran 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> Please God don't let it be the serial inadequate Toby Young.

You know it will be.

jk

 mondite 16 Feb 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

I will be sending my demand to be allowed to speak at the tory party conference and complaining when I am no platformed.

Free speech does seem to have been corrupted by some on the right into "Freedom to speak without allowing any right to respond or react".

Parler for example wasnt overly keen on letting those left of centre have free speech and the Free Speech Union didnt seem overly keen on letting students actually have a say in things.

 RentonCooke 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> Please God don't let it be the serial inadequate Toby Young.

Why shouldn't it be?  For better or worse, he has been one of the most outspoken about the issue.  Look at it from the other side: Owen Jones comes across as a whiney pain in the arse with a chip on his shoulder, but that doesn't mean he's also not intelligent, articulate and it is probably exactly those annoying traits that makes him such a tenacious campaigner and a good choice for any quango dedicated to promoting his causes.

Bragg is disingenuous in saying "this is in reaction to the National Trust's recent decision".  That reaction was an understandable result of antipathy to constant references to slavery in every area of life, as if the Atlantic slave trade is in some way its totality.  In the same way pointing to high black crime rates rankles, so does presenting British history as uniquely evil on slavery, and people are naturally getting sick of it.    

People have been experiencing, and trying to draw attention to, cancel culture for years now and the reaction has been denial.  Bragg, of course, can't look beyond his own political ideology, seeing the world in terms of class-war, and the statement "those calling out 'cancel culture' have no interest in the principle of freedom of speech for everyone" is A-grade bullshlt. 

 RentonCooke 16 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

> I will be sending my demand to be allowed to speak at the tory party conference and complaining when I am no platformed.

They're focussing on universities.

> Free speech does seem to have been corrupted by some on the right into "Freedom to speak without allowing any right to respond or react".

Ah.  The "right" are "corrupting" free-speech.

> Parler for example wasnt overly keen on letting those left of centre have free speech and the Free Speech Union didnt seem overly keen on letting students actually have a say in things.

Evidence on either of those claims?

In reply to RentonCooke:

> Why shouldn't it be?  For better or worse, he has been one of the most outspoken about the issue.  Look at it from the other side: Owen Jones comes across as a whiney pain in the arse with a chip on his shoulder, but that doesn't mean he's also not intelligent, articulate and it is probably exactly those annoying traits that makes him such a tenacious campaigner and a good choice for any quango dedicated to promoting his causes.

Yes, but Young possesses none of those qualities you have attributed to Jones. He is merely outspoken. He has a long record of inadequacy: got into Cambridge by the back door and without the right grades; failed to complete his doctorate; mismanaged The Modern Review; got sacked by Vanity Fair; couldn't keep a Headteacher at The West London Free School; had to resign swiftly from the OfS. 

As an ex-Headteacher who ran a large and highly successful state comprehensive for many years, his views on education have always thoroughly dismayed me. His poorly thought-through dog-whistle ideology and needy desire for publicity have given them traction in the press which they do not merit.

But more than all the above, his attempts at blokey humour make me want to barf.

By all means choose an anti-progressive pin-up for the job, but please let it be someone with more brains.

Post edited at 14:12
 Cobra_Head 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Not sure what your point is, is it about:

  • Freedom of speech
  • National Trust
  • Or cancel culture?
  • The rewriting of history
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Bragg is disingenuous in saying "this is in reaction to the National Trust's recent decision".    

.. and you are being disingenuous here. The reaction was to what he says in the previous single paragraph quoting Oliver Dowden, and he is just using it to illustrate the hypocrisy he outlines in the next paragraph. It was Oliver Dowden's reaction he was talking about!

>That reaction was an understandable result of antipathy to constant references to slavery in every area of life, as if the Atlantic slave trade is in some way its totality.  In the same way pointing to high black crime rates rankles, so does presenting British history as uniquely evil on slavery, and people are naturally getting sick of it.

The usual ludicrous hyperbole - "constant references to slavery in every area of life", "British History is uniquely evil on slavery". What world do you live in?

> People have been experiencing, and trying to draw attention to, cancel culture for years now and the reaction has been denial.  Bragg, of course, can't look beyond his own political ideology, seeing the world in terms of class-war, and the statement "those calling out 'cancel culture' have no interest in the principle of freedom of speech for everyone" is A-grade bullshlt. 

Although, unlike you, he does illustrate his point with evidence of Oliver Dowden's hypocrisy. The paradox of Oliver Dowden wanting to open up opinions he agrees with, and shut down ones he doesn't, is the whole point. 

Alan

 mondite 16 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> They're focussing on universities.

Bit selective no?

> Ah.  The "right" are "corrupting" free-speech.

I love the utter dishonesty in just one sentence.  The way you twist "some on the right" to the "right".  Are you simply incapable of any nuance or actively dishonest?

> Evidence on either of those claims?

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200627/23551144803/as-predicted-parler-is-banning-users-it-doesnt-like.shtml

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jan/09/students-quit-free-speech-campaign-over-role-of-toby-young-founded-group

Of course for Parler a seconds thought about the user moderates would have made it clear it wasnt going to end well.

 marsbar 16 Feb 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

> It will be funny if the government end up in the embarrassing position of protecting the rights of IS supporters to speak on campus.

That's the wrong kind of free speech. 

The free speech champion is to protect the rights of old white men to not have to hear about slavery, and to be able to complain about black people on songs of praise and make sure those pesky students don't support BLM.  

Toby Young is probably the perfect twat for the job.  

Post edited at 14:45
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> Not sure what your point is, is it about:
> Freedom of speech
> National Trust
> Or cancel culture?
> The rewriting of history

Well to be fair, it is Billy Bragg's point. I just find it an interesting discussion since it tends to tie both sides in knots.

I am not particularly fond of 'cancel culture' (with the usual caveat against hate speech which can come from both sides of the political divide). There is obviously an issue here, but the timing is suspicious. As Gaby Hinscliff says in the Guardian, "What if a government with little else to offer angry voters tried to start a culture war, only to find itself having a fight in an empty room?"

However, a bigger issue to me seems to be the idea that politicians in the shape of this 'free speech champion' should be the people to oversee who can and can't speak publicly in Universities, especially if the people suggesting this are simultaneously trying to shut down historical facts they don't like.

Alan

Post edited at 14:56
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Let the far right tell us that the Empire was the pinnacle of human achievement and that slavery wasn't all bad, as long as they are willing to cope with almost universal disapprobation from people who know something about history 

Until the Tories start to demonstrate the sort of probity that merits respect don't be surprised if students tell them where they can stick Toby Young or whichever nasty bustard they pick as free speech czar. 

Post edited at 15:56
 birdie num num 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Well from what I’ve read, the Billy Bragg article you paste doesn’t appear to cover it beautifully at all. 
But it’s his own opinion on the subject, which he’s obviously free to express.

 RentonCooke 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> Yes, but Young possesses none of those qualities you have attributed to Jones. He is merely outspoken. He has a long record of inadequacy: got into Cambridge by the back door and without the right grades; failed to complete his doctorate; mismanaged The Modern Review; got sacked by Vanity Fair; couldn't keep a Headteacher at The West London Free School; had to resign swiftly from the OfS. 

That's a bit of a hatchet-job.

Certain Windsors got into the military without adequate grades and still did ok, no shortage of people get into Cambridge who aren't up to scratch (our transition year is a direct acknowledgement of that), and I don't begrudge anyone who doesn't complete a doctorate.  I can't speak to the other items you mention, but his resignation from the OfS was based on not much more than a good bit of outrage culture. 

You don't have to like the guy, I certainly thought he was a clown back in the days when I was a paid-up subscriber to the Grauniad.  But since then, his stance on free-speech has led me to re-evaluate him.  Now I'm strongly of the opinion he simply wound people up who were left of centre, and as a result of doing so every aspect of his past has been wheeled out to define him. Its muck raking.

He created the FSU and has been open about it serving both Left and Right.  If you can pick another name who has any sort of track record in this particular area, by all means I'd like to hear them.  But I don't think Billy Bragg is one to listen to on the matter.

 squarepeg 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

It's difficult enough to listen to Bragg, full stop. 

 RentonCooke 16 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

A student society had a falling out, students were unhappy that it turned out to be linked with the FSU, and this is evidence of FSU is bias and that it is not supportive of the left?  I'm lost.

Have you had any involvement with student societies?  If anything it shows the state of universities, where to even be connected with something like the FSU marks you as being "right-wing" and gets people upset.

Classic Guardian though, flavouring the article with as many triggers as possible (Starkey, Hartley-Brewer, 80% male, 90% white, anti-trans activism, dragging in TY's covid mistakes).  

I wonder how prevalent that was.  A quick google provides ample evidence of Twitter doing likewise.  What was the point exactly?

> I love the utter dishonesty in just one sentence.  The way you twist "some on the right" to the "right".  Are you simply incapable of any nuance or actively dishonest?

The problem I have is with the right being singled out, as if that is where the cancelling is coming from.  Accusations of "corrupting" speech is equally an eye-opener. 

 Duncan Bourne 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Well said

In reply to RentonCooke:

Do you think it is a good idea to have a government-appointed free speech champion to defend freedom of expression on university campuses (and elsewhere one presumes)?

Alan

 mondite 16 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> A student society had a falling out, students were unhappy that it turned out to be linked with the FSU, and this is evidence of FSU is bias and that it is not supportive of the left?  I'm lost.

Lets dive in with an inaccurate representation of what happened.

We have an astroturfed organisation which hides its association to begin with and then makes people feel uncomfortable expressing any views which dont fit with Youngs own.  Remind me how that works alongside free speech?

> I wonder how prevalent that was.  A quick google provides ample evidence of Twitter doing likewise.  What was the point exactly?

I thought it was fairly obvious but to simplify it for you. Its a good case of an platform which is alledgedly for free speech being anything but.

> The problem I have is with the right being singled out, as if that is where the cancelling is coming from.

Apart from the "right" isnt being singled out. A subset of the right is being called out on their hypocrisy about free speech.

> Accusations of "corrupting" speech is equally an eye-opener. 

So after I pointed out you misquoted me you then double down on your misquoting.

Are you being actively dishonest or are you just that far down the rabbit hole?

In reply to RentonCooke:

> Why shouldn't it be?  For better or worse, he has been one of the most outspoken about the issue.

He's also been pretty outspoken on covid.

I suspect his views are equally deranged on both issues...

In reply to RentonCooke:

> That's a bit of a hatchet-job.... I can't speak to the other items you mention...

> You don't have to like the guy, I certainly thought he was a clown back in the days when I was a paid-up subscriber to the Grauniad.  But since then, his stance on free-speech has led me to re-evaluate him.  Now I'm strongly of the opinion he simply wound people up who were left of centre, and as a result of doing so every aspect of his past has been wheeled out to define him. Its muck raking.

> He created the FSU and has been open about it serving both Left and Right.  If you can pick another name who has any sort of track record in this particular area, by all means I'd like to hear them.  But I don't think Billy Bragg is one to listen to on the matter.

It's unfortunate that one of the items you can't speak on is his work in education, since it's exactly this area that means I have no respect for his intellect or integrity. I expect much of any free speech czar's work will be in this area, so I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable with Young in the role. To hold a person accountable for their public statements can hardly be described as "muck raking."

I'll pass on the opportunity to suggest anyone else with a track record in self-aggrandising culture wars initiatives since I believe this post is a cynical and highly politicised manoeuvre. I saw enough of those during my time in education to have lost all patience with such ploys.

I do have a ticket to see Billy Bragg in concert in Birmingham this October and I shall be listening intently - particularly when he does Between The Wars, a song that says more about true British values in three minutes than Young has managed in endless columns of mediocre journalese.

 Offwidth 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

A large proportion of Uni business is STEM. Hence, I'd say the following makes him ineligible:

https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/

 marsbar 16 Feb 2021
 wbo2 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

'The racists charter' seems an appropriate name

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Here's a list of people who have been banned from speaking at a University or similarly "cancelled".

https://www.afaf.org.uk/the-banned-list/

It actually contains a fair spread of people from both left and right which suggests it's not a simple left/right issue. By far the biggest common denominator, though not exclusively, is that they have transgressed so called "woke ideology", a belief system prevalent within our universities but largely absent outside.

Whether you think such transgressions are good or bad is a matter of opinion, the issue is whether someone who has expressed such an opinion should be regarded as too dangerous to be allowed to speak in public, especially if that speaking is actually to take part in a debate in which their views will be matched and challenged by opposing views, or as in many instances, the "offending views" were expressed many years previously or were on a subject matter unrelated to that which the were to have spoken had they not been cancelled.

Most people outside the bubble of academia will find it bizarre that people, many of whom are household names and have spent a lifetime speaking or writing their views publicly and who hail from across the political spectrum should be deemed too dangerous for students to listen to should they so choose. It's not as if students are dragged against their will to listen to these people, they only go out of choice.

Does anyone on here serioulsy think they would be harmed or corrupted in any way by listening to Germain Greer, Trevor Phillips or Ambar Rudd? Or even George Galloway or Peter Hitchens? We can agree or disagree with them, any rational person would probably both agree and disagree with the same person on different issues if they could put aside their tibalism for a moment. There are of course laws banning genuine hate speech and incitement to violence but as Orwell said "freedom of speech means nothing without the right to offend", or has he been cancelled as well?

You may remember that in 2009 Nick Griffin of the BNP was elected an MEP and as a result was granted an appearance on Question Time. It caused much controversy at the time with many arguing he should not be given a platform. Perhaps surprisingly the BBC stood their ground (would they do so today?) and he went on the programme. He made a complete tit of himself and thereafter faded into obscurity, surely a compelling argument in favour of free speech.

 nastyned 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

I've had a quick look and not seen anyone who's been banned and what you're calling "cancelled" seems to be just criticised. 

In reply to pec:

> Does anyone on here serioulsy think they would be harmed or corrupted in any way by listening to Germain Greer, Trevor Phillips or Ambar Rudd? Or even George Galloway or Peter Hitchens?

Prelonged exposure to Galloway or Hitchens puts me in serious danger of self harm.

> You may remember that in 2009 Nick Griffin of the BNP was elected an MEP and as a result was granted an appearance on Question Time.

The funny thing is being elected as an MEP doesn’t normally grant you an appearance on Question Time, unless you are called Nigel.

In reply to nastyned:

I read the first half dozen, but that list does seem to somewhat undermine the idea that no platforming is rampant, even when we know that it does happen sometimes.

In reply to pec:

> By far the biggest common denominator, though not exclusively, is that they have transgressed so called "woke ideology", a belief system prevalent within our universities but largely absent outside.

How much time do you spend in universities. This "belief system" (wtf!) you mention is a bogeyman in your head. The idea academics or students hold any prevalent set of opinions, let alone an entire belief system, is nuts 

That's not to say there aren't issues to be addressed.

In reply to pec:

> Here's a list of people who have been banned from speaking at a University or similarly "cancelled".

It isn’t. I got as far as the first seven, none of whom have been banned or cancelled, except perhaps the one who stood as a candidate for AfD, though with employment disputes the situation is often more complicated than not giving platforms to guest speakers.

For academics, AFAF’s use of the word “banned” is pretty sloppy. In the sense of being pretty much the opposite of the real situation. 


 

 elsewhere 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

From your link the first example is:

John McDonnell and Selina Todd. February 2021 Oxford University Labour Club condemned the former Shadow Chancellor McDonnell for participating in an ‘in conversation’ event on ‘the social mobility myth’ with Professor Todd at the University of Oxford on 11 February. They had called for him and fellow students not to attend.  They claimed that Todd was “a known transphobe” with “a transphobic history”.

That is not a ban. It's not even a call for a ban. It is a call not to attend. That leaves it to the individual to decide to attend or not. In what way is that a ban? As you say, nobody was dragged along against their will but neither were they prevented.

Maybe there was a ban but it is weird not to mention it if that's the issue. 

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

> Prelonged exposure to Galloway or Hitchens puts me in serious danger of self harm.

Are you confessing to being a snowflake? Surely you're made of sterner stuff than that?

> The funny thing is being elected as an MEP doesn’t normally grant you an appearance on Question Time, unless you are called Nigel.

Actually it does (or did) or at least sort of. I can't remember the exact details but something along the lines of the number of seats the BNP won or votes they got gave them the right to put someone on the show.

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

> I read the first half dozen, but that list does seem to somewhat undermine the idea that no platforming is rampant, even when we know that it does happen sometimes.


Well if you only read the first half how do you know? What matters is why people are being no platformed.

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

So the first one on the list wasn't actually banned so clearly all's absolutely fine in our universities, nothing of concern whatsoever.

 Stuart William 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> Well if you only read the first half how do you know? What matters is why people are being no platformed.

Not really. “Why is it happening?” becomes a bit of a silly question if it’s not actually happening.

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> It isn’t. I got as far as the first seven, none of whom have been banned or cancelled,

Perhaps you should have read further?

> For academics, AFAF’s use of the word “banned” is pretty sloppy. In the sense of being pretty much the opposite of the real situation. 

Banned, cancelled, uninvited, sacked, whatever.

So the headline 'banned' doesn't accurately describe every case so clearly there's no problem at all, what's all the fuss about?

In reply to RentonCooke:

> But since then, his stance on free-speech has led me to re-evaluate him. 

What was your evaluation of this?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55676037

The guy spreads misinformation when the potential consequences are life and death. If you trust someone with that attitude to the dissemination of information to the public, you've had the wool pulled over your eyes.

Post edited at 22:39
 Mr Lopez 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> So the first one on the list wasn't actually banned so clearly all's absolutely fine in our universities, nothing of concern whatsoever.

The second in the list wasn't banned either

The Union of Jewish Students and the Jewish Board of Deputies called for his ‘no platforming’ because Loach had “…repeatedly been accused of and has been an apologist for antisemitism”. The College stood firm saying that ‘no-platforming’ is not “…the way to pursue [the] goals of a free and open academic community”. The event went ahead.

In reply to pec:

> Perhaps you should have read further?

When I get 7 names down a list entitled ‘banned’, and none of the 7 have been banned, I don’t feel any obligation to read further.

> Banned, cancelled, uninvited, sacked, whatever.

> So the headline 'banned' doesn't accurately describe every case so clearly there's no problem at all, what's all the fuss about?

The headline ‘banned’ doesn’t accurately describe any of the cases. None were ‘cancelled’, as they all gave their talks, published their articles, kept their honours. Some people weren’t happy about that, and said so, but it didn’t change anything.

I though you were in favour of free speech? Are people to be banned from speaking out about things they find offensive? Are you proposing cancel culture, for people that disagree with you?

Post edited at 22:48
 elsewhere 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> So the first one on the list wasn't actually banned so clearly all's absolutely fine in our universities, nothing of concern whatsoever.

You'd think they'd start with a strong example when trying to make a case.

Is there a list of bans somewhere?

In reply to pec:

> Most people outside the bubble of academia will find it bizarre that people, many of whom are household names and have spent a lifetime speaking or writing their views publicly and who hail from across the political spectrum should be deemed too dangerous for students to listen to should they so choose. It's not as if students are dragged against their will to listen to these people, they only go out of choice.

The point is hidden under here somewhere.

When a speaker is "no platformed" at a university event, it's a protest. I agree that it's a crap form of protest and looks pathetic. But all the people protested in this way haven't been silenced - their books and articles are still published, their blogs are still online, they still appear on TV. Being protested in this way will usually bring them more attention, and the anti-woke bandwagon is a very popular one.

The issue is nothing to do with free speech; free speech is being used as a fig-leaf by the right to counter-protest what they see as "woke ideology". Anyone who can't see through this move is just being conned, again.

Post edited at 23:04
In reply to elsewhere:

> You'd think they'd start with a strong example when trying to make a case

That's what I thought; if you're trying to make a list of people who 'have been banned from speaking', you'd think they'd start with people who actually have been banned...

 mondite 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> Here's a list of people who have been banned from speaking at a University or similarly "cancelled".

As others have pointed out they seem to be stretching the definition of banned so far as to be meaningless as most of the bans are "people complaining" as opposed to being banned.

Exactly what is the proposal here? That people should be banned from complaining and protesting?

It also seems to mix up peoples right to free speech with additional rights, privileges or even employment.

To take David Nutt and his sacking. Whilst it would be nice for politicans to pay attention to scientists as opposed to the tabloids when it comes to drugs I dont think it is really a free speech issue for the politicans to decide not to employ him on a drugs committee. Stupid yes but free speech?

> By far the biggest common denominator, though not exclusively, is that they have transgressed so called "woke ideology", a belief system prevalent within our universities but largely absent outside.

As far as I can tell its mostly prevalent inside a subset of right wingers heads and a handful of centre left people who arent overly fond of anyone further left of them beyond getting their votes.

> He made a complete tit of himself and thereafter faded into obscurity, surely a compelling argument in favour of free speech.

Couple of things here.

Firstly you are mixing up free speech with being given a platform.

Secondly just because he was a buffoon doesnt really mean much. More talented individuals have benefited from being given the additional platforms to speak from.

 Offwidth 16 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Yes that's the one.

I'll look at the banned list later if I have time but most I recognise were not no platformed.... as I said almost no-one has been, in a true use of the word. A lot were victims of senior management cowardice, at least one broke disciplinary regulations.

Pec is right that English Universities are broken but for the wrong reasons: the vast majority of the cases,  hundreds every year, have lost their job through just standing up to senior management on academic matters. You don't get a big payout and a gagging order for a standard clear-cut disciplinary offence unless in senior management. Getting on for a hundred million pounds cost in two years in our Unis should be a national scandal, unlike this bogus obsession with no platforming. That Guardian figure isn't all Unis, as some refused to respond to the FOI request.

 seankenny 16 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

So you’d be good with a pro-ISIS cleric giving a speech to a university Islamic society?

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> When I get 7 names down a list entitled ‘banned’, and none of the 7 have been banned, I don’t feel any obligation to read further.

> The headline ‘banned’ doesn’t accurately describe any of the cases. None were ‘cancelled’, as they all gave their talks, published their articles, kept their honours.

If you could be bothered to read beyond the first seven you'll find it does. The list contains people who were banned from speaking, sacked, suspended and arrested and many examples of where pressure was excerted to bring about these things.

> I though you were in favour of free speech? Are people to be banned from speaking out about things they find offensive? Are you proposing cancel culture, for people that disagree with you?

What on earth are you talking about? Are you pissed are just lack the ability to read with understanding?

 Andrew Wells 16 Feb 2021

"Woke" view, which is a shirty way of saying progressive viewpoints friendly to BLM, LGBTQ rights etc don't just exist at universities.

I'm not fully made up on the free speech at unis front but the Tory government is the last place I'd go for an opinion of it.

They're just using the cancelling, culture war etc stuff to try and cause division and recrimination on the left, distract from their dreadful policies etc. 

And it will work to an extent because there is a cultural division on the left, between rather socially conservative older Labour voters, and the younger ones for whom "woke" progressive identity politics are a serious article of faith. It is hard for them to budge on the issue when they see it as compromise on transphobia and institutionalised racism. That as a country the left and right are infested with TERFs makes it even worse. The Tories would love a trans rights culture war.

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When a speaker is "no platformed" at a university event, it's a protest. I agree that it's a crap form of protest and looks pathetic.

That's because it is pathetic and it does those doing it no favours, quite the opposite.

> But all the people protested in this way haven't been silenced - their books and articles are still published, their blogs are still online, they still appear on TV.

But they were silenced at the event from which they were banned/no platformed etc.

> Being protested in this way will usually bring them more attention, and the anti-woke bandwagon is a very popular one.

Which is why it's idiotic and counterproductive

> The issue is nothing to do with free speech; free speech is being used as a fig-leaf by the right to counter-protest what they see as "woke ideology".

So why are there so many on the left falling prey to the howling intolerance of the woke brigade?

 pec 16 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

> So you’d be good with a pro-ISIS cleric giving a speech to a university Islamic society?


If you'd read what I wrote you'll see I said there are laws preventing genuine hate speech and incitement to violence.

 Stuart William 17 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> But they were silenced at the event from which they were banned/no platformed etc.

Only insofar as one might imagine Richard Dawkins being “no platformed” from Sunday Mass at the Vatican.

Although looking at the AFAF list the better comparison might be that he led Sunday Mass, but the pope writes a strongly worded letter about it afterwards. 

In reply to pec:

We agree about no-platforming being stupid.

> So why are there so many on the left falling prey to the howling intolerance of the woke brigade?

The issues that are protested aren't left/right issues. They're not about the size of the state, taxes and public ownership. There's quite a few trans issues in there, antisemitism and covid stuff.

Framing the disagreements as concerning "free speech" is misdirection. Rather than make the actual argument someone who has been no-platformed is promoting (it makes zero difference whether they spoke at an event in person or not, they can publish their views online to an audience several orders of magnitude greater), the conversation changes to:

"The other side, The Wokes, is bad because they are against freedom of speech. If they are bad, then I must be good, because I am not them. Therefore my argument is right".

So without even making an argument, someone who has been accused of e.g. transphobia, whether rightly or wrongly, gets to claim to their audience, that they are right, and they are a victim. As you demonstrate, their audience laps it up. All they have to do is jump on board the anti-woke bandwagon, and hey presto, their ideas gain trust and gravitas. 

I absolutely agree that daft students shouldn't protest in this way, it's counterproductive to their causes.

So if the issues aren't left/right, why is it the right, and not the left, that are so keen on the freedom of speech/anti-woke bandwagon?

Because the right has to lie to make its case. Brexit: all lies. Who's big on freedom of speech, oh look, it's Claire Fox of the Brexit Party. Anti-lockdown: all lies. Who's big on freedom of speech, oh look, it's Toby Young who likes lying about covid.

Being pro "freedom of speech" comes in really handy if you want to be able to lie without consequences. It's a fig leaf, and you've been conned, again.

Post edited at 00:15
 mondite 17 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> If you'd read what I wrote you'll see I said there are laws preventing genuine hate speech and incitement to violence.


That doesnt actually answer their question. Since it is perfectly possible that cleric could stay the right side of the law with a few nudge nudge wink wink comments.

Although even ignoring that you are going to run into problems. Who defines what hate speech is?

In reply to pec:

> If you could be bothered to read beyond the first seven you'll find it does. The list contains people who were banned from speaking, sacked, suspended and arrested and many examples of where pressure was excerted to bring about these things

So you say. But since we’ve established that the people who made the list are comfortable with lying in order to make their point, I’m inclined to regard the rest of their claims as suspect too. You only get one chance to establish a reputation for honesty, this source has blown theirs. 

> What on earth are you talking about? Are you pissed are just lack the ability to read with understanding?

You appear to be struggling to understand what you’ve written. Let’s try again: your list of ‘banned’ people is nothing of the sort. It’s a list of people who faced ineffective protests. Yet you appear to object even to this- and to be advocating that this should not be allowed. So you want to no-platform the people that are calling for no-platforming. Free speech, but only for people that say things you agree with.


You don’t do irony, do you..?

 Tom V 17 Feb 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

>  None were ‘cancelled’, as they all gave their talks, published their articles, kept their honours. 

Reading further would have given you a more accurate  assessment than the one you gave in that sentence( unless you are only commenting on the first seven)

Around twenty had their invitations to speak rescinded or had their talks cancelled or "postponed". Several others were sacked or had positions taken away from them. 

I think the justification for not having Dawkins as a speaker is quite telling: the Trinity College Historical Society  uninvited him because "the comfort of our membership is paramount".

Post edited at 08:48
In reply to pec:

There seems to be general agreement that 'cancelling' people is a problem although on how big a problem it is, there is less consensus.

Assuming it is a problem though, do you think that a government-appointed 'champion' is a good way to police it?

Alan

 wbo2 17 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> If you could be bothered to read beyond the first seven you'll find it does. The list contains people who were banned from speaking, sacked, suspended and arrested and many examples of where pressure was excerted to bring about these things.

Why don't you actually provide a list of those then instead of this nonsense?

 wintertree 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Bit of a misnomer to call it free speech.  

Offering someone a platform, or not, is unrelated to their ability to speak freely.

Universities are in an unusual position and the issue around them offering platforms is important, complicated and contentious.  I somehow doubt the current government have a very symmetric view of this.  University senior managements are largely driven by concerns over institutional reputation and funding over freedom of thought and expression - and that is a far wider problem than some large group debating societies not being able to get a far right wing view point in to their chambers.  I see no sign the government are at all interested in resolving the issues of freedom - and the accompanying responsibility - in the various higher profile platforms created by the university system, nor in the difficulty of balancing those against the increasingly business driven structure of universities.  

This just looks like a sideshow to me to appeal to a certain part of their fan base, a bit of a distraction from current events.  Judging by the direction this thread has taken, it’s going to go down well with the target audience.

In reply to wintertree:

You are right of course, this isn't a good-faith proposal.  However, there are problems.  One of which the government is ignoring is how this proposal clashes with the "Prevent" legislation which requires universities to risk assess speakers before they can talk.

https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/student-wellbeing-and-protection/counter-terrorism-the-prevent-duty/

This typically requires speakers to outline what they will say beforehand, which even if they aren't planning on being controversial is a big disincentive to turning up.

Post edited at 09:16
 Offwidth 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Tom V:

So what has that got to do with the UK? Dawkins has also been cancelled multiple times in the US, including from Berkley.

 pec 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> There seems to be general agreement that 'cancelling' people is a problem although on how big a problem it is, there is less consensus.

There seems to be a general agreement on here that anything proposed or supported by the right must inherently be wrong and therefore casually dismissed. A good proportion of the people on that list are clearly anything but right wing and many are just as concerned about freedom of speech as the right are. That the left have surrendered the moral high ground to the right on this issue should be a cause for concern not complacency, but hey, a problem ignored is a problem solved.

If people can't be arsed to read beyond the first few names on the list before leaping in to judgement, despite having been told several times that the first few names don't represent the whole list and prefer to shoot the messenger because "banned" doesn't accurately represent the injustice committed in each and every case rather than engage in actual thought about the issue then I'm afraid I can't be arsed to debate with them any longer.

> Assuming it is a problem though, do you think that a government-appointed 'champion' is a good way to police it?

I think that far and away the best way forward would be for universities to police it themselves. Since they have failed to do so for quite some time and no show no signs of doing so, the problem is only getting worse, then they've only themselves to blame for having a solution imposed upon them.

Maybe it will act as the kick up the arse they need to get their house in order?

Anyway, for those who can actually be bothered to engage in the debate here's a flavour of what one of the victims of cancel culture has to say about it, but you'll have to listen for a whole 3mins 53 secs

https://unherd.com/thepost/trevor-philips-freedom-of-speech-is-about-protecting-minorities/

For those who's attention span doesn't extend beyond reading the first seven names on a list you can just ignore him because he's obviously the wrong type of left wing free speech supporter.

Post edited at 09:57
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> That as a country the left and right are infested with TERFs makes it even worse. The Tories would love a trans rights culture war.

I’m on the left but probably someone you’d describe as a TERF, ie I’ve a lot of time for feminist writers like Suzanne Moore, Sarah Ditum and Germaine Greer. Not because I hate trans people, but because I believe female oppression is in part rooted in biology. Plus various safeguarding issues.

Anyhow, my philosophical reasons are by the by. I really want to object to your use of the word “infested”. We all know that’s a word usually associated with insects and rodents. And we all should know that calling your political adversaries insects is a classic dehumanising tactic used by those who go on to commit political violence. As such, alluding to people you disagree with as an “infestation” should have no place in a civilised political discussion.

Please think harder about what you say in future. 

 mondite 17 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> There seems to be a general agreement on here that anything proposed or supported by the right must inherently be wrong and therefore casually dismissed.

You seem to have difficulty reading and a rather large persecution complex. Can you try being less of a snowflake and be able to engage in more robust debate?

> That the left have surrendered the moral high ground to the right on this issue should be a cause for concern not complacency, but hey, a problem ignored is a problem solved.

People are challenging certain sections of the right to claim the moral highground about cancellations. It has been a weapon for certain sections of the right for years just think about McCarthyism, the vetting of BBC staff and so on. 

> For those who's attention span doesn't extend beyond reading the first seven names on a list

If you cant produce a list without filling it with chaff why should it be taken seriously?

In reply to pec:

> There seems to be a general agreement on here that anything proposed or supported by the right must inherently be wrong and therefore casually dismissed. 

But that isn't what's happened. There has been general agreement that no-platforming speakers is a bad thing, and that there are problems with the culture of university campuses with respect to this.

That's not casually dismissed, is it?

Then, the lies told by those claiming to be defending "free speech" have been shown, and better, more compelling explanations of what motivates the so-called "free speech" agenda have been given.

That's not casually dismissed either.

I've listened to the arguments and think they're bullshit, and I've told you why. Fine, hold the belief that you and the notorious bullshit merchant Toby Young are fighting some noble battle and you're on the moral high ground. I think it's bullshit and I can give you good reasons why, nothing's being casually dismissed. Perhaps you're the one incapable of listening to another viewpoint?

 Offwidth 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Spot on.

I've found the old BBC fact check from when this last became a government obsession, under Jo Johnson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-45447938

Amber Rudd (of 'that list', 'cancelled' by a student group) is sceptical on the need for these latest government plans today. Rudd's case illustrates the farce that student politics can become.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/06/amber-rudd-hits-out-at-rude-oxford-students-after-talk-cancelled

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/06/free-speech-row-at-oxford-university-after-amber-rudd-talk-cancelled

Post edited at 10:24
In reply to pec:

> Assuming it is a problem though, do you think that a government-appointed 'champion' is a good way to police it?

> I think that far and away the best way forward would be for universities to police it themselves.

So that is you disagreeing with an idea proposed by a right-wing government then? Just checking.

Alan

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I've been persuaded by the arguments made in the thread that I was wrong to suggest Toby Young wouldn't be the right person for this post. He now seems like an ideal candidate. The appointment of someone with such a gift for repeated failure should ensure that the post rapidly becomes mired in confusion and loses all credibility.

 neilh 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

We could do with our version of the American Civil Liberites Union in the UK. Interestingly it takes on a surprising number of right wing cases including defending the rights of free speech for Nazi assemblies in Charlottesville a couple of years ago.It tries to be balanced in its approach and often this is not recognised by either side.People think of it as left wing and liberal.

 elsewhere 17 Feb 2021
In reply to pec:

> For those who's attention span doesn't extend beyond reading the first seven names on a list

Funnily enough you didn't mention that the first on the list was a duff example when you posted the link so your attention span didn't seem to have extended to first on the list.

Does your opinion change in response to new information when finding non-bans on the list you supplied?

When the current equivalent of Abu Hamza or Anjem Choudary carefully skirts the edges of the law about what they say and sues a university to cause political embarrassment will you be cheering them on? 

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

When it comes to TERFs I'm pretty aggressively intolerant. These are people who take part in the oppression and dehumanisation of one of the most discriminated against groups of people in society. I haven't any time for them. 

That said, my intention isn't to suggest they aren't people. They are. Just dreadful people. So you can consider your point heard but just want to confirm what regard I have for these types.

Post edited at 11:17
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> When it comes to TERFs I'm pretty aggressively intolerant. These are people who take part in the oppression and dehumanisation of one of the most discriminated against groups of people in society. I haven't any time for them. 

> That said, my intention isn't to suggest they aren't people. They are. Just dreadful people. So you can consider your point heard but just want to confirm what regard I have for these types.


If you're reducing someone to a "type" for having an opinion, you've already started down the path of bringing unacceptable levels of aggression into the discussion. Women being told to "suck my lady dick" by trans activists is the sort of abuse I'm talking about. Not to mention losing their jobs for having an opinion; men can get threatened by that sort of thing.

Bear in mind that the pro-trans movement can see someone write "I know a self-described transsexual woman who's wonderful" and be accused of hate speech, so the bar is set pretty low. But that's what aggressive intolerance does for one's sense of proportion.

Anyhow I hope in future, now we've had this discussion, that you don't refer to people who disagree with you as an "infestation", and I hope that Alan sees this for the hate speech that it is and takes action accordingly.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

I'm happy to say that I judge people for the opinions they hold. We all do that. If they hold an opinion that I feel is morally reprehensible, then they are going to get judged harshly.

If TERFs don't want to be insulted and told they're terrible people then they should, well, be less terrible people tbh. These people are transphobes and if you are a transphobe then you're the type of person I haven't any time for. That's just how it is. Same with, I dunno. Stalinists or White Supremacists or whatever. 

Post edited at 11:50
In reply to Offwidth:

> So what has that got to do with the UK? Dawkins has also been cancelled multiple times in the US, including from Berkley.

For rather different reasons, I suspect.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> If TERFs don't want to be insulted and told they're terrible people then they should, well, be less terrible people tbh. 

I think anyone using that particular term should be obliged to define what they think it means before proceeding with the rest of their argument.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> If TERFs don't want to be insulted and told they're terrible people then they should, well, be less terrible people tbh. These people are transphobes and if you are a transphobe then you're the type of person I haven't any time for. That's just how it is. Same with, I dunno. Stalinists or White Supremacists or whatever. 

Are you sure most aren't simply people who think those born women and those who transition have different experiences and needs?  I.e. not at all hateful or terrible.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

"...the rejection of the assertion that trans women are women, the exclusion of trans women from women's spaces, and opposition to transgender rights legislation." 

Seems pretty reasonable as a definition to me.

 Jim Lancs 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> I'm happy to say that I judge people for the opinions they hold. We all do that. If they hold an opinion that I feel is morally reprehensible, then they are going to get judged harshly.

Perhaps it would help when embarking on your morale crusade if you avoided using terminology like 'infestation' that has a very long association with hate speech from fascist agitators. People still put store by the maxim "if it walks like a fascist, talks like a fascist . . . '

In reply to seankenny:

Don't make the mistake of thinking that TERF viewpoints are free from abuse, while pro trans rights campaigners are the ones being uncivil.

In 1989 (so no claims of "they started started it" please), Germaine Greer wrote:

On the day that The Female Eunuch was issued in America, a person in flapping draperies rushed up to me and grabbed my hand. “Thank you,” it breathed hoarsely, “Thank you so much for all you’ve done for us girls!” I smirked and nodded and stepped backward, trying to extricate my hand from the enormous, knuckly, hairy, be-ringed paw that clutched it. The face staring into mine was thickly coated with pancake make-up through which the stubble was already burgeoning, in futile competition with a Dynel wig of immense luxuriance and two pairs of false eyelashes. Against the bony ribs that could be counted through its flimsy scarf dress swung a polished steel women’s liberation emblem. I should have said, “You’re a man. The Female Eunuch has done less than nothing for you. Piss off.” 

Spot any dehumanising language there? Like the use of "it" and "paw"?

Easy to assume that Greer would be above this nakedly hateful abuse, but I'm afraid not. Maybe this "debate" is not about "believing in biological sex" (who could disagree with that?) but there's something else entirely going on?

 Offwidth 17 Feb 2021
 Cobra_Head 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

There are taboo subject here on UKC though, Israel, anti-Semitism, have both had threads pulled, even when they've been within reasonable boundaries, so there isn't freedom of speech on here.

 Offwidth 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

I think you will find with a search that Israel and anti-Semitism are some of the most popular archived discussion topics here.  Even for threads that have gone (usually via the pub) you are just being simplistic, the cause is much more about behaviour than the subject.

Post edited at 12:08
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> There are taboo subject here on UKC though, Israel, anti-Semitism, have both had threads pulled, even when they've been within reasonable boundaries, so there isn't freedom of speech on here.

There isn't absolute freedom of speech anywhere. What you can say is always constrained by the law, by contractual agreement (e.g. on here, at work) or social convention. 

Why should this website have to publish whatever you've got to say, if the people who run it think that doing so is against their interests? Who says that what you consider "reasonable boundaries" is the correct judgment? 

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

The problem is that these people often put themselves across as being reasonable but then when you behind the curtain, they tend to show some shockingly dreadful views. If they were compassionately saying "let's look at this objectively" then I'd disagree with them but a dialogue could exist but in reality all they need is a little push and they start coming out with disgustingly transphobic comments.

They're also, I would say, often very homophobic and seem to have a view that all men are rapists. The whole bathroom access thing exemplary of this; it's always given as a big problem with self-ID, then self-identified women will get access to women's bathrooms yet not one TERF has ever given me an example of this ever actually happening in real life. Because it's just reactionary transphobia. I'd point out none of these people really give a f*ck about trans men other than some bollocks about "lost lesbian sisters." The whole thing is just anti transwomen reactionary discrimination with a veneer of appeals to pseudoscience and respectability. 

In reply to MG:

> Are you sure most aren't simply people who think those born women and those who transition have different experiences and needs?  I.e. not at all hateful or terrible.

Do you think that's what greer was saying? Or is greer an outlier example in an otherwise totally benign movement? 

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> "...the rejection of the assertion that trans women are women, the exclusion of trans women from women's spaces, and opposition to transgender rights legislation." 

> Seems pretty reasonable as a definition to me.

Do you think there are acceptable feminists?

Where does JK Rowling fit into your spectrum?

Alan 

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Don't make the mistake of thinking that TERF viewpoints are free from abuse, while pro trans rights campaigners are the ones being uncivil.

Of course, all sides in debates can descend into abuse and like you, I found some of the phrases in your Greer quote dehumanising and unpleasant. She's very much a shock-jock, but her underlying idea - that biology is a key part of the oppression of women - is one I agree with.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> "...the rejection of the assertion that trans women are women, the exclusion of trans women from women's spaces, and opposition to transgender rights legislation." 

Is there an 'and/or' between those requirements or does a TERF need to conform to all of them?

I suspect I'm also going to need a definition of 'women'

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Sure I do, I'd describe myself as a feminist and I'd even argue that a majority of feminists are trans positive. I'd personally say that you can't be a transphobe and a feminist too, that's something that a lot of feminist writers have said and I think it makes logical sense, in the same way you can't be a race supremacist and a feminist, either you're for the liberation of all people from the patriarchal power structures of society or you aren't.

JK Rowling is a TERF. She has said she isn't, but Donald Trump said he wasn't a racist, Katie Hopkins said she wasn't a racist... these people always say that. And they get all offended that people have said it, but you know, they are. Rowling has said transphobic things and then doubled down on it. It's unfortunate and highly disappointing, but it is what she said and is.

In reply to seankenny:

> Of course, all sides in debates can descend into abuse and like you, I found some of the phrases in your Greer quote dehumanising and unpleasant. She's very much a shock-jock,

Shall we categorise the abusive trans activists the same way? 

> but her underlying idea - that biology is a key part of the oppression of women - is one I agree with.

And who disagrees with this? What have they said? What were they trying to achieve? 

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I'd say an or, myself.

As for the definition of woman, I'm afraid I am personally out of my academic depth to go deeply into such a heavily debated topic in which I am by no means an expert. But I would say that it is a self-identity. You are a woman if you belive you are, you just might not be a cisgendered woman i.e assigned female at birth. This is my understanding from reading and listening to the words of trans positive feminist academics.

I would say though that again, TERFs are not compassionate and intellectual academics and activists. They're reactionary transphobes who call themselves that to cover their vitriol. 

Post edited at 12:28
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> If TERFs don't want to be insulted and told they're terrible people then they should, well, be less terrible people tbh. These people are transphobes and if you are a transphobe then you're the type of person I haven't any time for. That's just how it is. Same with, I dunno. Stalinists or White Supremacists or whatever. 

I'm of the opinion that flinging TERF around is akin to "Zio", that popular term of anti-semitic abuse that the left indulge in. Most feminists I've read take the line that trans people have rights, but rights are rarely absolute: if I come on UKC and make some racist statement, I lose my right to speak freely on this website. Indeed I mix that racism with threats and I might lose my freedoms, which is a pretty serious loss of rights. That's how it is, people's rights have to be balanced. That's what this thread is about.

I have no idea why many people - particularly men on the left - feel that women talking about balancing competing rights means they are indulging in hate speech and must be shut down. Is there some kind of tradition in our society that says women who disagree with men must be silenced?

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Shall we categorise the abusive trans activists the same way? 

I said she's abusive and unpleasant, and does this to get attention for her ideas - hence the "shock jock" description. That's how she markets her ideas.

I'm not sure "suck on my lady dick" is really marketing any ideas, rather than simply refashioning a misogynistic statement for the 21st century.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Do you think that's what greer was saying? Or is greer an outlier example in an otherwise totally benign movement? 

No, that sounds pretty horrible. But yes I do think Greer is an outlier.  Most people simply don't think that way.  I'd say, if they consider things at all, people typically regard trans people as marginalised and deserving support, but not the same as those born male/female.   I don't think this position deserves being labelled hateful bigots.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

Well there is of course, but I would say that the actual core of indignation when it comes to TERFs are trans woman who are actively oppressed by them.

Also I'd agree with you that TERF is a pejorative. So is "racist," these things are words for people with dreadful views... to be called one is inherently insulting.

Balancing rights is important. The right to self identify as the gender you are, however, is a very reasonable one that TERFs hate, because they're transphobic. Which is a terrible reason to restrict rights. 

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> I would say though that again, TERFs are not compassionate and intellectual academics and activists. They're reactionary transphobes who call themselves that to cover their vitriol. 

Translation of the words of a feminist: The women who disagree with me are insects who lack compassion and intellect.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

I am sure transphobes have various personality flaws, we all do. That they are transphobes is sufficient enough for me to suggest they lack compassion, but however they arrived at their poisonous hateful views is immaterial; those views are poisonous and hateful.

I'll be honest with you, I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to do at this point. Is this argument just going in circles? You haven't actually provided any argument against what I'm saying, just that you don't like my tone. Which; fair, not that it concerns me, but it's not much of a counterpoint.

Post edited at 12:39
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> As for the definition of woman, I'm afraid I am personally out of my academic depth to go deeply into such a heavily debated topic in which I am by no means an expert.

OK, although I think I'd be a bit circumspect about bandying about a term I couldn't really define.  You end up just having to accept someone else's endorsement that it's a Bad Thing.  

> But I would say that it is a self-identity.  

I'm sure that's part of it.  I'm also sure that the lack of a Y chromosome is also quite a big part of it.  Not sure what that makes me.  A biologist, perhaps.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Unless one is an expert in everything under the sun, then you have to do that all the time. And since neither you, nor I, nor anyone else is such an expert, we all need to take it on good faith that the experts have come to good solid logical conclusions. In this particular case; what exactly gender is not entirely agreed on by academics. But I am happy enough to say that one can identify as a woman, or a man, or neither etc, and that this is as valid as my own identity as a man, so I've no real basis to dispute.

Post edited at 12:44
In reply to MG:

> No, that sounds pretty horrible. But yes I do think Greer is an outlier.  Most people simply don't think that way. 

I didn't imply that they do. I am implying that the TERF/"gender critical" viewpoint is riddled with exactly this attitude, and is then passed off as being whiter than white (us, transphobic? no no, we just think that biological sex is real) in the face of the horrible, abusive "trans activists".

I'm saying that this is complete misrepresentation, anyone who believes it is buying into a myth.

> I'd say, if they consider things at all, people typically regard trans people as marginalised and deserving support, but not the same as those born male/female.   I don't think this position deserves being labelled hateful bigots.

You're confusing whether we're talking about "people typically" or TERFs. I'm talking about TERFs: my question was "is greer an outlier example in an otherwise totally benign movement?"

 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

If I have it clear, it would seem that transwomen are allowed and encouraged to define their unique experience and organise accordingly, but if natal women do the same then that is bigotry.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> Without any sense of irony, Sir John Hayes, chair of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs (yes, really) spoke in favour of the "free speech champion" stating that "without the ability to speak freely soon we will not have the ability to think freely". 

Did I really read Common Sense in the sane sentence as referring to a political party.  The word irony is a bit tame for that 🤣

The world (U.K.) has gone to far on political correctness, I’m sure the majority of the population agree yet nothing changes. Too much money is made by the wrong people exploiting this area. 
 

Post edited at 12:48
In reply to seankenny:

> I said she's abusive and unpleasant, and does this to get attention for her ideas - hence the "shock jock" description. That's how she markets her ideas.

> I'm not sure "suck on my lady dick" is really marketing any ideas, rather than simply refashioning a misogynistic statement for the 21st century.

Did someone write an article in a national newspaper that concluded "suck my lady dick"? Who said it? What was the context?

You seem to think you're making a fair comparison. I think you're struggling to support your preconception that TERFs have a reasonable position and are under attack from unreasonable, abusive trans activists. 

That's the story, and I'm asking: on what basis do you believe it to be true?

In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> If I have it clear, it would seem that transwomen are allowed and encouraged to define their unique experience and organise accordingly, but if natal women do the same then that is bigotry.

I don't understand what you mean. 

Who said "it is bigotry if natal women define their unique experience and organise accordingly"? When? Why? What were they trying to achieve?

In reply to Jon Stewart:

If you define TERF as a hateful bigot, obviously you are correct.  It seems generally to mean more like, anyone who regards trans people as anything but indistinguishable from those born male/female. See Andrew's definition above. 

In reply to MG:

> If you define TERF as a hateful bigot, obviously you are correct. 

Let's let them define themselves as "gender critical feminists". That's who we're talking about. Not "women" or "feminists" or "people typically". 

> It seems generally to mean more like, anyone who regards trans people as anything but indistinguishable from those born male/female. See Andrew's definition above. 

It seems like that, because you haven't listened to the different viewpoints, you've just swallowed a misrepresentation.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> But I am happy enough to say that one can identify as a woman, or a man, or neither etc,

Absolutely.  Anyone can decide how they wish to be addressed, how they dress and behave and have the right not be discriminated against on that basis, and the expectation that others will treat them with respect and, ideally, kindness.  

> and that this is as valid as my own identity as a man, so I've no real basis to dispute.

This is obviously a bit more problematic.  It depends on the context.  In most normal social and business situations, you are probably right, but legally and scientifically it can't be true that anyone can change their biological identity simply by saying so, certainly not their genetic identity.  Having said that, I completely accept the non-binary nature of biological gender, and scientific and legal definitions are only really relevant in scientific and legal contexts.  

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It seems like that, because you haven't listened to the different viewpoints, you've just swallowed a misrepresentation.

What do you think I have wrong?  I pretty sure that the view I outlined above ("trans people as marginalised and deserving support, but not the same as those born male/female.") said openly in many contexts would be labelled bigoted and hateful.   Do you think it wouldn't, or that it is indeed hateful?

Post edited at 13:28
 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

Trans people readily say they are distinguishable from cis women; they are transgender, not cisgender. The problem is the women element; trans women are treated as having a less valid identity as a woman by TERFs. 

Personally I consider a trans man to be as valid a man as me, a cis man. They can take a piss in the same public restroom as me, they can enter the same sporting comps as me, they can, I dunno, compete for GQ's Man of the Year award if they like. They are a Man. I am a Man. Both of us are Men. Lads lads lads etc.

TERFs say that trans women aren't as valid as they are. That their identity is lacking because they are trans (often this is tied up in pseudo-scientific definitions; you haven't menstruated so you aren't a real woman, never mind that plenty of cis women haven't menstruated, and they don't have any problem with them being in the women's restroom). And that is why they are transphobic, not that they say there's a difference because there objectively is a difference between trans and cis, but because they say the difference reduces the validity of trans women's identity as a woman.

Post edited at 13:22
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> but because they say the difference reduces the validity of trans women's identity as a woman.

OK.  Is that so terrible?  It seems a reasonable viewpoint to me even if you don't agree, and it's certainly not inherently hateful.

I don't think I've met someone who's transitioned woman>man, but I suspect I wouldn't see them as male in the same sense as other men.  That wouldn't mean I'd see them as inferior or hold anything against them.  I'd just see them as different, and wouldn't take kindly to being  abused for that.

Post edited at 13:31
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Did someone write an article in a national newspaper that concluded "suck my lady dick"? Who said it? What was the context?

> You seem to think you're making a fair comparison. I think you're struggling to support your preconception that TERFs have a reasonable position and are under attack from unreasonable, abusive trans activists. 

> That's the story, and I'm asking: on what basis do you believe it to be true?

What basis? I believe the many women I read who say they’ve been abused by trans activists, including death and rape threats. I was under the impression that believing women when they say they’ve been abused is generally a good thing...

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

It is a terrible thing to do to lessen someone's identity, yes. That is a transphobic position to take. 

 Cobra_Head 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There isn't absolute freedom of speech anywhere. What you can say is always constrained by the law, by contractual agreement (e.g. on here, at work) or social convention. 

I realise that, but providing people are being civil (on the whole) then it seems a bit rich to complain about FOS and stifle it.

> Why should this website have to publish whatever you've got to say, if the people who run it think that doing so is against their interests? Who says that what you consider "reasonable boundaries" is the correct judgment? 


I'm not saying it should, simply I know people who were warned not to start another thread on certain subjects.

They can obviously do what they like, it's their web site, just seems weird to be worried about FOS and then not follow through, or maybe some subjects are too controversial.

I don't really know I wasn't directly involved, but I was party to the discussion at the time and while a few people went too far, it seemed, the subject then became a no-go area, and has pretty much remained so AFAIK.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Who said "it is bigotry if natal women define their unique experience and organise accordingly"? When? Why? What were they trying to achieve?

Well just above, I have been told I am transphobic for this, so there's one example.

 Duncan Bourne 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Free speech is a funny thing in our “post truth” world as often we fail to define what we mean by it. In practical terms we don’t have absolute free speech and neither should we. It is illegal to incite to riot, it is illegal to advocate murder of someone, it is illegal to use racist language and support terrorism. If you defame or slander someone you stand to be sued.

Outside of these restrictions is the grey area of debate, except modern debate is sometimes anything but, being either a tirade of insults or links to dubious youtube videos.

I give you the famous Evolution debate between Huxley and Wilberforce

https://darwinday.org/educate/oxforddebate/

Huxley’s famous comment in response to Wilberforce’s remarks about his ape ancestry “A] man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would be a MAN, a man of restless and versatile intellect, who, not content with an success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions, and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.” Sums up a lot of debates on social media I come across.

However the rest of Huxley’s speech was recorded as being unmemorable and… “many scholars are of the mind that Joseph Hooker, who spoke on botany (his field of expertise) and how botany could be best explained through evolution, finally put the factual criticisms of evolution to rest. And perhaps more importantly, he spoke loudly and with clarity – unlike Huxley. Wilberforce, no botanist and not formally trained in science, could not respond.”

This is in many ways the nub of it. Debate should be open and not curtailed because it offends the sensibilities of those opposed. However if we have open debate then we have a duty to allow it to be criticised. A “debate” that allows someone to argue in favour of promoting one view point while at the same time curbing opposition is no debate. Further we have a duty to undertake reasonable debate. If it was felt that a speaker was there to incite hatred or such that it would dissolve into violence then it might be prudent to cancel.

Would we be comfortable allowing someone to speak of denying the holocaust, or in favour of slavery?

I understand where Greer etc. are coming from, being women who worked hard to raise the status of women they may well feel that if their gender is a label anyone can pick up and use that it diminishes their status or is even threatening to them. Personally I think your gender shouldn’t matter in the general run of things (though sport is a likely exception).

Such things still need to be debated though otherwise we end up in the position of swapping debate for threat and that does no one any good.

That being said I an dubious about the proposed “Free speech champion” as a means not to allow new ideas but to shore up old ideas. I am equally dubious about “no platforming’ too. We need a middle ground and we need to rein fact and evidence back from the conspiracy of fictions.

Post edited at 13:42
 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

If you think a trans gender identity is less valid than a cis gender identity... then that is the definition of transphobic? Come on man.

Post edited at 13:46
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> If you think a trans gender identity is less valid than a cis gender identity... then that is the definition of transphobic? Come on man.

Did you miss where I wrote "That wouldn't mean I'd see them as inferior or hold anything against them.  I'd just see them as different, ..."?

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Here's a different example. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-56089759

Seems reasonable to me that if you don't want to play a lesbian or Bi woman on the stage, you don't take on a role where that is the story? 

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

You quoted my post and even trimmed it down to the bit where I said "...but because they say the difference reduces the validity of trans women's identity as a woman" and said "is that so terrible?"

And I said, yes, it is terrible, it is a transphobic thing to say. Perhaps you misread my post, or did not mean to specifically respond to that with your post, but you did in fact do so.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

You've lost me I am afraid, but I think we disagree.  If you regard me as transphobic I think you must also regard a good chunk of the population that way. This either makes the term meaningless or many people hateful, which I doubt is true.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

Right just to be clear

Do you think that a transgender women's gender identity is as valid as a cisgender woman's? 

Because if you think it's less valid, that's transphobia. 

I don't think I've lost you at all, BTW. I think the logical train there is pretty clear to us both. Incidentally I don't think you are hateful, just misinformed. I think that most people fall into that category. 

Post edited at 14:09
In reply to Andrew Wells:

referring to (trans men)

> they can enter the same sporting comps as me,

There's a lot in your posts to pick up on but it really boils down to one thing, and this demonstrates it without getting into anything too distressing. I'm sure you are a compassionate, well intentioned individual but you have a big blind spot here.

Post edited at 14:10
 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Genuinely I am unsure what you mean by this. I can assure you that I am in no danger of entering any sporting conditions any time soon, unless the competition is how frustrated can one get falling off Appliance Friction, in which case I stand a solid chance of a gold.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Right just to be clear

> Do you think that a transgender women's gender identity is as valid as a cisgender woman's? 

I don't know what you mean by "valid" really.  However, if you are asking do I think a transgender woman's "womanhood" is obviously identical someone born a woman, I don't.  And I think a lot of woman and others think similarly.  That really doesn't mean the have a phobia and trans people or hate them.  

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

Okay let me put it this way

Is a trans woman's identity as a woman sufficiently valid that society should treat her as a woman as equally as it would a cis woman? So; they can use the women's restroom, get sent to women only units in prisons and wards, etc.

If you think yes, obviously, congrats! You are a pretty progressive and non transphobic person! TERFs do not. And to bring this back to the core topic; when you allow a TERF to speak at your university, you say to trans students "we are comfortable with people who belive your gender identity is invalid being here and speaking here and spreading that viewpoint." And I think thats hugely problematic. As I said above, I'm not 100% sure what to do about free speech at universities. But I am sure that TERFs are transphobes and that trans students have the right to be educated in a place where their gender identity is valid and recognised as fully legitimate and equivalent to that of a cis person.

Post edited at 14:34
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Is a trans woman's identity as a woman sufficiently valid that society should treat her as a woman as equally as it would a cis woman? So; they can use the women's restroom, get sent to women only units in prisons and wards, etc.

I don't think that's clear, no.  Most obviously in sport but also other areas.   

>when you allow a TERF to speak at your university, you say to trans students "we are comfortable with people who belive your gender identity is invalid being here and speaking here and spreading that viewpoint." And I think thats hugely problematic. 

I don't think this is at all problematic.  Obviously these matters should be open to discussion.  You can't just refuse to let a large tranche of people express an opinion that you happen to disagree with.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Okay let me put it this way

> Is a trans woman's identity as a woman sufficiently valid that society should treat her as a woman as equally as it would a cis woman? So; they can use the women's restroom, get sent to women only units in prisons and wards, etc.

Isn't the problem here that 'trans woman' appears to encompass both a man who self-identified yesterday as a woman, and someone who has lived as a woman for years, possibly decades, and has completed full hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery?

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

Then those are transphobic viewpoints. If you say that trans men, say, are not allowed access to the same things as cis men, then that's by definition transphobic. Logically that's pretty inarguable. 

And you absolutely can refuse to let large swathes of people express an opinion you happen to disagree with. I wouldn't allow someone to stand up and say white people are superior to others and we all agree that such a thing is hate speech and unacceptable.

The difference being that overt racism is socially considerably less acceptable than it used to be, whereas overt transphobia is still widely acceptable. It is, for example, perfectly socially acceptable on this forum for people to be transphobic.

Post edited at 14:44
 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

I don't consider myself a TERF.   However I personally don't think Karen White should be allowed anywhere near vulnerable women in prison or elsewhere.  

Does that make me a TERF in your eyes?  

I think talking to girls about their periods in school is probably something best left to a natal woman.  Does that make me a TERF?  

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I don't think that is a problem. Because of two things, 1) someone who yesterday told you they self identified as a woman has always been a woman, they just only came out about it yesterday, and 2) neither is a more valid gender identity, in the same way that you aren't more of a cis woman at 40 than 30 cos you've done it for ten more years. And if you don't believe me, why not ask those women who have undergone full hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery whether they think that people who come out as women are women? Overwhelmingly they will say, yes. There isn't a magical threshold when one becomes valid as a woman, or a man, or neither. 

 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I don't understand what you mean. 

> Who said "it is bigotry if natal women define their unique experience and organise accordingly"? When? Why? What were they trying to achieve?

Online and offline activists, people who pressure bookshops to apologise for hosting Julie Bindel 3 years previous, Guardian journalists and staffers who pen a joint letter saying having Suzanne Moore write for the paper made them feel unsafe, lots and lots of people. That's what a "TERF" is, is it not? A feminist that doesn't include transwomen in their feminism (whether they include transmen for some reason never really discussed).

Why? You'd have to ask them, but on the face of it because they believe "trans women are women" with no caveats. 

What are they trying to achieve? They're not a homogenous mass, so a whole range of various aims. Through a lot of the more extreme epithets of "fascist", "denying people's existence", "Wanting trans people dead" etc. I expect some are trying to achieve circumnavigation of the usual frank debate that should occur with a change to the status quo.

And yes, there are people on the other side who simply are just transphobes. Unfortunately both extremes are happiest muddying the waters where that reasonable debate would take place. In that way it has echoes of the antisemitism/Israel debate.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Then those are transphobic viewpoints. If you say that trans men, say, are not allowed access to the same things as cis men, then that's by definition transphobic. Logically that's pretty inarguable. 

You are simply wrong.  What you are saying makes no more sense than claiming that having women's athletics is "manphobic" because it excludes men.  Having categories like this is nothing to do with phobia or hatred.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> The difference being that overt racism is socially considerably less acceptable than it used to be, 

Do you think that's because saying racist things was banned?

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

I hate to tell you this, but if you don't allow trans people access to the same things as cis people then you are logically discriminating against them, discrimination against trans people is transphobia, ergo you hold transphobic viewpoints. You just don't like the idea that you do.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

I think it helped.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

Fine, you carry on calling me (and presumably others) names.

I bet you are secretly OK with women's sport however, you closet, bigoted, hate-filled man-phobic bastard.

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> I hate to tell you this, but if you don't allow trans people access to the same things as cis people then you are logically discriminating against them, discrimination against trans people is transphobia, ergo you hold transphobic viewpoints. You just don't like the idea that you do.

Interesting viewpoint.  

So is it transphobia if I'm concerned about the safety of my niece playing rugby with someone a lot bigger and stronger than her?  

Would it be transphobic if for example a (trans) girl was put in a team with girls a year or 2 older than her because this matched size better and more safely?  

What about if my friends (trans) boy was made to play rugby with boys his age even though he is by far the smallest?  Would it be ok for him to play with boys a year or 2 younger?  

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Is a trans woman's identity as a woman sufficiently valid that society should treat her as a woman as equally as it would a cis woman? So; they can use the women's restroom, get sent to women only units in prisons and wards, etc.

I'm strongly of the opinion that natal women should be allowed to police who can and can't enter women-only spaces. If a woman in a hostel doesn't want to share that space with someone with a penis, then I think we should honor that wish. I'm frankly appalled that well-meaning, progressive men think they have the right to make this decision.

I'm dismayed that apparently intelligent men also can't see that, at the extreme, self-certification leads to male sex offenders being housed in women's prisons - because a legal system this flimsy will be abused. Think what you like in private, dress as you like, ask the world to call you anything you please, but some things are legal matters and you need something more than self-certification to decide where in the prison estate or the  health service is most appropriate both for you, and for others.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Karen White is a rapist so no, she shouldn't be allowed near vulnerable women. But that's got nothing to do with her being trans.

If a cis woman was one of the cis women who doesn't have a period, would it be okay for them to talk to girls in school about such things? I feel like it would be. And I feel like it would be okay for a trans woman to talk to girls about that. And I would say; why not ask those girls at school? Their comfort in discussing these topics are key, but young people are overwhelmingly much more tolerant of trans people than older people. Look at Natalie Wynn on Contrapoints for example, I think she would be an excellent teacher in the whole area of sexual dynamics for teenagers. These things are typically not discussed in a vacuum but rather within the wider context of puberty and sexuality, which trans people are just as well equipped to deal with as anyone else.

But I will say this, you do hit upon a good point. Where the comfort of children re. Sensitive topics is at stake, is acquiesing to what is to an extent a degree of transphobia from them better than discomforting them? I don't have an easy answer. I would say though, why not ask? If they're fine with it... why wouldn't we be fine with it? If they said "we don't want a black woman talking to us about puberty, it makes us uncomfortable" is that acceptable? No. But would we allow for something unacceptable in that circumstance? 

And further to that, I think that is a very outlying situation. 99.9% of the time, that's not going to be an issue.

 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> I hate to tell you this, but if you don't allow trans people access to the same things as cis people then you are logically discriminating against them, discrimination against trans people is transphobia, ergo you hold transphobic viewpoints. You just don't like the idea that you do.

So you'd prefer to discriminate against natal women who couldn't hope to beat a similarly talented trans woman in a lot of sports? That natal women aren't allowed their own shelters or prisons on the basis of sex. Ergo you're a sexist.

Am I getting the hang of this?

Post edited at 15:06
 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

If you don't like your viewpoints being called transphobic then maybe don't hold transphobic viewpoints pal

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Plenty of women athletes have said they have no problem with trans people competing in the event they identify as. Kyra Condie and Mattie Rogers off the top of my head.

In reply to Andrew Wells:

> If you don't like your viewpoints being called transphobic then maybe don't hold transphobic viewpoints pal

I don't really mind from you. You seem to be a real world example of the semi-mythical "woke". Comically certain of you own righteousness, wanting to shut down discussion of any opinion you dont share,  and manifestly wrong.

 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

And some transwomen don't mind not being able to compete in women's sports. That doesn't decide whether something is discriminatory or not.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

What if she was playing with girls who are a lot bigger and stronger? She might get injured. Is that more of a concern? What if she's exceptionally small and vulnerable as is? I don't believe she's any more at risk from 13 year old trans girl than a 13 year old cis girl.

Also as for the prisons, well, I think prisons should be abolished in favour of rehabilitation based judicial orders, but I'm a dirty pinko ansoc or whatever so take that or leave it. I do find it notable that everyone gets up in arms about the treatment of women in prisons when trans women are sent to a women's unit but you don't hear much about the majority of sexual assaults in women only units being committed by... cis women. Yes the situation where sexual assault (and violence in prisons generally) is endemic in our prison system is horrific. But it gets used as a TERF buzz topic more than anything. 

Post edited at 15:19
 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

It's funny because amongst people I know? They think I'm a bit against "woke culture." But then UKC ain't exactly a bastion of progressiveism so I'm not exactly surprised by your comment.

It is nice to think that in the long run we're only going to get more and more numerous and influential though, so maybe get used to it.

Post edited at 15:21
 Duncan Bourne 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

I find the subject quite interesting as it pushes against several dynamics.

In the general run of things I honestly would say it makes no great difference if you identified as man/woman/non-binary. But I can think of a few instances where it could cause problems for instance (as South Park illustrated here with Heather Swanson)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxDaiyREBPw&

Sure it's a joke and extreme but it had presedence with Russian althelites in the 1970's from what I recall.

Also in regard to school showers if a teen identifies as one or the other. Some might say that nudity shouldn't be a taboo subject anyway but I could see issues with that.

It is interesting that people long regarding themselves as feminists, battling for equality, now find themselves on the opposing side.

It would good to hammer out the issues involved and I agree with you people should be afforded the same rights. In the main I don't see a big problem with someone being trans or whatever.

Post edited at 15:52
 Ramblin dave 17 Feb 2021
In reply to MG:

> Did you miss where I wrote "That wouldn't mean I'd see them as inferior or hold anything against them.  I'd just see them as different, ..."?


Side point here, but there's an important distinction between "different" and "less valid". It is, I think, fine to acknowledge that there's a difference between the cis-female experience and the trans-female experience, it's just not great to label them as "real" and "not real" female experience respectively.

FWIW, this is approximately what's meant by "intersectionality" - another of the terms that tends to trigger the "anti-woke". One argument that I've heard put forward by American feminists for why they don't seem to have this seam of rabidly transphobic feminism over there is that they've already had to work out how to deal with it, as differences between women's experiences based on race have been far more prominent in their conversation.

Post edited at 16:09
 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

> Karen White is a rapist so no, she shouldn't be allowed near vulnerable women. But that's got nothing to do with her being trans.

It has everything to do with him pretending to be trans.  He presented as a woman to get access to vulnerable women and he raped one of them.  Some people  think it is discrimination to put him into male prison.  You will notice I choose to refer to KW as male.  I don't believe that he is really a woman.  

> If a cis woman was one of the cis women who doesn't have a period, would it be okay for them to talk to girls in school about such things? I feel like it would be.

Quite frankly I don't give a crap what you feel.  Mansplaining at it's best.  

How is someone who has never had a period going to honestly and genuinely discuss the subject and answer questions?  

It's extremely rare for a natal woman to have never had a period, and I think this is whataboutery.

> And I feel like it would be okay for a trans woman to talk to girls about that. And I would say; why not ask those girls at school?

> Their comfort in discussing these topics are key, but

> young people are overwhelmingly much more tolerant of trans people than older people.

I'm aware of that and I've learnt a lot from young people.  However the fact remains that a (trans) woman hasn't got the same experience of certain  aspects of being a girl.   

Girls are entitled to a safe space to discuss periods without having to be tolerant of a trans woman who cannot actually answer their questions.  Equally a woman who has never had a period wouldn't be the right person to lead this particular session. 

> But I will say this, you do hit upon a good point. Where the comfort of children re. Sensitive topics is at stake, is acquiesing to what is to an extent a degree of transphobia from them better than discomforting them?

It's not about thier discomfort.  As you say, it's not something most young people have a problem with.  It's about your discomfort with acknowledging the truth.  This is where the emperors new clothes thing comes in.  I fully respect the right of anyone to identify publicly as their gender and to be treated with dignity.  However I am not comfortable with the lies people tell themselves to say that (trans) women are exactly the same as natal women.  It isn't transphobic to ask these questions.   Shutting down the questions isn't solving anything.  

> "we don't want a black woman talking to us about puberty, it makes us uncomfortable" is that acceptable? No. But would we allow for something unacceptable in that circumstance? 

Ridiculous whataboutery.  

> And further to that, I think that is a very outlying situation. 99.9% of the time, that's not going to be an issue.

So we won't talk about it.  

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I agree.  

Intersectionality is important.  

Acknowledging different experiences is important too.  

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Well marsbar my friend I don't particularly care about yours either, so I feel like at this stage any debate would descend into increasingly aggressive sniping. Doesn't seem hugely worth it.

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

In other words you've been called out on your mansplaining and you've no actual experience of dealing with these issues in the real world with the real people actually affected so you are going to take your ball home.  

It isn't transphobic to acknowledge that although some people transition due to being born in the body that doesn't match their sense of self, there are some differences that may need to be accepted and accommodated. 

Blanket insistence on treating everyone the same isn't actually equality. Equality is when you ensure that everyone has what they need.  

My experience is that some trans young people prefer to have gender neutral toilets and changing facilities available to them.  According to you that is discrimination.  

 Timmd 17 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Why shouldn't it be?  For better or worse, he has been one of the most outspoken about the issue.  Look at it from the other side: Owen Jones comes across as a whiney pain in the arse with a chip on his shoulder, but that doesn't mean he's also not intelligent, articulate and it is probably exactly those annoying traits that makes him such a tenacious campaigner and a good choice for any quango dedicated to promoting his causes.

> Bragg is disingenuous in saying "this is in reaction to the National Trust's recent decision".  That reaction was an understandable result of antipathy to constant references to slavery in every area of life, as if the Atlantic slave trade is in some way its totality.  In the same way pointing to high black crime rates rankles, so does presenting British history as uniquely evil on slavery, and people are naturally getting sick of it.    

Can you provide 1 example of somebody presenting British history as uniquely evil when it comes to slavery? I'm getting the sense you might be saying things which aren't true, or being hyperbolic a little bit, but if you can show the example which has you posting about that, it'll mean you're not being, and that I'm being unwarranted in thinking that. 

Post edited at 16:32
 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I don't understand what you mean. 

> Who said "it is bigotry if natal women define their unique experience and organise accordingly"? When? Why? What were they trying to achieve?

I know I've already responded but think that Andrew's exchange with marsbar above probably illustrates what I saying better than I could.

 Andrew Wells 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I mean I've explained my position, I don't think I'm going to get anywhere further with you tbh. When someone is at the point where they don't really care about what you say why bother even saying anything? Though for what it's worth I'd happily replace all toilets with gender neutral ones.

Post edited at 16:31
In reply to Andrew Wells:

I'll be honest, I'm glad you are not advocating for my subgroup, as you are utterly toxic. Jon addresses these issues in a far more productive way and you do not come close. All you are doing is pushing people to the opposite side of the argument, which is just counter productive to say the least. You need to change people's minds and attitudes, not tell them to STFU and go away, all that does is push things underground to re-emerge later and threaten to undo decades of progress.

Post edited at 16:34
 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

What is your personal experience of having periods?  

In reply to marsbar:

> My experience is that some trans young people prefer to have gender neutral toilets and changing facilities available to them.  According to you that is discrimination.  

I don't think it's just trans kids who prefer such an approach. One of the objectives I failed to achieve as a Headteacher was making every student toilet gender neutral (eg single cubicle with en-suite basin opening off the corridor). Every new block I got built had them, but some of the malodorous havens for bullying remained in the older buildings. I had grand plans to do away with them all and replace them with the Andy Clarke Memorial Toilet Block with attendant, calming ambient music and plastic flowers. I'd managed to salt away £0.25ish million to create it, but then I left and my successor blew it on fripperies like a posh office, a PA, then a PA for the PA etc.

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> no-platforming being stupid.

As an alternative view: it's an exercise of soft-power.  Your average student doesn't have the influence or wealth to run a PR campaign, but they can work together to prevent someone from getting the publicity of "I presented at X university" and thus gaining the cachet of that place.

 Timmd 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Niall_H:

I wonder if being willing to shout/argue down people with objectionable views, might be something which comes with age maybe. When I remember how I was as a person in my late teens and early 20's, compared to 41 this March, and my friends from minorities (LGTB and BAME), like I am, they seem more thick skinned than they used to be, and more practiced in (and more prepared to be) explaining why homophobic people are both scientifically and morally on shaky ground (for example). Kinda less likely to get upset and more likely to bombard them with facts. I have a bit of a fear about people being no platformed, in them being able to paint themselves as martyrs on social media, and to gather a following by talking about attacks on free speech and freedom of thought, and 'the liberal agenda' or whatever they'd talk about.

Which isn't to say younger people are shrinking violets, it's more something I've noticed as a gradual change. 

Edit: Other points of view might be just as valid, or more valid, of course...

Post edited at 17:56
In reply to seankenny:

> What basis? I believe the many women I read who say they’ve been abused by trans activists, including death and rape threats. I was under the impression that believing women when they say they’ve been abused is generally a good thing...

Sorry, you're not addressing the point there. I don't deny that feminists get abused by trans activists. We all know that.

What I'm challenging is your perception that the TERFs are in general reasonable whereas "trans activists" are in general abusive. I've just showed you that at the level of Germaine Greer writing in a newspaper, the TERF view is utterly hateful and vile, and you've tried to excuse it as "marketing valid ideas". 

Publicly promoting a narrative that trans women are a danger to other women (because they are creepy men in dresses who just want to gain access to women-only spaces so they can commit abuse) is not nice, and this is the core of the TERF position. I'm trying to get you to see that the TERF position isn't all sweetness and love. 

To understand what is nasty about the TERF viewpoint, you don't have to agree with the most extreme opposite viewpoint, that there is no difference between trans and other women (does anyone even believe this or is it just strawman?). There's a lot more to it than that. 

In reply to MG:

> What do you think I have wrong? 

This:

> [TERF] seems generally to mean more like, anyone who regards trans people as anything but indistinguishable from those born male/female. 

That's not what TERF means, and it reflects a perception that there are 2 opposing viewpoints: the unreasonable trans activists who "don't believe in biological sex", versus the reasonable feminists who are all sweetness and love for trans people they just believe that there are differences between trans and other women. That's a misrepresentation that ignores the hateful attitudes common amongst TERFs and paints people who want equal rights for trans people as mad and abusive. It's an unfair and untrue painting of a much more complex issue.

> I pretty sure that the view I outlined above ("trans people as marginalised and deserving support, but not the same as those born male/female.") said openly in many contexts would be labelled bigoted and hateful.   Do you think it wouldn't, or that it is indeed hateful?

Sure you can find extreme viewpoints who will label your view as bigoted; and no I don't think it's hateful. 

As I said, I don't deny that there are mad and abusive people fighting for trans rights. But I sure as hell deny that the TERF movement is in general reasonable and supportive of trans people. It's riddled with hatred - Germaine Greer typifies it, obviously.

Post edited at 18:24
 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> To understand what is nasty about the TERF viewpoint, you don't have to agree with the most extreme opposite viewpoint, that there is no difference between trans and other women (does anyone even believe this or is it just strawman?). There's a lot more to it than that. 

The trouble is if you don't believe that there is no difference between trans and other women then you get into sport/women only spaces/etc. and the whole thing kicks off. 

 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I vaguely know someone who has been labelled a TERF and literally had a mob of people surround her shouting abuse at her. I disagree with her about trans issues but I don't think she should have been treated like that. She was abused by a male partner and if she says she has concerns about who has access to women only spaces I think the issue should be discussed with compassion and not by screaming abuse at her. 

In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> I know I've already responded but think that Andrew's exchange with marsbar above probably illustrates what I saying better than I could.

I agree that some individuals who support trans rights are quick to call people transphobic where that isn't justified. What grates is the idea that the trans rights position is typified by being unreasonable and abusive, whereas people who promote the narrative that trans women should be regarded first and foremost as a threat to other women are kind, caring and logical. That's not how I see it!

In reply to Jon Stewart:

As we have  seen on this thread very mild opinions get labelled "transphobic". Look at the response to marsbar (or me if a male's view matters) for example. I think you might be surpised by how many feel they can't express similar opinions because of the reaction they might get. I think you are wrong that it's a fringe of extremists causing problems on this issue. 

In reply to nastyned:

> The trouble is if you don't believe that there is no difference between trans and other women then you get into sport/women only spaces/etc. and the whole thing kicks off. 

So some optimal, reasonable position that treats people equally needs to be found. It's not going to be derived from taking a philosophical position on "what is a woman/man", it's going to be found by pragmatically considering consequences for all those affected. Chucking all trans women into men's prisons (they should be categorised by their birth sex because "biological sex is real"), for example, is just treating them as deserving no rights.

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to nastyned:

I'm utterly fed up of men thinking they get an opinion on how women's safe spaces should be managed.  

The people who need to have this discussion are those who are involved.  There will be plenty of situations where it's fine for a (trans) woman to access womens services, but there will be occasional times where it might be appropriate to ensure a victim of male violence doesn't have to deal with being triggered by someone who has a male body and voice.  Equally there may be a need for trans specific support.  In the real world we should meet people's needs, not get caught up in theory.  

These decisions need to be made sensitively on a case by case basis based on individual situations.  The organisations dealing with difficult situations such as domestic violence are the experts and should be left to make those decisions without interference.  They've been doing so for years anyway before all this arguing blew up.  

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> What I'm challenging is your perception that the TERFs are in general reasonable whereas "trans activists" are in general abusive. I've just showed you that at the level of Germaine Greer writing in a newspaper, the TERF view is utterly hateful and vile, and you've tried to excuse it as "marketing valid ideas". 

I'm perfectly aware that trans activism covers everything from thoughtful philosophers through to the vilest of misogynistic abuse. (What is it about trans activism that gives it such an anti-woman extreme?)

Was the Greer quote above rude and dehumanising? Yes, it was. But the point she is making is that a transwoman is, at some point, a man in a dress, who has not had the experience of growing up female (remember how differently little girls are treated as compared to little boys), not a valid description? Unless of course you believe there are little pink brains and little blue brains which don't match their little pink or blue bodies, but this sounds to me a little retro. As I understand it, even the trans charity Mermaids has rowed back on the "mismatched brains and bodies" view.

I do realise that at this point you believe I'm some sort of satanic monster full of hate, even though I actually want trans people to live happy and fulfilled lives, but I'll press on.

If I undestand Greer and other feminist writers on this, then patriarchy is based on women having worse life chances due to their physical body - and given that men and women's earnings only start to diverge after parenthood, plus the whole sport issue, then there is good grounds for arguing this, in my view. If that's the case then surely the physical aspect of being male or female is perhaps more important than what your feelings about your gender are? After all, we know feelings about gender are mutable, which is exactly the taboo point JK Rowling was making in her sensitive essay. Are we allowed mutable feelings about in the trans activism world? I understand your sensitivity to "it's anti-gay therapy all over again", but given the many pressures on teenage girls, isn't a desire not to be a girl one possible response that may be passing and not inate? Why is discussing this such a threat?

So yes, valid ideas worth exploring, written in vile prose. What's the valid idea behind "suck my lady dick" or "TERFs need to be raped"? What's the valid idea behind men ruining women's careers because they dare to have an opinion that threatens those men?

> Publicly promoting a narrative that trans women are a danger to other women (because they are creepy men in dresses who just want to gain access to women-only spaces so they can commit abuse) is not nice, and this is the core of the TERF position. I'm trying to get you to see that the TERF position isn't all sweetness and love. 

This is the typical misreading of the position many UK feminists take, as I understand it. It's not that trans women are a danger, it's that without proper safeguards predatory males can pass as trans women to commit abuse.

According to this BBC article, 21% of trans prisoners are convicted rapists:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42221629

You'll note I kept the figure to rapists rather than all sex offenders, which is higher. How many of those are pretending to be trans to gain access to women? We don't know. But protecting vulnerable women in prison seems a good idea to me, and if it comes across as "not nice", well I can live with that.

I rather enjoyed this article: https://sarahditum.com/2018/09/10/six-years-in-the-gender-wars/

You'll hate it, of course, given Ms Ditum argues that: "Trans activism is anti-feminist in practice and allied to the harassment of individual women."

In another part of the essay she writes:

"But when I say “woman”, I mean “female person”. The experience of being a female person is different to the experience of being a male person who identifies as female, and that distinction is politically important.

"Transwomen are transwomen (to quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), and do not benefit from being subsumed in the category women: access to sex reassignment surgery, the effect of HRT on a male body, the problems of transitioning in a society hostile to gender non-conformity are all specific to transwomen. However, sexism being what it is, the practical consequence of treating transwomen as women is that the male interest is placed first. The female right to self-organise comes after the male right to be treated as a woman."

Post edited at 18:53
 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'm completely against putting (trans) women in male prison as a blanket policy.  The majority of (trans) women should probably be in womens prisons.  

As you say it's being pragmatic that is needed.  

Whoever made the decision to put a rapist in a womens prison for him to offend again rather than be considered transphobic was beyond stupid.   

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

There are statistical issues with those figures.  

They are not collected for all prisoners, just where there have been case conferences and so they will over state the number of serious crimes such as sex offences.

However one sex offender given access to vulnerable women is one too many.  

 RentonCooke 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Timmd:

> Can you provide 1 example of somebody presenting British history as uniquely evil when it comes to slavery? I'm getting the sense you might be saying things which aren't true, or being hyperbolic a little bit, but if you can show the example which has you posting about that, it'll mean you're not being, and that I'm being unwarranted in thinking that. 

Ta-Nehisi Coates? Ibram X Kendi? DiAngelo? "Roots"? BBC kids education (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zy7fr82/revision/1)? But it's less about what is said and more about what isn't

Why is the slave trade so frequently discussed with reference only to the US and the UK? Or specific to the period from 1530-1830, as if that defined it?  Why not the centuries before and the two after?  Why is magnitude (or transit death rates) of prior, concurrent and ongoing Arab and African slave trades barely mentioned?  

There is a context in which the Atlantic slave-trade occurred and the repeated failure to highlight it is misleading by omission.  A cynic would say, the context is being intentionally downplayed as noting the pre-existing trade and complicity of originating countries poses awkward questions those countries are nowhere near having and, worse, undermines the picture of whites as perpetrators and blacks as innocent (problematic if reparations are to be paid on a skin colour basis).  Either way, it is akin to writing a history of 1940s fascism/WWII and framing Mussolini as the centre of it all, while noting some guys called Hitler, Tojo or Franco in a footnote somewhere.

Erroneously framing historic wrongs, as if they primarily trace back to one particular group, with an increasing claim that subsequent generations owe reparations (regardless of the potential role reversals along the way) is unlikely to make for a healthier society.  We're at the point where historical figures are being torn down purely on account of involvement in an act of history that was pretty much the norm at the time. Presumably, it will be right to cheer when, in 200 years once everyone is vegan, statues of Mandela, Einstein or MLK are torn down by populations disgusted by their consumption of chicken? 

Chapter 3 of Sowell's book ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J92gQDZ4dL8&t=15339) is well worth a listen for nuance usually missing. "Often, its those who are most critical of the Eurocentric view of the world, who are most Eurocentric when it comes to the evils and failings of the human race".

Post edited at 19:42
 MonkeyPuzzle 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I agree that some individuals who support trans rights are quick to call people transphobic where that isn't justified. What grates is the idea that the trans rights position is typified by being unreasonable and abusive, whereas people who promote the narrative that trans women should be regarded first and foremost as a threat to other women are kind, caring and logical. That's not how I see it!

Nor I, but you asked who is saying natal women can't organise and describe their own experiences and retain some of their own spaces and the answer is: an alarming number of people.

I suspect we'd find our views very close indeed on this but I think our comments here show we've had different experiences when debating the topic.

 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> There are statistical issues with those figures.  

> They are not collected for all prisoners, just where there have been case conferences and so they will over state the number of serious crimes such as sex offences.

> However one sex offender given access to vulnerable women is one too many.  


Thanks, and noted. The research I've seen suggestst that transwomen commit crime at a similar rate to men rather than women, which obviously has implications for the prison estate if the trans population grows (obviously transwomen shouldn't be in all male prisons either). Unfortunately moves to erase sex and replace it with gender in the stats we gather mean that it will be impossible to discover if this is indeed the case, but for some activists ideology beats knowledge...

 Tom V 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> the narrative that trans women should be regarded first and foremost as a threat to other women 

You don't need to promote this line of thinking to incur the wrath of extreme trans activists: all you need to do is hesitate in accepting that trans women are the same as natal women.

 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm utterly fed up of men thinking they get an opinion on how women's safe spaces should be managed.  

??? I wasn't aware I'd expressed an opinion on how women's safe spaces should be managed. FWIW I have no problem with women managing their own safe spaces. I reserve the right to have an opinion on anything though!

 marsbar 17 Feb 2021
In reply to nastyned:

Sorry, should have made clear I didn't mean you.  I meant those having a go at your friend

In reply to seankenny:

Sorry I've just lost the really long reply I was in the middle of.

No, I don't think Greer nor Ditum are making valid points. Their arguments are based on an anti-scientific, self-serving misunderstanding of human psychology and neurology. They both seem to think that because they don't understand gender dysphoria - they haven't experienced themselves - that means it's not real. 

You can't have a discussion about treating trans people as equals with someone who literally thinks trans people don't exist. It's the rooted in the same "everything's a social construct, men and women have no innate psychological differences" that a lot of anti-scientific feminists believe. I don't believe it. The evidence doesn't support it. 

And there is some good evidence of brain anatomy being consistent with gender identity. Referring to "pink brains and blue brains" just signals a total lack of scientific curiosity and in its place a determination to believe a dogma *about matters of science* whose motivation is political. It's a disastrous way to look at the world, because if you can't even acknowledge how it *is* it's then impossible to make meaningful judgments about what we *should do*.

There have always been people with a stable psychological trait of feeling an internal sense of being the other sex. That's the reality that society has to get to grips with. Shall we treat these people as confused, mentally disturbed, and a conspiracy against women (whether they're trans women or trans men)? Or shall we accept that that's just how nature is and we need to get on with it?

Edit: please no one ever ask me to read anything that following paragraph after paragraph of anti-scientific drivel admits, "To be clear, Bailey’s theory of autogynephilia (arousal by the idea of oneself as a woman) in older male transitioners may wind up being disproven". To be clear, Bailey’s theory of autogynephilia was complete nonsense from the start and has never had even a tiny shred of evidence to support it. It's fiction. The author has developed no reliable way of distinguishing fact from fiction. She's a plonker.

Post edited at 20:46
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

If someone writes that transwomen have their own distinct needs I’m not sure how that can be taken as evidence that the writer believes transwomen don’t exist. I think you’ve come to that article with your own preconceptions that you struggle to overcome. It’s either that or you’re arguing in bad faith, and I think you’re a decent man who wouldn’t do something like that. 
 

As for scientific interest or evidence, whilst I can’t hold a candle to your scientific intellect, I did read this:

nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00677-x

Which says: “The brain is no more gendered than the liver or kidneys or heart.”

Isn’t Nature one of the world’s leading scientific journals?

 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Ah, now I'm with you. Sorry for the misunderstanding. 

 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

To briefly get back to right wing "Free Speech Champions" I can't say I was surprised to see this today:

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/02/16/education-secretary-gavin-williamson-felix-ngole-gays-abomination-free-speech-champion/

 r0x0r.wolfo 17 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> How is someone who has never had a period going to honestly and genuinely discuss the subject and answer questions?  

Who taught you sex education at school? I can't honestly remember if my teacher was male / female, gay or straight. 

> It's extremely rare for a natal woman to have never had a period, and I think this is whataboutery.

Surely trans people giving lessons on periods is a pretty niche case too, right? How many trans people are teaching young girls about periods and what is the damage this has caused? Is this even a thing? 

Post edited at 22:21
In reply to seankenny:

> If someone writes that transwomen have their own distinct needs I’m not sure how that can be taken as evidence that the writer believes transwomen don’t exist.

She doesn't believe that trans people exist in the way they describe their own experience of being trans. They talk about their gender identity (as do mainstream psychologists not by coincidence), but Ditum declares that "gender identity does not exist". You can't believe both that gender identity doesn't exist, and that trans people exist. She tries to bridge this gap by replacing trans people's ideas of what it is to be trans with something she's made up herself - but she never tells us what that is.

When a trans person says "this is who I am, there's nothing I can do about it, it is what it is", Ditum says "no, you're wrong - you just think you're trans but gender identity doesn't exist". Then what's going on Ditum? They should accept that “being trans” has an extraordinary range of causes: from traumatised female adolescents trying to control their bodies, to effeminate young boys whose parents think playing with dolls is pathologically girly, to those like Caitlyn Jenner who cheerfully concede that dressing femininely has an erotic kick

Looks a lot to me like she's clearly mocking the very notion of taking their experience seriously with the inverted commas around "being trans". I can't reconcile this with her believing that trans people really exist. Trans people aren't what trans people say they are, and Ditum knows, despite there being no evidence whatsoever, what caused them to behave the way they do. 

> Which says: “The brain is no more gendered than the liver or kidneys or heart.”

> Isn’t Nature one of the world’s leading scientific journals?

Yes, and they've reported on someone writing a book which clearly is decent science. I very much doubt from reading that review, that the author shows that there are no differences between male and female neurology, and that therefore everything we think, feel and do is socially constructed. 

Consider this: do men and women share the same endocrinology? Do hormones affect behaviour? So, while the author of the book may have shown that the history of studying sex differences in the brain has turned up erroneous conclusions about certain structures, the conclusion that there are no meaningful sex differences simply can't be true. It could only be true if hormones did not affect behaviour. And we know that they do.

I think that there has been some journalistic license there coming to extremely grand - and not credible - conclusions from the science.

Post edited at 22:39
 nastyned 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It took a while to get my head round it when talking to feminists about "gender abolition" but the idea is sex and gender are separated out with sex being the physical thing and gender being the pink/blue roles stuff. Which I think is what she's getting at with the gender doesn't exist. 

In reply to nastyned:

> It took a while to get my head round it when talking to feminists about "gender abolition" but the idea is sex and gender are separated out with sex being the physical thing and gender being the pink/blue roles stuff. Which I think is what she's getting at with the gender doesn't exist. 

I think there's more to it than that. I quite often hear people say that "sex is physical, gender is social" but that doesn't account for some people being trans gender.

There's something else as well as physical sex and societal gender roles - gender identity - which Ditum is certain doesn't exist. This is the internal psychological sense one has of being male or female. For the vast majority of people, it's isn't any experience at all because their gender identity matches their body. For a small minority of people, their gender identity doesn't match their body, and these people are trans gender. They generally experience gender dysphoria. You're not going to know what it's like to experience your gender identity if that's just a matter of feeling that your body is just your body, as you expect it to be. When trans people talk about gender dysphoria, it's just not an experience you have if there's no discrepancy between your physical sex and your gender identity. For cis people, there is nothing to describe: this is my body; and...?

Because there is no direct experience of gender identity for cis people, some people think that justifies saying that there must also be no experience of gender dysphoria, it's made up. There's no such thing as gender identity, there's no such thing as being trans, and trans people are just confused by sexist messages in society. How this results in both trans men existing and trans women existing, and some trans men and some trans women not conforming to expected gender roles stereotypes, the TERFs are yet to explain. 

By far the best explanation for the existence of trans people is that gender identity is a function of the brain, performed by certain structures within the brain, just like sexual orientation; and some people's gender identity doesn't match their physical sex (just like sexual orientation). This theory explains perfectly why trans gender people exist (they just do, it's how their brains formed, just like homosexuals), why trans people don't share similar childhood trauma stories or other causes etc, why some trans people don't conform to gender norms, how come it's empirically independent of sexual orientation, etc.

The competing theory, the TERF view, that trans people exist because sexism, explains nothing. It doesn't match the evidence and it makes no sense. But "it's all a social construct, your gender is just like, your opinion, man" is still quite a popular view. It won't be in 20 years time when the brain science has advanced further.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3C4ZJ7HyuE&ab_channel=ehipassiko

Post edited at 23:26
 seankenny 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> By far the best explanation for the existence of trans people is that gender identity is a function of the brain, performed by certain structures within the brain,

So what does the research show on which bits of the brain are responsible for this? 

I’m afraid to say that much of what you write seems a deliberate misunderstanding of what this one writer is trying to say. You haven’t really engaged with the issue of whether trans rights activism harms women, which would seem to me kind of important. Plus you keep on with using the term TERF which seems close enough to hate speech to me, especially given the context in which it’s often used. I feel it should be avoided if at all possible. 
 

So whilst I’m keen to see what research backs up your assertions - I assume there must be some - in general, I’m out. 

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

The slave trade made some people rich and that wealth was invested in various ways. So if a stately home was built with money from the slave trade, that should be highlighted as a historical fact. People can still go to the stately home to admire 18th century architecture and interiors and there's nothing wrong with that but they should be aware of the origins of that opulence.

If someone has an issue with the National Trust highlighting historical facts, I would say *that* should be called 'cancel culture' because it's cancelling historical facts! Highlighting links with the slave trade isn't a case of rewriting historical facts - it's rewriting how history has been written and interpreted previously. What actually happened and what / how people are taught about what happened are different things. As new facts come to light, attitudes change and new insights and interpretations are developed, history gets rewritten. This is an ongoing process and, as such, 'history' isn't static. What actually happened doesn't change but our understanding and interpretation of it does and this is a natural historiographical approach. As such, Dowden seems to have a rather simplistic idea of what 'history' is and how it is studied and understood - but that doesn't surprise me.

I did a history degree, so this strikes a chord. One of the topics I studied was the Industrial Revolution but I don't recall the slave trade being a major aspect of those studies. This was 20 years ago so memory fades but it probably got mentioned in the margins. I hope this has changed now. Incidentally, the most interesting of my modules was on race and segregation in the American South from the Civil War onwards.

Post edited at 00:00
In reply to seankenny:

> > By far the best explanation for the existence of trans people is that gender identity is a function of the brain, performed by certain structures within the brain,

> So what does the research show on which bits of the brain are responsible for this? 

See video above. It's only correlation, but it's reliable data and it's a compelling start. The point is that if something is happening in the brain, it's being done by physical structures in the brain. These structures might be distributed across brain regions, or they might be localised (here it looks like there's some localised component which is why I mentioned it).

> I’m afraid to say that much of what you write seems a deliberate misunderstanding of what this one writer is trying to say. You haven’t really engaged with the issue of whether trans rights activism harms women, which would seem to me kind of important.

Could some aims of some trans rights campaigns harm some women if achieved? Yes. I don't think a trans woman who self-identifies as a woman since last week and looks like a bloke, and there's reasons to think they pose a threat to women, should be allowed in places where they can harm women. It does seem like some trans activists want to ignore those risks. But I think those cases are minimal in number and not actually to do with trans rights. A cis woman could be a threat to other women. A trans woman will in almost all causes not be a threat. The issue is dishonestly framed in a way which militates against equal rights.

I don't engage with issue as though it's the centre of the discussion, because I think the narrative that trans women are a threat to other women is taking a small number of outlying cases and using them to argue for policies which hurt all the normal trans people who aren't a threat to anyone. They just want to live their lives being given the same level of dignity and respect the rest of us take for granted.

The whole narrative about the "threat to women" is just like the homophobic narrative that gay men are a "threat to children". Yes, there are some homosexual male paedophiles, but don't you think it's unfair to frame a discussion of gay rights around the threat that they pose, since they in no way represent anything about gay people? Exactly the same goes for the sex abuser who pretends to be a trans woman so he can access a toilet to commit rape. It's the same thing.

> Plus you keep on with using the term TERF which seems close enough to hate speech to me, especially given the context in which it’s often used. I feel it should be avoided if at all possible. 

It's a derogatory term for transphobia dressed up as feminism. The article you posted was exactly that. I'll call it "gender critical" if you like, it doesn't change the content. It's not a slur like paki or faggot, it describes someone's political viewpoint, not an innate characteristic. You don't get protection for an obnoxious political position the way you do for the colour of your skin.

Post edited at 00:14
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Who taught you sex education at school? 

A member of the St Vincent de Paul society I think?

What is sex by the way? 🤔 

 nastyned 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think there's more to it than that. I quite often hear people say that "sex is physical, gender is social" but that doesn't account for some people being trans gender.

It definitely shows there's going to be conflict between those who want to abolish gender and those that want to assert their gender as the one they identify with though! It seems to me they really are going in different directions. 

In reply to nastyned:

> It definitely shows there's going to be conflict between those who want to abolish gender and those that want to assert their gender as the one they identify with though! It seems to me they really are going in different directions. 

Those who say "abolish gender" need to grow the f*ck up. Sure, gender expectations should be less restrictive, but as long as there are 2 sexes, there will be differences between men and women, and there will be trans people. 

Back to the free speech champion, this is an interesting take this morning by Alison Scott-Baumann (in the Guardian again)...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/17/free-speech-champion-universities-campus

"Everything I’ve described so far is about risk aversion: the government not wanting to risk hearing views it doesn’t agree with; students not wanting to risk offending vulnerable minorities, and universities not wanting to risk upsetting government. We can get out of this by deciding to pay attention to each other and accepting the shared risk of causing offence, being ignored and being proved wrong." - A S-B

Alan

 nastyned 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Those who say "abolish gender" need to grow the f*ck up.

I was right about the conflict!

 neilh 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

That is a good observation although I do disagree with the observation on govt having to listen to alternative views.. Every democratic govt has to listen to views it does not agree with, that is why you have elections and also parliaments.PMQ's is a classic example of a govt being forced to listen to those views.An MP in a constituency meeting is in the same position.

Being proved wrong and being willing to alter your position is the difficult issue ( always has been) and that applies to all parties and views..

 Timmd 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Ta-Nehisi Coates? Ibram X Kendi? DiAngelo? "Roots"? BBC kids education (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zy7fr82/revision/1)? But it's less about what is said and more about what isn't. 

...............................

The triangular trade

The slave trade began with Portuguese (and some Spanish) traders, taking mainly enslaved West African (and some Central African) people to the American colonies they had conquered in the 15th century. British sailors became involved in the trade in the 16th century and their involvement increased in the 18th century when the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) gave them the right to sell enslaved people in the Spanish Empire. The slave trade made a great deal of profit for those who sold and exchanged enslaved people. Therefore, they often ignored the fact it was inhuman and unfair.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Portuguese traders captured and enslaved people from Africa to work in the Portuguese colony of Brazil and the Spanish colonies of South America. As many as 350,000 Africans were enslaved in the Americas during this time.

In the 16th century, British pirates started selling enslaved people to the Spanish colonies. Sir John Hawkins was the first British sea-captain to do this, starting in 1562.

In 1625, the British captured Barbados in the West Indies and in 1655 they secured Jamaica. British enslavers started supplying enslaved African to the English colonies.

In 1672, the Royal African Company was set up to trade enslaved Africans to the West Indies' sugar plantations.

In 1713, Spain gave British enslavers the contract, known as the Asiento, to trade 144,000 enslaved people a year to Spanish South America. This contract was part of the Treaty of Utrecht.

...............................

It seems to be pretty even handed on the face of it...?

Post edited at 10:30
 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to neilh:

> PMQ's is a classic example of a govt being forced to listen to those views.

I believe in theory its more about having the govt answer questions as opposed to listening despite Johnsons attempts to turn it into OQ's.

The figures in the article are interesting and it would be useful to see them more fully fleshed out in terms of external speakers rejected and what was the cause as well as those cancelled after protests.

That YouGov poll really needs rerunning with an additional question around "what is your actual interaction with universities. if none please state the source where you get the idea free speech is being infringed there from".

What was also interesting was flicking through the comments and seeing repeated statements about x being banned and people pointing out that no they did go ahead and speak despite protests.

Speaking of universities and free speech. Anyone remember the not at all sinister letter from Chris Heaton-Harris demanding universities tell him about who was teaching what about Europe. Checking back it seems he has given up the pretence of it being for a book.

 RentonCooke 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Timmd:

> It seems to be pretty even handed on the face of it...?

If you take "the triangular trade" to be the sum total of "slavery", yes.

However, this is the entirety of what comes up when I searched the BBC's lockdown learning site for "slavery" as a general term: a very particular aspect of slavery (the "triangular trade"), covering a particular period of just 300 or so years, entirely focussed on European slave trading. 

I would fully expect any student using this resource (and no doubt it isn't alone in its framing) being led to believe that slavery was a uniquely European invention and something which constituted the vast majority of the history of "slavery".   That is surely not healthy? 

Again, this is a bright shining example of Sowell's point, quoted in my last post, about selective Eurocentrism, and chapter 3 of his book provides the kind of nuance that is entirely absent from these resources, yet could be so easily included.  We like to bash the Japanese for failing to acknowledge their full history, but here we seem willing to omit 90% or more of where the trade occurred or name any non-European countries responsible (the list would be long).  Sowell likewise makes a strong point that Europeans were so far removed from the process of slave trading (akin to buying your packaged chicken in a supermarket with no idea of what goes on in battery farming) that the existence of any opposition points to a level of enlightenment at odds with the era.  That any opposition exited to a practice which had been a norm throughout human history (from India to Native American Indians), speaks volumes, as does the fact that people centrally involved in it in the space of their own lifetimes, became opponents.  

Then consider this sort of narrative coming in at all angles, where to even challenge this narrative opens you up to accusations of being an apologist or racist, and where that accusation alone can make you such a PR problem that your position itself is potentially under threat.  It provides a pretty good example of the subtleties of cancel culture and why people may feel they are better off not trying to correct misinformation. I'm certainly not willing to have these discussions anywhere other than an anonymous message board and absolutely do not want to make them in my place of work - a Russell Group university. 

 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> That is surely not healthy? 

Do you get as excitable as all the other subject areas which arent covered? Its not really news that history tends to be taught with a focus on the country it is being taught in. Arguably there should be some on the barbary slave trade but then we would probably have people whining about the teaching of history to make the UK look weak.

its worthing noting that some people get as equally upset as you addressing it from the other side with the focus on abolition.

> Then consider this sort of narrative coming in at all angles, where to even challenge this narrative opens you up to accusations of being an apologist or racist, and where that accusation alone can make you such a PR problem that your position itself is potentially under threat. 

And yet a cursory look for UK universities show that they really arent restricted to just the transatlantic slave trade but all areas. Perhaps they havent spotted they are being cancelled?

The level of victimhood claiming really is quite spectacular and goes back to the original free speech argument. On the one hand we have the government threatening the NT and other groups if they dare speak against the government line and then we have people claiming they are being silenced without any real evidence.

 Timmd 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

Isn't it acknowledging our history in a way that Japan can be criticised for not doing, that we look at our role in it?

I think perhaps, that the smell of the slave ships carrying on the wind 2 days before the ships docked in Bristol , might suggest a lie in the perspective that our involvement was akin to buying a prepacked chicken, because we knew what was going on, as far as suffering and the inhumanity of it.

 I'm struck by your original point about Britain being held up as being uniquely bad, not being supported by the link which spoke of the involvement of Spain and Portugal. 

It has me thinking of the point of view that a removal of privileges can feel like oppression, the sense that Britain (or white Britain perhaps) is put upon or castigated, in a way which might not be supported when it's looked into. 

Post edited at 12:50
 marsbar 18 Feb 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

I do remember my sex education teacher, she was a married woman in her 40s and I felt comfortable to ask her about things.  

But I'm not talking about sex education, I'm talking specifically about the girls only sessions where we look at the practicalities of dealing with periods, tampons vs pad, and presumably these days discussion on disposable vs reusable.  Schools also need someone to organise the distribution of pads etc to those who can't afford them and anyone who needs protection unexpectedly.  

I'm not saying that there are any cases of trans women leading this area.  What I'm saying is that it's not appropriate in my opinion for a trans woman to lead on this and that in my opinion this doesn't make me a TERF.  Expressing this opinion at work might however lead to disciplinary action against me if someone wanted to make a fuss about it.  

Being respectful of (trans) women which I always try to be, doesn't mean I subscribe to the fairy tale that there is no difference in experience between natal and trans women. 

 RentonCooke 18 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

> That YouGov poll really needs rerunning with an additional question around "what is your actual interaction with universities. if none please state the source where you get the idea free speech is being infringed there from".

Most people these days do go to university and get a pretty good idea of the scene there.

> What was also interesting was flicking through the comments and seeing repeated statements about x being banned and people pointing out that no they did go ahead and speak despite protests.

The focus on external speakers (as is the fact that the events went ahead) is a bit of a red-herring, but is probably being cited as it is more relatable to the general public.  

If events on certain topics can be guaranteed to be portrayed, unfairly, as a focal points for anti-trans, racist, bigotted or extreme viewpoints, it undermines the attendance and credibility of those events.  Students do not wish to be associated with the smell and likewise do not want their fellow-students to associate them with it.  The model should be the Cambridge Union and the likes, which isn't a big ask.  The sad reality across UKUs is quite the opposite.

The elephant in the room is the overwhelming left-bias in social sciences and humanities.  We talk about the need for diversity as if skin colour or sexual orientation define the world's array of experiences and viewpoints.  Meanwhile, social sciences and humanities environments are almost devoid of right-of-centre thought and often overtly hostile.  Any such viewpoint put forth in a tutorial group that is 90% left leaning is unlikely to be well received and the numerical balance alone will make it a difficult case.  So, more than ever, the opportunity to present such viewpoints, even extreme viewpoints (I've certainly sat through no end of extreme left thought experiments and they are accepted with a warmth that would imply Stalin never existed) needs protecting.  Unless of course you consider those views to be abhorrent and in need of marginalisation.  Even if the reality is that those views are in fact necessary and important contributions to the field, important counter-balances, or at least provide an inoculation defence.  Cambridge's "establishment" and collegiate system introduces some complexity, but the differential treatment between the likes of Priya Gopal and Noah Carl is indicative of what passes for allowable and what is seen as sufficiently toxic to force a college to decide, on balance, a contract is better off not being renewed.

 seankenny 18 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm not saying that there are any cases of trans women leading this area.  What I'm saying is that it's not appropriate in my opinion for a trans woman to lead on this and that in my opinion this doesn't make me a TERF.  Expressing this opinion at work might however lead to disciplinary action against me if someone wanted to make a fuss about it.  

In your view, is this an unwarranted curtailment of your freedom of speech?

 RentonCooke 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Timmd:

> Isn't it acknowledging our history in a way that Japan can be criticised for not doing, that we look at our role in it?

Acknowledging history is fine.  Conspicuously avoiding context and the involvement of others is suspicious.  Like I said, by all means write a book about Mussolini.  But don't paint him as the singular cause and contributor to WWII's global death and destruction, and the main target of the Allies, while making no mention of Hitler, Stalin or Tojo. 

> I think perhaps, that the smell of the slave ships carrying on the wind 2 days before the ships docked in Bristol , might suggest a lie in the perspective that our involvement was akin to buying a prepacked chicken, because we knew what was going on, as far as suffering and the inhumanity of it.

Ever driven past a lorry load of sheep bound for slaughter?  Unlike areas where actual slave capturing and trading occurred, most people in the UK and US simply saw the end result - the arrival of slave labour.  The point was that nations directly involved in the capturing and separating slaves from their families appeared far less concerned about it.  

>  I'm struck by your original point about Britain being held up as being uniquely bad, not being supported by the link which spoke of the involvement of Spain and Portugal. 

That's splitting hairs.  But I could have termed it better - it is the focus on white trading of black bodies.  It is the racialising of the issue.  It is the one-way traffic and the framing of this as a uniquely European or Anglo-American practice.

> It has me thinking of the point of view that a removal of privileges can feel like oppression, the sense that Britain (or white Britain perhaps) is put upon or castigated, in a way which might not be supported when it's looked into. 

Or, it is giving 90% of those involved in the trade a free pass.  Doing everything possible to excuse by omission (we can mention the Portuguese but not the Arabs?) vast numbers of nations from their role, and writing out the vast majority of the millions who died in the process, by not even mentioning a sentence of that context? 

Wouldn't that be worth taking issue with?  Especially as the one-sided narrative is breeding contempt, anger and stirring up resentments - not to mention skewed perspectives on history.  I'm not sure turning on those who mention this, with the accusation that it is their "privilege" talking, brings more to the table.

Post edited at 13:10
 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Most people these days do go to university and get a pretty good idea of the scene there.

Sorry but this is nonsense. Just that many people have been to university doesnt mean they can say whether free speech is under threat now.  The group most certain free speech was under threat was the 55+ who a)would have had a far lower portion go to uni and b)would have (mostly) gone a long time ago. So their experience of university might as well be nonexistant when discussing the state today.

> The focus on external speakers (as is the fact that the events went ahead) is a bit of a red-herring, but is probably being cited as it is more relatable to the general public.  

It is useful though as a simple measure. Lets see the actual figures.

> If events on certain topics can be guaranteed to be portrayed, unfairly, as a focal points for anti-trans, racist, bigotted or extreme viewpoints, it undermines the attendance and credibility of those events. 

I love the use of "unfairly". So what is your remedy here? Do you want anyone objecting to it to be silenced?

> The elephant in the room is the overwhelming left-bias in social sciences and humanities.  We talk about the need for diversity as if skin colour or sexual orientation define the world's array of experiences and viewpoints.  Meanwhile, social sciences and humanities environments are almost devoid of right-of-centre thought and often overtly hostile. 

And here we get right back to the severe victim culture of some on the hard right.  Again what is your remedy. Should there be enforced teaching of hard right beliefs, which does seem to be something the tories are keen on.

Maybe a quota system to ensure there are enough hard right believers to push their story.

 RentonCooke 18 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

> And here we get right back to the severe victim culture of some on the hard right.  Again what is your remedy. Should there be enforced teaching of hard right beliefs, which does seem to be something the tories are keen on.  Maybe a quota system to ensure there are enough hard right believers to push their story.

There's scant evidence you enter these discussions in good faith or with much sense of balance or moderation, so I see no incentive in engaging further.

 marsbar 18 Feb 2021
In reply to seankenny:

I don't know if it is or not.  

I'm one of those people who would say it anyway if necessary and stuff the consequences.  

Do I have freedom of speech at work anyway?  

I'm not free to say many things I might want to at work and that's what they pay me for I guess.  I pick my battles.  

 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> There's scant evidence you enter these discussions in good faith or with much sense of balance or moderation, so I see no incentive in engaging further.

Ah yes of course. Sorry I forgot its only you who is allowed to use "extreme left" and so on.

As for good faith. This is coming from the person who misquoted deliberately and repeatedly?

Sadly you are a fine example of the subset of the right who project all their failings onto anyone else.

 Timmd 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Acknowledging history is fine.  Conspicuously avoiding context and the involvement of others is suspicious. 

That's your subjective interpretation, though? 'They haven't mentioned that the rest of the world was at it too - Why do they only focus on Britain?' When in your example, some other countries as well a Britain were mentioned. 

Post edited at 14:17
 Timmd 18 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> That's splitting hairs.  But I could have termed it better - it is the focus on white trading of black bodies.  It is the racialising of the issue.  It is the one-way traffic and the framing of this as a uniquely European or Anglo-American practice.

Good Lord, it's not splitting hairs, I asked for an example where Britain was held up as uniquely bad, and two other countries were mentioned in the context of being directly involved, making them just one of three.  With the West Indies and America being mentioned as buyers, and (implicating the Dutch) the Treaty of Utrecht getting mentioned as well, does that make it one of five, or one of six countries involved?

Britain gets mentioned in Britain, because we're in Britain, and it's relevant to us, a knowledge of our history can help to put the present into context. 

Post edited at 14:39
 nastyned 18 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Yes, there's no freedom of speech at work. And workplaces are dictatorships not democracies. 

In reply to RentonCooke:

It depends how you frame your argument. It's fair to say that x y z other countries / cultures practised slavery around the same time (you don't even need to go very far - Russian peasants were becoming increasingly enslaved just as the Americas slave trade was developing; they were called serfs but they were effectively slaves). It's also fair to say that x y z African kingdoms were involved in the slave trade as they captured people to enslave them in the first place and then sold them to the slave traders.

However that is no excuse for the role of the Europeans. Providing context to enable a fuller understanding of the position and trying to find an excuse are different things. I wonder though if some people claiming to provide context are actually looking for an excuse. Just because other countries were involved doesn't make it ok. The Romans had slavery. They also did a lot of other nasty things, as well as a lot of positive things. History is rarely one dimensional (with the exception of a few regimes which were just pure evil).

It could be that many Europeans were not aware of the slave trade. That would make an interesting topic for historical research. I suspect awareness will have improved with time with growth in literacy, newspaper circulation and general interconnectedness with the wider world. However some certainly were aware of it through direct or indirect participation in it.

The emancipation movement was a product of the Enlightenment. I imagine there were emancipation movements growing in other countries / cultures where slavery or the slave trade were allowed - we just don't hear about it due to the Eurocentrism which you mention. Eurocentrism and Anglocentrism are certainly an issue in the way history is taught in the UK. I suspect most countries are guilty of being focused on themselves and their corner of the world. That is perfectly understandable and it's very important that people know about the history of their own country and other countries in their part of the world. It's also important for people to be aware of global history. As with many things, it's a question of balance.

Here's an example. Most people in the UK know about Dunkirk, the Blitz, D Day, the bombing missions. I suspect most will know about Pearl Harbour, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fewer will have an awareness of the war in the Pacific, China, South East Asia and North Africa. Stalingrad is probably reasonably well known, whereas the siege of Leningrad and the battle of Kursk will be pretty obscure for most people. The general perception seems to be that D Day was a pivotal point whereas the Eastern Front was something happening in the background, never mind the various other theatres of war. Whereas in Russia it's the other way round. Everyone knows about Barbarossa, Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk and Berlin and the Eastern Front is seen as pivotal. People have an awareness of D Day and the war in the Pacific but don't attach much importance to them. The Blitz doesn't really get a mention because as far as Russians are concerned the war didn't even start until 22 June 1941. The North AtlantiSo who is right? It's the person who is aware of developments in all the key theatres of war, understands the overall picture, how it all fitted together and that all the Allies played a crucial role in different locations, in different ways and to some extent at different times. 

Post edited at 01:39
 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> I do remember my sex education teacher, she was a married woman in her 40s and I felt comfortable to ask her about things. 

> But I'm not talking about sex education, I'm talking specifically about the girls only sessions where we look at the practicalities of dealing with periods, tampons vs pad, and presumably these days discussion on disposable vs reusable.  Schools also need someone to organise the distribution of pads etc to those who can't afford them and anyone who needs protection unexpectedly. 

That's all very practical, and I don't think it requires a 'lived experience' necessarily. Surely the most important thing is who someone might feel at ease with and knows the relevant information to give. That's more likely to be a woman than a man and more likely to be a woman that bleeds versus a woman that doesn't bleed, sure. Does that make a woman who does not bleed an inappropriate source of help and guidance? I don't think the argument stretches that far.

> I'm not saying that there are any cases of trans women leading this area.  What I'm saying is that it's not appropriate in my opinion for a trans woman to lead on this and that in my opinion this doesn't make me a TERF.  Expressing this opinion at work might however lead to disciplinary action against me if someone wanted to make a fuss about it.  

I don't think you're a TERF for that. TERFs tend to self identify as TERFs and you don't seem to. You have highlighted how unusual it is to have women who do not bleed and how it's a case of whataboutery to even start talking about whether or not they should be able to talk to girls about issues related to periods. Well, trans people aren't exactly common either.

I don't see much utility in trying to wall trans people off from things apparently they don't do and there's little conceivable harm from their doing.

Post edited at 01:33
In reply to RentonCooke:

> But don't paint him as the singular cause and contributor to WWII's global death and destruction, and the main target of the Allies, while making no mention of Hitler, Stalin or Tojo. 

Stalin was certainly a nasty piece of work responsible for the deaths of millions but you might find that he was one of the Allies rather than one of their targets

In reply to Misha:

> Stalin was certainly a nasty piece of work responsible for the deaths of millions but you might find that he was one of the Allies rather than one of their targets

Well, if you're going to rewrite history and cancel the inconvenient you might as well be ambitious!

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

It was merely a practical example of something (which in my opinion does require lived experience) where women have different experiences if they are trans or natal and people like Andrew don't respect my right to say so. 

People like Andrew compare me saying that trans woman don't have lived experience of being a teenage girl and getting your first period to racism.  

A very small number of extremists would push strongly for trans activists to be involved in such things.  The kind of people who present their undercarriage to be waxed and then shout discrimination when the waxer says she doesn't want to wax male genitals and isn't trained in how to do so safely.  

 Offwidth 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Misha:

On that interesting subject most 'western allied citizens' are unaware of the effect of Stalin's declaration of war (on Japan in August 1945) on the Japanese surrender. Mythologies build in all countries to suit establishment needs.

It looked like the rise of the internet would counter such behaviour, which it did for a while, but no one accounted for just how much dishonest shit would spew up and how silos would efficiently form, effectively burying any overall improvement in truth. Human psychology shows how we all build internal narratives and become rather immunised to truths that challenge those. As a young man I was a passionate supporter of free speech but the more I watch modern events the more worried I become that dangerous idealogues abuse those freedoms to spread hate and lies, that seem to be reversing the progessive political gains we have made in previous decades. This is especially concerning in the highly religious US, what comes next after Trump?

 Offwidth 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Misha:

.....weird coincidence....just read this fun  Sasha Baron Cohen interview after my previous post

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/feb/19/sacha-baron-cohen-borat-trial-chicago-7-facebook-trump

which reminded me of the excellent work he did on campaigning against the internet giants profiting from online hate:

https://www.stophateforprofit.org/

In reply to Offwidth:

I got into a "discussion" in the comments of one of Andy Kirkpatrick's Instagram posts the other day with who I think was a youngish American climber and paraglider pilot who also seemed to be a straight up white supremacist/separatist. He was saying that "countless European cities" had been "destroyed" by refugees, foreigners etc. I asked which cities, as living in Europe there was a chance I might have visited or even lived in some of these cities - there were "countless" of them after all! He replied that Sweden has more foreigners in it than the US, I guess he meant a higher proportion of foreign born population which is quite possibly true but didn't seem to connect to the being destroyed bit in any way. Also that Paris had been a beautiful city but was now a "slum" because of, you know, foreigners, refugees. He also said that churches all over Europe were being destroyed or turned into mosques. Oh, and Berlin was now like LA, I think in terms of their being lots of non-white people there. I did then ask him if he had visited any of the places that he mentioned - I've been quite a regular visitor to Sweden for a couple of decades now, and happen to have briefly visited both Berlin and Paris in the last few years, and, despite big cities tending to have big city problems, haven't seen anything really "destroyed" by foreigners or non-white people as he seemed to be suggesting. I also asked where he got his information and impressions from but he declined to respond any further at that point. He did leave one other slightly cryptic comment to someone else that I could only understand as explaining the Holocaust as a "European" response to a threat from "foreigners", I did ask him if that is what he meant, but he didn't respond to that either.

I guess we all know that people with those views do exist, we maybe see them on the news or read articles about people with those kind of views, but actually having something approaching a discussion with someone like that mainly left me thinking about how people end up seeing the world in such a completely different way from the way I see it, and what I think is the actual truth of the situation. Of course I'm not saying that my views are always the truth, but rather there are people out there are who's views are not in any way connected to reality. Of course you can think that the influx of refugees recently or immigration or generally into Europe in recent times has caused more problems than benefits, but that's very different from actually believing that Europe has countless destroyed towns and that churches everywhere are being destroyed or turned into mosques! I'm pretty certain that the internet is responsible for that. 

Post edited at 12:53
 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> but that's very different from actually believing that Europe has countless destroyed towns and that churches everywhere are being destroyed or turned into mosques!

Did you ask him if he minded churches being turned into climbing walls or pubs?

In reply to mondite:

I did actually mention the churches to climbing walls thing (are there any left? back in the 90s I climbed at the Bristol one once or twice and regularly at the Glasgow one - but my impression is that climbing centres have all moved to larger spaces now?). He didn't seem interested in that though, climbers taking over churches might be less threatening to that mindset than the fantasy of foreigners burning them down or Muslims forcing them to become mosques!

 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> It was merely a practical example of something (which in my opinion does require lived experience) where women have different experiences if they are trans or natal and people like Andrew don't respect my right to say so. 

Plenty of female sex ed teachers with bananas and condoms in the world giving out useful advice without needing to have the lived experience of having a penis.

I appreciate your right to the opinion that it's not appropriate but teaching anything but abstinence was inappropriate at one point. I'm not sure how long the genital test for talking or giving advice about biological processes will hold out for. 

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Sorry to be blunt, but I can assure you that as a straight natal woman I do have actual  personal experience of putting a condom on a real penis. 

I would of course respect a wish for boys to be shown this by a man if they preferred. 

Sex isn't the same as periods.  

I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced it can really understand how it feels to suddenly have blood coming out of your vagina.  No matter how well prepared you are (far better these days  than back in history) people associate blood with injuries and having to deal with bleeding every month is a very peculiar thing at a difficult age. Dealing with it well is a matter of experience not theory.  Girls don't want to be asking someone who doesn't understand if they are struggling to use tampons or which pads are best.  

In reply to TobyA:

Alter Rock in Derby comes to mind.

 Jim Hamilton 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Misha:

>  Eurocentrism and Anglocentrism are certainly an issue in the way history is taught in the UK. I suspect most countries are guilty of being focused on themselves and their corner of the world. 

> Here's an example. Most people in the UK know about Dunkirk, the Blitz, D Day, the bombing missions.

Not so much with the modern generation  – GCSE students are more likely to know about American Civil Rights than WW2 battles!

Incidentally I understand the word slavery comes from the Slavs, the unfortunate central European people captured and sold by the Viking-Rus to the Middle East powers.  The Arabic for eunuch also derives from the word for Slavs.  Novgorod was founded on the slave trade.     

In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

I've taught more sex and puberty education to (normally) year 8 girls and boys than probably most people here. You can of course teach the biological side of periods as a man, lots of line drawings of what's happening in the womb over a month and so on, but actually teaching girls about having a period and what they need to do when it happens to them, normally some years earlier than that, should be done by a woman I would say. Comparing using a tampon to using a condom is ridiculous, both boys and girls need to know how to use a condom but as a man i've never had to use a tampon! I could explain the the theory of how to use a tampon or sanitary towel, but of course have no idea what it actually feels like and I wouldn't be able to answer many questions the girls might have.

Post edited at 16:13
 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> Sorry to be blunt, but I can assure you that as a straight natal woman I do have actual  personal experience of putting a condom on a real penis. 

How is it that you would pass on that lived experience? You're clearly not passing on the muscle memory of putting a condom. What you're actually doing (as a sex ed teacher) is conveying a abstraction of the process so that it's applicable and understandable by a classroom of boys. I don't think lived experience is necessary. 

Someone could write an educational article on it and I don't think the reader would need to know the genitalia of the author to get something out of it.  

> Sex isn't the same as periods.  

> I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced it can really understand how it feels to suddenly have blood coming out of your vagina.  No matter how well prepared you are (far better these days  than back in history) people associate blood with injuries and having to deal with bleeding every month is a very peculiar thing at a difficult age. Dealing with it well is a matter of experience not theory.  Girls don't want to be asking someone who doesn't understand if they are struggling to use tampons or which pads are best.  

Well I think it is all a matter of theory, all of the human body's ordinary functions are very well documented and researched as a matter of science. I think a female condom designer having never seen a real penis would be probably better placed to provide education on the use and fitment of condoms than a jack the lad who's not knocked anyone up yet. 

I'm not saying that such situations are by any means common, but they are at least conceivable. 

Which of tampons or pads are best, Marsbar? Is that something with a definitive answer?

I can only imagine the destigmatisation of menstruation is a good thing. It used to be unheard of for men to be asked to pick up feminine hygiene products (which one's partner usually has a preference) but it's becoming less taboo to have open conversations about such things. 

I await the downvotes for daring to speak on such a topic. 

Post edited at 16:32
 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to TobyA:

I certainly think that's a reasonable point of view. I'd probably go as far as 'should' too. 

Hypothetically, if you were a single dad with one daughter, the the topic of periods wasn't discussed at school. Perhaps you had learned everything you could about the whole issue (or perhaps you're literally a gynaecologist) you'd do what?

Get the neighbour round?

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Personally I prefer a mooncup.  I'm happy that anyone is able to talk about such things and go shopping but it isn't the same as being able to answer questions and discuss the pros and cons.  

There is an emotional and practical side to this and you simply don't have the experience.  

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

A single dad with a daughter would certainly talk to his daughter about periods and buy supplies for her.  

(In this day and age I'd hope all dads would?) 

Perhaps it's even more important for daughters of single dads that there is a woman at school who they can ask anything.  

Otherwise she would rely on her peers, and that can work well, but it can also occasionally lead to bias misinformation or pressure.  

Post edited at 16:55
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

>Well I think it is all a matter of theory, all of the human body's ordinary functions are very well documented and researched as a matter of science. 

There's an emotional side to it that biological men can never understand. Given that half the population is female i.e. there's no shortage, it would seem sensible to leave the teaching to that half.

I did know a single dad in the position you mentioned, there's usually an extended family member or close friend to call on.

Post edited at 17:25
 Jim Hamilton 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Misha:

> If someone has an issue with the National Trust highlighting historical facts, I would say *that* should be called 'cancel culture' because it's cancelling historical facts! Highlighting links with the slave trade isn't a case of rewriting historical facts - it's rewriting how history has been written and interpreted previously. What actually happened and what / how people are taught about what happened are different things.

The purpose of the National Trust is  “promoting the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of lands, and buildings, of beauty or historic interest and lands for the preservation so far as practical of their natural aspect features and animal and plant life.“

The issue with the membership was why this should now include being "commited to continuing research into, and communication of, the histories of slavery, colonialism and black presence at our places."

In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Of course you would have a go and try your best, but if you had a sister or a good friend who was female I'm sure many single dads would, and have asked someone like that for help. Gay parents with straight kids, straight parents with gay kids, white parents with black or biracial kids etc all might likewise sometimes need some help and support from someone who shares that particular aspect of identity or biology with the child

Teachers teach things that they have no personal experience of all time, I teach RS to younger kids (KS3 and 4) including teaching about religions to children who belong to that religion, that I, as an atheist don't believe in and in a number of cases don't have any direct personal experience of. But even that doesn't seem quite the same as teaching about something that is going to happen to only half of people's bodies, when you're from that other half of the population! Particularly because everything around sexual development and puberty is so connected to to complicated social ideas about privacy and morality.

Post edited at 18:25
 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

I'd say how people lived is historically interesting, and part of that is how they made the money necessary to fund the grand lifestyle we see in many NT properties.  

It's no great secret that Cragside for example was funded by sales of arms.  

How is slavery any different?  It is part of the history of these houses.  

 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> Of course you would have a go and try your best, but if you had a sister or a good friend who was female I'm sure many single dad's would and have ask them.

I think that would be very practical if the child felt more comfortable talking to them about it and they were better placed to talk about it (which may be the vast majority of the time). I don't think you can argue against trying to do what's best for the child and the situation. 

As long as you don't think that it's morally wrong or inappropriate for the father to try, in the absence of an accessible and better option, then I think we agree.

 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> The purpose of the National Trust is  “promoting the permanent preservation for the benefit (...) historic interest“

NT present historical information about their properties as a rule. I'm not sure why you think slavery should be excluded from this.

 nufkin 19 Feb 2021
In reply to TobyA:

>  everything around sexual development and puberty is so connected to to complicated social ideas about privacy and morality.

There is a strong, and only partially facetious, case to be made for having everyone starting primary school watch Big Mouth for this very reason

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> The issue with the membership was why this should now include being "commited to continuing research into, and communication of, the histories of slavery, colonialism and black presence at our places."

Seems covered under the benefit of the nation and historic interest. Unless someone is going to object to them providing any historical context to the buildings they look after then I dont see why ensuring that the negatives as well as the positives are understood and explained.

Its odd people didnt complain about guided tours

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

It's possible that people are worried that the 'historical context'  to which you refer is likely to provoke a reaction from the lunatic, revisionist, hard-left. Given that many of our monuments can be linked to slavery, and the wealth of the slave traders. 

This was demonstrated last summer by the pulling down / damaging of  numerous statues and monuments by BLM / BLM inspired lynch mobs.

We aren't exactly preserving our historical sites if we inadvertently encourage a bunch of perma-offended humanities students to cover them in spray paint! 

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> It's possible that people are worried that the 'historical context'  to which you refer is likely to provoke a reaction from the lunatic, revisionist, hard-left.

Ah yes of course. Because simply silencing any discussion is going to go better.  Freeze Peach all the way eh.

> This was demonstrated last summer by the pulling down / damaging of  numerous statues and monuments by BLM / BLM inspired lynch mobs.

This is actually a superb example of the flaw in your thinking. If we look at Edward Colston statue there had been debate for several years about removing it with a compromise of putting a plaque on it to put it into context.

However the undemocratic Society of Merchant Adventurers and a few others took advantage of their position to edit the plaque to so sanitise the history to make it irrelevant. Perhaps if they hadnt wanted to cover up his history it wouldnt have got to the stage it did.

Something you might want to think about whilst trying to silence any discussion and only have the official tory fantasy of history.

Post edited at 21:19
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> This was demonstrated last summer by the pulling down / damaging of  numerous statues and monuments by BLM / BLM inspired lynch mobs.

I remember Colston being toppled and Churchill defaced. Were there many others? Of course, I'm aware that scores have been removed, but that is rather different.

To be even more pedantic, trying to "lynch" a statue seems to be shutting the stable door much too late.

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

Theres nothing wrong with debate...its not that easy to argue the toss with the mob, though. 

I'm unsigned on what discussion had taken around the Coulson statue. But, left leaning climbing forums aside, there isn't much support for pulling down statues on this country.

Could it be that the arguments in favour of pulling it down has been given due consideration and debate but rejected?

Coulson's was only one of many monuments damaged or destroyed...without debate, by the way.

I didn't hear all that much nuanced discussion when the statues of Churchill, Wallace or Baden-Powell were being vandalised. Just an asinine braying of ill-informed morons. 

It strikes me that if the mob are just going to smash stuff up when they don't get what they want, what's the point in arguing with them?

Post edited at 21:49
 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

There are ways of ensuring that things are done properly.  

If the people of Bristol had been listened to, and a plaque put up next to “Victorian glorified history” Coulson, then the statue would still be there.  

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke/THE WALRUS

It’s funny that people care more about statues than people.  

The word lynch is such an interesting choice.  

> To be even more pedantic, trying to "lynch" a statue seems to be shutting the stable door much too late.

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Which people of Bristol?

Was there a vote?

Do you think the majority of Bristolians wanted the statue removed? Or just the usual, noisy activists?

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> Theres nothing wrong with debate...its not that easy to argue the toss with the mob, though. 

What are you babbling about now?

> I'm unsigned on what discussion had taken around the Coulson statue. But, left leaning climbing forums aside, there isn't much support for pulling down statues on this country.

Can you list all this support? Outside of your hard right victimhood seeking that is?

> Could it be that the arguments in favour of pulling it down has been given due consideration and debate but rejected?

Are you incapable of reading? Didnt you spot the bit where I mentioned the compromise approach of the plaque and how that was undermined?

> Something you might want to think about whilst trying to silence any discussion and only have the latest lefty fantasy rewriting of history.

yawn how f*cking tedious.

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

Blimey...and you accuse me of trying to silence debate! 

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

As I understand it around 10 000 people signed the petition for it to be moved to a museum.  There presumably were votes taken on the plaque, but in the usual ineffective and inefficient way of these things there was much squabbling about what to write.  

I understand the local Tory MP objected to Coulson being named on the plaque as a Tory MP, because he didn’t think it appropriate for being a Tory MP to be associated with slavery.  The truth hurts.  

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> Blimey...and you accuse me of trying to silence debate! 

Sorry you might need to help me out here? What is your point caller?

Only one of us has been suggesting that silencing people is a good idea.

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

My point was that the moment you read a point of view that is contrary to your own you get angry and try to start a slanging match. 

You espouse the benefits of debate, but you appear to be incapable of it.

As was repeatedly mentioned in a recent thread concerning the future governance and direction of this site,  posters (trolls) like you who, who seek to jump down the throats of people who hold differing viewpoints to your own, are driving people away from the site. Further cancelling the debate, and silencing contrary opinion.

Perhaps you should grow up abit? 

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> My point was that the moment you read a point of view that is contrary to your own you get angry and try to start a slanging match. 

Ah okay. So in your mind starting off with "lunatic, revisionist, hard-left", "left leaning climbing forum","ill-informed morons" and so on is civilised debate and the sort of thing likely to lead to civilised debate? Have you thought that just maybe your own language might contribute to the responses you receive?

That you completely failed to engage with the point about the compromise approach failing and instead just ranted on doesnt really give me much faith in a sensible discussion with you.

> Perhaps you should grow up abit? 

I will try to reach your high standards.

 THE.WALRUS 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

Ok. Whatever. I'm out. 

In reply to marsbar:

> Girls don't want to be asking someone who doesn't understand if they are struggling to use tampons or which pads are best. 

The DofE girls I deal with seem perfectly at ease talking about their periods and having to deal with them. It makes me very happy that they are so at ease with themselves, and with talking to me about it. They are even happy to take suitable products off me, as I have learnt to expect them not to have brought them...

> Dealing with it well is a matter of experience not theory.

Indeed. And that experience is personal, as is the preference. If there was a universal 'best', there wouldn't be a plethora of products on the market.

 marsbar 19 Feb 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

D of E is slightly older girls.  Not the same thing.  However I'm pleased that they can talk to you.  

 r0x0r.wolfo 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

> What are you babbling about now?

> hard right victimhood seeking that is?

> Are you incapable of reading? 

> yawn how f*cking tedious.

I agree absolutely.

 Cobra_Head 20 Feb 2021
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> Coulson's was only one of many monuments damaged or destroyed...without debate, by the way.

Isn't the pulling down of Coulson's statue just an extension of history, it doesn't just stand still, history has a habit of evolving and growing through time.

I realise that this might be a bit troublesome for people who want to keep only a certain version of history.

 RentonCooke 20 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

> Ah yes of course. Sorry I forgot its only you who is allowed to use "extreme left" and so on.

Don't know why I'm biting, but that's what you're here for I guess.

My reference to "extreme left" (once in this thread) is to describe tutorial groups I have sat in where press censorship of all right-wing media was discussed as a potentially beneficial direction for a better society, and that barring those with right-wing beliefs from areas of employment may be productive to reach an ideal society. 

I actually find these to be interesting thought experiments and worthy of discussion.  The point, however, is the surprising degree of support (or lack of objection) from my classmates to these sorts of proposals, and the inescapable inequality where, if such a discussion were to happen with the left/right targets reversed, our tutors may have been facing student revolt and a genuine threat to their jobs and the students who proposed them probably ostracised.

Your ever-measured and even response is: 

"And here we get right back to the severe victim culture of some on the hard right.  Again what is your remedy. Should there be enforced teaching of hard right beliefs, which does seem to be something the tories are keen on.  Maybe a quota system to ensure there are enough hard right believers to push their story." 

A response that features three "hard-rights", one "victim culture", a mention of the "tories" and "quotas", plus a "you are a fine example of the subset of the right who project all their failings onto anyone else" thrown in for good measure is a bingo victory for sure and probably a sign you need to step away from the keyboard for a bit.  But I understand...other people are the problem.

In reply to marsbar:

on the Tory point - probably it is unreasonable to link slave trading activities of an MP from a few centuries ago with modern U.K. political parties - I would not be surprised if most members of the house of commons at the time had some links to slaving.

 RentonCooke 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Timmd:

> Good Lord, it's not splitting hairs, I asked for an example where Britain was held up as uniquely bad, and two other countries were mentioned in the context of being directly involved, making them just one of three. 

The focus is almost entirely on Britain (as you yourself mention).  But I think you may be missing my point.  Talking about British slavery with only passing mention of a small number of other players, all white majority, or having the "triangular trade" presented as the totality of "slavery", while overlooking the vast majority of the trade, paints a very distorted (and damaging) picture.

There's a disconnect, given we are strongly motivated to write minorities (eg. Indians and Africans) back into our versions of world history (such as WWI and WWII), or even into reframings of fiction or popular culture. But when they are systemically written-out of the less favourable areas of history, even though they may have constituted a majority contributor to those events, is not acknowledged as a problem, as being a motivated outcome, or a form of racism of low expectations (these countries are apparently not ready, and should not be expected, to face up to their histories in the way that we are). 

I'm happy to rephrase the original point however; would you acknowledge the issues if were to have said it is odd that "The European trade" or the "Slavery of blacks by whites" is presented as uniquely evil?

 RentonCooke 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Russian peasants were becoming increasingly enslaved just as the Americas slave trade was developing; they were called serfs but they were effectively slaves).

Indeed.  Once serfdom gets mixed in, slavery pretty much becomes the norm for most human society.

> I wonder though if some people claiming to provide context are actually looking for an excuse. Just because other countries were involved doesn't make it ok.

Some might.  But I don't think that's a charitable reading of most.  I think its perfectly natural for anyone with a degree of inquisitiveness to ponder what more there may be to a story told in a very binary way.  There are obvious questions that arise when you are repeatedly told about slave ships crossing the Atlantic, slave markets in your own county, but nothing about how a Congolese man ended up at Elmina Castle.  It's perfectly natural to question, and very easy to find the answers, if you start to probe who else was involved in the trade; so I hear my country is guilty, and I know the US is guilty, I've heard a bit about the Dutch, and...woah....I'd just tugged on a thread that reveals a vast history spanning thousands of years, of which we are just a bit-part player and also one of the major contributors to that history mostly ending. 

While some might be suspicious of what motivates someone to say "but what about those guys over there?", I get very suspicious when those same people are only too happy when the culpability is all being thrown in one direction.  But as soon as we start to note the role played by a much wider array of nations, particularly those of a different skin colour, they start shifting uncomfortably in their seats and appear to feel the discussion isn't so worthwhile afterall.  Or you simply get accused of being right wing.

 marsbar 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Dr.S at work:

Fair enough.  But it wasn't linked.  It was written a bit like those management books suggest, all the good stuff he achieved and did in the first paragraph and then another paragraph about the slavery.  

In reply to RentonCooke:

Of course we care more about British slavery than other nations - we're British. 

What are you blathering on about? 

In reply to RentonCooke:

I wonder how many people are aware that there could have been white Scots from the Isle of Skye working as slaves on the colonial plantations, if clan chief Norman Macleod of Dunvegan had succeeded in his evil plan of 1739? Almost 100 men, women and children were kidnapped and imprisoned on a boat bound for the Americas, where they were to be sold into servitude for £3 a head. Fortunately, the ship was wrecked off the coast of Ireland and they were all rescued. It was one of Norman's descendants who tried to flog off the Cuillin a few years back, so clearly there's something untrustworthy entangled in the family genes. I trust Norman's monument is on the radar of the students at St Andrews.

 marsbar 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

I wasn't aware of that.  I was aware that slavery isn't always as simple as white people enslaving black people, things are never that easy.  

I must admit it was only recently that I found out that my friends surname isn't her family name, its the name of the man who owned her ancestors (on her father's side obviously).  

 RentonCooke 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Of course we care more about British slavery than other nations - we're British. 

My point isn't the 'more'.  It's the near-complete absence of the rest, and lion's share, of the story.  

> What are you blathering on about? 

Is that really necessary?

Within my extended family I'm seeing first-hand the impact and divisiveness caused by the trend in partial and permanently-racialised explanations for the world.  I'm am quite literally watching it wipe the feet from under an otherwise capable and sensible young adult, replaced with bitterness and resentment.  Bitterness and resentment that is fully understandable and logical if the vision of the world and its history presented portrays people of certain nationalities, or skin colours, or eras, as disproportionately responsible for all ills currently experienced.  If that's not the intent, it's certainly the impression being taken, and unsurprisingly so.  It's not helpful, healthy and it's doing nothing good for the people it enrages. I'm actually focking angry about it as it's perpetuating the exact inequalities and shlt outcomes everyone claims to be so concerned about fixing - which makes me think they're not actually concerned about those, and this is all about their own political battles, whatever the cost to others.

Why, when we normally fight tooth and nail for full, accurate, and contextualised, accounts of history, is that such a problematic concept to embrace here?  Might it be that the version being told is attractive precisely because the people it particularly riles are ones we disagree with, and their complaints simply become more ammunition to use against them?  And that is reason enough to let historical accuracy slide in ways that wouldn't normally be allowable?

 marsbar 20 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

The establishment likes to divide and rule. It's not in their interest for working class white people and working class black people to get together against a common enemy.  

If working class British can be persuaded that it's also the fault of Eastern Europeans then everyone is squabbling instead of doing something about the real issues.  

In reply to RentonCooke:

> My point isn't the 'more'.  It's the near-complete absence of the rest, and lion's share, of the story.

What are we actually talking about here, the way history is taught in the school curriculum? It strikes me as entirely natural and obvious that the history that tells "our story" as a nation, taught in our schools, would entail near-complete absence of what went on in the rest of the world.

> Is that really necessary?

I just don't get what you're arguing in favour of. A sort of culturally neutral teaching of history that doesn't leave a lasting impression that Britain has been a bit of a cock when it comes to, say, Africa?

> Within my extended family I'm seeing first-hand the impact and divisiveness caused by the trend in partial and permanently-racialised explanations for the world.  I'm am quite literally watching it wipe the feet from under an otherwise capable and sensible young adult, replaced with bitterness and resentment.  Bitterness and resentment that is fully understandable and logical if the vision of the world and its history presented portrays people of certain nationalities, or skin colours, or eras, as disproportionately responsible for all ills currently experienced. 

Aren't there also a lot of people who'd say that the culture around them glorifies the empire along with the slavery and subjugation of other peoples it entailed? Which is going to breed more bitterness and resentment?

Fine, you believe that making a big deal out of the British slave trade is somehow the source of this resentment, but I don't see any reasons to believe that's true. I also don't think that teaching an overview of world history without an overwhelming emphasis on how we got here would be feasible or desirable.

> Why, when we normally fight tooth and nail for full, accurate, and contextualised, accounts of history, is that such a problematic concept to embrace here? 

I don't think we do. I think what most people want is a balanced, factual account of the things which are most salient, to the best of our ability to be fair. We don't care which tribes in East Asia held slaves, nor who those slaves were - it's nothing to do with us!

> Might it be that the version being told is attractive precisely because the people it particularly riles are ones we disagree with, and their complaints simply become more ammunition to use against them?  And that is reason enough to let historical accuracy slide in ways that wouldn't normally be allowable?

There's a backlash against Jacob Rees-Mogg types who seek to glorify our imperial past. Those guys try to white wash history one way (a more literal way, you could say). You seem to think that the backlash is just as inaccurate? Or more inaccurate? And more harmful?

So, what exemplifies the teaching of history you're so worried about, on grounds of accuracy? What books or syllabuses or whatever are the objects of your concerns? I would  suggest that Jacob Rees-Mogg's book on Victorians (not read it, nor do I have an unbiased standard to compare it to, I just believe what the critics said) represents the narrative from the right that might just need to be countered by something a bit more down to earth...

Post edited at 18:54
 Stuart William 20 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

I was definitely taught at school about contributions of non-Europeans and non-whites to the slave trade. It was part of the standard history curriculum so I think you are arguing about a state of censure that really doesn’t exist. 

Yes, the curriculum focussed more on the British role. But as others have said, we do live in Britain. The entire history of the world isn’t going to fit into the GCSE curriculum so there needs to be some selectivity. Unsurprisingly that tends to mean we focus on the more local bits. 

In reply to Jim Hamilton;

The NT preserves stately homes etc NF that means preserving and explaining their history - which could involve wealth created from the slave trade. If it’s relevant to the history, it merits exploring.

I think you are right about the origin of the word slave.

In reply to RentonCooke:

I think we agree that the wider context is important for an overall understanding. It doesn’t make the British involvement any less evil. Just because other nations were also being evil doesn’t mean it was an ok thing to do.

In fact what makes it worse in Britain is that despite Enlightenment ideas it still took decades for the slave trade to be banned - because some people were making a lot of money out of it. It’s not like we’re talking about the Romans or the Vikings here, where you could say ‘well, different times, different culture’. By the time we get to 18th century Britain, it’s all rather close to home.

 RentonCooke 21 Feb 2021
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Back to the original thread, and crossing over with others, some may find this timely 21-minute podcast episode interesting.  Two essays from Heterodox Academy: 

https://heterodoxacademy.org/podcast/the-crisis-of-academic-freedom-has-no-party/

The first highlights the high degree to which left-wing academics have been targetted and cancelled.

The second, on why freedom of speech is so critically needed and unusually threatened on campuses today.

Both are largely examples from the US, but the US sneezes and the UK catches cold and all the descriptions should be instantly recognisable to anyone working in the UK sector.  It's a shame that the issue probably needs to be framed on left-wing grounds before some people to take it seriously, and the political-polarisation in acknowledging a problem exists.  

 Offwidth 21 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

The situation of abuse of academic freedom of full time staff is almost certainly worse in the UK than in the US. All those gagging clauses paid by public money show an epidemic of silent departures  (as per the Guardian link above). For every departure there will be more disciplinary actions resulting in final warnings that also involve silence for a year (or another dismissal). Unlike the US we have no charter of academic freedom. Unlike most western nations we have no tenure.

It's rare in the very large numbers of cases I'm aware off to have any link to cancel culture and even then it's often still mainly striaghtforward abuse of power relationships.

I'm puzzled where you get your experiences from as its hard to know the true level of UK abuses unless in a senior management position or a leading trade union officer in one of the Universities responsible for many such cases (some pre 92 Universities seem to be largely free from the blight, due to better governance arrangements, some post 92s in England are terrible). Universities increasing function like a standard company with sometimes only lip service played to the fundamental importance of academic freedom.

 mondite 22 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> I wonder how many people are aware that there could have been white Scots from the Isle of Skye working as slaves on the colonial plantations, if clan chief Norman Macleod of Dunvegan had succeeded in his evil plan of 1739?

Some of the penal transportation was pretty close to slavery especially given the short life expectancy on some of the Islands. Quite a few Scots and Irish prisoners of war from the war of the three kingdoms ended up in the Indies.

 mondite 22 Feb 2021
In reply to RentonCooke:

> Why, when we normally fight tooth and nail for full, accurate, and contextualised, accounts of history

Since when?

History, especially when taught to children, is and always has been highly selective. There is no other way without taking over the entire curriculum.

Generally the focus is heavily on the host country with occasional meanderings into other cultures although normally just a couple of the big name ones and then a quick scratching of the surface.

Personally I think its a shame and I only discovered how interesting it is years after the tedious lessons but slavery isnt being treated abnormally by those standards.

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Uh-oh...Today in The Sun...

GOT TO BE WOKING!

UK’s ‘wokest’ headmaster ditches house names honouring national heroes after ex-pupil complains.

A SCHOOL has replaced its house names honouring national heroes with ultra woke icons after a plea from an ex-pupil.

Head Lee Hill dropped Admiral Nelson, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.

The school now uses the names of eco teen Greta Thunberg, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, footie star and school meals campaigner Marcus Rashford — and even US President Joe Biden’s inauguration poet Amanda Gorman.

Mr Hill, the heavily tattooed head of Howden Junior School, East Yorks, tells his 16,000 Twitter followers of the “courage of the child who made a stand”.

 marsbar 22 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

How terrible, a head teacher that listens to the children.  With tattoos.  Whatever next?

If you want a laugh the daily mail comments are quite something.  Tattoos and black role models is obviously a winning combination, mostly calling for him to be sacked, one saying he should be covered in sh1t, and then sacked.  If only he was female they could have him burnt at the stake.  

Post edited at 13:59
In reply to marsbar:

> How terrible, a head teacher that listens to the children.  With tattoos.  Whatever next?

Well, exactly. And fancy expecting today's children to be inspired to do great and good things by people like Marcus Rashford and Greta Thunberg. Who'd they ever defeat in battle?

 nastyned 23 Feb 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Not in Woking either. 

 marsbar 23 Feb 2021
In reply to nastyned:

I wonder why some places are recording ethnicity and others are not?  Given the concerns around BAME being at higher risk from the virus I'd have thought that there would be a need to know.  


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...