I grew up in 1980s County Durham; it felt at the time like a People’s Democratic Republic. When the miners went on strike in 1984, Labour held 53 of the 72 seats on the county council. But whatever impression southerners might get from watching Billy Elliot, boys like me did not engage in ballet. Labour may have been in charge, but attitudes were socially conservative. We played football and supported the Toon, or Newcastle United to give them their official name. Allegiance to Sunderland raised eyebrows — in my town at least — while Manchester United was beyond the pale.
LGBT+ Labour might be a fringe group in the minds of traditional Labour voters but they have the power to extract a grovelling apology from Keir Starmer.
August is the traditional silly season, but the Labour party risks descending into a farce from which it might struggle to recover when real politics resumes in September. In the absence of any direction from the party leadership, the transgender thought police have led the party down a rabbit hole. Last week, Spectator readers may recall the appalling attack on Rosie Duffield MP for claiming – quite rightly – that ‘only women have a cervix’. Now, the madness has continued.
While Westminster understandably has its mind on other things, the transgender debate – which you might have expected to calm down after last year’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) – rumbles on with its trademark ferocity. And as two stories have this week have shown, its proponents continue to take no prisoners.