December 22nd 2019
In my speech on Freedom, Justice & Democracy at The For Britain Conference 2019, I spoke about the fear that many of us now feel when all we want to do is express an opinion. For those of you that haven’t seen the speech you can watch it here.
In the light of the transgender issue, it might come as a surprise to many people that we actually do have the right to not only express an opinion, even if it offends, but we have an equal right to refuse to express an opinion in which we do not believe. One is free both to believe and not to believe. For example, I do not believe that transwomen are women. I uphold the right of any individual to dress how they wish and call themselves what they wish but I will continue to believe that transwomen are men. Our freedom of expression rights are enshrined in law under Article 10 of the European convention on Human Rights which was incorporated into UK law via the Human Rights Act 1998.
However, as far as transgender activism is concerned, the level of fear is such that we’ve reached a stage where only one side is able to speak, no dissent allowed, the debate has been shut down. Speak out, express a different opinion and you put yourself at risk. And that creates fear which in turn shuts down freedom of speech.
The fact is that the police are knocking on doors, interviewing people under caution, recording a tweet or speech as a ‘hate crime’ while at the same time acknowledging that no crime has been committed. People are advised by the police to refrain from expressing political opinions on social media and told the police want to ‘check their thinking’. People are losing their jobs, academic careers are under threat. Whatever happened to Article 10 protections?
Fear is a great silencer so I am in awe of people who are fighting back. My speech mentioned people who have lost their jobs and I had in mind one particular case. There wasn’t the time to go into more detail at conference so I’d like to give some more background in this blog.
This case involves a researcher and tax-expert for a a non-profit think tank in the field of international development, whose contract was not renewed after complaints that her views made people feel ‘uncomfortable’. This is the article that got her fired, seems all very reasonable to me, what do you think?
She decided to fight, crowd funded for legal fees and raised over £60,000 in just a few days. Her case was heard at the Central London Employment Tribunal in front of Employment Judge James Tayler in November 2019. The claimant’s case was based on her belief that:
- Sex is biologically immutable
- There are only two sexes, male and female and this is a material reality
- Men are adult males
- Women are adult females
Judgement was given on December 18th 2019, and she lost. Interestingly, her crowd funding total has shot up since the judgement, an indication of the fury with which people have reacted to the judgement and the hope she will appeal. It now stands at £97,000+.
I made the comment in my speech that “it’s a very short step from loss of freedom of speech to compelled speech, but that is where we are heading. Recent events indicate we may have already arrived”. I think this judgement shows very clearly that we now live under a judicial system that compels speech. Some of the judge’s comments are just astonishing:
“The core of the Claimant’s belief is that sex is biologically immutable. There are only two sexes, male and female. She considers this is a material reality. Men are adult males. Women are adult females”. And “The Claimant’s position is that even if a trans woman has a Gender Recognition Certificate, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. That belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society” (my emphasis).
I would suggest that this judgement shows contempt and disdain for a woman with an opinion. The judge didn’t like her ‘absolutist’ approach and it showed when he said: “The human rights balancing exercise goes against the Claimant because of the absolutist approach she adopts (my emphasis). What he’s really saying is ‘be a good girl and do as you’re told, if only you’d been kinder’. What about her dignity and intellectual integrity? Out the window, apparently, when the pronoun police come calling.
If you would like to read the full judgement it is here:
I noted he made reference to the Supreme Court ruling in Lee v Ashers which I referred to in my speech (Para. 91 in the judgement). I’m no lawyer, but even I can see a difference between what he is saying and what the Supreme Court said, and it centres on protecting people and protecting ideas. There’s a difference and from my reading he seems to be denying her the right to hold ideas and opinions, in favour of someone feeling hurt by the wrong pronoun. In this case the hurt parties say they are non-binary, which apparently means they identify as neither male or female, and use the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/him’.
So, the outcome is that if, in your opinion, no one can change sex, not only can you lose your job, but don’t bother taking your employer to an industrial tribunal because you will lose that as well.
Anne Marie and I recently had a great chat about the whole transgender issue and the podcast is here.
In my next blog, I’ll cover more examples of people fighting back against insanity, some are seeking judicial review of how current legislation is interpreted by the police and schools. Watch out for it.
Let’s make 2020 the year we start fighting back and reclaim our freedom of speech. It’s too precious to sit back and do nothing. I’m feeling braver than ever, who’s going to join me? You can email me on [email protected]