Nicola Sturgeon’s Response to our Open Letter in Support of the Scottish Poetry Library

So, we received a response from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to our Open Letter in Support of the Scottish Poetry Library. You can read her response in full here. Read it, and decide for yourself whether it deals with the concerns which drove you to sign your name to it.

A lot of thought went into the Open Letter, and a long list of signatories took the risk of professional losses by signing under their own names. We were motivated by concern that writers, and those working in the creative industries, cannot express criticism of gender orthodoxy without professional and social penalty.

Unfortunately, the reply reads as rather copy-paste. It’s not a substantive response in that it doesn’t engage with the points we raised. Instead, it flannels about human rights principles we are familiar with, and ends with an equally familiar admonishment to “be kind.”

Because it’s unkind for women to say ‘no’ to anything, because that entails that we are subjects – real human beings – with needs, wants, preferences and even existing, recognised sex-based rights. And that would upset the gender applecart, wouldn’t it?

This kind of non-response is what women campaigning against the capture of government institutions by gender ideology have been up against for years. Even when we are many, we are not treated like any other vocal and organised political group.

To be fair to the First Minister, Stonewall is still powerful in Scotland, and she cannot afford to alienate it by publicly acknowledging the justice of our claim.

The best we can say about the First Minister’s reply is that it is conspicuously silent on important recent events: in March, the gender applecart was turned over into a ditch when – thanks to the hard work of a relatively modest number of brilliant, committed and engaged women – the Scottish government’s attempt to drive through self-ID failed.

The public were having none of it, and Stonewall’s old trick of purchasing political influence conspicuously stopped working. Presumably, a large number of useful idiots had become aware that they spent the last few years cheerleading for dubious postmodern twaddle which has a nefarious impact on women’s rights and children’s safeguarding, and failed to show up when summoned.

They had so many critical, carefully argued and evidenced responses to the self-ID consultation that they realised they could not, realistically, impose that policy at national level. Women, and parents, said NO. And Sturgeon’s government at least registered this. Yay for democracy.

It may be that self-ID has merely been kicked into the long grass, and will rear up like a zombie once the pandemic crisis has passed. Trans activists are not going to simply accept a loss, having invested over a decade in meticulous campaigning and organisational capture. We shouldn’t get complacent. The battle lines may merely shift to another front.

Had many of the women engaged in this political fight not been up to their eyeballs dealing with the domestic fallout of the Coronavirus lockdown, we would probably have thrown a celebration bash. It’s not the same on Zoom, though, however hard you try.

At any rate, it is excellent news that women and girls in Scotland are now on an unimpeachably strong footing to see off what remains of the unlawful self-ID policies imposed ahead of any legal reform. It is excellent news that Scotland won’t become a forum for legal gender change tourism in the near future.

Let’s mark and celebrate our successes any way we can.

It is hard to tell, at the moment, whether the climate for creative writers and those working in the creative industries who want to speak critically about gender ideology is easing up, less still whether they will continue to suffer the same professional and social penalties for deviating from the liberal orthodoxy within publishing and influential elements of the media.

Thanks to the pandemic, many writers are more concerned about the fact that publication dates are being postponed, and literary events cancelled, denting their incomes and ability to dedicate themselves to literature. Those working in the culture industries are worried about redundancy and recession. Women who write, but also have family responsibilities, are finding themselves in a rerun of the 1950s which may, or may not, fall away once the crisis ends.

However, in the historical process of fighting for women’s humanity to be fully recognised, we have to make the most of our wins or we would surely give up in despair. In this corner of the world, we have made considerable wins. Kudos.

And while the gender lobby’s failure to implement self-ID though legal reform failed in Scotland, just as it failed in England and Wales, won’t necessarily draw a line under the excesses of trans activism or the attempts by businesses to profit from unconscionable procedures on children and teens, there is a sense in which the pandemic has broken the momentum of the gender juggernaut.

Hopefully, the gender critical lawsuits which are stacking up by the week will permanently shut down the activities of the remaining zealots and hired guns who continue to try to impose gender ideology by misuse of institutional power. 2020 was always going to be the year we made serious inroads into the worst excesses of the gender trend, and the courts are still open for business.

The Gender lobby knows that its extremist claims can’t withstand public scrutiny. Most recently, Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its unlawful guidance on single-sex spaces in schools (it claimed girls were legally obliged to share them with any male who decides he wants to be there) rather than risk a full hearing of the issues in court. A thirteen year old girl who had had enough of being manipulated by genderists with dubious motives held OCC to account, and won. There will be more of such judicial reviews, and not all will settle out of court. Onwards!




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