It has been reported in a number of outlets that racist liar/prime minister Boris Johnson has made “…a significant intervention in the debate over trans rights by praising a charity that has attracted controversy.”
But the truth as I see it is that this letter and the subsequent story is nothing but vacuous spin with admittedly disturbing connotations.
The stories stem from this letter released by the LGB Alliance.
I know that many of you are going to read the above and understandably think: “WHAT THE SHIT.” But the UK press arguing that this is a ‘significant intervention’ is a stretch for a number of reasons:
Look at who wrote it.
Mandy Godridge was the named person on this letter and whilst she does have the authority to communicate on behalf of the prime minister and 10 Downing Street, the idea that this is a ‘significant intervention’ is totally absurd.
One quick google search of her name turned up this story from Eastern Daily Press concerning a response received by a 19 year old student hair dresser who offered to cut Johnson’s hair.
Was this a ‘significant intervention’ into the debate about how shit Johnson’s hair is? Politicians respond to groups they do not agree with all the time and it can be assumed that Johnson doesn’t think his hair is total shit (even though it absolutely is).
This point must seem obvious but what do politicians want to do?
Appeal to people because without people they would not get votes. It is in their best interest to respond to groups in a positive way.
Here is Boris Johnson, a whole lot more personally, responding to a letter where he appears to acknowledge his belief that father Christmas exists (provided by Emily Hutchinson)
Here is a letter from Johnson congratulating Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a politician who is VERY much not aligned with the England-centric Conservative party:
Johnson did not write these letters because he is a good or nice person. Even as I was reading the letter about Santa Claus, I felt an inkling of liking for the guy. That was the whole point.
These letters were not really for the people receiving them. They were written so WE can see them.
This is about PR. Not policy.
But the UK press has something to gain from portraying this letter as much more than it is, as can be seen in the Time’s report on it.
This is an absolutely herculean stretch by the Times. Believe it or not that headline is conflating the letter sent to the LGB Alliance with supporting Kathleen Stock even though she wasn’t mentioned in the letter. For the 12 of you who don’t know, Kathleen Stock is an LGB Alliance patron and anti-trans nightmare who has been subject to protest by transgender students and allies at her place of work, the University of Sussex.
Despite the fact that Stock had NOTHING to do with this letter, the Times chose to conflate the two for one reason: to tag it to an established media narrative that has been profitable for them and harmful to us.
This letter is nothing but spin, being spun out by those who have something to gain from doing so. The LGB Alliance get to say that a boiler plate letter spaffed out by a staffer was government approval, the press profit through eyes on the adverts next to them repeating it, but it is not anything real or material.
But here is what it is: yet another sign that anti-trans hate is not seen as such by those in power and those same people believe that there is something for them to gain from looking supportive of hate groups.
But that just is not the same thing as actually doing anything. It should be noted that representatives of the UK government have publicly said countless times that they support the LGBT community and even trans people. Was that seen as some massive intervention? Or is that rightly viewed as what it is: empty nonsense?
This government still has something to gain from at least sending the message that they aren’t actively harming trans people. The government and the EHRC are right now making noises that are terrifying, but we just aren’t there yet.
They will do whatever helps them the most. This letter is not a major intervention. It is Downing Street hedging their bets for the future. I do not think there is a better example of this than the statement put out by Downing Street to journalists who covered this non-story:
“The Government is clear that biology matters and there are different health needs between the sexes.
We are clear that all transgender people should be treated with dignity and respect.”
They want to look good to everyone. But we should all be looking at what they are doing instead.