The Left’s attempts to smear Kemi Badenoch over trans rights are utterly shameless

The Left’s attempts to smear Kemi Badenoch over trans rights are utterly shameless

It may be over 20 years since Alastair Campbell resigned as Tony Blair’s king of spin. But it’s clear that he hasn’t lost his touch. Yesterday, after Kemi Badenoch pledged to protect single-sex spaces for women, Mr Campbell demonstrated that he still possesses a matchless talent for smearing his political opponents.

“I’m sure the world of trade and business will take note that the actual Secretary of State for Business and Trade has decided that the biggest issue on her agenda on her first big election outing is the weaponisation of trans rights,” he scoffed.

This is textbook spin – because, while superficially factual, it’s also slyly misleading. Yes, Mrs Badenoch is indeed the Secretary of State for Business and Trade. But she’s also the Minister for Women and Equalities. Which means that it is in fact her job to talk about women’s rights – in this case, their rights to have their own sports, public lavatories and hospital wards. Mr Campbell, however, had made it sound as if the subject were none of her business.

But then, such tactics are all too typical of the modern Left, when it comes to the clash between the rights of women and the demands of trans activists. Since the Left know they’re bound to lose any debate on this topic, they do all they can to prevent debate being held in the first place. To this end, there’s one ploy they favour above all others.

Loftily dismissing the whole issue as a “culture war”.

First out of the blocks yesterday was Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Lib Dems. Asked about Mrs Badenoch’s pledge to protect women’s spaces, she said: “Time and again we have seen how [the Government] tries to wage these phoney culture wars.”

What a handy phrase “culture war” is. When you’ve got no idea how to counter your opponent’s arguments, it enables you to duck out of engaging with those arguments at all. Gender identity isn’t the only area where it’s useful, either. You can use it to dodge other awkward debates, too. Can’t think of a way to defend Left-wing students who ban speeches from visitors they disagree with? Say, “This is just a Tory culture war!” Can’t think of a way to defend cowardly publishers who rewrite classic works of fiction to appease the permanently offended? “This is just a Tory culture war!” Can’t think of a way to defend the peculiar trend for drag queens reading stories to children? “Tory culture war!”

The possibilities are practically endless. In February, Keir Mather, a 26-year-old Labour MP, even told Parliament that objections to 20mph speed limits were part of a “distracting culture war by the Conservative party”.

So there you have it. If you think motorists should be allowed to drive at any speed above snail pace, you’re a bigot. And probably a racist and a transphobe, too.

Corporate virtue-signalling over Pride fools no one

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Pride Month. Four weeks in which social media accounts representing capitalist corporations heroically demonstrate their unswerving support for gay people and other marginalised minorities.

Within reason, anyway.

At the weekend, a user of Twitter/X noticed that @BMW (an English-language account for Western followers) was displaying the rainbow colours of the Pride flag – yet Middle Eastern accounts, such as @BMWSaudiArabia, were not. What was the reason for this curious discrepancy? In reply, @BMW stated that it was “an established practice” which “takes into consideration market-specific legal regulations and country-specific cultural aspects”.

Right. I think I see what that means. The policy is to trumpet support for gay rights in countries where gay people have rights. But not in countries where they haven’t.

Of course, this is far from unusual. Plenty of other corporate social media accounts follow the same policy. I can’t help feeling, however, that it’s ever so slightly odd. Because, if displaying the Pride colours is to serve any real purpose, surely corporations should be doing it in the Middle East. In that part of the world, after all, gay people are widely persecuted. Showing public support for their rights, therefore, might actually be useful, in promoting the case for change. At the very least, it would show that the corporations’ support is honest and heartfelt – and not just a shallow, virtue-signalling PR exercise.

Sadly, it may already be too late. In June last year, a poll by YouGov found that 75 per cent of British people “say that brands which focus activity on Pride Month are doing so more for PR purposes than out of a sincere desire to show support for the LGBTQ+ community”. A mere seven per cent of respondents said they believed the effort was genuine.

What a dreadfully cynical bunch we are.

Way of the World is a twice-weekly satirical look at the headlines aiming to mock the absurdities of the modern world. It is published at 7am every Tuesday and Saturday

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