Feet of clay

Richard Walker is deservedly respected as a journalist and as one of the leading figures responsible for the launch of The National and Sunday National. I know a lot of people find fault with these newspapers. But whatever their flaws, they provide a mainstream media platform for Scotland’s cause. The value of this is inestimable. The Yes community owes Richard Walker a debt of gratitude for his role in what history will surely record as one of the most significant developments in the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. It is therefore doubly disappointing to find Richard lending his pen to the SNP/Scottish Government’s efforts to play down the impact of the GRR fiasco.

The article which otherwise offers insightful commentary on the pressing matter of creating a functional Yes campaigning organisation, begins with a representation of the debate around GRR which might with strained generosity be labelled disingenuous. In common with other apologists for the SNP over its handling of this issue, Richard proceeds, not by presenting the arguments for abolishing sex as a defining human characteristic, but by misrepresenting the arguments of those expressing concerns about self-ID. The fact that self-ID enables an individual to falsely claim to have changed sex and have that false claim endorsed by the state doesn’t warrant a mention. The glaringly obvious problems with self-ID are glossed over and brushed aside.

To be scrupulously fair, Richard does acknowledge that the SNP didn’t always get it right. But he does so while massively understating the mistakes.

There have been some mistakes made in the presentation of the arguments in favour of trans rights. Branding everyone who raises concerns as a transphobe, for instance, isn’t the way to change hearts and minds.

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He’s right! Branding anyone who so much as questions any part of Sturgeon’s GRR a ‘transphobe’ is no way to conduct a debate. But it seems that defenders of Sturgeon’s GRR have no honest arguments for the self-ID provisions which are the cause of legitimate concern on numerous grounds. Demonising everyone who raises concerns is pretty much all they ever do. And throwing around the ‘transphobe’ slur is the least of it. The gender cult has a wide streak of nastiness running through it. The unpleasantness all too frequently goes beyond name-calling and even goes so far as to embrace violence as a legitimate means to achieve the gender cult’s aims. (see left)

Having given a token nod to the appalling presentational ‘mistakes’ made by and on behalf of the First Minister, Richard goes on to minimise those blunders still further in a passage which uses the old politicians’ trick of changing the question or answering a question that hasn’t been asked. A variation on this all-too-common form of rhetorical sleight-of-hand is to deceitfully present your opponents’ position in such a way as to provide yourself with an easy target when it comes to shooting down that position. In the following quote I have highlighted the offending text.

However, those mistakes don’t undermine the validity of the arguments that trans people deserve the right to have their gender identity recognised. That right is recognised in countries throughout the world and supported by the United Nations. It is perfectly reasonable to include Scotland within that number, particularly in light of the steps taken to stop this rapist from raping again.

To the best of my knowledge none of those who express concerns about self-ID has ever so much as implied that trans people be denied the right to have their gender identity recognised. That is not the point at all. The point is, inter alia, that nobody can possibly have the ‘right’ to claim that they have changed their sex. They can’t have that ‘right’ for the simple reason that it is impossible for a human individual to change their sex. But holding gender recognition certificate (GRC) allows a person to have their passport and birth certificate altered so as to record the sex of their choice rather than the sex observed and recorded at birth by people amply qualified to ascertain the newborn’s sex. This may not have been seriously problematic when there was a certain amount of gate-keeping on the issuing of a GRC. It becomes at least potentially seriously problematic when almost all gate-keeping is removed and a GRC is issued virtually on demand.

The sort of problems that arise with on-demand GRCs was illustrated by the Isla Bryson case. But rather than heed this as a warning, the gender cult and its apologists dismiss it as a trivial on-off incident. Richard Walker even goes so far as to say that is proves the system works since Bryson was ultimately denied accommodation in a women’s prison and moved to the male estate. He has nothing to say about the subsequent difficulties for Nicola Sturgeon and other supporters of the gender cult who strenuously insist that a person must always be treated as being the sex they claim they are and that nobody may ‘impose’ on them a sex other than the one they currently claim to be. Apparently, now there are to be exceptions to this ‘iron law’ decided on a case-to-case basis by the Scottish Prison Service. Whether other organisations will have this power is not known. It seems unlikely that it would not apply also to Police Scotland and the parts of the justice system which lie between police and prison. Thus, the entire basis of the ‘reformed’ self-ID provision is not only undermined but vaporised.

Less often mentioned but to my mind a problem at least as serious as any others prompted by granting people the ‘right’ to falsely claim that they’ve changed sex is the fact that by permitting the altering of birth certificates and passports, the state is complicit in the lie. The ethical issues are surely obvious. And what happens if an Isla Bryson has both a passport and a birth certificate testifying that they are female (and always have been!). Here you have an individual who is going equipped to do great harm to women and poses such a threat to female prison inmates that the SPS feels obliged to deny them their ‘human right’ to be treated according to the ‘gender identity’ of their choice. But what if this Ilsa Bryson-type individual wasn’t just saying they were female but could actually prove they are female using their birth certificate and/or their passport? Would the SPS still have the extraordinary power to put this individual in a men’s prison? Or would the law insist that a convicted rapist and known threat to women be housed alongside some of the most vulnerable women in society who would have no means of escaping the threat because they’re in a fucking prison!

Regrettably, Richard Walker himself is not above a bit of demonising of critics in order to discourage and deflect concerns such as the foregoing being expressed. The following is in my opinion the most shameful bit of his column. Emphasis added.

Yet for some reason, many people seem to support stripping human rights from the whole trans community because of terrible crimes committed by a small majority. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Can Richard Walker tell us who has suggested “stripping human rights from the whole trans community”?

Can Richard Walker provide examples of people seeming to support “stripping human rights from the whole trans community”?

Can Richard Walker specify precisely what rights are supposedly being threatened?

If he can do any or all of these things, he apparently prefers not to bother. He chooses instead to cast the aspersion over everyone who criticises Sturgeon’s GRR. That is precisely what is meant by demonising one’s opponents. It borders on the kind of rhetoric used by the type of gender cult fanatic who in their next breath advocates violence. It’s not the sort of thing one expects to hear from a respected journalist.

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22 thoughts on “Feet of clay

  1. This is perhaps the most appalling article you have ever written. You accuse Richard Walker of being “disingenuous”, and then pen the most ridiculously “disingenuous” piece of …. “nonsense” (other words were available but were far to offensive to use).

    You claim “Apparently, now there are to be exceptions to this ‘iron law’ decided on a case-to-case basis by the Scottish Prison Service”. There is no “apparently” or “now” about it. It has ALWAYS been the case. The Equalities Act 2010 makes it clear no trans person can have access to any single sex space where they pose a risk to other users of the space, whether they have a GRC or not. The GRRB did not, and could not, make any changes to that law. The SPS acted on that law as all public bodies have done since it was introduced back in 2010. The Scottish Govt supports that law.

    The main point of your entire article is “vapourised” by that fact. I can’t believe you are not aware of the law on this.

    Then we come to the side dishes in your “disingenuous” buffet. You bleat about being demonised by those who support trans rights because of the use of phrases like “many people seem to support stripping human rights from the whole trans community”. Hardly the kind of stuff that scars. However, have you even read lorncal’s posts. Posts that include stuff like – “Others are larping, woman facing, misogynists and men with sexual fetishes/paraphilias, and usually more than one. Rape and sexual assault and paedophilia are at the sharp end of fetishism, while things like filming women while they are peeing or undressed, or flashing or playing ‘girlie’ with sanitary towels” – now that is some gold standard demonising. Your own example looks a bit precious by comparison. I’m not saying there aren’t people on both sides who need to calm the hell down, but Richard Walker isn’t one of them based on what you’ve written here.

    It is also “disingenuous” of you, not to mention “demonising”, to include a picture of some idiot on social media to claim there is violence at the heart of of the trans lobby. There is no evidence I am aware of (and I did an extensive and depressing internet search) of any trans violence against the anti-trans lobby. I did, however, find a crushing number of cases of trans people murdered simply for being trans. Including a case in N.Ireland in 2022 despite lorncal claiming none took place in the UK last year. I think actual death trumps a daft tik-tok (or whatever) picture.

    And finally, the ridiculous claim the Scottish Govt’s “presentation” was at fault. It was so bad, apparently, it got support from every party in Holyrood …. including Tories! It was an overwhelming campaign from the right wing press, unionist politicians, malcontent (un)friendly fire and a more than willing UK Govt in order to discredit the Scottish Govt and, ultimately, thwart independence, that did not allow ANY presentation of the Scottish Parliament’s case.

    The GRRB is an anodyne piece of progressive law that demonstrably has no effect on women’s safety. It has been opportunisticly used as a catspaw (as have malcontents) to try and bring about the downfall of the SNP and YES as a whole. That you and your ilk are happy, if not eager, to help the unionist right in this is …. disappointing.

    PS “abolishing sex as a defining human characteristic” – no one is claiming that. “Disingenous” does not even begin to describe that statement.


    1. Bad people do bad things and the presumption by the media, for political purposes, is that all trans people are potentially bad people and present a risk to women and girls or more of a risk than they do now, so how does that risk manifest itself as the law currently stands now? Particularly since nothing has altered the practices currently used by the prison services.

      I’ve attached a post comparing Ireland, using Self ID, and England and Wales using the current process.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t pretend to know much about the subject at all so it’s not my intention to get involved in any arguments, my comment was directed at MBP, hoping to get some clarity on what the perceived risks are now rather than those predicated if the GRR had been implemented.
        As for the TUS attachment, it’s not meant to prove anything, it does provide some excellent information on Self ID registrations in a country which population wide is very similar to our own.


        1. I’m not sure what you mean by “perceived risks now”. My main point regarding the GRRB is that there are no increased risks to women’s safety from the trans community whether it is passed or not. The GRA 2004 and EA 2010 did not lead to an increased risk to women in the UK, and the introduction of self-id around the world has similarly led to no increase in the threat to women’s safety. Therefore, in light of the evidence, it is safe to assume the GRRB would not lead to any increase in the risk.

          The fact it was passed by a majority of MSPs, which included MSPs from all parties, and then unilaterally struck down by the UK Govt will mean nothing in regard to increased risks to women’s safety. As it would have if Westminster butted out and left Scotland’s decisions alone.

          There are political risks in it not being passed. For both sides. If the Scottish Govt continues to fight for it, younger voters (<30s who overwhelmingly support the GRRB) will likely remain steadfastly supportive of the Indy cause as they will see it as the way to keep Scotland “progressive”. If the Scottish Govt drops it, younger voters will likely think “same old – same old” and question the point of independence if its just another “conservative” club in Holyrood.

          The same people who want the next Holyrood election to be the de facto referendum because it would allow 16-17 yo to vote, would alienate them by ditching the GRRB.

          There is also the risk to the mental health of trans people seeing their dream of acceptance, without the humiliating and frightening need for surgery and/or psychiatric assessment, destroyed.


          1. Thanks, question understood or not, you provided an excellent answer.
            I hope you found the link to the TUS article informative.


    2. MBP. You talk about Peter being unaware of the Equality Act 2010 and presumably by extension the single Sex exemptions contained therein however events have overtaken that particular law.
      Are you not aware of Lady Haldane’s Ruling on the GRPB Bill, issued on the 13th December.
      Haldane says “Sex shall not only” be confined to Biological or birth sex but should now include “those with a GRC”.
      Do you not see the problem here?
      There are no single SEX exemptions if any male with a GRC has a certificate saying he is a member of that sex and in Scotland (only) , a legal ruling backs that up.
      For avoidance of doubt they now have the protected characteristic of Sex as well as Gender Reassignment. How many service providers are prepared to fight a hugely expensive court battle to prove otherwise?
      With Rape Crisis, Women’s Aid and indeed the NHS no longer guaranteeing female only spaces and services on pain of withdrawn funds, I’m afraid you seem remarkably ignorant of the state of the ‘woman’s sector’ right now.
      The provisions of the Equality Act are already NOT being upheld.
      Last point. Under no circumstances conflate being pro Women’s Rights as anti Trans Rights, to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.
      You will not see any signage at any women’s rally promoting violence against transfolk nor are transfolk spat at for wishing to see a documentary film at Edinburgh Uni.
      Women in Scotland right now, (to quote the tee shirt) just ‘Want our F@@king Stuff Back’.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. None of that is relevant. The Equalities Act is clear. No trans person, whether they have a GRC or not, has a right of access to a single sex space if their presence poses a threat to other users of the space.

        In the statement following Lady Haldane’s ruling it says;
        “There is currently no definition of “woman” set out in the Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, so “woman” has the same meaning in the 2018 Act as it does in the Equality Act 2010”. That is, nothing has changed. The Equalities Act, and all the safeguards contained within, is still in force. As evidenced by Isla Bryson being denied access to Cornton Vale.

        Clearly, membership of a Public Board does not constitute a threat to other female members of the Board, so the safeguards do not apply. Considering trans women make up a tiny section of society, their inclusion as women on the headcount of women on Public Boards will have a negligible, if any, effect. But you seem to believe a non-trans woman whose views you deplore on a Public Board would be preferable to a trans woman whose views you agree wholeheartedly with.

        You seem to believe, despite all the overwhelming evidence from around the globe contradicting it, that the GRRB will unleash a tidal wave of trans women swamping women’s services. It can’t be emphasised enough, trans people are a TINY minority. They are not about to swamp anything. You will continue to encounter them infrequently (to say the least) in service providers, and those you do will be no threat to you.

        The right of service providers to deny access to their services to individuals is not restricted to trans women. Any woman the service provider considers a threat to other service users can be denied access. With “problematic” women outnumbering the trans community as a whole, never mind just those requiring the use of services, the problem you envision regarding “legal costs” already exists …. only it doesn’t. Such occasions are rare and rarely, if ever, end up in court. It’s just another bit of “whataboutery” that does not stand up to scrutiny.

        You still have all your “stuff”. Nothing has been taken from you. Again, the overwhelming evidence from around the globe shows no erosion of women’s rights.


    3. “abolishing sex as a defining human characteristic” – no one is claiming that.

      My birth certificate and yours gives our sex in both cases as male. A defining characteristic, surely. The GRRB gives us the power to alter that to female, should either of us decide to self- declare.

      What is that other than an example of abolishing sex as a defining human characteristic?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Removing it from your birth certificate would be an example of “abolishing” it “obviously”. Retaining it on ALL forms of identification “obviously” means it remains a defining human characteristic.


          1. No. Simple reality. It is you who is dealing in sophistry, defined as “the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving”. Unless you can prove male and female have disappeared from birth certificates, or that there is any intention to make it happen, you are writing complete tosh.

            What passes for an argument on your part relies on an acceptance of a purely subjective, philosophical opinion devoid of evidence and crippled by reality. I can point to every birth certificate issued in the past, the present and ever will be. Kind of awkward for you.


  2. Thank you for this, Peter. I must admit that I am now severely disappointed in the rationale applied to this issue by far too many men who offer no suggestion as to how THEY, men, can alleviate this problem. They seem quite happy to throw women and children under the bus in hopes of achieving independence through the SNP/Greens – which the second part of the delusion. The SNP/Greens offer nothing towards gaining independence in the shorter term, or even in the longer term. Without an entire change of attitude, it is impossible to see how independence can be effected.

    All in all, I find the loyalists now not to my taste, and I have resolved never to vote SNP again unless, and until, the GRRB is dropped by the SG and the UKG starts to dismantle the 2004 GRA which is the legislative root of the present problem. It cannot be fixed without repealing the GRA and strengthening the 2010 Equality Act. In reality, there is no such thing as ‘trans’; there is only a gender ideology and identity. Nothing else grounded in science, biology or reason. If this were women who were leading this movement, claiming to be men (I don’t mean the poor deluded girls who are caught up in a social contagion, destroying themselves, who are little more than a human shield for paraphilic men) it would have been given the Order of the Boot long since.

    This movement has infiltrated, sucked the marrow out of and all but destroyed the SNP from within. I am done with morons who try to make excuses for what is nothing more or less than a men’s rights and sex and porn-driven charge by seriously deficient individuals who larp as women and woman face. Again, if this were white people larping as black people, they would be roundly castigated. This is yet another reason why I fear independence (very unlikely, I know) before this stuff has been defeated. I would rather leave Scotland forever than suffer the loss of all my rights in favour of these liars and chancers. The majority of men (and women!) left in the SNP and Greens who continue to support this bilge in the teeth of mountains of evidence as to its origins and its proclivities, have proved to me that they are not fit for independence, so little decency and understanding of reality have they left. They are all a disgrace and a poor apology for those of us who believe in rights for all, not the theft of those of others.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Peter: can I suggest you contact Rhona Hotchkiss, former deputy governor of Cornton Vale as to the discretion in the placing of sex offenders who claim to be ‘trans’ or have claimed to be ‘trans’ for many years, and to the reality for women housed there with these men? The special unit, in which he was supposedly placed, away from the women, houses those women with severe problems and those who are pregnant.

    Liked by 4 people

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