Monthly Archives: March 2018

Labour Antisemitism?

The whole business of anti-semitism is part of an endemic range of xenophobic, homophobic and religiophobic auto-responses that are lodged deep in British society.

They are difficult to eradicate because those who suffer from them are very reluctant to engage in any rational discussion, and when they do engage (usually anonymously) they are highly defensive of possibly being ‘outed’. There is much denial, and a great deal of over-stressed nationalistic hubris. This a sublimatory response to the innate shame that comes with phobic anxiety.

The legal process in the UK has gone a very long way to eliminate the worst of explicit phobic prejudice. But laws can only do so much. They are, at best, a layer of last resort. A deterrent to the kind of harmful behaviour that used to be quite common decades ago. Instead, much overt nastiness has been driven underground; the domain where the current battle takes place. This low-level prejudice can be educated out of society, but it is a generational project and will certainly take better strategies than we currently have in place.

Consequently, if we want to point the finger at latent antisemitism we could do better than just look at the Labour Party. Yes, there will be antisemites in Labour. Just as there will be in the Tory Party, Greens, Communists, etc. And the teaching profession. It’s not that there are antisemites — that is a given. It’s what we are doing about them that matters.

International Women’s Day

I sometimes wonder about the relationship that transwomen (or let me put it another way: those women who were not born to the binary-based female role) have with events such as International Women’s Day? Do we feel solidarity with our born-to-role sisters? Do we feel welcomed? Or is there a little uncertainty about it all… a certain tentative sense of being on the fringes of things and not ‘normalised’ to the kind of discourse that such events produce.

I’m not sure. But I think not being sure is probably a healthy thing. I don’t want to wander naively through my life feeling that I’m casually welcome absolutely everywhere. I know that the law is (largely) on my side in this matter, but that’s irrelevant when it comes to the actual social interactions one experiences every day.

Yes, I am delighted to wish all my female friends, colleagues, acquaintances, students, etc. a very glorious IWD… but I know the limits imposed by my history. Yesterday does matter; I value my male past as much as my female present. Hence I am *different*, and I know that this is an inescapable fact of my life.

Good wishes to you today. And good wishes too to all my splendid transgender friends.