Useful idiots

Whole bunch of MPs virtue signalling

Whatever your personal political position is, please indulge me while I set the scene with a couple of paragraphs of reminiscence. It’s 2017, and I am a lefty delegate from a lefty CLP. Lefty CLPs are in exuberant ascendancy, and we came to conference, one and all, with the intention not just of furthering our radical left policy, but also of winning conference back from our important, powerful friends in suits who were used to running things from ‘smokey back rooms’. We wanted *real* democracy, and we’d come prepared.

Labour 2017 - packed and lively conference hall

The moment I want you to imagine took place in a CLPD fringe meeting on the first night. Pete Wilsman was on the platform in full rant, howling about the danger of “useful idiots” rejecting motions that had been compromised by compositing meetings. Doing that, he raged, means you end up with nothing, and you can’t further your reform for another two years.

HOPE for our country banner

He was looking at me. He knew my CLP looked like doing just that, and he wanted reassurance from me that we wouldn’t. And I could not give him that reassurance, because we were last-minuting, holding out against the back-room suit-wearers, our very important friends from Unite who, we felt, needed to learn that the new, well-prepared, lefty CLPs were not going to be a push-over. We vowed to say nothing until we’d got ratification from as many CLP members as wanted to comment – that’s *democracy*, guys. Sorry Pete! But he made that term ‘useful idiots’ stick powerfully in my mind, and it washed up all ready to be applied when these big, big, pink, pink banners kept appearing in Labour Party feeds today…

Annalise Dodds virtue signalling

Conversion Therapy is a Bad Thing

Is there anyone with a mental age of more than five who doubts this? Surely the notion that you can cajole, manipulate or medicate kids out of being gay or lesbian has been consigned to the rubbish bin of history, in fact I doubt many five year olds would approve — So why the rash of pink banners?

Ban conversion therapy except for trans kids?

Anyone who’s not paying attention may think the above is a popular view, or at least a significant Tory view. I really don’t think it is. What happened is this: the Government ran a public consultation on their planned Conversion Therapy Ban, and a lot of people wrote in and said ‘please wait’. This was firstly because the questions in the consultation appeared to have been written by someone who didn’t understand the situation, and was conflating a variety of different scenarios in single questions, and secondly the Cass Review was due to publish its interim report, and this would be our first opportunity to see a genuinely fact-based discussion of what is happening to kids who present as trans.

What do we think is happening?

One of the reasons the now discredited Tavistock ‘Gender Identity’ clinic was rated so poorly was that they had shown a remarkably irresponsible lack of interest in what happened to their patients after they had ‘transitioned’ them. What we *did* know was that more and more young people like Sinead Watson and Keira Bell were turning up, demonstrating that young people who regret transitioning often feel that they had been poorly informed or misled. They had looked back and realised that their feelings of alienation were down to past trauma, or autism, or ill-understood stirrings of a gay or lesbian nature.

What is being conflated with ‘conversion therapy’?

Those detransitioners tend to say things like ‘I wish I had been given time to think’ or ‘I wish someone had talked the situation through with me properly’ or ‘I wish they had taken my other problems into consideration’. It is becoming fairly obvious that ‘gender clinics’ should be doing a lot more of those things before prescribing ‘social transitioning’ or puberty blockers, or talking to young people about a future of cross-sex hormones and mastectomies. Many of us felt that the loose and confused way the Government’s consultation text addressed what ‘conversion therapy’ is was at risk of leading to a bill that would outlaw the careful discussions parents and practitioners should be having with kids presenting as trans, to check for all those all-too likely co-morbidities and confusions.

Virtue signalling

The trouble is, the Government’s decision to deal with that particular issue was received as ‘ban conversion therapy except for trans kids’. It is totally understandable for anyone not paying attention to think that the Government is still seeking to approve a variety of conversion therapy so, if you’re not involved, and not aware of the background, you might well think we need a campaign against it. Professional, salaried politicians, with staff to do all the reading for them, should not be thinking that. It makes them look like this…

Milliband virtue signalling

Useful idiots?

I can’t decide. Would it be conspiracy theory territory, to think that some profiteering outfit that’s making big bucks from transitioning young people made use of some very stupid MPs? It maybe would. Is it just plain virtue-signalling? Oh look guys, here’s an opportunity to get your faces all over Twitter, holding up big pink banners! Well, thanks to the twitter artists shown in some of these, they sure did that.

Yet more virtue signalling MPs

So what is it, Labour – useful idiots, or just plain idiots? Perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much – after all, it was probably an instruction from on high that they should all do the photo – but in this case, it really does matter because I know for a fact that several of those MPs have had detailed conversations with people who have told them exactly why the commericalisation of the trans trend, and the transitioning of young children, are dangerous.

I can only say it’s a relief, today, that I am no longer associated with the Labour Party – or any other Westminster party, come to that…

Caroline Lucas

I have no words for how I feel about politicians who appear to have thought, ‘to hell with safeguarding children, to hell with sensible caution, here’s a photo-opportunity and a big, pink banner.’

Fortunately, there are plenty of people turning up in my twitter feed who did find words. Here are a few of them…

Lesbian Labour Tweet
Tweet by Kevin Ovenden
Transgender Trend tweet
Facebook quote

The search for some responsible, independent-minded, honest politicians goes on. Please gods may we find some before our world hits the buffers.


Friday 13th (lucky for some) we are beginning to get some results from women contacting their MPs, seeking to explain the situation – oh, wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could trust them to think first. It’s like having a houseful of kids! But – good news.


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