Just so that we get off on the right foot, let me make sure you understand that your sketch writer is not transphobic. Far from it. I believe in equality, I believe in justice. If asked should trans women be put in men’s prisons? I would say, “Only if they’ve done something wrong.” I will never resile from that principled position.
So, I’m with Michael Fabricant who ended Women & Equalities questions calling Kemi Badenoch to end the demonisation of trans people (no small job, that).
Here, too, is a serious point to be made.
It can’t be said that Keir has been demonised. Ridiculed, perhaps. His sincerity, and indeed his sanity – yes, they have both been questioned. And times being as they are, adverse comment is often equated with demonisation.
But when LOTO expressed revulsion this afternoon against high taxes, he was trying to convey the idea he had been born in the wrong political body. This might indeed get him demonised – if not by Tories then certainly by his deputy and her allies.
But might it help with the voters?
That is very unclear. His demands that criminals should be banged up, and our borders should be secure, and business should be allowed to prosper – the more he says these things, the more the public says, “But you’re a lefty. You think taxes ought to be high. You think business exploits workers. You favour open borders. You’re deluding yourself.”
So, the more he claims to be a transTory the less the public believe him. His stance is seen to be an affectation. He’s just dressing like a Tory. It’s a drag act. It’s a piece of self-ID in order to attract favourable treatment. He has no intention of undergoing the surgical procedures necessary for admission to the Carlton club.
And if the public were to believe him, and vote him into office – then, when he revealed himself in his true nature – oh, you can imagine violence. A deceived electorate realising they had been seduced by someone posing as a sound-money democrat but was actually a crypto-Corbynite who confessed: “I’ll say anything to get elected.”
Rishi, by contrast, is such a convincing Blairite it’s hard to tell whether he’s pre-op or post. He’s been thoroughly transitioned. And a pretty good showing he makes of it. The gestures. The voice. The language. The bedside manner. He sympathised with a campaign to end traffic deaths entirely by 2040 “so that vehicle collisions can never take another life again” (Fabian Hamilton promoting a sort of comedy campaign).
Tim Loughton kicked off this afternoon’s session with a belter of a question ending with, “Is irony dead?” (It’s certainly not been well for years.) Loughton referenced LOTO’s campaign launch to educate boys in the evils of misogyny. But given LOTO “doesn’t know what a woman is. That he won’t stand up to defend women in his own party. And according to his own front bench failed to prosecute rapists when he was DPP,” what on earth was doing pretending to stand up for women?
Rishi managed to answer without using the word “penis”. The House was grateful.
LOTO led on George Osborne’s verdict on the Tory financial management (the former chancellor would have done it differently, it seems). He hit back against last week’s “Mr Softie” jibe with a Corinthian “Mr Twenty-Four Tax Rises”. He gave a three-point summary of Labour’s economic plan for the country – abolishing the non-dom tax is going to get the NHS back on its feet apparently.
On paper, Rishi wiped the floor with him. For the second week running he brought up Keir’s special pension scheme that went through parliament (a Tax Bill to be envied). He said that “the wealthiest pay more tax and the lowest paid less tax than in any year of a Labour government”. And this sounded demolishing. But somehow, there in the ring, it lacked deadliness. He really needs to find a level above Starmer (which shouldn’t be that hard). It won’t need a surgical intervention, but medication and therapy to bring it about will be pre-election necessities.