How the Trans Pledge Damaged the Labour Party

Mar 1, 2020 by

by Eric Kaufmann, Quillette:

Is political correctness just a storm in a campus teacup? Not if its effects ripple through the concrete structures of society, leading to major consequences.

Consider PC’s effect on the electoral fortunes of the mainstream Left. Centre-left parties are struggling across the West, and one reason is their “cultural turn” away from economic issues toward the politics of identity. Yet their inability to adapt to electoral realities is not just ideological, but exacerbated by a political correctness which hands radical activists the ability to silence dissent. This stymies efforts to move to the centre on cultural issues, leads to a doubling down on progressive stances, and powers ideological purity spirals. The result, as we shall see, leaves swing voters feeling cold.

In the US, centre-left commentator Noah Smith argues that the “woke” Democratic candidates–Beto O’Rourke, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro, even Kamala Harris–did poorly in the primary, flaming out relatively early. Only Elizabeth Warren remains, and her performance in the polls has been lacklustre. Whether wokeness is strong enough to shackle frontrunners like Bernie Sanders, and therefore harm his chances with the wider electorate, remains to be seen.

[…] In Britain, the Labour leadership election is underway, with three candidates–Rebecca Long-Bailey, Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy–contending for the role. Of the three, Long-Bailey and Nandy both signed up to the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledge, which led to heated debate both inside and outside the party.

What, I wondered, might the response of potential Labour voters be to news of the pledge?

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