A nation on the edge of an abyss


The date for the General Election has been announced as 4th July, and we are now in that period known as ‘Purdah’, when Parliamentary business and all major policy decisions – in particular, rulings which may directly conflict with the stated intentional commitments of the cabinet or shadow cabinet – are suspended until, following the election, the new MPs and Ministers are sworn in.  This is both good and bad news for those campaigning against amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which, if passed, would decriminalise abortion up to birth, and for those hoping the new RSHE statutory Guidance will, following consultation, become law.  In principle, the latter Consultation, scheduled to close on 11th July, can still go ahead – but whether it does or not, and we have yet to find out, the outcome may be of questionable benefit.

We cannot know the result of the election, but Labour has clearly stated that, if it wins, it won’t commit to keeping the government’s sex education Guidance, which says that schools must no longer teach contested gender ideology as fact, and that children should from now on be registered according to their biological sex.   In fairness, they have agreed that all teaching should be age-appropriate, and that parents should be allowed access to the resources going to be used.  But the assertion by Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson, that children nevertheless need to ‘have a wide understanding about their place in the world and understand that families come in different shapes and sizes, and understand issues around relationships‘, raises concern.  At what age, in Labour’s view, is it ‘appropriate’ to teach children sexual variation, and how much detail is required?

It is perhaps salutary to consider alongside this statement Labour’s recent proposal to make it easier to change gender, because the unwelcome suspicion occurs that their woke commitment to diversity and inclusivity wins hands down over any supposed need for child protection.  Under the plans, for those seeking a gender recognition certificate, formal approval by only one doctor will be required – who may or may not be a gender specialist, but who could equally simply be the already overworked family GP.   This, Labour says, will simplify and de-medicalise what often proves to be a long drawn out, distressing and (impliedly) demeaning process.  Annelise Dobbs, Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, has said specifically that she wants to strip ‘out the futile and dehumanising parts’ of the process for obtaining a gender ­recognition certificate.

So with the opposition Party’s notable failure so far to endorse the recommendations of the Guidance, combined with their wish to simplify and de-medicalise the process of gender change, which way they will jump, if they win, when it comes to safeguarding the nation’s young?  Will they prioritise dangerous cultural rebranding, that seeks to overturn what up to now has provided the moral basis for our society and which has kept us strong?   Or will they rather opt to protect children from what until recently was classified as perversion, and which demonstrably causes harm?

According to the BMJ, since 2000 the UK has seen a five-fold increase in rates of transgender identity.   Break these figures down, and we find that in 2009 there were 50 referrals for children and young people reporting gender dysphoria, which by 2023 had become 7,484 on the waiting list for a first appointment.   However dressed up, this appalling rise is a direct result of the promotion of gender choice to children as young as 3 – children being routinely and wrongly taught from nursery onwards that gender is a matter of choice, not biology.

All children, as they grow up, question who and what they are, and their place in what can often seem a frightening world.  And, sometimes to the discomfort of adults charged with their care, they push boundaries.   But believing they are in the wrong body and therefore need to change is a recent phenomenon which, for their wellbeing, should not be encouraged.   Teaching gender ‘choice’, which the Labour party appears to support, has no basis in fact, and is clearly harmful.  Of course, children who report feelings of gender incongruence must be supported and given compassionate care, but the idea that they’re in the wrong body should not be implanted in their minds by ideologically driven activists, and they should never be actively encouraged to transition.  And to guard them against the harm of prematurely making a ‘wrong’ decision, all forms of transitioning treatment under 18 – at which age, hopefully, they will have a clearer idea of what’s involved – should be banned.

Labour’s latest policy statement, making it easier to change gender, is totally unnecessary and can only cause harm.  There are already growing numbers of people – such as Keira Bell  – who bitterly regret earlier decisions and  now desperately want to detransition.  Others have suffered long-term medical and psychological harm – for example, osteoporosis, inhibited brain development, depression, and many other such conditions – as a result of the treatment they have received.  It would seem, therefore, a no-brainer that at any age, those wishing to transition must be protected from making a hasty decision that they may subsequently bitterly regret; which is why current restrictions are in place.

If politicians fail adequately to protect the citizens they are elected to represent, they are not fit to hold office.  But wilfully exposing the nation’s young to risk is surely a crime, because it endangers not just their wellbeing, but the future continuance and security of society.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Education is reported as saying, “I am determined to ensure that education will once more be central to national life, and that parents and children right across our country will see that difference that a reforming Labour government will make.”

The words bring a chill of fear.   For the moment, the Government Consultation into the draft RHSE statutory guidance is still open and scheduled to run till 11 July.  Whether adopted or not, this Guidance will influence the future direction of education policy in our country, so please do respond.  Whoever now wins, it is vital that we continue the fight to protect children.
Full information on the Guidance and how to respond online
can be found here:

http:// https://consult.education.gov.uk/rshe-team/review-of-the-rshe-statutory-guidance/

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