Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Julie Bindel and Stonewall

There has been quite an outcry over the decision of the nominating committee at Stonewall (who is on the committee - any insight?) to shortlist Julie Bindel as Journalist of the Year. She is one of a , thankfully, dying and outdated breed of antiquated 'radical' feminists - I use the word in inverted commas as they are in fact deeply conservative and reactionary. Her obsessions are: imposing her views on groups working with sex workers, even when they don't agree. The best example was the situation in Liverpool - which I doubt she has ever visited, but still felt able to overturn local research and wishes. Second obsession is wanting to abolish jury trials for rape. This is owing to the unsatisfactory level of convictions in such cases. That is something many people are concerned about,. but the problem is and will always be that any system which relies on proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt will always be difficult when no witnesses are present.

But her third obsession is dislike of transsexuals, to the extent that she has resurrected the arguments of Janice Raymond et al. These have been pretty much discredited all told.

I certainly agree that she has the right to express her mistaken view, although I think the Guardian should have more sense than to give her ill-informed rants any space. But it makes no sense at all for Stonewall to give them any credibility. They have made a mistake and should admit it.

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