When is a debate not a debate? That question crossed my mind when I watched the recent LGBTI Scottish Parliamentary leaders debate. The trouble was that there was no debate. It was more like a religious/political rally as each of the party leaders fell over themselves to declare how LGBTI friendly they were and to offer ever more ‘rights’ to the 250 people assembled there.
There is a troubling trend in Scottish politics for major change to take place, especially on ‘moral’ issues ,without proper debate, rational thinking and real consultation. These are being replaced by virtue signalling, political posturing and emotional bullying – which all have the effect of shutting down any debate.
Take for example the Governments proposal on transgender re-education of teachers in schools and their proposal to allow people to change their gender without consultation with doctors. Apparently it has now become the accepted norm amongst our political elites that we get to choose our own gender, in the same way that we get to choose our name. We have one assigned to us at birth, and if we don’t like it later on we can just change it. All of sudden by government dictate humanity, made male and female in the image of God, has been shattered into a thousand different genders. Without any debate, without any discussion, without any reason, we are being told that if we do not accept this we are all transphobes who are responsible for misery, death and suicide.
Nicola Sturgeon implied that she was disappointed that we were even having this ‘debate’ because it showed we still have a long way to go. Patrick Harvie declared that anyone who believed in cisgender is equivalent to being a racist. And of course none of the political elites will challenge this. Why? Because to do so would result in political suicide. It’s not just the abuse that follows but in effect to disagree with any aspect of the LGBTI+ agenda is to excluded from polite (ie.elite) society. I know of many journalists, editors, politicians, doctors and educators who agree with my position but know that it is more than their job is worth to dare express any disagreement with the new position. We no longer have government by the people for the people. We have government by focus/lobby groups for focus/lobby groups. If you have the money and the media you run the show. Forget reason, forget truth, forget democracy.
Four out of the six party leaders in Scotland are gay. I don’t care. That should not be a factor unless you believe in quotas for politicians, or unless it is being used to push an agenda for the 1 per cent of the population at the expense of the 99 per cent . And therein lies another problem.
The real issue in Scottish education is not that we need to spend millions re-educating teachers in LGBT issues, or indoctrinating children (Kezia Dugdale even argued that LGBT teaching should be in every subject). The main issue is the real inequality that exists between rich and poor in educational outcomes.
That issue is far more difficult to deal with and so our political leaders can just make themselves feel good about ‘equality’ by focusing on the 1 per cent special interest group and forget the poor who apparently we will always have with us.
The trouble is that it is even difficult to write a column like this – because I know already the shrieks of ‘homophobe, transphobe’ and the accusations of ‘ignorance, not caring, religious’ are already in the pipeline. It’s become the classic way of shutting down debate – just accuse people of hate speech. Sorted.
Would it be possible to ask our politicians and elites to stop talking and think about the impact their gesture politics will have on all our communities?
Or is real debate not to be allowed in ‘progressive’ Scotland? Is the LGBTI backslapping parliamentary leaders evangelical rally, really the future of Scottish politics?
• David Robertson, Solas CPC