Just as we cannot deliver public services unless we control immigration, so we cannot meet the specific health and other public service needs of women and of men if we make gender a matter of self-identification. There is a reason why the Conservatives have done nothing about immigration in eight years, and there is a reason why they want to introduce the gender self-identification that even New Labour never quite did. This is the Left’s ground. Do not concede it.
With all the furore about whether men should be allowed on all-women shortlists, Labour needs to ditch this Blairiest of ideas once and for all. No one has ever liked it, it has always struck most people as self-evidently illegal, and it has delivered many candidates and MPs who would have been classified as far too young or inexperienced if they had been (biological) men, or indeed if they had been women in open competition. The result has been the easily manipulated lobby fodder that the Blairite machine has wanted. Meanwhile, what with this and the general exclusion of the Left, a generation of talent has been lost.
It is no surprise, then, that in the battle to save all-women shortlists by conforming them to the spirit of this age of gender fluidity, the key player is Wes Streeting. Ask him and his courtiers what the Blair Government ever did, and see what their answer would be. Under no circumstances must politics become a matter of economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends. Oh, no. It has to be about genitals, and preferably male genitals. But if Streeting had been growing up today, then, thanks to the way of thinking that he himself now espouses, he would have been told to change his name, his clothes and his pronouns, and to submit to powerful hormonal treatment leading to drastic, irreversible surgery.
Call yourself what you like. Wear what you like. Use whatever pronouns you like, I suppose, since that does vary over time, so that a 1980s paper entitled France and Her Institutions would read oddly now. Have, as an adult, whatever drugs or surgery the psychiatrist prescribed for your mental illness. But recognise that that is what it is. Keep it the hell away from children.