Nicola Sturgeon’s bonkers bill that will enable 16 year-olds in Scotland to self-declare their change in gender, removing the need for a proper medical consultation, is grinding its way through the Scottish Parliament for Christmas. It may pass overnight on Wednesday, after being delayed by numerous attempted amendments from opposition and rebel SNP MSPs appalled by the implications of the legislation.

There have been stormy scenes in the Scottish parliament, with protesters, including rape victims, cleared from the public gallery. Women’s groups say, because it is true, that the bill undermines women’s rights and access to the protection and safety of single sex spaces. The author and hero JK Rowling has been among those campaigning against the bill.

On Tuesday evening, the parliament (that’s founder and former First Minister Donald Dewar spinning in his grave) found itself voting against an attempt to protect women in prisons. The bill as planned will allow male prisoners, sex offenders included, to change gender on a whim, get a gender recognition certificate and serve their sentences in women’s prisons. An amendment sought to block this in prisons in cases of sexual assault or rape. This was rejected. The Scottish Parliament voted to put the rights of sex offenders above those of women prisoners. This development has been termed a predators’ charter. After howls of protest, another amendment was accepted. It will give the police the powers to block Gender Recognition Certificates when it thinks there is a risk, even if someone hasn’t been charged. The potential for that process to turn into a bureaucratic mess with cases missed and crimes then committed should be obvious to anyone bar the most deluded.

The whole bill has turned into a legislative shambles and a disaster for democracy. The previous system, requiring the proper involvement of medical help after the age of 18, was not in need of scrapping.

The zealotry of the potty Scottish Greens and stubborn SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is not surprising. What is more surprising is that Scottish Labour, and its leader Anas Sarwar, missed the opportunity to block or delay the bill.

With medical evidence from other countries mounting, and the horrific aftermath of the Tavistock Clinic scandal in London unfolding, Labour could have suggested a pause in Scotland for a year or two.

Sarwar and some of his team tried to get such a compromise going, it is said. But it seems too much of the Scottish Labour group in the parliament is as detached from political and biological reality as the Scottish Greens.

This was a chance for Sarwar to assert himself and to show he could lead. A chance missed. The polling shows the electorate in Scotland is opposed to the GRR, and that was before this week and a lot of publicity and reporting explaining how the majority of MSPs put the rights of paedophiles, perverts and rapists above those of women.

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