Thank you for the recent article entitled “Why Is Sturgeon picking a fight with Scottish Women?”, in which you correctly report the silencing and dismissal of women’s concerns on this subject. It was clear from the start that the Scottish Government tried to undertake a very one-sided consultation on this process with 17 trans groups being seen across many weeks and women’s groups only being offered one day in which to speak before stage 1 began. During Stage 1 of the oral hearings damning evidence was heard from the likes of Professor Alice Sullivan on data collection, and Dr Kate Coleman who spoke about issues with prison allocation and even the Equalities and Human Rights Commission wrote to the Scottish Government to express concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. All of these highly qualified and relevant concerns have been dismissed. The false narrative that continued throughout the oral hearings is that there would be no impact on the Equality Act as people tried to attest that trans people could already access whatever services they wished without requiring a certificate about their birth sex. In other words trans activists told the committee that trans women could already self-ID into women’s rape crisis centres, domestic refuges and hospital wards. If this is the case, then why do they need a new birth certificate? Why is the GRR required at all? Well the only answer given is that trans people want their death certificate to reflect ‘how the person sees themselves.’ So women’s valid concerns about the safety of single-sex spaces, which absolutely will be harder to police under the new GRR, and the creation of a loophole for predatory men? Ignored. Scientists worried about corrupting data and harming public policy making? Ignored. Doctors worried about children being able to self-ID at 16, and concretising an identity which may actually still be in flux? Ignored. Any why? Apparently only so the death certificate has the ‘right marker.’ Sturgeon is absolutely a destroyer of women’s rights to safe single-sex spaces and a destroyer of children’s rights to grow up healthy and whole for the sake of upholding her weakening power, and it is women and children will pay the cost.

Women’s Rights Network (Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire branch)

Would Labour’s devolution plans actually solve anything?

Is there any objective evidence that things have improved under the devolved Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish local governments / assemblies? 

I can’t be the only one that thinks they’ve had an adverse effect and cost more money via the duplication of roles and services, right?

Kelvin Collet

The Arnolfini Portrait

Hi Andrew,

Regarding your recent article for Reaction, this analysis on the Arnolfini Portrait may interest you.

The Turin Shroud…The hidden inspiration for Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait.

Best wishes,

Bernard Gallagher

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