Hard-left British newspaper, the Morning Star, has capitulated to demands of trans activist campaigners after publishing a controversial cartoon.
The Morning Star was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain. It famously celebrated the assassination of Leon Trotsky as “A Counter Revolutionary Gangster” and parroted the Soviet Union line in almost every respect.
Today it upholds the programme of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Britain, and has been one of the few left-wing outlets willing to challenge transgender advocacy in the UK.
In recent years it has been criticised for defending dictatorships such as Cuba and North Korea, as well as defending the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn from allegations of antisemitism, to the point of being accused of antisemitism itself.
In 2016 it was denounced by a number of Labour MPs, along with George Osborne and Owen Jones, for celebrating the recapture of Aleppo by government forces as a ‘liberation‘.
Despite these controversies, the editorial line has held fast, up until now. It appears that the publication of a controversial cartoon has done what previous issues could not. A planned protest along with a strongly worded letter from Unison has caused the publication to backpedal hard.
The cartoon, which reflects feminist fears about reform of the Gender Recognition Act, had seen a mixed reception even within gender-critical circles, with some objecting to the apparent portrayal of trans people as reptiles, while others defended the metaphor as specifically referring to potential predators, not all trans people. Women’s Place UK, one of the major organisations representing a gender-critical feminist perspective, described the cartoon as “misjudged and offensive“.
An initial apology from the Morning Star was not enough to stem the tide of outrage, and a second statement was released that saw the paper commit not only to a review of previously published articles on the topic, but also to a complete about-face on proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, which the paper now apparently welcomes.
Such an extraordinary reversal raises questions about the decision making process at the heart of the newspaper – and why they would so easily back down when controversy never stopped them before.
Regardless, the situation is now grim for those looking for a left-wing outlet to publish criticisms of the transgender phenomenon. With a steady stream of feminists and allies banned from twitter and medium, as well as facing legal sanctions, career implications and cancellations in real life, the iron grip of censorship closes around the growing gender-critical movement in the UK.