It’s interesting to note what you’re not allowed to say these days. And, actually, what you are allowed to say. If you work for one of the more right on organisations that is. Such is what has happened to Maya Forstater, a friend of ours around here. Well, OK, she might not call reactionaries like me friend but we admire her work. We’ve even helped with it a little bit, talking about minerals, mining and revenues with her.
Maya has been fired for stating a view. Something that we think obvious but that’s not actually the point. Her statement was so far inside the boundaries of what should be accepted as just a difference of opinion that to lose a job over it is ludicrous. Yes, obviously, any employer should be allowed to fire anyone whenever they like. Or at least as long as whatever it is is within whatever employment contract both sides have voluntarily signed. So this is not to say that the Centre for Global Development have acted wrongly in firing whoever. Rather, it’s to note the sort of reason that the insane are using these days.
This is what gets you fired:
Are trans women wholly and entirely women in exactly the same manner as other women? That’s rather something it’s possible to have views upon. Answers can range from a guffaw through to an insistence that they are, absolutely and without any difference. That first is impolite at best, that second is insane. There are indeed people who make special bleeding tampons for trans women to use so they get to experience those joys. But anyone insisting that the NHS provide cervical cancer checks for someone without a cervix is indeed insane.
An internationally renowned researcher on tax avoidance is believed to be the first person in Britain to lose her job for saying that transgender women are not women. Maya Forstater, 45, was told by her managers that she had used “offensive and exclusionary” language. She was accused of “fear-mongering” for tweeting her concerns about government proposals to allow people to legally self-identify as the opposite sex. Forstater has begun employment tribunal proceedings against her former employer, the London office of the Centre for Global Development (CGD) think tank. She hopes it will be a test case establishing that “gender-critical” views — which hold that being a woman is a biological fact, not a feeling — are protected beliefs under equality law. She is starting an appeal on the Crowdjustice website to raise £30,000 for the action. Forstater said: “I support transgender people’s human rights and I believe that trans people are vulnerable, but no one group should overrerule others. I lost my job for speaking up about women’s rights, in a careful way and in a tone of ordinary discussion and disagreement. I worked for a think tank and I thought you ought to be able to think and talk about things. I found out I was wrong about that.”
Even, gender and sex are not the same thing and there are times when it is important that we note this.
What’s interesting about this is what doesn’t get you fired from CGD. Alex Cobham – now director of the Tax Justice Network – made an entire and complete bollix of a research paper while working for CGD. He claimed that Glencore – and others – were shafting Zambia. Because the price they paid/declared for tax reasons on copper exports from that country were wildly different from the prices declared at Swiss customs. This was taken quite seriously too, made it into at least one Christian Aid (hmm, sorry, might have been an Oxfam) report as solid fact about how Whitey was ripping off Noble Africans.
What got missed was that Zambian copper didn’t go to Switzerland. It would be very stupid of anyone to ship stuff that way in volume. So it wasn’t in fact the same copper. What was moving out of Switzerland was in fact samples. The odd 10 and 20 kg here and there. Might even have been Zambian copper samples but note samples, not truck loads. Maya was the person who went and looked this up and showed that the Zambian exports were in the tens and hundreds of thousands of tonnes. The Swiss stuff was those kilos. I was the person who added the final clue to make it understandable. Customs prices, as with the Swiss, are listed as being declared customs value. That’s what Cobham was asserting of course. But declared value at customs is including transport costs. That is, the transport costs of a kg of copper as part of a container load of 40,000 kg is declared in Zambia, the transport cost of 10kg via a DHL package is declared as the value of a kg of copper leaving Switzerland.
In that is the entirety of the price difference Cobham et al found. Upon which they constructed their entire fantasy of Whitey ripping off, something then believed by the Justice Movement. And for which CGD didn’t fire Cobham. At least, they certainly kept him on long enough to do a rewrite. And this sort of stupidity – perhaps deliberately misunderstood to create propaganda – doesn’t lead to a shunning from the right on at all but to a promotion to running an entire Justice Network.
Musing that trans women aren’t entirely and wholly biologically women does get you fired though.
There is of course an alternative explanation. Even explanations. Maya has been rather vocal about John Magufuli and his idiocies over Acacia Mining. This is another one of those cases where the right on-style righteous have been feeding gross misinformation to prove that Whitey is ripping off Noble Africans. It’s entirely bollix, of course. But someone is dripping that poison into Tanzanian ears and perhaps they’re not happy with the idea of someone at CGD saying so.
Or, even, the snowflakes are just pissed at Maya for having exposed Darling Alex’s silliness?
Nah, obviously not. After all, everyone does know that hacking away at genitals actually does change biology rather than just the appearance of it, right? To deny that is, well, the court’s going to decide, isn’t it?
Maya’s telling of her story is here.