SNP risks tearing itself apart over trans rights Posted bystephenjdaisley March 9, 2020
One of the biggest dangers for a political party is to get too fond of talking to itself.
That might not be a problem for the SNP, since so many of them are barely on speaking terms these days. Scotland’s ruling party is having an ugly, public falling out over ‘gender identity’, of all things. That might seem an obscure dividing line but it is a furious one and it has opened up at the worst possible time for Nicola Sturgeon.
There are two main camps in this dispute: transgender activists, who want the law changed to allow ‘self-identification’, and gender-critical feminists, who are sceptical of such a move. Nor is this rupture limited to grassroots activists: as the Scottish Daily Mail reported last week, MPs Joanna Cherry and Mhairi Black had a ‘blazing row’ at a recent parliamentary group meeting.
Rows over ‘gender identity’ are also tearing the Labour Party apart, but disunity is nothing new there. In the SNP in recent years, this kind of factionalism has been unheard of, and is worrying for a leadership already struggling to placate activists over the failure to deliver another independence referendum.