JK Rowling is too big to cancel – so now the Left wants to pretend she never existed

Every death threat I have ever had, every woman I have spoken to about being stalked or abused, has heard these words. They have “no place”, they have “no right to exist”. It is a threat, and I felt sick when I saw that fox-killing egomaniac lawyer, Jolyon Maugham, tweet about the Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who is already anxious about her own security, saying: “There should be no place for her in progressive politics.” 

Such dog-whistling is everywhere, often from these men who believe themselves to be on the right side of history. JK Rowling writes successful books. Duffield got elected. Kathleen Stock was made a professor. These women will not be imagined away for the sake of a tiny percentage of the population. To think that this advances trans people’s rights is a delusion.

But delusion is now part of a liberal mindset. I was interviewed recently by an American writer who was trying to understand the differences between what is happening here over trans issues compared with in the States. We are told – wrongly – that the only people not on board with gender ideology are nutzoid Christian evangelicals, yet here most gender-critical feminists are from the Left.

It is more complicated than that, and already it’s breaking down. Sport is opening up the eyes of those who have not paid much attention to this debate. Watching swimmer Lia Thomas, recently transitioned, wiping the floor with the women in the Ivy League is sowing doubt. No one in the stands looks happy. Off the record, many female students and parents think that the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body, has done wrong; that biological facts mean however hard their daughters train, they cannot win – but they don’t want their kids labelled “transphobes”. A friend of mine, campaigning for the Democrats, told me that on the doorstep they were hearing that Biden was responsible for ending women’s sports.

Not everyone is happy to see the demonisation of a woman who stands up for women, which is all JK Rowling has ever done. That someone should whip up more hatred against her to sell newspapers shows a complete loss of moral fibre and a condescending attitude to readers. If you want publications edited by Twitter, then all you will get are publications without analysis, reportage and argument.

That this, again, involves tying a woman to the pyre and asking for a match – and thinking this is attractive – is a new low.

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