Imagine a country where every time women tried to speak up about their rights they were insulted and abused by mobs of men. A country where women were continually prevented by gangs of misogynists from showing a film about womanhood. A country where women who express their political views run the risk of being branded old hags and even threatened with death. A country where members of the ruling party can be seen standing next to placards calling for women to be beheaded. A country where lesbians can be censored for daring to say women are real. A country where even wearing the Suffragette colours is a risky business. Put on the green, white and purple and you could find yourself cast out of this country’s parliament.
You’ve just imagined Scotland. All of these things – these sexist, censorious, intolerant things – are happening up there. The lesbian who’s been silenced is Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP who keeps committing the thoughtcrime of understanding biology and supporting women’s sex-based rights. Ms Cherry had been due to take part in a discussion at The Stand in Edinburgh during the Fringe festival this summer. But, according to The Times, the plug’s been pulled because venue staff said the presence of this sinful, scandalous woman would make them feel ‘uncomfortable’. It used to be the Bible-bashing Christian right that was made ‘uncomfortable’ by outspoken lesbians – now it’s Guardian-reading young people. The old blue-rinse lobby that viewed the likes of Ms Cherry as an abomination against God have been replaced by blue-haired art kids who see her as an abomination against their self-esteem.