Gary Powell: My councillor handbook for the Census has arrived – with science abandoned for woke identity politics

15 Mar

Cllr Gary Powell is a councillor in Buckinghamshire

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which plans and conducts the Census, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion. The influence of Stonewall, once a gay rights campaign organisation, but now primarily a champion of extreme gender politics, has apparently become so pervasive that even statisticians seem to be shifting away from a professed belief in objective empirical reality towards the enforced subjective posturing of woke identity politics.

For two hundred years, the decennial Census has asked people to answer whether they are male or female. However, since the last Census, gender identity activists and their captured organisations have been chanting a mantra of “Transwomen are women! Transmen are men!”: surely the latter-day version of 1984’s “War is peace! Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is strength!” Those who chant along – many akin to terrified hostages making filmed statements under duress – know that surrender is the safest option: both for their personal careers and for the financial security of their organisations.

The extreme gender activists who have hijacked the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) rights movement, rebranding it as an ever-expanding alphabet ending in a “plus”, police their mantras earnestly. Even the mildest offence against the Alphabet Credo can unleash a squall of egomaniac zealots writing e-mails in an attempt to get you sacked or no-platformed, or to cause your organisation economic ruin.

This rampant identity politics colonisation has happened on the watch of Conservative governments, lest we forget. One government department and public body after another has fallen to the LGBT+ lobby: a movement that I, as a longtime gay rights activist, categorically reject and condemn as a dangerous enemy to gay rights, to women’s rights, and to child safeguarding.

Last year, a Times piece declared, “Public bodies pay thousands to join LGBT ‘diversity champion’ scheme” and listed 30 police forces, 57 local authorities and 50 NHS organisations as among Stonewall’s “diversity champion” subscribers, which also included the Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, Department for Education, and the Crown Prosecution Service. Subscriptions begin at £2,500 + VAT, and the Times estimated a yearly bill of £600,000 to the taxpayer.

Public bodies continue to use public money in order to champion a highly-contested political ideology that undermines the sex-based rights of women and girls and dismantles child safeguarding for lesbian, gay, autistic, anorexic, and gender-non-conforming young people. These children are the most vulnerable to capture and self-misidentification by extreme gender propaganda. Not only have Conservative governments failed to prevent this blatant politicisation of publicly-funded bodies: there are even Conservative MPs who actively champion LGBT+ extreme gender ideology.

The most recent example was provided by Penny Mordaunt, the Paymaster General, who transmogrified into the Wokemaster General at the Dispatch Box during the debate on the Ministerial and Other Maternity Allowances Bill, when she declared, “Transmen are men and transwomen are women”. Mainstream, moderate trans activists are as horrified as all other non-hostages at the serious harm being caused by this revision of reality. Many trans people rightly resent the way that extreme identity politics activists have hijacked their very worthy campaign for trans rights that do not impinge on the rights of other groups.

Even as a Stonewall hostage, the Office for National Statistics, with its Census 2021 costing the taxpayer close to £1 billion, might reasonably be expected to try to collect important basic data without sacrificing scientific objectivity to the subjectivity of identity politics. After all, in the booklet the ONS sent out to local councillors, they state:

“Billions of pounds are allocated to local authorities in England and Wales every year using census information […] It’s important that census estimates are accurate so these funds are allocated where they’re needed […] Local authorities use census information to understand service demand, identify pockets of health deprivation and support future care planning […] Our partnerships with local councils will be vital to the success of the census.”

The problem lies in the ONS’s guidance notes on how to answer question 3: “What is your sex?” You can tick one of two boxes: Female, or Male. This should not be rocket science, given that sex is an immutable biological characteristic determined by our sex chromosomes. Respondents are advised to “use the sex recorded on one of your legal documents such as a birth certificate, Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or passport”. However, a passport sex marker (male/female) can be changed without a GRC and may not represent the legal sex of the individual. Furthermore, the phrase “such as” implies this question could legitimately be answered according to other documents updated on the basis of self-declaration.

If any discrepancy caused by not collecting accurate sex data is insignificant at the moment, it may not remain so, given the explosion (a 4,500 per cent increase) in transgender-identifying girls over the past decade. More important is the principle. Unless the obvious definitions of biological sex are respected, defended, and clearly established in law, then the sex-based rights and protections of girls and women will continue to be undermined, leading to males competing in girls’ and women’s sport, male-bodied males being allocated to women’s prisons, and the invasion by men (“penis-havers”) of women’s protected spaces, such as hospital wards, hostels, rape crisis centres, public toilets and changing rooms. There is a lot at stake.

A dynamic, women-led cross-political and transnational movement is emerging – the Gender Critical (GC) movement – to challenge the harm caused by extreme gender ideology, its facilitators and its bystanders, with Conservatives for Women at the forefront of this pushback. The GC movement is highly motivated and highly organised, quickly raising large sums of money to take legal action when necessary, and the group “Fair Play For Women” has raised over £100,000 to fund an emergency judicial review of the definition of sex being used in the Census 2021 – (which even as I am writing this, is proving successful).

While the public good has been betrayed by many politicians across the political spectrum, the Gender Critical movement is demonstrating that our rights and freedoms will not be trampled on without the most determined resistance.