There is an outrageous falsehood being peddled by an ideological section of society. They believe that the world should be universally fair and that they can legislate to change the realities of being human to fit this philosophy. The transgender issue is a glaring case in point. Their view is that a trans or biologically fully intact male can be a woman and integrated into the female population without consequence. Sport has been one obvious arena where this belief has proven to be both unfair and even dangerous.
A recent and intimately Irish example of this drive toward the denial of two sexes was the decision of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association to permit males to play on the same field as women and girls. Science and the evidence of our eyes tell us that men are larger, stronger and more aggressive than women even in circumstances where a man has taken inhibitors to lower testestorone levels. Men will still carry the denser bone and muscle developed at puberty. These facts were ignored in other sports such as swimming and cycling only for once-mediocre sportsmen to become unbeatable in female competitions after they partly physically but not biologically transitioned into women. The backlash forced the sporting bodies to reverse this stance. Surely the board of the LGFA would know this and the question has to asked: why put the sport through all this upheaval, knowing the probable result?
A single biological male can be enough to change the result of a match. This would leave otherwise talented women and girls on the sidelines since coaches are going to choose the strongest team. How demoralising would that be for those women left out after years of training. This new policy would endanger women. Players and their loved ones would resent this inequality on the pitch. The LGFA must reconsider and make a decision based on facts – there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this proposal is deeply flawed and should not be introduced.
There are fully trans women whose feelings need to be considered and allowed to live lives as close to those of biological females as they can get. They should get every assistance in this. Where the lines must be drawn are in situations where the reality of biological sex is denied by ideology. Trans woman should be protected but the overwhelming majority of women who are adult females must be given priority. To some this will seem unfair but to maintain a falsehood would be so much more hurtful and unfair in the end.
Aontú, Belfast BT11
Unionist brake on reunification can no longer hold
None of the unionist voices objecting to EU law in the north were raised against the suggestion that Britain should resile from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It seems reasonable then to assume that unionism is relaxed at the prospect of finding itself within a state that can disregard binding human rights commitments under international law covering the right to life, a fair trial, liberty and security.
Unionism is also apparently willing to take it on trust that such a state would not restrict freedom of assembly, thought, conscience or religion. Given this extraordinary level of confidence there is naturally no need to codify any legal remedy in the event of these rights being violated.
This might usefully be kept in mind as the latest iteration of the protocol elicits the predictable pleas for us to understand unionist fears for the future and to focus on ‘making Northern Ireland work’ rather than pursuing reunification.
The indifference displayed by unionism towards the ECHR exposes its supposed fear of mistreatment following reunification as the political contrivance it is. It is not inequality that unionism fears most within a reunified Ireland but equality. Viewed objectively the supposed siege mentality is more accurately characterised as a supremacist mindset.
Those who still advocate ‘making Northern Ireland work’ or, put more honestly, retaining partition cannot of course admit this.
To do so would place them in the difficult position of adducing evidence that unionism, which ran its state on the premise that some people are of less value than others, has finally reconciled itself to equality.
No less absurdly, to accept the validity of unionist fears for the future is also to implicitly accept that a reunified Ireland could actually be more parochial, more insular and less tolerant than the state created for, and controlled by unionism.
In reality the scorched earth policy of overlaying Brexit onto partition is convincing more people in the north that their current socio-economic circumstances are worse than anything they might encounter in the most feverish post-reunification scenario imagined by unionism.
As the debate on constitutional change gathers pace, an unfounded unionist fear of the future is a brake on reunification that can no longer hold.
An Chúil Mhór, Doire
A four-day working week
Working conditions, work-life balance and workers’ rights have always been the history of hard-won struggles by organised labour and the trade union movement.
Today, the case for a four-day working week has also become a site of struggle between workers and companies, multi-national corporations and individual employers.
Things we take for granted today, like a two-day weekend, a 35-hour week and holiday entitlements were the end product of struggles, demands and campaigns. They were won – not presented.
We are now in the midst of what could be described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are in the era of digital information and artificial intelligence. This fourth industrial revolution also holds out the prospects of beneficial changes for working people – but as in previous eras they will be contested and need to be fought for.
A four-day week, not condensed hours or any similar number juggling, at current weekly or monthly wage levels is a demand whose time has come. The benefits and opportunities afforded by new technologies must be reaped by working people and their families, not just by companies and corporations.
Workers’ Party, North Belfast
DUP protocol assertions
If we are to believe public pronouncements by the DUP MP for North Antrim, the DUP MP for East Antrim, the Centre for the Union, and the TUV, then the ongoing 12-month strategy to boycott Stormont and the institutions of the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement 1998 over the Northern Ireland Protocol has achieved absolutely nothing of value for unionism.
DR BERNARD MULHOLLAND