As Equalities Minister, Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone put into place the Government’s Transgender Action Plan. She will be acutely aware of the issues facing transgender people, particularly in relation to violence and discrimination. Hate crime towards that community has been rising as the Independent reported.
Yesterday, the Observer published a piece by controversial writer Julie Burchill which was peppered with hate filled language. Had the target of Burchill’s invective been a particular ethnic group, and she had used similar language, then her piece would have found its way onto the editor’s spike and she would most likely have been given her marching orders.
Lynne Featherstone took to Twitter last night to say that Burchill should be sacked for what she described as “a bigoted vomit”.
There’s no doubt that Lynne is going to take some pain for these comments. Already she has been accused of being illiberal and anti free speech. Surely she has the same right as everyone else to express her view on the matter. She is questioning the decision of a national newspaper to drum up some circulation for itself by allowing one of its columnists to pick on a particular group of people. Standing up to bullies is a very liberal thing to do.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings