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David Tennant’s rant about Kemi Badenoch was deeply revealing

A strong black woman who defends women’s sex-based rights? She’s every wokeist’s worst nightmare.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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There was a gathering in London last Friday at which one of the speakers openly wished for the disappearance of Britain’s most prominent black female politician. I just want her to ‘shut up’, he said. And the audience whooped and cheered. Like a baying mob, only more crisply dressed, they rattled their champagne glasses in pompous approval of this dream that a pesky woman in public life would fuck off into oblivion. What sort of hellish meeting was this? A gathering of Seventies-style dinosaurs who learnt their sexual politics from Benny Hill, perhaps? A mob of iffy blokes who have a problem with strong black women, maybe? Actually, it was the British LGBT Awards.

Yes, this is the story of David Tennant insulting Kemi Badenoch as he picked up his gong for ‘best celebrity ally’ – LOL – at the LGBT Awards last week. The former Doctor Who slammed the current equalities minister for daring to raise questions about the trans ideology and its impact on women’s sex-based rights. He fantasised about a glorious future when ‘we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist anymore’. Right away, the assembled woke worthies, the great and good of the alphabet soup, hooted with delight at this vision of a Kemi-free world. I’m old enough to remember when it was at a very different kind of gathering that attendees would salivate over the erasure of problematic black women.

Perhaps recognising that it isn’t a good look to wish for the disappearance of anyone – least of all a woman whose only crime is to stand up for other women – Tennant retreated somewhat. ‘I don’t wish ill of her’, he said. But then, right away, he got his mojo back and barked: ‘I just wish her to shut up.’ And there it was: Tennant was openly yearning for this woman to shut her gob. The tone in which he spat out these regressive words was as offensive as the words themselves. It was arrogant, sharp, vindictive.

It was an extraordinary, mask-slipping moment. Tennant is a ‘trans ally’. He’s so committed to the cause that he ‘often does red-carpet interviews while wearing pins associated with the community’, gushed the organisers of the LGBT Awards. Wearing badges at swanky dos? Is there no end to his heroism? Ms Badenoch, in contrast, has pushed back on the excesses of trans activism. She is determined to defend women-only spaces from biological males (what we used to call men) and to defend young gay kids from being put on a conveyor belt of hormonal and medical meddling to ‘correct their gender’. It’s a tough one, but I think I’m going to side with the elected politician who’s read and consulted widely on this question over the luvvie who wins awards for wearing pins.

Tennant’s unguarded slap-down of Badenoch, his act of conceited censure, was so revealing. It confirmed that all sorts of boorish behaviour can be justified these days if you say you’re a trans ally. Just imagine if this had been the Sports Personality of the Year Award and some footballer had used the opportunity of his speech to tell Gabby Logan, say, to shut the hell up? Or if it was the BAFTAs and an actor took to the stage to tell actresses with political opinions to put a sock in it? There would be uproar. There might even be cancellations. But a trans ally telling a gender-critical woman to pipe down – that’s great, apparently. It’s progressive, in fact. You must laugh and applaud. Just call yourself a trans ally and you can boss women around.

The twisted irony in all this is that Badenoch is a far better ‘ally’ to the gay community than Tennant and the other ill-read celebs who chant ‘Trans women are women’ like a religious mantra. For not only is she right when she says the trans ideology poses a threat to women’s safety, dignity and liberty, by allowing men to barge into women’s sports and women’s spaces. She is also right that the trans ideology harms gay kids, too. We all know that a huge number of the teenagers being pumped with drugs and led down the deadly path towards future bodily mutilation would have grown up to be gay men or lesbians. In challenging some of the ideas behind trans thinking, Badenoch is doing more for the health and happiness of gay kids than any of those tossers at that luxuriant ceremony who cheered her future disappearance.

Badenoch has fired back at Tennant. ‘I will not shut up’, she said. She branded him a ‘rich, lefty, white male’ who prioritises winning ‘applause from Stonewall’ over ‘the safety of women and girls’. Oh snap. And Tennant isn’t the only ‘rich, lefty, white male’ who has a problem with Badenoch. Loads of them do. We can guess why. An ethnic-minority woman who refuses to bow down to what these mostly white ‘liberals’ have decreed to be correct thought? A black woman who calls out their fake progressive bullshit? A daughter of immigrants who dares to push back against the culture-war crap of smug luvvies? Seriously, she is every wokeists’ worst nightmare.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Melanie Phillips and Brendan O’Neill – live and in conversation

Melanie Phillips and Brendan O’Neill – live and in conversation

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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