The Green Party need to drop Rupert Read by, like, yesterday: An open letter to the Green Party

Content note: This post discusses transmisogyny

Dear Green Party,

Look, I’m an anarchist, and voting isn’t something I do any more. But sometimes, I look at the Green Party and think “they look like they might stand a chance and they’d probably be the least terrible. Maybe I’ll vote for them.” It was growing inside me, the knowledge that you, at least, might make things tolerable rather than terrible. All that’s gone now, because you’ve made yourselves look no different to the others.

I’m talking, of course, about your Cambridge candidate, Rupert Read. It turns out he’s a really, really nasty piece of work. The clues came when he tweeted the sort of dogwhistle comment which alerts the wise to transmisogyny: he went for the old “don’t call me cis” type bollocks. Digging deeper it turns out that yes, he’s a transmisogynist, and wrote a dreadful, pompous diatribe defending Julie Burchill and transmisogyny within feminism. It’s strange, because while he self-identifies as a “male feminist” (a phrase which makes my skin crawl and sets off numerous red flags at the best of times), he opposed representation quotas for women in the party, claiming, in a popular misogynistic refrain that women already lead the party. Oh, and he’s also enormously UKIPpy about immigration. Oh, and the whole thing started because he used a disablist slur.

So, he’s generally, up and down, pretty godawful and doesn’t embody Green Party ideals–as I understood the Party’s ideals, anyway. He did the old politicians’ apology and made the whole thing significantly worse. As I understand, an apology ought to include some distance from the unpleasant beliefs for which one is apologising, but Rupert Read’s… well, it really, really didn’t. Indeed, he restated a bunch of transmisogynistic ideology, adding that he wasn’t sure if trans women should be allowed to use women’s toilets. More broadly, he showed a devastating lack of understanding of how the world works these days, like a fucking dinosaur. He framed himself as a victim because of one or two four-letter words on Twitter. He moaned that it’s so hard to represent oneself on Twitter (which hardly fills one with confidence about his ability to represent his views in Parliament!). He made it clear–achingly clear–that he prefers debates to happen in the academy. The man is quite patently out of touch with the year 2015. I’d be a little embarrassed for him if he wasn’t such a thoroughly dreadful human.

I wondered why the Greens would select a candidate who is so at odds with the Party’s beliefs, and reeks of the kind of public school privilege of any other politician when a big part of your image is you’re different from the rest. He was the only candidate who put himself forward for the Cambridge seat, it’s true, but I know how political parties work, and I know if you didn’t want him, you would have dragged someone else up to stand against him. It’s pretty clear why you didn’t do that. He’s quite a big donor to the Green Party. He’s in the top 10 biggest donors to the party of all time. Last summer, he was the fourth biggest donor.

It might all be a coincidence, Green Party, but you can’t deny this looks very bad indeed. You’re running a candidate who not only holds absolutely terrible beliefs, but also gave you a lot of money. It looks a lot like he bought his selection. It looks a lot like the Green Party is no different from all of the others.

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I like you, Green Party. Despite most of my instincts, I don’t want you to be destroyed by this. Rupert Read claims that most of the criticism is coming from people who want to see the Green Party burn, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of us who are angry are exactly the kind of people who would vote for you.

This is why I’m giving you some friendly advice: drop Rupert Read. Drop him like a burning turd. It’s Rupert Read himself who will harm you. He has to go. You need to take a strong stand against bigotry, and distance yourselves from him. I want you to do all right, and you can’t with a pompous transmisogynistic, sexist, racist conservative shitweasel like Rupert Read dragging you down.

So please drop him. Pretty please.

Love Zoe xoxo

Further reading:

On “Male TERFs” (Sarah Brown)
My view of Green Party candidate Rupert Read’s “apology”. (UnCommon Sense)
Green MP candidate for Cambridge makes transphobic statements (Get Real Cambridge)
An open letter to Rupert Read (Loz Webb, Action for Trans Health)

Update 24/1/15: A second apology has now been issued. This one is significantly better, though only addresses the transmisogyny. Furthermore, Read and the Cambridge Green Party have refused to take donations from violent transmisogynistic hate group Gender Identity Watch and have condemned them [1] [2].

However, in light of the donations and the other awful stuff still left unaddressed, I still do not believe that it is appropriate for Rupert Read to stand.


14 responses to “The Green Party need to drop Rupert Read by, like, yesterday: An open letter to the Green Party

  • Joseph Healy

    And he also put a motion at the Green Party conference in 2011 calling for the bombing of Libya and also supported Western intervention in Syria!

  • Trevor Allman

    Would be interesting to know what Mr Abbey Akinoshun, the Green Party candidate for Greenwich & Woolwich, really thinks on such matters as people’s sexual identity.
    As we know, evangelical Christians aren’t usually renowned for having very liberal on such matters.
    Given he had a zero track record when nominated for selection as prospective parliamentary candidate in October 2014 (At a meeting when an number of new members suddenly also appeared from nowhere) and I’d never heard of him in my 11 years involvement in Greenwich Green Party, he is a very unknown quantity on many matters of a Green nature.
    I have subsequently quit the Green Party.

    • simonhayward25

      Trevor – saw you’d been tweeting about that, are there any blogposts about the Greenwich situation? I hadn’t heard anything about it until today, and I’ve just joined the Greens!

    • Jessica Goldfinch

      Trevor Allman – is it possible to get in contact about a related matter? Not sure how to exchange details securely, perhaps find me on Facebook & message me?

      I’ll do the same.

  • Josiah Mortimer

    There have been a LOT of internal complaints about this, and it will go through the disciplinary procedure, probably both through the Equality and Diversity Committee and the Disputes committee (on top of general pressure from Greens in his local party and nationally for action to be taken on this). So keep your eyes peeled…

  • cartertheblogger

    Reblogged this on Sometimes, it's just a cigar and commented:
    We don’t often do reblogs, but this piece from Stavvers deserves as wide a circulation as possible.

  • destroyedforcomfort

    I’ve been active in Green Party politics since 1996, and this is extremely disillusioning. In the US, the Green’s 2012 presidential candidate was so supportive of trans-inclusive policy that the platform inspired an absurd party split by Roseanne Barr of all people. Absurd, but also welcome; I don’t wanna share a platform with them either.

    I hope the UK Green Party has a similar crisis of conscious, because if they become a shallow entryist/legitimizing platform for reactionaries into the dialogue of the left I will immediately withdraw and renounce my near-20 years of support for the party.

  • Andrea Grainger

    I think you are missing a key point of the Green Party. Local democracy is one of our fundamental principles. The national party will not impose candidates on any local party, and it won’t take them away.

    This post should be addressed to Cambridge Green party, as it is their decision.

    • stavvers

      If I’m honest, comments like this lower my opinion of the Green Party rather than improve matters. It feels like a cop-out, a passing of the buck, a refusal to actually challenge the awful things Read has said and done. It smacks of “not all men”, the popular derail.

      Read is a Green candidate. I want to hear every Green member screaming against him rather than coming in with pedantic accounts of the party democratic process. The problem is not party democratic process, but the fact Rupert Read is awful.

  • redandblackbritain

    This could have been written by me it rings so true, I too am an anarchist and don’t vote any more yet often find myself drawn to the greens. And I too could have screamed upon hearing that they had selected this cretin to stand for them. Sexist, racist old etionian posh boy, that I simply cannot abide.

  • Alex

    Great post. I have only one criticism. It reads like you think RR is an isolated voice in the party and not part of a movement within the party that has been there for all it’s existence. I fear if the party had the strong internal discipline you propose it would be the social progressives to be silenced, not the Rupert Reads. Disclosure: I’m a former member and will still be voting Green this May.

  • malcolm geer

    I watched the Savile inquiry and it seemed although he was an open secret they let him do what he wanted because he was putting in the cash for the Hospital to improve there building ,when I heard Richard Branson was helping the Greens out ,I had to think what has a guy who is a shareholder of Monsanto got in common with the Green Party?

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