But coming up on the far side from the back to beat it by a short head is a new version from our own Scottish, or Scots Canadian, Greens: “People could die.” If someone says something you disagree with just deftly respond with “you’re putting lives at risk”.
When JK Rowling articulates her view that only women can be women, or that Fred doesn’t become Freda just because Fred says he’s now Freda, she must hear the panting in outrage of Green leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, as she heard the panting of anticipation of eager schoolchildren at one of the midnight launches of the latest volume in the Harry Potter series.
Ms Rowling’s latest concern about the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill is now apparently even deadlier than her hallows. Ms Slater retorted, for she has a way with words: “The whole conversation and misrepresentation do indeed put trans lives at risk.” In other words, Ms Slater thinks that if you disagree with her, people might die.
This comes barely a week after the Cabinet minister actually in charge of this Bill, Shona Robison, introduced it to Parliament with a plea for “respectful debate”.
If Ms Slater was present in the Chamber for her colleague’s speech, she clearly wasn’t listening. Instead, she and her Green co-leader resorted to the most hysterical language in an effort to discredit those on the other side of this most heated of current debates.
Ms Slater does not engage with Ms Rowling’s arguments but denies her right to have an opinion. To have a conversation on the author’s views – shared, I might humbly suggest by the majority of people, possibly since the beginning of time – is to risk lives.
To some this may appear to be a rhetorical device right up there with, “I’ll scream and scream and scream until I’m sick,” but Ms Slater has a following, apparently.
And in the world in which we live, perhaps she also has a point.
If Ms Slater can call herself a responsible minister of the Crown, then surely anybody can call themselves anything.