Damian Barr

This week yet another woman was 'cancelled' after a co-ordinated campaign against her by trans activists and their celebrity enablers.

Baroness Emma Nicholson was diagnosed profoundly deaf (she has only 8% hearing) when she was a teenager. In adulthood she became a computer programmer and systems analyst. Following that, for over a decade, she worked as the director of fundraising at Save the Children. She embarked on a career in politics when she was first elected as an MP in 1987. She became a life peer in 1997 and now sits in the House of Lords.

She has dedicated her life to public service, particularly striving to improve the lives of vulnerable children, refugees and victims of sexual violence. She has set up and worked for a number of charities and is particularly well-known for her humanitarian work in the Middle East.

Baroness Emma Nicholson With Foster Son, Amar Kanin

Just what could have prompted such a venomous campaign against this 78 year old woman? Quite simply, it was revenge, and a warning to other uppity women.

In recent months Baroness Nicholson has been a vocal opponent of gender identity ideology, speaking up for women's sex-based rights and spaces and arguing against the medicalisation of vulnerable children. Furthermore, she co-founded a children's charity with author, JK Rowling, another woman who has fallen foul of trans activists  after her recent statement about the harms of gender politics.

Baroness Nicholson had to be dealt with. As Sarah Ditum observed, "She’s a small scalp to make a bigger point: fall in line, or you go next. You’re either with us in the enforcement of identity politics norms, or we’re against you."

The campaign against Baroness Nicholson began when 32 year old transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf accused her of bullying him. The pair had exchanged a few words on Twitter during which Baroness Nicholson retweeted a meme of some of Bergdorf's controversial quotations with the comment, "Weird creature" and, in another tweet, had referred to Bergdorf as "Mr".

Baroness Nicholson explained to the Daily Mail that the "Mr" was an accident of her text editor and that she hadn't previously been aware of Bergdorf's preferred pronouns. She also said that in using the phrase "Weird creature", she was simply quoting Shakespeare. Given the insults and comments Bergdorf has thrown around on the same platform, Baroness Nicholson's remarks were hardly worthy of note.

But Bergdorf smelled blood. He took to social media and urged his followers to make a formal complaint about Baroness Nicholson, not only to the Parliamentary Standards Conduct Commissioner, but also to the Booker Prize foundation of which Baroness Nicholson was honorary Vice President. She had to go.

That's the same Munroe Bergdorf who had to step down from his role on the Labour Party's LGBT advisory board after it emerged he'd made homophobic comments, including the statement that he'd like to 'gay bash' Glee character, Kurt Hummel.

The same Munroe Bergdorf who dictated to attendees of the London Women's March that they must not reference their female biology. At their own march. (Pssst, Munroe, all vaginas ARE pink - they're internal. Maybe we do need to discuss this stuff after all.)

The Munroe Bergdorf who told a female cancer survivor to "Get your head out your ass" when she tried to explain to him the importance of women being able to discuss their reproductive rights.

The Munroe Bergdorf who described the Suffragettes as "White supremacists". (Guess Bergdorf hasn't heard of Sophia Duleep Singh, Sarah Parker Redmond or Shrimati Sushama Sen et al.)

The Munroe Bergdorf who was dropped from his role at the NSPCC due to his encouraging vulnerable children to contact him in secret, in direct contravention of every safeguarding policy espoused by all children’s organisations and charities.

Yes, that Munroe Bergdorf. Ironic that he should be clamouring for the scalp of a 78 year old woman over a few mildly inappropriate Twitter comments. Yet others couldn't wait to leap aboard his band wagon with their agendas all packed and ready to go.

Author Damian Barr spearheaded a group of writers baying for the Baroness' blood, demanding that she be removed from her Booker Prize role. And they discovered the perfect hook on which to hang their faux outrage; in 2013 Baroness Nicholson voted against equal marriage in the same-sex couples marriage bill.

These witchfinders were now able to label Baroness Nicholson a homophobe and petition the Booker Prize Committee accordingly. Barr constantly tweeted the Booker Prize account and also urged his followers, particularly the celebrities and publishing professionals among them, to contact the foundation.

His tweets were laden with hyperbole about "Ad hominem attacks" and "Homophobic bile". No examples were given, of course.

He also made accusations that Baroness Nicholson was making an "Ongoing attack on the LGBT community" and "Propagating homophobic views". (Accusations which he failed to substantiate, obviously.)

Baroness Nicholson voted against same-sex marriage. Seven years ago. She was not the only politician to do so. Even Stonewall (back in the days when Stonewall actually represented lesbians and gay men) was divided on the subject of same-sex marriage. While we may not agree with Baroness Nicholson's stance, she was entitled to vote in the bill however she chose. It's how our parliamentary democracy works.

And to what "Power and prestige" is Barr referring? Baroness Nicholson retired as a Booker Prize trustee in 2009. Since then she has held the honorary title of Vice President but has had no involvement in the actual running of the foundation.

As author, Dr Jane Harris, points out in her excellent thread on the subject, Barr has never expressed any issue with David Willetts' involvement with the Booker Prize Foundation.

Formerly the MP for Havant and now a Conservative peer, Lord Willetts has a voting record on LGB issues which is far from exemplary. In 1998 he voted against making the age of consent for gay men equal to that for heterosexual couples. In 2002 he voted several times against allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. In 2003 he voted to delay the repeal of the notoriously homophobic Clause 28. He is currently a Booker Prize trustee. Why is Barr not demanding his expulsion from the foundation? (Rhetorical question.)

Another question to ponder is why the seven year delay? Baroness Nicholson voted against same-sex marriage in 2013. Why has it take Damian Barr et al seven years to raise the matter with the Booker Prize foundation?

Another author determined to 'cancel' Baroness Nicholson was Marlon James. He described her as a "Hate monger" on his Facebook page and demanded that the Booker foundation "Condemn HER". James won the Booker Prize for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015. Baroness Nicholson was Booker's honorary Vice President at that time and it had been two years since her vote on the same sex marriage bill. Clearly James didn't seem to find her views quite so objectionable when he was picking up his £50,000 winner's cheque.  

Initially, on Tuesday 23nd June, The Booker Prize Trustees issued a brief statement distancing themselves from "The views expressed by Baroness Nicholson on transgender issues".

But this did not satisfy the sharks in their feeding frenzy who demanded nothing short of Baroness Nicholson's total annihilation.

The following day the Booker trustees announced that they have removed all honorary roles. The statement read:

"Upon her retirement from the Board in 2009, Baroness Nicholson was made an honorary vice president, a role that gave her no say in the governance or operations of the Foundation or prizes. In recent days there has been some confusion about the nature of honorary titles used by the Foundation. Too many believe that these titles in some way symbolise the prizes. That is not the case. We have today decided that these titles and roles should, with immediate effect, cease to exist. Those holding them have been informed and thanked for their longstanding interest."

And just like that, Baroness Nicholson was expunged from the literary foundation her late husband helped to establish. The Booker Prize, where only the manuscripts have spines.