Robert Hampton

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13th January 2013

Partial Observer
Posted by at 1.08pm | In the News | No responses

Julie Burchill has written a horrendous screed in today’s Observer (I’m not linking to it directly). It’s a horrible piece, using language about transsexual people that, had it appeared in the Daily Mail or a right-wing blog, would have drawn condemnation – including from the Observer. UPDATE: The article has now been withdrawn by the Observer.

I’m disappointed. I like the Observer. I always look forward to reading it on Sunday morning, as an antidote to the right-wing media which, too often, dominate the news agenda. So I’m prepared to treat this one article as an aberration; a lapse of judgement on the editor’s part. I’m not trying to defend the indefensible decision to publish it, but I think (and hope) this is just an anomaly. This isn’t like the Jan Moir kerfuffle, where her article was entirely typical of the anti-gay agenda of the Mail.

In today’s Observer print edition, on the opposite page to that rant is a great opinion piece by Nick Cohen on homophobia. Elsewhere in the same paper, there are thoughtful articles on women in Afghanistan, immigration to the UK, the Belfast riots, the upcoming Israel election and, er, crisps. I’m not about to start boycotting the paper and miss out on all that excellent content.

That said, I hope the Observer’s editor will explain the thinking behind the decision to print the piece, and offer a proper right of reply to the transgender people who have been unfairly vilified.