How can we help transgender children? This is a question greatly exercising politicians and many are confused about what to do. In Scotland, children are now expected to ‘demonstrate an understanding of diversity in sexuality and gender identity’. The Scottish government supports a new classroom resource that tells primary school children that they may consider themselves to be a boy, a girl, or neither.
Your 13-year-old daughter tells a teacher that’s she’s uncomfortable with her body. She prefers trousers to skirts, football to ballet. She says she thinks she’s a he and wants to be treated as a boy at school. Would the teacher tell you your daughter wants to change gender?
Your 11-year-old granddaughter comes home from school upset. Changing after gym, another girl stood watching her undress and playing with her penis.
Jeremy Corbyn is promising to forge closer ties with his French counterpart Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the hard-left La France Insoumise party. The pair met at the Labour conference in Liverpool, and some commentators have hailed the start of a beautiful partnership.
The conceit is that this pair of pensioners are together somehow the future of European socialism. Well, Corbyn might become Britain’s prime minister for all I know, although I prefer to doubt it.
The RSPB regularly gets calls from people who have seen ‘a funny bird’. ‘It’s got a red head and it’s feeding from the bird table.’ ‘That sounds like a goldfinch.’ ‘No, no — it’s standing on the ground and feeding from the bird table…’
Cranes can stand as tall as a man. They became extinct as breeding birds in this country and stayed that way for damn near half a millennium. But astonishingly they’ve come back, and of their own accord.
The new political buzzword is ‘Neglexit’: the state of being in which, because the government is so wrapped up in Brexit negotiations, Britain is barely being governed. No big, visionary new policies are being launched. Gone are the days when every parliamentary session included an NHS Bill, a Criminal Justice Bill or an Education Bill.
‘The UK is stuck in political and bureaucratic torpor. The country — as an administrative entity — has virtually stopped working… ministers just don’t have the time to attend to the needs and ambitions of ordinary citizens,’ said a report from Bloomberg Businessweek.
‘Now Greece can finally turn the page in a crisis that has lasted too long. The worst is over.’ With these triumphant words, Pierre Moscovici, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, declared an end to the EU’s eight-year €289 billion bailout programme to Greece, the largest rescue in financial history.
Except Greece’s financial crisis isn’t by any means over — and the EU’s blithe and self-congratulatory announcement is a stain on Brussels’s moral authority.
In Thomas Mann’s astonishing novel The Magic Mountain the indolent young Hans Castorp visits his brave, terminally ill soldier cousin at a sanatorium at Davos, high in the Swiss Alps. Intending to stay three weeks, he remains seven years. A dubious diagnosis of light tuberculosis is all the excuse he needs to dismiss ‘the flatlands’ and discover, with increasing wonder, that in the midst of death he is in life.