It’s that old acorn again. A woman in government gets moved and the cry goes up that the female role is rubbished again by men with all progress lost in one minor reshuffle. Rot.
I have no real idea how most of the men moved around in Mr Cameron’s pack of cards will fare. Nor whether all the women who have lost premier jobs, deserved it. But how patronising to suggest as campaigners do, that any woman in a top job is better than any man, whatever their respective skills. Sorry, sisters, I’ll insist on equal opportunity, after that, it’s simply the best person for the job.
People who struggle with weight are likely to eat more unhealthy meals if they are with someone also overdoes it on the wrong foods. Likewise, says a new (and doubtless expensive) study by psychologists at the University of Birmingham, dining alongside a lean and healthy eater is likely to influence you to eat likewise. Get away, who’d have thought that!
And here’s another breathtaking move. More than 300 House of Lords employees are on equality and diversity courses to help them avoid giving offence. Oh dear, dear. Wouldn’t you have thought whoever interviewed them in the first place might have sussed out their likely people skills before taking them on? Still the consultancy now running the courses was only paid around £118,000, small fry in terms of Westminster waste.
Little girls have always dressed up. I was in Mrs Munslow’s dance troupe from about the age of three and was variously a forest-green elf, a tiny drum majorette without a proper drum and the dwarf Grumpy, played to startling likeness because I dearly wanted to be Snow White instead. All these roles demanded dressing up in strange costumes, sometimes wearing great blobs of facial colour when playing a clown and so far as I know none of us was damaged – not by that experience at any rate.
But even so, this current preoccupation of slapping mascara, lipstick and body glitter on kiddies not much more than toddlers and sending them down catwalks, beauty pageant style, is more than a bit uncomfortable. The US trend for these occasions has been picked up in this country big time and a little girl called Ocean (yes, really) has just won one of the first such pageants here. Ocean is four while a fellow competitor tottering along beside her and also complete with make-up and shimmer, was under the age of two. The winner’s glamorous mum calls her daughter ‘The Vivienne Westwood of the toddler world.’ That’s why I feel so uncomfortable at the mega move from Grumpy the dwarf on stage in the chapel schoolroom, to tiny girls parading alarmingly like mini starlets and open to attract quite the wrong type of attention.
There’s nothing else you can say about the Paralympic Games as they wind down and competitors go home except quite magnificent, humbling and inspiring. Their chairs, prosthetic limbs, adapted gear and of course, their medals now leave our shores for all parts of the world. But what they have left behind and which is something we shall never forget, are the memories of skill and fortitude, of grace and grit, of meeting with triumph and disaster and treating both of them just the same. They have rounded off a quite spectacular sporting summer.
By Shirley Tart