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Peter Rhodes on ostracism, obesity and 'gender-neutral' loos

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

PRUE Leith, the Bake Off judge, pins the blame on our "centrally heated houses and sedentary lifestyle" for contributing to obesity. Nothing to do with all those cakes, then?

Ostracised – Baroness Deech

USING the lavatories in school can be traumatic enough in single-sex toilet blocks. A girl entering puberty or a boy suddenly stricken with diarrhoea, both aware of their fellow pupils in the room, can endure a trauma they never forget. Now, imagine how that distress, torment and embarrassment is magnified a hundredfold by the presence of the opposite sex. And then look at the revolting "gender-neutral" toilets proudly unveiled by a secondary school in Cardiff. What are the staff and governors thinking of? Do they not understand why their mortified pupils have already imposed their own unofficial restrictions with boys using one side of the block and girls the other? Would a male and female member of staff willingly share adjoining cubicles? This hideous experiment is supposed to be efficient and progressive. Anyone with any imagination can see it ending in tears, or worse.

BARONESS Deech, a crossbench peer who voted for Britain to leave the EU, says: "Telling people in Hampstead you voted Leave is a bit like coming out as gay in the 1950s." Some of her oldest friends have ostracised her over Brexit. It is no mystery that the Hampstead elite support the EU which had brought them ballooning property prices and cheap nannies. The surprise is how many people further down the pay scale also have such fervent affection for the grim, democracy-sapping edifice in Brussels.

PERSONALLY, I never saw Brexit as anything other than a genuine working-class movement, a historical tide on a par with Chartism or trade unionism, which deserved our support. The EU may like to wrap itself in a mantle of benevolence, culture and intellect but in truth it is a hard-nosed club for capitalists. It has always served the interests of large landowners and big businesses, enabling them to import the cheapest workers they can find anywhere in the continent, regardless of the effect on local employment and wage rates. I suspect that Baroness Deech and the rest of us Brexiteers will turn out to be on the right side of history.

I SUSPECT, too, that when we leave the EU and discover the sky does not fall in and Britain prospers, plenty of folk who voted Leave will be emboldened to come out and admit how they voted, just as the gays of the 1950s came out, wary but unbowed.

I WROTE recently about the temptation for grown-ups to tell whoppers to small children. I am reminded of an old mate who, in a mischievous moment, told his little lad that it was impossible to sing in French. Some years later, the boy's teacher produced the words for Frère Jacques and announced that the class was going to sing a French song. The boy was actually in the process of raising his hand to correct the teacher when the awful truth dawned.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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