This is the time of year when, by custom and practice, some dotty old vicar says something stupid about yuletide (e.g. there is no Father Christmas) and causes grave offence to fellow Christians, mums, dads and leader column writers at the Daily Mail.
This year things are more fraught than usual after a research student at Cambridge suggested Jesus was trans. In more robust times the student would have been dragged off and burned alive. But in today's all-embracing and profoundly dithery church, a senior cleric describes the trans theory as “legitimate” and says it may assist us in “thinking around transgender questions today”. How long, I wonder before some hapless priest absent-mindedly refers to Baby Jesus as “he” instead of “they” and is sacked for wrong-pronouning the Saviour.
All the best comedy series have running jokes, from the gendarme's studious “Good Moaning” in 'Allo 'Allo! to the Trotter brothers' enduring belief, in Only Fools and Horses, that they'll soon be millionaires. Enter a pilot for a new sci-fi comedy, We Are Not Alone (Dave) in which the aliens led by Trater (Vicki Pepperdine) have taken over the Earth. Their running joke is that the real names of the aliens, when spoken in Earth's atmosphere, cause such a pressure disruption that any human bowels in the vicinity instantly empty. In the best traditions of comedy, the exploding bowels happen just off-camera. Promising.
Back in real life, some convicted hard-core perverts are having an easy time of things. Were you aware that someone convicted of paedophilia could easily change his name, apply for DBS clearance and find jobs in schools or other child-focused settings? This scandal, exposed in a campaign to change the rules, should never have been allowed to happen. It could be stopped with a warning note on a simple computer program. Has no-one really thought of it until now?
Here we go again. The armada of inflatables in the Channel has again raised the debate about mandatory ID cards. The neatest put-down of the idea came from a reader of one of the national newspapers. He says cards would be pointless because “nothing would happen to people who hadn't got them”. Nine words say it all.