Gender and marital status are not dirty words

In the early 1980s, with the Labour Party making itself unelectable nationally because of its policy for unilateral nuclear disarmament, some Labour councillors across the country made matters even worse by taking their newfound passion for political correctness to a level that earned them the title “loony left”.

Almost four decades later and last week I saw a local news item which has me wondering if I have become an anachronism – a man out of step with the mood of the times – and if that is indeed the case, then I can live with that.

Two Southend councillors submitted a motion to council asking it to adopt gender-neutral language and be banned from referencing people’s marital status without consent – as if there was some sort of stigma attached to it.

Matt Dent and Helen McDonald claim there is ‘inconsistent use of gender-neutral language’ in the council’s constitution, policies and communication. They have called for gender-neutral language to be adopted in all communications, ‘both online and offline, written and verbal’, their argument being that women and minority groups could be discouraged from engaging in local politics.

I would have thought councils had a hard enough job trying to deal with important local matters amid the fallout of public disgust and distrust over Parliament’s behaviour without creating a ridiculous problem for the sake of it.

Now even gender itself is becoming a dirty word.

It’s ridiculous political posturing and so unnecessary.

How anyone identifies – unless it’s as an inanimate object like a toaster, which I draw the line at – is nothing to do with anyone but that person. No third party has the right to think that by eradicating gendered titles they are doing civilisation a favour by making it more inclusive. It’s an act of the utmost conceit.

I have nothing but sympathy and the utmost respect for people who feel they have been born in the wrong body (I should have been born in Chris Hemsworth’s body – it’s an ordeal I have to live with every day). If someone has been brave enough to transition they have more than earned the right to be called Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.

What would comrades Dent and McDonald prefer – Person #1 – 60 million?

We’re people, not ants.

Trumpmouth

Every time Donald Trump speaks I wonder if the guy could actually be clinically insane.

He’s a caricature – the hand gestures, the self aggrandising rhetoric and that moment when he goes off script and begins freestyling is both comical and terrifying in equal measure.

His statement on Sunday regarding the death of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a classic example of Trumpmouth with its florid references to US ‘dogs’ and al-Baghdadi wimpering and crying in fear in a dead end tunnel before detonating his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his young children.

“It was like watching a film,” marvelled the US President.

I can’t image much of that coming from the minds of White House speech writers.

Unless they’re as mad as their boss.

Give them a break

Having a life of extreme privilege does not make anyone less worthy of understanding or sympathy when they are having a tough time mentally.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are obviously two such people at the moment with Prince Harry in particular struggling with what he has called “the game that killed my mum.”

The Royals have always dealt with their issues by simply saying nothing, but Harry isn’t like that. He wears his heart very much on his sleeve and that’s fuel for the world’s tabloid media who look to make a story of the flimsiest trivia and if that’s not available just make something up.

Regardless of their elevated circumstances it would surely serve the long game to give these two a bit of a break.

Edward Case

Columnist