Cartwheeling To Absurdity
A school in Dorset has banned girls from wearing skirts. They must now always wear trousers. The Headteacher said this is "to give girls the same opportunity as boys for a safe, active and healthy lifestyle, while maintaining their modesty."
Apparently, when the press asked for a translation of this gibberish, it was so that girls would be able to turn cartwheels in the playground without showing their knickers.
It wasn't long ago that a school on Tyneside banned girls from wearing trousers.
I don't know whether this was because the boys complained that when the girls turned cartwheels they couldn't see their knickers. But one girl, who was unhappy at having to wear a skirt in the bitter north-east winters, took the school to court. I think she won her case on the grounds of sex discrimination. (I haven't checked. I'm a blogger not a journalist. If you want research as well as opinion you'll have to pay for it).
The first question is why parents should be happy to entrust their children to the bunch of looney tunes who run our schools. Now that so many decisions have been devolved to schools themselves, some of the cut-price autocrats who run them can make rules about clothing, varying and contradictory around the country, that the Taliban could only dream of.
The second question is whether, at this school that bans skirts, a Scottish boy could wear a kilt and argue that to prevent him doing so would be racial discrimination. No doubt it would be argued that Scottishness is a nationality, not a race. Or not even that since Scots have 'British' nationality. Yet many local authorities give grants to Irish Dancing groups on the grounds that they are an ethnic minority.
So my advice to young Hamish would be to give it a go, if only to give that mad minger of a Headmistress a run for her money. But if it's true that Scotsmen wear nothing under the kilt, make sure you don't turn any cartwheels or toss your caber in the playground.
The third question is whether boys today would be overly aroused by a glimpse of knicker. Surely not. Not if they watch late night television or ever survey the erotic smorgasbord available on the internet.
The fourth, and possibly most pertinent, question is whether young girls today ever turn cartwheels. I can't speak with absolute authority on this because I don't hang around school playgrounds. But my impression is that they are more likely to stand around with a family pack of prawn cocktail crisps, texting Sharon about how fit that Kane in Year Six is.
And that 50% of them are so obese that if they were ever to put their hands to the ground you'd need an industrial winch to lift them up again.
And that most of them are so full of saturated fats, sugar, monosodium glutamate, salt and additives that if they attempted a cartwheel the rush of blood to their heads would probably put them in a coma for a week.
I certainly never see girls turning cartwheels in the street, just as I never see them playing Hopscotch or bowling wooden hoops as they run along the cobbles in their clogs, clutching a handful of farthings to buy some bacon bits and pease pudding for their father's tea when he gets home from t'pit.
I do sometimes see them sitting on the wall outside the chip shop, swigging cans of cider and saying "who are you calling a slag?" and "ignore him, Tracey, that Darren's a f*****g wanker."
But maybe those same girls will acquire a passion for gymnastics once they reach puberty. And also a proper concern for the preservation of their modesty which, as the Headteacher of the Dorset school says, can only be ensured by the wearing of trousers at all times, just in case you feel a cartwheel coming on.