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  Opinion   Oped  09 Jul 2018  Of UK’s empty streets, Trump Baby balloon & the next big social change

Of UK’s empty streets, Trump Baby balloon & the next big social change

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Jul 9, 2018, 3:41 am IST
Updated : Jul 9, 2018, 5:45 am IST

This is not as yet discussed openly in India, but there is an increasing debate and dialogue about it in the UK. I

US President Donald Trump (Photo: AP)
 US President Donald Trump (Photo: AP)

The streets of London were deserted on Saturday, as people huddled around TV sets to watch England sail into the semi-finals. Markets — even Oxford Street — showed less than normal crowds, as a complete football mania swept the nation. Attendees at Wimbledon said they would have happily missed the tennis and even wedding parties were struggling to keep guests with them. Brides and grooms were wailing that they had missed most of the match! The fact that England won 2-0 made the day ever more memorable as people were stuffed into pubs and restaurants — not to speak of the great celebration afterwards. The party, which began on Saturday, will now probably spill over onto Sunday… will this carry on till the finals, I wonder?

Very sadly, the rape of young girls is now a worldwide problem. Whilst in the UK we are used to stories in the media of paedophiles who prey on defenceless young children — the recent horrific rape in Scotland on the Isle of Bute of a six-year-old child by an adolescent brought back the fact that very often the rapist is known to the victim. In this case the 16-year-old alleged predator had taken the victim to the grounds of an abandoned hotel and attacked her. He was known to the family, but that did not stop him from raping and murdering her. He has been arrested, though not named, because of his age. The fact is that while one can warn young children not to wander off with total strangers — it is very difficult to teach them to mistrust those who are family or family friends. It is this difficulty that rapists take advantage of, where young children are concerned. Perhaps a time has come to teach even young children to carry an alarm which will alert their family. Should international monitoring of these crimes begin — with all countries, including India and the UK, sharing data and profiles?

Who is worried about wearing skirts to school? And we are not talking about miniskirts, but just any type of skirt, per se. The recent attempts by some British schools to ban skirts in favour of trousers for all students is linked to the fact that uniforms should be uniform — for boys, girls and transgenders. With a slowly increasing population of “transgenders” — it has now become politically correct to give them a sense of belonging. And it would only add to the confusion of transgenders if they had to choose between trousers or skirts. Thus it would be simpler to ban skirts, and have everyone wear trousers. This decision has not gone down well with everyone — and there are some who feel that alternately, this could also be a “skirts only” policy.

As “transgenders” (that is, those who identify with a gender different from that they were born with) have started coming out, more and more social adjustments from a younger age will have to be made. Schools are now giving guidance to them, and there are counsellors who help them make the transition to their new gender — and many are now taking hormonal therapy, and dressing according to the gender they think they are.

This is not as yet discussed openly in India, but there is an increasing debate and dialogue about it in the UK. It is a quieter revolution perhaps, than when people who were gay stepped out of the closet. That prepared us well for becoming a truly diverse society — one in which girls can be boys and boys can be girls. It might be confusing for many, but for those trapped in the wrong gender, it is liberating. So this is the next big social change! Even the BBC discovered recently in a secret survey (allegedly) that 417 of their workers were transsexual!

London mayor Sadiq Khan has finally given permission for the Trump Baby balloon (among the many names it has been given) to fly over London on July 13, when the real Donald Trump, President of the US, is expected in the country. Oh well, the real Donald Trump will neatly dodge the balloon, apparently — as he has a hectic schedule — which includes visiting the Queen at Windsor, catching up with golf in Scotland and dropping in to meet Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers.

However, the activists who dreamt it up are delighted no doubt that their 20 feet inflatable “baby” has the President on the run! All of this has left the right-wing press deeply annoyed, especially as it is the socialist Mr Khan who has allowed the Trump Baby to float up.

But we forget that this is British humour. British Prime Ministers and leaders have had to face worse insults than have their “inflated” version bob about the London skies. Should anyone even bother to get worked up?

And Mr Trump anyway is used to this kind of roasting no matter where he goes! The only place he may be welcomed with open arms is India. We love Americans, don’t we? He should plan a visit soon!


Tags: sadiq khan, donald trump, theresa may