Peter Rhodes on gender-free flying, a cultural marathon and is it time to scrap the penny?

Here is a tiny prediction. Before long, Virgin Atlantic's decision to let its aircrew wear gender-free uniforms, which generated vast amounts of publicity last week, will soon grab even more headlines, for all the wrong reasons.

Virgin's new outfits
Virgin's new outfits

As Richard Branson must know full well, many cultures and at least three of the world's major religions take a dim view of women dressing as men, and vice-versa. A Virgin initiative that brings a warm glow to the wokery of the West could cause all sorts of bother when a fundamentalist priest's mineral water is served at 30,000 feet by someone called Nigel wearing a Virgin frock.

Useful tip. In situations such as this, the cross-dressing entertainer Eddie Izzard boldly declared: “I don't wear women's clothes, I wear mine.”

Rampant inflation and our new King's head on the currency. Has there ever been a better time to scrap all those utterly useless 1p and 2p copper coins? The snag is that whenever anyone suggests getting rid of the penny, outraged historians protest that it has been part of English life since the days of King Offa, almost 1,300 years ago, and should therefore be preserved. Follow that argument to its logical conclusion and we'd still be carrying swords and warhammers.

Which leads neatly on to the enormous cultural marathon I began on August 10. I have just finished belatedly binge-viewing the entire eight series, 70 hours and 14 minutes, of Game of Thrones. As the final scene faded, I had the same sensation I experienced many years ago on reaching the last page of The Lord of the Rings. We have been on an odyssey and what an extraordinary, magnificent piece of work Game of Thrones is. I must definitely get a dragon.

A group of of Tory MPs in Shropshire say Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will be vindicated over his mini-budget. Vindicated? Remind me, is that the one where they chop both legs off, or just the one?

I suggested last week that a Labour MP denounced Kwarteng as “superficially black”. The media consensus is that she actually called him “superficially” black. That's the trouble with quotation marks. You can't hear them.

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