As a member of the Indecent Right, I have a surprising amount of time for the Decent Left.
Harry's Place in particular is always worth reading, but I found these articles a bit strange:
This morning, my wife, five year old son and I thought it might be nice to go swimming in the newly re-opened local swimming pool, Clissold Leisure Centre. We got to the pool at 10.30, to be told that:
- the main pool was too deep to be safe for a five year old;
- the "training" pool was women only between 10.45 and 12.30 every Sunday;
I got angry. I nearly swore. I rarely get angry at people who are doing no more than implementing a policy, because it isn't fair on them. I apologised.
Not to worry, we thought. I'll go in the main pool. My wife and son will go to the training pool. However, that was not permitted. My son, being of the male gender, was not allowed in a women-only swimming session.
Fine, I said. And what would the policy be if a group of racists decided that "sensitivity" to their cultural preferences resulted in a whites only swimming session? Why should a public institution subsidise the expression, in a public place, of the gender apartheid practice mandated by a small religious minority at all?
Some of the comments underneath the posts are, to put in mildly, a trifle hyperbolic.
The logical conclusion of this, of course, is that single sex changing rooms are a "form of gender apartheid".
Don't get me wrong: I am a great fan of secularism, I have recently been pursuaded of the merits of disestablishment, and I seriously don't want to live in any sort of theocracy.
However, I honestly don't think having a couple of women-only swimming sessions in a week is going to usher in theocracy. No, really, it isn't.
It reminds me of the eccentric enthusiasm for opposing Nativity scenes on public land in the United States: tilting at windmills, whilst there are ogres on the horizon.
[Disclaimer 1: When I was an undergrad, the College gym had a couple of sessions a week that were women only. The sky failed to fall in.
Disclaimer 2: When I first moved to London, I lived in Dalston. I wouldn't trust Hackney Council to run a bath, let alone a swimming pool.]