Modern life is pretty surreal. But last week things took a really bizarre twist when a leading independent girls' school, St Paul's, decided to remove the 'girl' from the role of head girl on the grounds that it was 'too binary'.
Yes, you read that right. An all-girls' school has ditched the use of the world girl and replaced it with head of school.
And not just any all-girls' school, either, arguably the country's finest: St Paul's, an establishment which parents battle tooth and nail to get their daughters into – and then happily fork out £26,000 a year in fees to keep them there.
A place that for over a century has championed the education of young women, that has encouraged them to pursue their ambitions to the highest degree – now trying to pretend that the condition of being female does not even exist.
It's not only bizarre, it's also incredibly sad. Young women should be proud of their sex, not seek to erase it. Yet this is the point to which this horrible gender culture war has brought us.
It doesn't take a genius to identify the source. Last week Stonewall, the high-profile LGBT charity that makes a small fortune from advising public bodies – including schools – on 'best practice' when it comes to gender politics, told teachers that they should stop referring to children as 'boys' and 'girls', and employ the term 'learners' instead.
And not just any all-girls' school, either, arguably the country's finest: St Paul's (pictured), an establishment which parents battle tooth and nail to get their daughters into – and then happily fork out £26,000 a year in fees to keep them there, says Sarah Vine
In addition, everyone must have access to the lavatories, changing rooms and dormitories they feel most comfortable with; and, of course, when it comes to sport, trans girls must be allowed to compete in their chosen category.
For some time now this dogma has been taught in state schools. My daughter had it in Year 10. But what's so shocking about the St Paul's thing, the reason it feels so significant, is because this is no ordinary school; it's the poshest, most academic school there is.
If even they are succumbing to this female exclusionary propaganda, then we really do have a serious problem.
The girls – sorry, 'learners' – who study here are the opinion-formers and leaders of tomorrow. They are the Trojan Horse of the hardline trans lobby.
If organisations like Stonewall, with their disdain for free speech and their refusal to countenance any form of constructive debate around the issue, can capture their hearts and minds, victory is secured.
No one will even be able to question their 'truth' again. And there are signs, anecdotally at least, that it's working. This move, apparently, has been been instigated by pupils, who feel the new title is 'more modern, age-appropriate and inclusive'.
I was also speaking to a friend a few weeks ago, a fellow parent whose daughter does not attend St Paul's but who knows others who do.
She told me that more than a dozen girls in the sixth form there are currently identifying as transgender. School-gate gossip? Perhaps. But perhaps not, given that the school's deputy head, Helen Semple, apparently presided over a training session in April where it was suggested that there are now more than 150 different genders.
In any other circumstances, one would just have to laugh and file the whole thing away under the 'you couldn't make it up' category of modern absurdities. Pictured, St Paul's
Children – even intellectually gifted ones – are so easily influenced by adults in authority.
Self-identification, the non-existence of biological sex, the idea that you can change gender as often as you change your socks: all these ideas have been imported into mainstream education, wrapped up in rainbows and unicorns and presented not only as gospel truth, but – and perhaps more importantly – as fun, cool, trendy.
In any other circumstances, one would just have to laugh and file the whole thing away under the 'you couldn't make it up' category of modern absurdities.
But this isn't funny. It's really serious.
The top girls school in the country is CANCELLING girlhood. And with it, the future of womankind.
I'm not surprised the Batley teacher hounded out of job and home by a hysterical mob for using an image of the Prophet Mohammed has not yet returned to work, despite having been cleared of deliberately trying to cause offence. Hard to look some of those parents in the eye after what they've done to him.
Oxford? Why bother now
There was a time when studying at Oxford really meant something.
For my father, a grammar-school pupil, it represented access to a world he would never otherwise have experienced. Nowadays, you have to wonder why anyone would bother, especially with people like Professor Kate Tunstall, interim provost of Worcester College, on the loose.
Having led the boycott against Oriel college for its refusal to back down in the 'Rhodes must fall' campaign, her latest project is Oxford's first 'community decolonisation course', a highlight of which is, laughably, a 'Tango: Music And Movement Through Immigration' workshop, where participants 'can dance the tango while learning the history of its context in immigration and the slave trade'.
Hardly Nobel Prize-winning stuff, is it?
Joan's tough choice
Joan Collins, a youthful 88, discussed last week her decision to have an abortion at the age of 26, while engaged to Warren Beatty.
She felt that having a baby then would have scuppered her acting career. Sadly, those were different times, when women had to choose between motherhood and a career. Thank God, in that respect, for progress.
Joan Collins (pictured), a youthful 88, discussed last week her decision to have an abortion at the age of 26, while engaged to Warren Beatty
I see that Shamima Begum (or her lawyers, or her agent, or her PR, or all of the above) are now trying to re-cast her as a victim of human trafficking. How very 21st Century of her. Next thing you know she'll be doing a documentary with Stacey Dooley.
The Tory defeat in Chesham and Amersham is a useful reminder to politicians of all stripes: never threaten an Englishman's castle.
The Lib Dems won that by-election because of concerns about HS2 and planning reforms. Call them Nimbys if you like, but the fact remains that for many people – especially Conservative voters – their home is their principal and only investment and they will do anything to protect it.
This is something Margaret Thatcher instinctively understood.
As Britain's only other woman Prime Minister would have put it: nothing has changed.
If the World Health Organisation bans women of childbearing age from drinking alcohol, how does it expect anyone to ever get pregnant again? That said, as one past that stage in life, I'm not complaining. More for me!
The Duchess of Sussex's soapy children's morality tale, The Bench, is top of the bestseller lists in America, yet in the UK it's No 128 on Amazon. Proof there's still hope for this country yet!
The Duchess of Sussex's soapy children's morality tale, The Bench
Thanks to Dom Cummings, the power of WhatsApp in Whitehall has been highlighted. But actually these days it's all about Signal, which allows users to set messages to self-destruct after reading.
My friend who sings in an amateur choir is gutted about the rules that mean she can't pursue her passion – especially since it has been pivotal in preserving her sanity during what have been a very difficult few years. Yet on Friday the streets of London and the stands at Wembley were full of football fans – including my son – singing their hearts out. Of course I'd never wish to deprive them of that delight – but please can we lift this ridiculous ban on choirs?
You can pin this on Martin Bashir too
Can you imagine how it must have felt for Prince Charles to be questioned by police over the death of Diana, as it turns out he was in 2005?
They might have been estranged, but she was still the mother of his children. And all because of a note Diana herself wrote predicting that she would be done away with to clear the path for Charles to marry Tiggy Legge-Bourke, their former nanny.
All complete tosh. And who was it who put that false notion in her head? Why Martin Bashir as part of his campaign to persuade her to grant him an interview.
This one's on him and the BBC. Shouldn't both be prosecuted for wasting police time?
The Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled for the second year running. Oh dear. How will the nation cope without this annual bonanza of booze, drugs and knife crime?
Professor Chris Whitty says to brace for a difficult winter. I can understand the concern but why must the assumption be that it's the public that has to prepare? Surely it's the responsibility of Government to ensure the NHS has the capacity to deal with the inevitable increase of serious cases during the winter months. We've done our bit. Now please do yours.