Thursday, 7 September 2017

DNA disappointments, new regulations, political correctness!

So they dug up Salvador Dalí because Maria Pilar Abel Martinez was claiming to be his daughter. She said her mother had an affair with the artist long ago and that she was the result of that. She also claimed that she looked just like him apart from not having his crazy moustache. Oh dear! We are all supposed to have a double somewhere, not necessarily related to us. And many people have decided on that basis that they were related to someone famous. In this case DNA samples from Dalí showed no connection with the lady whatsoever. Poor thing! Think of all the plans she had for what to do with her inheritance. All pie in the sky now. And what is more, she is back to not knowing who her father is!

And then there is Ryanair, back in the news because of new rulings on what you can or cannot carry onto the plane with you. We travel hand-luggage only just about all the time. If we go with EasyJet we know that we have to get everything into one bag of the specified size. However, they no longer have a weight limit on that so if you can manage to lift it up and put it in the luggage rack you can put whatever you like in it. Ryanair used to work on the same basis but with a weight limit of 10 kilos.

And then, some time ago, they decided that travellers could take their 10 kilo bag and another smaller bag, such as a laptop bag, a handbag, a bag of duty free purchases. We have to confess to ruthlessly abusing the system: filling the 10 kilo case, of the specified size, and then putting the laptop, iPad,and various other perhaps fairly weighty objects in a computer bag or a small rucksack.

As more and more people began to do exactly the same thing, it became necessary to be at the front of the queue for boarding the plane if we did not want them to stow our little wheelie suitcases into the hold. Even free of charge we prefer not to put our bags in the hold as we often have a bus to catch when we get off the plane, frequently with a small margin of time to get out to the bus stop. The airlines are now finding that their departure is slowed down because of all the passengers trying to stow their hand-luggage inside the plane. Part of the problem is that people ignore the request to put their smaller bags under the seat. After all, they get in the way of their feet!

Consequently Ryanair has taken a decision. If you want to take two bags onto their planes you need to pay the extra £5 for speedy boarding. Otherwise your wheelie suitcase, 10 kilos and of the regulation size, will be taken off you as you board and will be put in the hold. Paying for speedy boarding is something we have resisted doing so far. Indeed we have rather snobbishly sneered at the idea of paying extra just to get on the plane first. Now we may be forced to bite the bullet!

Here is Stuart Heritage's take on it.

Of course, one solution might be to reduce the cost of checking your main (bigger and heavier) suitcase into the hold. At present it can sometimes cost more to do that than to actually fly!

In another area of cheaper living, the supermarket chain Lidl has been in the news first for airbrushing crosses off Greek churches featured on the packaging of some of their produce and then for apologising for doing so. Apparently someone in marketing thought that Christian crosses might be offensive to non-Christians. Crazy!

Now for something else altogether. Like many children, little George Cambridge, third in line to the throne, has his first day in school today. Unlike many children, he is going to a school that will cost his parents, and thus indirectly us, £18,000-a-year. His parents are reported to have spent almost £400 on uniform, rather a lot for a four year old but there we are. Now, what most struck me about this seemingly fine educational establishment, where he will learn to “be kind”, acquire “confidence, leadership and humility” and - here comes the astounding factor - not have a best friend to prevent other children having hurt feelings.

Yes, he will learn not to have a best friend, in case this hurts other children's feelings. Well, really! Of course schools need to ensure that nobody is left out, fostering friendship between all the children, especially in the early years. But suggesting that having a best friend is wrong seems very odd to me. Surely having a best friend is an important development for all children, often providing a lifelong confidante they can turn to when things get difficult. And does having a best friend rule out being kind and having plent of other friends?

Political correctness gone mad!

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