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JENNI MURRAY: I won’t be silenced by a hate mob that says I should die

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jenni murray i wont be silenced by a hate mob that says i should die

This week two extraordinarily courageous women are awaiting a decision from the High Court. They hope three senior judges will put a stop to the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to children who say they want to change their gender.

They are Mrs A — on behalf of her 16-year-old daughter, who has Asperger syndrome — and Keira Bell, a young woman of 23 given the drugs when she was 16.

A tomboy, Keira had read online about the possibility of transitioning to be a boy. She had three one-hour appointments, started taking a puberty blocker called GnRH, and then in due course moved on to male hormones.

Jenni Murray (pictured) said she was one of the earliest people to state her belief that the difference between sex and gender matters

Jenni Murray (pictured) said she was one of the earliest people to state her belief that the difference between sex and gender matters

She later had a double mastectomy, but has now ‘detransitioned’ to live as a woman. ‘I made a brash decision as a teenager trying to find confidence and happiness,’ she has said. ‘Now the rest of my life will be negatively affected.’

Keira’s treatment has left her with a deep voice, facial hair and impaired sexual function.

She and Mrs A are suing the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), where Keira had treatment and Mrs A’s daughter is on the waiting list.

The question the High Court must consider is whether any child has the capacity to consent to puberty blockers, said by advocates to be a mere ‘pause button’. The truth is there’s been little research into the long-term implications of these drugs, especially in children, and they may forever change sexual function and even fertility.

Two women are currently waiting on a high court decision over whether judges will prevent the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to children who say they want to change their gender

Two women are currently waiting on a high court decision over whether judges will prevent the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to children who say they want to change their gender

I call these women courageous because they have stepped into the quagmire that envelops anyone who dares to question the rise of trans ideology. It’s a quagmire with which I am familiar. I was one of the first to state publicly my belief that the difference between sex and gender matters, that women need to have their own safe spaces.

Equally, a trans woman deserves respect and freedom from bullying.

For this, I have been trolled and threatened with hideous violence. It’s terrifying to be told you should die, that strangers want you sacked. The emotional toll has been, at times, quite overwhelming.

There are so many stories of women bullied and even kicked out of jobs for voicing similar opinions.

SHOULDER PADS ARE BACK IN 

I couldn’t believe it when they were sent down the Paris catwalks, but now that the Duchess of Cambridge has worn them, it’s clear shoulder pads are back in.

Kate, whom I consider a fashion icon, appeared this week in true 1980s Dynasty style. Hooray, I say.

The advantage of pads is that a broader shoulder means the illusion of a more slender waist.

They’re also a tough look for tough times. In the 1980s, most jackets were made fitted with pads, but I also bought them separately and slipped them into a T-shirt or a sweater. 

I wasn’t quite Joan Collins, but they made me feel powerful.

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The writer J.K. Rowling was criticised even by the young actors she and her Harry Potter books turned into wealthy stars. Why?

She had tweeted, in response to an article about ‘people who menstruate’: ‘People who menstruate? I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

For that, like me, she was labelled a TERF (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist). And yet I am not prepared to stop talking about this. It’s an issue that needs to be discussed without anyone fearing losing their livelihood or their life. That goes for those on the other side of the argument too. Debate is vital; young lives are at stake.

Above all, it’s the children that must concern us most, whether that’s Keira Bell, Mrs A’s daughter or others, who are referred by the Tavistock for puberty-blockers, a quarter of whom last year, as mentioned in court, were children under 14. The youngest was ten. Is a ten-year-old mature enough to make a decision that could alter her body and the rest of her life?

The court has yet to give its answer. But it has demanded evidence and insisted upon ‘facts, not spin’. What a relief to have this played out in court where it’s evidence and facts that matter, rather than the hysteria of the internet, where no one listens to anyone else. We must wait for the judges’ response. 

How Di grumbled to me about life in the spotlight 

I can’t wait for the next series of The Crown, covering the period with which I’m most familiar, when Shy Di (played by Emma Corrin) came onto the scene.

Not so shy, was what I decided when I went to Highgrove to interview her husband about the Duchy of Cornwall and meet her first-born son, William.

I tried to make conversation with Diana while Charles and William were being filmed in the garden.

How tough was she finding the constant attention, I asked her? ‘What do you think?’ she fired back.

After meeting Princess Diana (pictured is Emma Corrin who plays her in the latest season of The Crown), Jenni Murray says she predicted that Diana's marriage to Prince Charles would not last

After meeting Princess Diana (pictured is Emma Corrin who plays her in the latest season of The Crown), Jenni Murray says she predicted that Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles would not last

She rather grumpily took her boy back to the nursery and Prince Charles invited the crew for a drink, spilling his tomato juice on the white carpet. 

He rubbed it vigorously with the sole of his shoe. ‘Please don’t tell my wife,’ he said. 

‘Not sure this will last,’ thought I.

The most accurate prediction I’ve ever made.

Watch out tom! those tiny cars are impossible 

I never expected to see the movie hard man Tom Cruise tootling around Rome in a tiny, vintage Fiat 500 (pictured).

It’s exactly like the first car I ever bought, which had such a dodgy gearbox, it couldn’t tackle a significant hill.

Tom Cruise drove Mission Impossible co-star Hayley Atwell around Rome in a Fiat 500

Tom Cruise drove Mission Impossible co-star Hayley Atwell around Rome in a Fiat 500

Trying to find a space in a multi-storey car park presented a challenge. If I needed to mount a ramp, I got out and pushed it — a Mission almost Impossible.

Co-star Hayley Atwell found it amusing as Tom drove her around the Mission Impossible 7 set.

Take care, Tom, I know you’re strong and good at stunts, but you’re only little! Get the film’s bigwigs to buy you a decent car. 

How dare they deny us oldies mammograms?

Good news about the NHS mammogram service: the test for breast cancer has at last reopened for women aged between 50 and 71.

About time, when you consider about a million women have missed out because of the pandemic.

Not such good news for women like me, for whom routine testing has now been banned after our 71st birthdays for the foreseeable future — to ‘protect’ us. This is an ageist and cruel policy. 

Women over 71 are more at risk of the disease than those who are younger, and around a third of all breast cancers occur in my age group.

I know only too well the importance of the test. I missed one 15 years ago and found my cancer myself a year later. If I’d got checked on time, I might have got away with a far less radical treatment than the mastectomy and chemotherapy I ended up needing.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’

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care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly lives at risk

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’ after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had suspended inspections for five months in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

But last month the watchdog took the decision, sanctioned by the Department of Health, to redeploy inspectors.

The CQC, which employs around 1,300 inspectors, is set to launch 500 inspections over the next six weeks – but testing for those visiting care homes is not currently compulsory.

Care provides have fiercely criticised the move after it was estimated that 16,000 care home residents died with Covid-19 during the first wave of coronavirus. 

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly 'lives at risk' after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms (stock image)

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’ after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms (stock image)

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Sunday Telegraph revealed that more than 100 CQC inspectors reported Covid-19 symptoms or were forced to self-isolate.

It showed that during the period from March to October 20, 11 CQC staff tested positive for coronavirus which included six who were inspectors. 

A further 225 members of CQC staff, 103 of whom were inspectors, self-isolated as a precaution.

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection.

Care home managers have since called on the organisation to introduce mandatory testing for all inspectors as they insist that otherwise ‘lives will be put at risk’. 

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection (stock image)

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection (stock image)

Labour MP Barbara Keeley has since said that the data proved why it was now vital that inspectors were regularly tested in order to protect elderly lives.

She told The Independent: ‘On the basis of these numbers, inspectors may be potentially taking infections into care homes. Given the risk Covid-19 poses in care homes, this cannot be allowed to happen.

‘It’s just not acceptable that the inspectors are not being tested regularly… It is clear from these numbers that the only way for CQC inspections to resume in a safe manner is for all inspectors to have access to regular Covid-19 testing, even if they are asymptomatic.’

MailOnline has contacted the Care Quality Commission for comment. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Diary of political aide PETER CARDWELL reveals whats goes on in Westminster

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Six decades ago, we didn’t exist. But we spads have become increasingly influential in Whitehall, playing a strange role for Ministers, somewhere between friend, gatekeeper, adviser and general dogsbody armed with a Snickers bar (in case of a meltdown needing a sugar hit).

As Housing Secretary James Brokenshire’s media spad, I had to advise him on the regular rounds of interviews – which could cover anything from NHS care beds to Love Island evictions – as well as reminding him to have a pee beforehand. And, of course, to be tuned into all the Westminster gossip.

The Coffey grinder

A colleague who got invited to the Brit Awards contacted me the morning after about the antics of the Work and Pensions Secretary: ‘The image that will be burned into the pinholes of my eyes – perhaps for ever – is that of Therese Coffey attempting to twerk to Stormzy.’ As a result, poor Therese has been nicknamed the ‘Twerk and Pensions Secretary’.

Theresa’s one unhappy camper

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it.

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it

The snarking of the Hunt

I asked Labour’s Tristram Hunt what he saw as his role as a constituency MP. He said: ‘It is to try to convince people that Stoke isn’t a s***hole.’ At least he was honest.

Take that, Barlow!

At the heart of No 10 is ‘Switch’ –- the switchboard – renowned for its calm, assured operators who connect Prime Ministers to anyone in the world. Switch has the number of almost anyone the PM could possibly want to contact. Very occasionally, though, it makes mistakes. Once, a No 10 official asked to be put through to the then Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, but the operator misheard. Take That frontman Gary Barlow was slightly baffled to receive a call about housing policy.

A smarter class of reader

James Brokenshire’s wife Cathy rang me about an interview James was about to do with the Daily Mail. Was it OK to wear jeans for the photo? No, I said quickly, it is better to go slightly smarter as the Mail’s readership would expect something a little dressier.

My text that cost £387m

One Friday morning, I was working at home in my jogging bottoms, happily tapping away at my laptop and two phones. Incidentally, two groups of people always work on two phones: spads and drug-dealers.

I was called by a journalist on The Times and asked about a rumour that housing giant Persimmon was about to post profits of £1 billion. After some digging, I texted a comment saying the company had not always acted entirely properly in regard to the Government’s Help To Buy scheme for first-time buyers.

This led to a story saying ‘Britain’s most profitable housebuilder faces being stripped of its right to sell Help To Buy homes after allegations of poor standards.’

On Monday morning, when the financial markets opened – and largely the result of my text – Persimmon’s worth fell by £387 million in just one day.

Ironing out the wrinkles

One Minister who sat around the Cabinet table told her diary secretary to block out an afternoon once a month so she could go to her doctor in Harley Street for Botox. ‘The problem,’ the spad told me, ‘is when she grins heavily, you can see the filler accumulate above her temples.’

Rebel without a pause

Some Downing Street spads had a sweepstake on how long Greg Clark, then Business Secretary, would speak continuously in Cabinet meetings. His record? Twenty-six minutes without a pause. In a 90-minute meeting.

Boris owes me a big debt

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too.’

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too’. The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too’. The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on

The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on.

The rainbow warrior

While in the Northern Ireland Office, I worked with Junior Minister Kris Hopkins on advancing the cause of same-sex civil marriage there, against resistance from the Democratic Unionist Party. During one meeting, the blunt Yorkshireman said: ‘It’s probably about bloody time I got on my big rainbow underpants and told the DUP what’s what on equal marriage.’ When Kris left the department, I bought him such a pair on eBay for £2.99. I don’t know if he ever wore them.

The last Post-It

It is traditional for Treasury Ministers to leave a light-hearted Post-It note for their successors.

Liam Byrne’s message after the 2008 banking crash and subsequent recession infamously read: ‘Dear Chief Secretary, I am afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck.’

Previously, civil servants had spotted a series of other notes that Byrne (nicknamed ‘Baldemort’ in tribute to the Harry Potter villain) had left around his desk to motivate himself.

They included ‘Get Army fit’, ‘Have my own library (like Reagan)’ and ‘Buy ski chalet in France’.

Red Ed’s jibes are no joke

I was reliably informed two jokes were cut out of Ed Miliband’s first conference speech as Labour leader about the then Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles being overweight. The first – ‘the party never worries about losing Eric Pickles, because wherever he goes he always leaves a trail of crumbs’ – you could probably just about get away with. But ‘Eric Pickles – the only Cabinet Minister visible from space’ would have been a jibe too far.

Shocking behaviour

Protection officers get to know Ministers well, but personal relationships such as the one in the BBC1 drama Bodyguard are strictly prohibited. Saying that, one spad sent a cheeky Valentine’s Day card to a protection officer who had worked with their principal, including the line: ‘No need to fire your Taser to make me go weak at the knees.’

A whiff of offence

During the Election campaign of 2017, one volunteer worker had a particularly strong reaction around Theresa May’s chief of staff Fiona Hill – her perfume brought her out in hives, so she had to retreat every time Fiona came near. The volunteer never felt that she could explain to Fiona the reason she kept stepping away.

Oven-ready scandal

The eight-day media maelstrom that we called ‘Ovengate’ began when a small Sunday Times news item remarked that James and Cathy own two double ovens. By Tuesday, memes were flying thick and fast on Twitter, and James decided to lean into the ludicrous, and increasingly funny, reaction. He tweeted a picture of himself with a Victoria sponge cake with the line: ‘Amazing what you can rustle up! Maybe some more hot potatoes next! #TwoOvens.’

A very boor show

The key thing, in victory and defeat, is to be graceful and magnanimous with your opponents. Labour’s Emily Thornberry was neither. Despite the exit poll in 2017 which suggested the Tory Government was going to be re-elected, she strutted on to the set at Sky News, churlishly sneering at us. Cathy Brokenshire can’t stand Thornberry and, believe me, when you’ve lost Cathy you’re doing really badly.

Something’s brewing

Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask).

Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask)

 Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask)

Conference pairs

At one Liberal Democrat party conference, I remember the drunken lover of a senior Lib Dem MP pitching up wearing just a vest and shorts, looking like some sort of relic from a Culture Club gig. I also remember a female friend, who would have been about 25 at the time, telling me about the difficult experience of extracting herself from a conversation with a famous broadcaster at least 40 years her senior whose intentions were not to discuss the contents of Nick Clegg’s speech.

Back to school, Minister

Suspecting that while being interviewed by sixth-formers, newly appointed Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley might be tested on some rudimentary general knowledge, I told her the FAT LAD acronym I’d learned in primary school to remember the six counties of Northern Ireland – Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim, Down.

As you leak it

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’ Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day...

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’ Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day…

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’

Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day…

© Peter Cardwell, 2020

lThe Secret Life Of Special Advisers, by Peter Cardwell, is published by Biteback on Tuesday at £20. To order a copy for £17.60, including free UK delivery, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193 before October 31.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Lily James’s character describes Dominic West’s character in upcoming movie

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lily jamess character describes dominic wests character in upcoming movie

Few who saw the photographs of them canoodling in Rome can doubt that Lily James looked impressed by Dominic West’s masculine charms.

Now the 31-year-old has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character he plays in their new film.

The pair co-star in the BBC‘s upcoming adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love, which traces the romantic adventures of the free-spirited Linda Radlett between the two world wars. 

For his part, West appears as the bullying and eccentric Uncle Matthew.

Actress Lily James, 31 has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character Dominic West plays in their new film

Actress Lily James, 31 has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character Dominic West plays in their new film

In an interview with The Guardian published yesterday, but conducted before the dalliance in Rome, Ms James said she had known her co-star for ‘a really long time’ since they appeared together in a Shakespeare play a decade ago.

Speaking of his role in their latest venture, she added: ‘He’s a brilliant Uncle Matthew, another mad sort of character. 

I have a great line in it where I say, ‘Matthew is frightening and I disapprove of him, but I feel he sets the bar for English manhood.’ What a great line.’

When the photographs of their holiday antics first emerged, West staged an awkward photoshoot at his Wiltshire mansion with his wife, the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Catherine FitzGerald.

Lily James and Dominic West, 51, pictured together on a scooter in Rome earlier this month

Lily James and Dominic West, 51, pictured together on a scooter in Rome earlier this month 

The Wire actor, 51, later posted a handwritten note at the boundary of their property for photographers. It read: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together. Thank you.’

Ms James, who last year split from former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, has since kept a low profile at her North London home.

In the interview, she says she spent the summer reading poetry and watching films.

Asked if she spent the time alone, she replied: ‘No comment.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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