On Monday June 6, the UK government’s Department for Education published its “independent review of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood”, titled Letting Children be Children.
Off-air gaffes are often revealing. Former US president George W. Bush’s “Yo Blair” spoke volumes about the relationship between the two premiers. Former British prime minister Gordon Brown’s peevish remarks about a Rochdale voter – whom he called a “bigoted woman” – created a media storm at the nadir of Labour’s lacklustre election campaign last year; and Prince Charles’s description of royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell as “that awful man” communicated all too clearly his views of the British press. Any comment, however sotto voce, near a microphone should always be viewed with extreme caution.
Old too soon and wise too late – Benjamin Franklin’s aphorism has never seemed so apt.
Miriam O’Reilly, an ex-presenter of the UK rural and environmental affairs television programme Countryfile, has won her claim against the BBC of ageism and victimisation, but not sex discrimination.