Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What’s the story? Hampstead Heath Ladies’ Pond have announced transgender women will be allowed to bathe there.
Reasonable take: Inclusive duck-sewage NOW.
Pondweed and Fillet Take: “Our pond is not gender fluid”.
This week the Mail on Sunday ran a big spread on the fury – the FURY! – of Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond-swimmers at the acceptance of trans women in the water. The piece features comments from a number of “outraged female bathers” – the number in this case being the number two.
The piece claims that “female bathers responded with outrage at the prospect of transitioning men being admitted to their ‘special sanctuary’”, while failing to name more than two of them. The first quoted bather, a “veteran swimmer” called Margaret Roberts, describes how she and her fellow pond-users are appalled at the space being used by “cross dressers”. Writer Julie Bindel is then quoted on behalf of her fellow swimmers, saying “The last thing they want is to look behind them and see a male-bodied person pretending to be a woman in order to gawp at them.”
Strangely enough, their organisation that represents fellow bathers seem to be saying something different. The Kenwood Ladies Pond Association – a voluntary collective who represent the voice of the swimmers’ at large – have released a statement saying they fully welcome the ruling, adding “We understand the process of transition can be complex and difficult and we would wish to act in a supportive and sensitive way. We recognise the need to provide the option of additional privacy for changing/showering and have begun discussions with the City about achieving this.”
As a collective whose job it is to “promote the interests of the users of the pond”, their statement leaves the Mail on Sunday’s exposé looking like a bit of a lame duck. Does that joke work? Not sure. It looks rubbish and unreflective of swimmers' views, is what I’m saying. Thanks.
What’s the story? The Royal Wedding is happening in Windsor but, hold on, there are homeless people in Windsor.
Reasonable take: Quick, let’s tackle the homelessness crisis!
Oxtail Soup: Quick, let’s hide them before the Prince sees them!
Ah yes, the magic of a Royal Wedding. The dress! The crowds lining the streets! The fluttering Union Jacks! The Tory Councillors bundling buskers into the back of a transit van, hurriedly apologising, “just for the afternoon boys, I’m sorry but we really can’t have Ms Markle seeing anybody in a Thinsulate hat.”
Conservative councillor for Windsor Simon Dudley caused a bit of a stir this week after he called on the police to clear rough sleepers from streets of Windsor in advance of Prince Harry’s big day, describing the problem as "an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy". He’s been pushing the issue since December last year, when he tweeted the Thames Valley Police asking them to take a stand and “deal with the issue” as “This is not voluntary homelessness. It is commercial life choice praying on residents and tourists.” Presumably he meant this is not "involuntary homelessness", but who knows what is really going on in the mind of someone who see's society's most vulnerable and asks for them to be cleared away like litter.
He has since written a letter on the subject, dated the 2nd January, which argues action must be taken to protect residents and tourists. It concludes that: “The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.”
Prime Cut: Tough call, but this week it goes to Simon Dudley for the most misjudged wedding present of all time. "Look, your highness! No vagrants!"