A widely reported shoe story is bound to catch the cynical eye.
The girls' shoes carry a heart-patterned insole, while the boys' insoles are decorated with footballs.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said the situation was unacceptable and "almost beyond belief" in 2017.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, also criticised Clarks. "To call a pair of shoes for a girl Dolly Babe is dreadful. It's wrong in all sorts of ways ... this is just really silly," he told the BBC.
Carolyn Harris, shadow minister for women and equalities, described the situation as "blatant discrimination", while Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Democrat peer and shadow Brexit minister, called the name choices "depressing
So much madness. A blogger could easily post on nothing else - there is so much of it out there. One might respond more rationally in any number of ways. The obvious one is to suggest that if boys, girls or parents don’t want politically incorrect shoes then they can take their custom elsewhere. Clarks sales figures may then lead it to correct the situation because that’s what markets do.
This of course is part of the problem, the chattering classes do not approve of markets, they think they should be policed by people who think as they do. Of course markets are already policed with respect to standards, but as ever there are those who think they should be policed politically too. Hence our increasingly shambolic energy market.
What about the madness itself, the source of so many crazy stories? It is not the madness of insanity, but the madness of a civilisation that chooses not to recognise certain realities it cannot change but for political reasons must pretend to be changing. That is one for the future, one of the chapters in our ultimate collapse or a problem we learn to deal with in the wider story of our ultimate survival.
For the present we have a minor skirmish in the war against diversity which pretends to be promoting diversity. It also seems to my cynical eye that this battle over kids’ shoes is a reminder of where those stereotyped shoes came from, a reminder that gender stereotypes are popular, particularly with the young. They evolved because they work. Yet we are supposed to believe or at least accept relentless public harangues telling us that gender stereotyping is repressive, out of date, harmful, immoral, itchy or whatever epithet is fashionable, even though almost everyone knows it is not so.
Gender stereotyping is clearly popular out there in the real world. It can be observed over and over again, especially among the young. I recently saw a group of about a dozen young girls and every one of them had fashionably long hair, at least shoulder-length. That was only one of their ways to stereotype themselves.
To my low mind, one should not avoid the basics. Females tend to seek alpha males and in doing that they do not usually depend on gender-neutral footwear. This is the way of the world, one of the biological basics we should not avoid. I don’t know what drives the faux outrage apart from the obvious Pavlovian explanation, but if we neglect the basics we neglect what we know.