SO what exactly is wrong with Baa Baa Black Sheep? Children in a number of nurseries have been taught to sing "Baa baa rainbow sheep" instead.

Calling a sheep "black" is said to be discriminatory. Odd. As the poor sheep has done nothing wrong, isn't a criminal or a victim, but a fine upstanding member of the woolly community, producing three bags of wool, then it seems the only "wrong" thing about her is to be black.

A bit counter productive, I would have thought.

So-called "political correctness" is largely a question of good manners and respect and an indicator of our changing values - one of the pleasanter aspects of the 21st century.

Listening sometimes to quite nice and well meaning older people, it can be suddenly shocking to hear their casual, unthinking racism or prejudices, quite common 50 years ago, but now, thank goodness, out of sync with our more inclusive world.

But there are limits. And turning black sheep rainbow coloured is certainly at the dafter extreme.

Because, if it's wrong to single our people for their race, gender or anything else, then where does it end?

Snow White will obviously have to go. Snow Sludge perhaps. Goldilocks will have to be Mouseylocks. The Sleeping Beauty will become the Sleeping Scrubs-up-quite-well-on-a-good-day. Simple Simon? Ooh no. And as for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, well you can hear the writs flooding in already.

Dwarves will be out, giants will be out and, in the interests of fairness, the Ugly Sisters will get Prince Charming - only he probably won't be a prince and not very charming.

It will all be wonderfully correct, very grey and very boring - and will have advanced the cause of equality not a whit.

So yes, let's avoid the old stereotypes and prejudices, but let's not look for offence where none exists. And let's keep our nursery rhymes traditional.

Because life is never as simple as black and white.

HAS the woman no common sense? No curiosity? Certainly, it's hard to believe that Tessa Jowell, right, didn't raise at least a tiny question over the financial forms her husband shoved under her nose for her to sign.

But in how many marriages does one partner manage all the money while the other just smiles and blithely signs?

For every marriage where there's a joint bank account, shared money and shared responsibility, there are many more where one partner takes on the entire financial responsibility and the other remains in blissful ignorance.

It's an arrangement that rests entirely on total trust - which seemed to serve Tessa Jowell and her husband well for nearly 30 years.

In our house I manage - or rather mismanage - the money and regularly tell husband "sign here". Unfortunately, the forms are always nothing more exciting than payments for huge bills or tiny savings.

But if I suddenly asked him to sign something for a £350,000 mortgage, I think even he might notice and raise an eyebrow, if not a question or two.

So why didn't Tessa Jowell?

Possibly because in the Jowell household £350,000 is pretty small change - which only goes to show that the members of this government seem to live in a very different world from the rest of us.

A NEW campaign is launched this week, telling men that in order to avoid being accused of rape, they should make certain that a woman has actually consented to sex.

The aim is to reduce the number of sex assaults taking place when a woman is so drunk she can't remember whether she consented or not.

Yes, of course, aim a campaign at men. Men who take advantage of a woman's drunkenness deserve no favours from anyone.

But women have a responsibility too.

And that includes not getting so drunk as to be incapable - and then blaming someone else for the consequences.

TO pass GCSE English at a decent grade, students will now have to be able to punctuate correctly - which raises the puzzling question on what they were being examined on before.

Meanwhile, in the fight against obesity, vending machines selling fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolates are to be removed from schools. As it's pretty obvious that these items are just expensive nutritional rubbish, then you can only wonder at who originally thought it was a great idea to sell them to kids in the first place

If those people are still in charge, then what hope for our children's health and education? /news/griffiths.html