The UKIP giveth, and the UKIP taketh away
by Rome kb8
Last week the new United Kingdom Independence Party leader Lord Pearson proposed a nation wide ban on the Burka. Yes, Lord
Pearson. An unelected, unaccountable 'noble' Lord, appointed by grace and favour nepotism, connections and wealth and not by any merit or contest in site. That fact alone shows just how far the UKIP party has fallen since it's once, in my opinion, noble stance against the widely dreaded European Union. UKIP was founded as a bastion of democracy opposed to the undemocratic nature of the European Union. Strengthening British democracy was their unwavering aim. Now an unelected, undemocratic Lord, who's only been a member for a couple of years at that, leads this group of Conservative Party breakaways, who call themselves 'Libertarians'.
Before I begin, I'll quickly state that I have always
been opposed to the Burka on principle, it defies common sense, is a cultural and personal phenomenon. I'd much rather women wore as little as possible than walk around in thick black cloth and as moveable post boxes... however it is entirely their prerogative. Not my right or problem, I'm afraid.
There are, however, a number of practical and philosophical problems with this proposed policy of banning clothing, but I want to begin by talking about it in the context of UKIP. Banning any piece of clothing, or any symbol, is just about the least Libertarian idea possible. It contradicts Libertarianism in just about every way. To put it succinctly, there is nothing, nothing
, Libertarian about banning the Burka. So there must be some considerable situation here which would cause them to abandon their principles, sorry I should say 'self professed' principles. Not even the BNP, Britain's most prominent anti-Muslim/Islam party, proposes such a thing. Their policy on the Burka is limited to only banning teachers from wearing it. An entirely sensible and common sense policy in the wide perspective, of course.
In this game of political one-up-manship, it looks like it's the BNP who are in greatest tune with the real British mentality and way of thinking, understanding that in the United Kingdom we do not impose dress codes on the public. It's simply not British. Which brings me to the second point why UKIP proposing this is bizarre, beyond their self avowed Libertarianism. UKIP explicitly quotes France, yes you heard me right France
, in reference to justifying this policy. ''The French are doing it, as are a lot of other European countries, so we should do it too''. This is coming from the UKIP! The nationalist, anti-European crusaders defending the British Isles from anything resembling European influence, are now suddenly France's men in England. UKIP starting to think French is probably the best way to understand how they came about this conclusion.An Englishman's home may be his castle, but his clothes are his armour.
Having established UKIP have betrayed their two fundamental principles with this policy, we have to now analyse exactly why
they want to ban it.
- "It is incompatible with Britain's values of freedom and democracy''
- ''Concealing your identity in public''
- "Britain under threat from Sharia"
- ''Threat to gender equality''
- ''Marginalises women''
- ''Endangers public safety because terrorists can use them to hide in''
- ''French Communists have proposed to ban it''
- ''It has no basis in Islam''
There are so many problems with these fallacies, I hardly know where to start and end, and how long it'll take me to write out. So here it goes.
"It is incompatible with Britain's values of freedom and democracy''
Is it? I could have sworn that what's incompatible with British freedom and values was following in the footsteps of Frenchmen in deciding that the State and government has the right to impose a dress code on women citizens on the basis of political correctness ** and a State defined culture. To be frank, if people decided to wear buckets on their head with two holes drilled into them for sight, in Great Britain that would be fine and dandy no matter what the man in Whitehall thought of it.
Technically attempting to ban anything at all because it 'contradicts freedom and democracy'' is an elaborate and remarkable contradiction in itself. It's the same argument some folk use to attempt to limit freedom of speech and aggression. It's the greatest slogan of the Politically Correct Brigade and self declared Patriots, who both seek to censor anything they disagree with or disprove of naively mistakening their own personal opinion and perception with genuine and uncontested qualities of ''Britishness'' and ''British Tradition''.
Britain is, despite for the existence of unelected Lords and even Hereditary Lords (which the Conservatives just this week have blocked the removal of whom by incoming Labour-Liberal legislation) is a Liberal Democracy. A western secular Liberal democracy. The fundamental pillar of which is that the individual has certain inalienable rights which are protected in the face of an intrusive State or tyrannical majority.
It is simply absurd that in a free country one should not be allowed to wear what they want on the basis that what they wear may or may not symbolically contradict ill defined buzz words of freedom and democracy. What's next? The King or Queen can't wear their crowns in public since the crown is a symbol which contradicts freedom and democracy? Perhaps soldiers can't wear uniforms as they too have been known to represent undemocratic and anti-freedom military coups world over? Will Priest dog collars also be banned, the evil symbol of a man sworn/enslaved into chastity? Will short skirts be banned as they reinforce a perception that women are 'sex objects'?
Or is there no choice to dress how we will, and in doing so give out whatever message we want? Is it not possible that a priest wants to be chaste? A girl wants to attract sexual and physical attention from men? That a eccentric wants to display their personality through brightly red/blue dyed hair? Is it not possible that a woman wants to reinforce their introversion, or perhaps deflect attention to their physique, by covering themselves?
The only thing contradicting freedom here is a Party of old rich men proposing that the freedom to dress as you please be taken away from British women. The only thing contradicting democracy here is the idea that the rights of the individual do not count when balanced against the fetishes of old politicians. The only thing contradicting British tradition here is a party shamelessly exploiting what Disraeli would have called the 'passions of the many over the few'. The only thing contradicting english values here is UKIP proposing the man from Whitehall be demanded entry not only into an Englishman's home, but into his wardrobe.
As long as you are not harming another individual with your action, that action in terms of British precedent, in current norms and laws, should be permitted. Wearing a piece of cloth around your mouth does not physically harm anyone in your immediate vicinity, nor does it bring any pain upon anyone nor strain anything other a young voyeur's w**k bank.
All of this is irrelevant anyway as who ever said Britain has a tradition of freedom and democracy anyway? It's an often trumpeted claim, a gold mine for party slogans and demagoguery but where is it's basis in truth? I'll tell you, there isn't one.
Assuming for a moment the simplified popular conception of 'democracy' as being the ability of all people to vote, Britain became a democracy in 1928 when all women were finally afforded the right to vote. Just 10 years previously only a minority of the British adult population was eligible to vote. Hardly democratic is it? By the common credence that democracy is a British value... that implies prior to 1928, Britain itself was not.. British... due to our evident lack of democracy. Rather curious.
Until 1999 hereditary Lords sat in Britain upper chamber with the right to propose, debate, vote on and suspensive veto legislation from the House of Commons. Hereditary Lords as in whereas the Commons members were chosen by electoral contest, the Lords were chosen by who their daddy was. Hardly democratic is it? In fact the implication here is until all the hereditary peers are dismissed, Britain itself is not yet British. If democracy is indeed both a British value and a necessity of British culture.
Until 1999 Britain had not had a referendum since 1975. Hardly democratic is it? Even then only some people have got a referendum, the Scots, Irish, Southerners and Welshmen. Not that we expected to get direct democracy right, when with our vast array of appointed and hereditary parliamentarians we haven't even gotten representative democracy right. Let us of course not mention the elephant in the room... the Monarch, God bless her, or the herd of elephants being the former British Empire which onyl truly collapsed a mere 4 decades ago.
But do these facts mean that Britain isn't British? No. Hence democracy cannot be a succinct genuine, core or exclusive British value at best, meaning that it cannot be used as a basis of declaring things and people as un-British.
Beyond the shores of Britain however, since this method of classification is not only exclusive to British Statists but European ones as well, freedom and democracy are not very well represented either, ignoring the obvious fact that most of Europe spent the last 70-odd years as Communist hell-holes. France, putting aside for a moment the fact that they are so terrible at democracy they are on their 5th Republic, as an example contradict democratic freedom by not recognising either free speech or expression, as well as their enormous and intrusive state which finds it's way all the way into your mouth. It's not legal to discuss the German occupation of France or the Holocaust in France, as Le Pen's convictions have shown, nor is it legal to wear a cross around your neck or mention 'Le Deu' in a public building. Germany is exactly the same.
A nonsense slogan, with little relevance, and certainly not enough credence to justify a gross infringement of rights.
The most offensive UKIP assertion is that wearing the burka is inconsistent with British values. Advocates of the policy then point out (without irony) that the French, whose example is rarely cited elsewhere in UKIP literature, are trying to implement a similar policy.
What is inconsistent with British values is picking on people quietly going about their business in religious garb of their own choice and banning it. If UKIP properly understood this country, it would appreciate that. There are Islamists who doubtless wish to ban Eurosceptics wearing tweed jackets over v-neck jumpers and checked shirts. And The Times would defend UKIP against such calls because freedom to worship, and freedom of speech, is the British value that matters above all others. (The Times)
**(Yes, the allegation that the Burka ''offends'' the ''sensibilities'' of some people and the Burka is an affront to orthodox opinion and values is a commonly cited opposition to it, just how some people believe certain speech should be restricted for the same reasons, i.e. homophobia and racism. I don't see why one is PC and the other isn't)
"Concealing your identity in public is un-British''
Now, I could of course be mistaken myself here. If there is an instance whereby the British state in history, preferably at the time of our nations founding 300 years ago, declared it un-British to cover one's face in public I would certainly welcome anyone bringing it to my attention. Further yet I'd like to see such a cultural declaration made within the last 3 millennia in any corner of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England too.
Of course this is rubbish. Anyone not currently having a Daily Mail moment can see that it's dribbling nonsense. Most strikingly because putting your identity on full display for everyone to see is not mandatory in British culture, law or historical traditions. That's why unlike a lot of the rest of Europe we don't have ID cards, and why they are so vehemently opposed here, and why the Conservative Leader puts on a German accent (admittedly not politically correct, but it's symbolism should be seen the dark surface) when trying to explain the concept of a policeman asking a Briton for ID. It's just not British.
Therefore concealing one's identity... by covering one's mouth and oral area, can hardly be so adamantly called ''un-British''. If we are to for a moment accept that disingenuous fallacy... celebrities wearing big sun glasses and large scarves to avoid public recognition have been unconsciously breaking one of our apparently most coveted traditions should be sent to the Gulags for re-education on what is British and what isn't. Motorcycle riders, like myself, who wear helmets covering their entire head in public are vigilante rebels, with the foam-at-the-vizor anti-British Stig as their lord master. Terrible news for Top Gear as the cast and crew will be arrested for having as their patron the most un-British character in BBC history who dares
to conceal his identity in public!
If you're a superhero 'please do eff off', say UKIP, 'we don't want your face covering kind here. Hear me Rorschach!? Stay away.' Fathers for justice it turns out according to UKIP were not arrested for trampling private property but actually arrested for wearing masks. All those kids on Halloween weren't chased by the Fuzz for throwing eggs and causing mischief but for wearing un-British (Halloween is an Irish-American travesty after all! *foams-at-mouth-and-on-to-Daily-Mail) masks. Those hoodlum gang of emo and chav kids weren't banned from shopping centres for being menaces but rather because they dared to cover half their faces with long fringes and baseball caps! And god help you if you decide to wear a scarf or balaclava in sub-zero temperatures to avoid the blistering freezing wind, the London Metropolitan Police will shoot you on site! (Well, they will shoot you on site, but not because you;re wearing a mask)
The only thing un-British around this topic is Nigel Far-aaahh-ge's French pronounced name, and the 'wo sind deine papiere' mantra his gang of toffs are so determined to enforce on us through a French proxy. SuperMac must be spinning in his grave.
I fully accept that there are however incidences where a concealed identity is inappropriate, in certain professions and situations... banks for example be that withdrawing money or as much as entering the building, airports (self-explanatory), train stations, small corner shops (4 burka clad figures entering your shop can be as menacing as 4 hoodied folk) and teaching. That is another matter altogether. A matter of practicality and common sense. Not something which needs ill chosen demagoguery through fallacious so-called Britishness to justify.
''Can you wait until I get off before you trigger whatever you've got under there, please?''
'Endangers public safety because terrorists can use them to hide in''
There are of course secuirity matters for example not being allowed to cover your face in an airport or on ID or in court or in the Jury etc. But pulling the terrorist card downright reeks of desperation and Americanism. Another area where UKIP has gone soft in the knees adding American mainstream to it's list of new ideological fathers along with France and the rest of Europe.
It's blatant nonsense. Terrorists can hide in a ridiculously large array of ways, ala 40 years of Irish terrorism which stumped MI5, the route to banning every single way terrorists can one up our criminally incompetent
London Met will culminate in the banning of doing anything at all. Literally the amount of ways a would be terrorist ( or indeed criminal as there are MILLIONS more potential criminals then potential terrorists) could hide.
I wonder if anyone would care to help me list these.
Grand Mufti of Egypt
- ''Nor does it have any place in mainstream Islam. The Grand Mufti of Egypt has said it is “not Islamic”. The Muslim Canadian Congress has described it as a “political issue promoted by extremists”, and called for it to be banned.'' - Lord Pearson
''It has no basis in Islam''
"Britain under threat from Sharia"
I quote the Times Leader;
''UKIP argues further that the burka has no place in Islam and that the religion does not require it. The Times had not hitherto realised that Nigel Farage was an authority on such matters, or that the party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who was visited by God when on the operating table in 1977, thereby gained not only his Christian faith but also a mastery of the Koran. This newly acquired scholarship notwithstanding, the religious insights of politicians are entirely irrelevant when judging the right of British citizens to dress as they wish.''
I am of the opinion that it's irrelevant. Whether or not it is Islamic is irrelevant. It isn't Islamic, but even if it was, that's not relevant to the discussion of liberties, particularly in a secular equal society which understands freedom of religion. This is a secular country, hence religious conviction should not come into people's inalienable rights.
That's why the rights are called inalienable. For that reason Britain isn't under threat from Sharia all because 100 British women cover their whole face in public, and a few thousand cover their mouths and foreheads, since the Burka and Niqab do not form a part of Sharia. Not even in some of the most conservative Muslim societies in the world, barring the Pakistani Taleban.
However these assertions uttered by the pompous toff mouths of Farage and Lord Pearson themselves gives them away. It's not about women's rights, or Britishness it's about Islam and the presence of Muslims and how easily that can win votes among their target market. 'Oh we've nothing against Muslims
', they say (as long as they abandon Islam of course *wink). But we know all of this is nothing to do with the things they profess it is about, but rather an outdated specifically upper class toff mentality that 'they are different, they are weird, it is wrong, it needs to stop'. It was how the oppression and marginalisation of homosexuals and 'immoral women' was conducted a few decades ago.
With the emergence of large resident ethnic minorities the focus has shifted with the political circles formerly disgustingly sexist and homophobic now suddenly becoming their [the gay and feminist communities) number one fans against the evil new bogeyman (Islam, Muslims and Sharia) which offers a welcome daily distraction from the non-fulfilling tedium of modern living. C'est la vie.
''Threat to gender equality''
(OH NOES SHE'S COVERING HER HAIR! UN-BRITISH! SHE'S OPPRESSED AND UN-FREE! BAN IT"
Here comes the ironic bit. UKIP are made up of what we'd call down my end... old fart small c conservatives (nothign wrong with small c conservatives as far as I am concerned, I am one) many of whom have always had a bit of a problem with 'skirts and gays'. Now all of a sudden they are the champion of women's rights and dignity. The same party which remarked scorn at career women who also wanted children. The same party which marginalised and led to insanity it's one of few female MEP with sexist and homophobic nonsense which led to her resining from UKIP's group in the EU Parliament.
''The reasons it gives for its policy are transparently disingenuous. They claim that the burka marginalises women. This is a new concern for UKIP. It is, after all, the party of Godfrey Bloom, the MEP who says that “any small businessman or woman who employs a woman of child-bearing age needs their head examined”. Perhaps Mr Bloom, who thinks that women do not clean behind the fridge enough, worries that their burkas are getting in the way.'' (The Times)
This is becoming a pattern among formerly deeply sexist political circles. The BNP for example, one of it's London Assembly candidates were prompted to point out that women like sex and chocolate, thus forcing a woman to have sex, rape, and forcing her to eat chocolate, is a good thing. A perfectly reasonable and rational conclusion that involved no errant stupidity and mental deficiency, at all
However through miraculous epiphany (a bit like when Lord Pearson was visited by Christ on the operation table) they queue up to come out in favour of the post-feminist movement upon realisation that if twisted and spun enough, and repeated even more, this can be used as an effective and powerful stick to beat Muslims with, winning votes. The vote winning dictum is made blatant by the devoted painting the Muslims and 'Liberal-Left elite' as bosom buddies, two birds are killed with one stone. Nothing new. The Left are always the bosom buddies of who the populist
Right (not mainstream or centre-right, mind you) choose as the new bogeyman. Once it was those 'Liberals and their Jewish-Catholic backers' in the 1800's and early 1900's, then the 'bra burning free thinking women' in the 60's, then the immoral and dirty gays in the 50's-present, then the inferior black people, now we are at Pakistanis, or their modern euphemism, Muslims
There are even more arguments in favour of a blanket ban/dress code of British women. One of them is 'we are a face to face society' spoken mostly by old farts who have yet to discover, or perhaps in their daily mail moment forgot about the domination of the internet in the last 15 years in Great Britain, and domination of the radio for the last few decades.
Another is 'the Burka is a sign of isolation, all people must not
be isolated or alone and must participate and socialise with others'. A gross fallacy which insults even basic intelligence. In addition to imposing a national dress code therefore allocating to the State and Government the right to tell citizens how to dress in public and private, the supporters of this policy also seek to extend to the State and Government control over your personality and hobbies. Introverted, Schizoid, Avoidant, Sociopaths, Night shift folk and other non-people person expect the law to come down on you like a ton of bricks if these people were to get their way. 'What do you mean you like being alone and/or not talk to others sometimes? You're un-British and a menace. You're crazy. Conform. War is peace. Ignorance is strength! Black is white. etc.'
Hell, under that way of thinking half of London will be sent to the Gulags, as Jason Manford observed asking a London commuting stranger a question, even an innocent one as 'have you got a light?' might be heard through their ears as 'Can I have a little tickle of your bollocks?'. Don't those people know they are denying British culture and the GOVERNMENT'S WILL by refusing to be sociable and refusing to interact with others? Poor guys. The next few years in our completely un-crowded and effective prison system awaits them.
This whole issue always comes back to this. A ban is simply unworkable. As the French realised, after over 6 months of thorough research and inquiry (and their ban was only limited to state owned buildings and public transport) despite being supported by the majority of population and all 6 major French parties.
Some women in the UK are indeed forced to wear a Burka. They could probably be counted on all your fingers and toes but nonetheless wearing something superficial against their will is an infringement of their inalienable libertarian rights and should be fought without mercy. But banning the Burka won't help them. Yes that was a cold hard truth, but it's the truth nonetheless. A woman who is not allowed to go outside without a Burka on, because her Husband is insane, is not going to magically be liberated by a Burka ban... she will in fact become a prisoner in her own home not allowed to leave at all. The solution lies outside legislation. A curious fact ignored by the Right who are those I expect, unlike the mainstream Left, not to be reduced to the idea that legislation can fix everything.
It won't solve any problem, it won't integrate anyone. It will only start a descent on a slippery slope, take away women's inalienable rights, extend the power and reach of the state where it shouldn't be, alienate Muslims further and satisfy the fetishes of bigots and this new growing culture amongst both Right and Left wings of political Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where they seek to control everything and everyone in every manner possible, often coming up with new disingenuous ways to do so and with even more disingenuous justifications. Forget God and religion, God has been replaced by politicians and obsessive populism. They know what's best for everyone now.
And oh yes as a post script, it's high time someone told the the Islington Liberals and Notting Hill Toffs that the majority of white working class people are not
mindless racist morons who scratch their penises at the very thought of oppressing brown people. The overwhelming majority of them are more concerned about their increasingly high taxes, poor public services, dead soldier sons, keeping down their meagre paying jobs, keeping up with bills and mortgages, getting the healthcare and medication they need and ensuring their kids have a good education and future to give a toss that 1000 women in their whole county desire to place a small piece of cloth over their mouths. Maybe some day they'll stop marketing racially charged policies as being 'aimed at white working class voters' as if that is their biggest and most serene concern. It wasn't my Yorkshire which turned to the BNP, for good reason.
To conclude, I leave you with a paraphrase of the theorems of John Dalberg-Acton;
''By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion. The State is competent to assign duties and draw the line between good and evil only in its immediate sphere. Beyond the limits of things necessary for its well-being, it can only give indirect help to fight the battle of life. Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.
In ancient times the State absorbed authorities not its own, and intruded on the domain of personal freedom. In the Middle Ages it possessed too little authority, and suffered others to intrude. Modern States fall habitually into both excesses.The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.''
Besides our comedians would lose a lot of valuable material.