Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Passing comment on the latest UKIP nonsense

Being fashionably late is the only way to be so I just wanted to pass a little comment on UKIP's latest silliness about banning specifc clothing - namely the burka - now that the dust has settles. I've never been one to like social authoritarianism because it's a bit to left wing for my inherent respect for individual liberty, so as you'd imagine I'm not in favour of banning the burka.

Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with UKIP's Deputy Leader, David Campbell Bannerman, that "moderate Muslims regard the burka as a sign of growing radicalisation", nor do I disagree that some (but not al I imagine) Muslim women wear the burka not through choice but rather because of pressure from a distinctly patriarchal culture.

I'm also of the view that seeing someone walking along the street and only being able to see them through a single eye slit is distinctly annoying, but hey, I think seeing kids walking along the street with their jeans halfway down their legs exposing their Calvin Klein's is annoying (and stupid) too but I wouldn't ban them from doing it.

If someone wears a burka then so be it, banning them is just silly. Sure, have rules that say if you go through a passport control checkpoint you have to show your face, I can appreciate the logic and sense of that - one of the failed Shepherds Bush bombers sneaked out of the country in a burka if I recall correctly. Private banks are within their rights to make people show their face - like they do by making you take off a motorbike helmet - but legislated dress codes?

What I find bemusing though is that UKIP, who like to say they're libertarians would be proposing such a thing, and then, making out through their Deputy Leader that it is about not being anti-British. Surely being British is about not caring what people wear. As to arguing, as Campbell Bannerman does that Turkey has already banned it so its not that bad a move really, that doesn't make it right.

What next, a ban on kids wearing head to toe ghost costumes on the streets on Halloween because they look a bit like burkas? It's just social authoritarian nonsense masquerading as principled patriotism - made all the more ironic by the charges that those who don't agree are somehow part of a Lib-Lab morally relativistic consensus.

UKIP would be better off coming up with policies to tackle Islamofascist ideology rather than skirting on the sidelines about banning clothing that is not British enough.

Update: Hilariously I have been accused of being surpine to Muslim rights and cultural sensitivities in the comments. This has, howevre, bugger all to do with Muslim rights and more to do with the idea that the UKIP think the state has the right to legislate upon the clothes that we wear - it's as stupid as arresting someone for wearing a "Bollocks to Blair" t-shirt.

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