Monday, January 18, 2010
UKIP Banning The Burka
I wasn't going to comment but a lot of people have asked me for my view on this issue today, so here it is.
Much as I dislike the burka, I believe that advocating a ban on the wearing of it is an intolerant act that smacks of populist authoritarianism. Any party advocating such a ban cannot be regarded as "libertarian". It is about personal freedom and choice, or rejecting personal freedom and choice.
If they advocate a ban on grounds of security do we also ban the wearing of crash helmets, balaclavas and all clothing that could, just could, hide the identity of a criminal? No, we use common sense, as we do already and women in burkas do have their identities checked properly at airports and elsewhere.
If it is to protect our way of life then are UKIP saying that our way of life, our culture and our national identity are so weak that the state needs to forcibly protect them? In effect they are trying to force us all to be British, or their view of being British and, if so, I say our culture, national identity and way of life don't deserve to survive. But I think they will, without draconian legislation they will survive and flourish.
Is it because the wearing of the burka is an overt symbol of adherence to a religion other than the established church and that UKIP fear that we may wake up under Sharia tomorrow. If so, are they also going to ban the wearing of the crucifix by Roman Catholics like me for fear of waking up to a Catholic state?
This proposal is highly illiberal, a measure that the European Union itself would be proud of and it has no place in a liberal democracy. At worst it is a cynical ploy by UKIP to attract a certain authoritarian populist vote. But it is a ploy that has backfired and has now, in the minds of many, put UKIP in the same pair of brackets as the BNP.
Neither party any longer offers a vision of England that I find attractive.
Here is a post from last June on this issue which, I am relieved to say, shows a certain level of consistency on the matter.