14 July 2010

14/07/10

Place de la Bastille - Eugene Galien Laloue

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
-Voltaire 

202 comments:

  1. morning all. france is currently shut - please come back later...

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  2. is it quiet in here or is the internet broken again?

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  3. @Philippa

    Oddly, the BT man in his stripey tent somwhere has just fixed my Internet, after four or five days of me insisting that it was an upstream network problem, and that turning my computer and router on and off ten times a day was not going to help.

    So now I just have the problem of nothing to say.

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  4. hehehehehe. suppose it is a bit early for those on bst. not even sure why i'm up, to be honest with you...

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  5. Mornin' Philippa & Peter - am here in spirit!

    Lino men coming to replace our horrible manky old lino with new ugly landlord chosen lino today...

    Got to get the kitchen in order - the place is upsidedown as tis ;(

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  6. And i've got to finish me Cv and write a bloody application for a course sometime today.... ;(

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  7. Good morning everyone.

    It is my payday today (now renamed robbing hardworking tax payers you scrounging scum day, due to popular demand).

    I both love and hate payday, I get my fortnightly treat of eating my dinner in a cafe and buy some proper cigs instead of cheap baccy but I also have to pay all my bills and end the day trying to budget for the weeks to come.

    Last fornight was buggered up because I had the cheek to get a haircut and this fortnight I need to buy some trousers and maybe some shoes.

    I tell you this benefit lifestyle is fecking great.

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  8. I shouldn't complain Philippa I am better off than a lot of people, I get IB rather than JSA but some times it is pretty depressing.

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  9. morning all

    LaRit
    enjoy your new lino!!!!

    Hi Peter!

    Philippa
    you on strike aujourd'hui?

    just a point from the veil discussion last night,
    habib
    some of your comments last night were pretty dodgy IMO, especially the one about women being dumb if they wear veils even if they chose to do so....mm a tad patronising and judgemental......

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  10. right, off to see what's going on. have a good day, all...

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  11. 14th July, gandolfo - everyone's on 'fete national' so there's no point striking as well...

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  12. hi jen

    enjoy your "robbing hardworking tax payers you scrounging scum day" LOL!

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  13. Phil
    "14th July, gandolfo"

    enjoy! you can always strike tomorrow....they like fridays here make a long weekend out of it!

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  14. Oh good. There was a Mark Vernon thread on theoretical physics and God, so it turns out I had something to say after all.

    Happy payday jen, Bastille day Philippa, and lino day LaRit.

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  15. Hey Jen, have as good a day as you can. I've had two, 'pay us now' calls this AM, and applied for a job I don't really fancy. : (

    Just checking,

    Procurement specialists will report to category managers and will be responsible for developing category strategies for lower-cost Proclass 3 categories with senior responsible owners (SROs) and virtual matrix teams (VMTs) of those categories in departments, including cross-departmental teams, as appropriate.


    Means, 'you'll be buying shit, and you'd better get the best deal, while wrestling an avalanche of paperwork'? See why I don't really fancy it?

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  16. Morning all.

    @gandolfo

    Yesterday the neo-peronist member of the Hungarian Radio and TV Council used the case of Italy as an example to show that the new media law will be commensurate with all modern democratic standards!

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  17. Sweet baby jeebus, Turm. That is one of the most depressing job descriptions I've ever read. Soul-crushing tedium written all over it.

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  18. Montana/Turm,

    That would be SCT, as the WLS seem to be fond of their TLAs....

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  19. There's 4 pages of that mind numbing waffle (MNW) haven't a scooby what most of it is on about, I suspect the Head of Procurement (HoP) has an MBA in OMB (obfuscating management bullshit)!

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  20. Morning all, and thanks for letting me vent last night! I feel loads better for it.

    Happy Bastille Day to our French correspondents.

    Jen, enjoy your payday treat, and LaRit have fun with the lino & CV!

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  21. mind numbing waffle

    That's a good'un Turm - I've been collecting job descriptions like that. We have (or had I should say), lots of them at my place of work.

    I've been fighting a one woman war for plain English for ages but keep getting beaten back.

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  22. Sheff,

    The trouble with PE is that it's TBU, people might UWTFYOA and STTB!

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  23. Happy Bastille Day!

    Some good revolutionary choons last night! Just been playing them all!

    All those (to me) untranslatable acronyms are numbing my brain LOL!

    back to those ***** boxes now! I only have 2 left so will then have to wait for the extra ones I've ordered! Any excuse!! :)

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  24. Dot

    I see you work at acronym city too. I have to keep a glossary on my desk to remind me WTFTAM

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  25. Sheff,

    Yup, I have a PIN (post-it-note) on my computer for BMWP and ASPT, I can remember RHS, GIS, ELS, OELS, HLS and AES......

    (A virtual biscuit for anyone who can guess what they all mean!)

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  26. Bloody gordon Ramsay!! Sodding man has just, personally, ruined my morning.

    Am having a week off to loll about and a couple of hundred yards down the road is a pleasant little pub/restaurant, The Milestone, where its good to go for lunch (occasionally, when I can afford it) or more often, a coffee and a read of the paper.

    Got there this morning and discovered its swarming with meeja types who will be filming all day for some crap Ramsay cooking prog that I've never seen. So no hoi poloi allowed near the place.

    Just pray that this new found celebrity won't wreck the place, although it probably will.

    Meh!

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  27. Montana - I had sent you an email but don't think my email working properly as most people not getting em. Will re-send.

    Sheff and MsCin - please ignore the email I sent re tomorrow. Its cancelled! Three participants have come down with some sort of summer flu. Might be re-arranged for first week in August - I will let you know.

    Jen - enjoy payday.

    The Milestone is nice Sheff, been for lunch once and a coffee a few times. A couple of years ago I went for a meal there in the evening for my b-day - it was gorgeous.

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  28. GA all
    IHV v busy.

    LR - ETL

    J - EYD

    TX WTF - HYG T job.

    LYA L

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  29. "some of your comments last night were pretty dodgy IMO, especially the one about women being dumb if they wear veils even if they chose to do so....mm a tad patronising and judgemental...... "

    I'm giving up on satire, Gandolfo, I am rubbish at it.

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  30. Afternoon all!

    It's all a bloody WOFTAM if you ask me.

    Happy Jour de Gloire to all the Frenchies (and Frenchies d'adoption)

    Jen - sounds grim. I hope you manage ok. Enjoy your tea!

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  31. Hello Thauma!

    I've been conking out at about 10 PM so been missing the late night barnacles....

    Very sweet two lads doing the lino - and it's the standard lino they use for all the flats.... at least it's clean and has covered up some horrible bits of floor in our kitchen...

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  32. I'm giving up on satire, Gandolfo, I am rubbish at it

    Heyhabib - I'm rubbish at it too....

    RE: The veil thingy - I heard an interesting discussion about this on't radio yesterday, it's seems the word hijab along with fatwa has been seriously misunderstood, not just by the media, but the true meaning from the Qu'ran. As a Muslim Cleric was saying, nowhere does it refer to the covering of the face and hair.... so this has been, like the shaven heads, the wigs and the hats for Orthodox Jews, been appropriated and interpreted by Men as a way of controlling women.

    So the discussion should be not about the women who wear it, but the men who insist on it. Hmmmm

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  33. PS

    I really wish no-one had drawn my attention to Bruxelles.... I've started reading her/his posts.... consistently sniping, stupid and unpleasant.

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  34. @La Rit

    What I was told at the Paris Mosque (don't ask) is that the original Islamic rule says that women should "obey their natural modesty", which already sounded pretty vague to me in 1984.

    Can anyone with detailed knowledge of the Koran and Hadith tell us whether it's specifically mentioned that women should cover their hair?

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  35. LaRit - but it's so very entertaining to see someone so consistently miss the point of the post she's responding to.

    Glad you are enjoying the view in your kitchen!

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  36. La Ritournelle
    BrussexInTheCity was on waddya last night getting irate about people drinking "several bottles of wine" and then going online and casting aspertions about her being a an old tranny. Where on earth could she have read them ? Same place she accused MF of being the alter ego of a thoroughkly unpleasant,deranged and dangerous stalker and then publicly and somewhat nastily tried to humiliate Montana. All without the remotest apology. Bless it when its little claws are out.

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  37. Afternoon all

    @LaRit-like you i,ve become increasingly aware of the antics of Bruxelles and her Hellenic-based sidekick.My nicknames for them are 'Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber'.Both of them regularly make snide underhand comments but slip under the radar as far as the mods are concerned.And both of them seem to regularly lurk over here as well given the content of some of their posts 'over there'.Although i,ve never seen a Belgian flag in the UT Visitors box.Which makes me wonder whether Monkeyfish,s theory is right and s/he actually lives in a bedsit in Pinner!!

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  38. Spike

    Can't claim personal expertise but Muslim mate tells me - not in Koran.

    Hadiths are later additions to Muslim thought - covering of women comes from these and social customs.

    He compared Hadith to rulings by Rabbis - their own interpretations of Torah which then slip into 'official' ruling among their followers.

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  39. "So the discussion should be not about the women who wear it, but the men who insist on it. Hmmmm "

    Yep. A quick glance at the garment in question is sufficient to demonstrate no one but the insane would choose to wear one without strong social pressures. Says something very sad about a man that he doesnt feel comfortable unless his wife is draped in black cloth, peering out through a slit.

    There are a handful of strong arguments for a ban, there is only one serious argument against it, and that is purely an argument from liberalism. Not being able to mask your face in public, as a matter of course, is hardly an authoritarian breach on liberty and the resulting gains for both secularism and cohesion vastly outweight the tiny loss of liberty (thats even before you come to the purpose and symbolism of the veil).

    The strangest line of argument i hear is from people saying this will inflame tensions and "demonise" Muslims. I cant think of many other single issue which inflame tensions or demonise Muslims as much as the veil.

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  40. Jay,

    I'm against a ban (coming under "the argument from liberalism"): masking your face in public is hardly damaging to anyone else (in and of itself) and shouldn't be banned. Also, how do you enforce it? Catch me cycling in the depths of winter and I'll be showing about as much skin as a woman in a full veil, should I be made to freeze my features off? If not how can the police justify stopping the Muslim woman and not me?

    However, places such as banks and airports should be perfectly at liberty to insist on customers exposing their faces in order to enter: on a "if you don't want to don't use the service" basis.

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  41. Hi Dot

    "masking your face in public is hardly damaging to anyone else (in and of itself) and shouldn't be banned"

    But it is damaging, in a number of ways - it acts as a barrier between communities, it is a security issue, it stops them doing certain jobs, it is a barrier to normal interaction with people, it makes identification impossible which has many implications - going to a bank, driving a car, making friends, etc, it is unhealthy - wearers suffer much higher levels of Vit D deficiency, and hiding your face is synonymous with ill intent in this country, and has been for a long time.

    Balaclavas on a winters day are both extremely rare and if need be for consistency - ban them, people can wear a scarf and hat. We have a ban on public nakedness - enforcement isnt much of a problem because it becomes normal, unthinkingly adhered to.

    Other countries already have such bans on face covering, and there are Muslim states that ban the burka - they must have all had their reasons and enforcement doesnt appear to have been too much of a problem.

    I agree any such ban is hardly an easy option, i do have sympathies with the liberal argument but i just dont think its strong enough to counteract the arguments in favour (which are numerous).

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  42. Hello all!

    Come back to a plethora of replies! Must be my lucky day....

    Thauma/Paul/BW

    Am very suspicious of the MO of the Muscles from Bruxelles.... and said sidekick Kiz.... is AnnalieseH a new addition to their little family? All seems a bit peculiar to me - that 'oh, welcome and 'are you German'.... has a whiff of the fake to me...

    Anyone who can say that the 'ENGLISH' bumped off most of their Royals with a straight face is in another universe.... She/he does like to get the knives out....that would certainly make the tranny from Pinner idea quite plausible!

    Spike/Leni

    From the programme I was listening to yesterday, there is no instruction in the Qu'ran which states that hair and face must be covered...

    Jay

    Says something very sad about a man that he doesnt feel comfortable unless his wife is draped in black cloth, peering out through a slit

    It's a good point as it isn't about women, only men. In a way, I think it's the same side of the coin as Women who wear revealing clothes and very high heels and then try to say their 'liberated'!

    I do think the ban though is very heavy handed and as Women will bear the brunt they are possibly going to be trapped between complying with a dominant husband and complying with French Law.... so they become double victims and the compliance from the men? well, it's nowhere in the argument.

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  43. I'm with Dot on the veil question. You can't impose freedom on people by banning the way they dress. It has to be done through education, imo.

    I agree that private organisations ought to be able to ask people to uncover their faces - like they do with removing baseball caps or bike helmets for example. But how on earth they can tell people what to wear in the street is beyond me, really.

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  44. PLenty of countries already have such a ban - so i dont see how its so hard to fathom it, there are no outraged reports from these countries from women crying out to don their burka (unsurprisingly). We already have legal restrictions on dress - walk down the street in your bikini bottoms and you'll be arrested - does anyone consider that a gross breach of liberty? No.

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  45. Regarding education - in an ideal world, great. In reality, many of those wearing the burka, or who will grow up to wear them, are being brought up in increasingly segregated communities and increasingly educated by their own community in faith schools.

    It would be nice if everything would come right just through a laissez faire policy and good education, but i dont think the situation points to that being likely or adequate.

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  46. The obvious solution is: BAN FAITH SCHOOLS!!

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  47. Jay

    Just to play devil's advocate:

    "We already have legal restrictions on dress - walk down the street in your bikini bottoms and you'll be arrested - does anyone consider that a gross breach of liberty? No".

    Try somewhat reversing the argument!!

    What if we had laws that made people walk down the street in a bikini?

    Because, as much as I'm undecided about the whole thing generally, it strikes me as being a bit more akin to that, potentially anyway.....

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  48. Count me in for that too, Thaum, absolutely.

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  49. "What if we had laws that made people walk down the street in a bikini?

    Because, as much as I'm undecided about the whole thing generally, it strikes me as being a bit more akin to that, potentially anyway..... "

    Hi James

    I dont really follow that argument at all, im afraid. It is not a style of dress, uniformly, being imposed on anyone, let alone a type of dress considered quite outrageous (in a street context) in most corners of the globe. I dont really follow you.

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  50. thaum

    True, dat.

    Jay - where else is the burka banned? I didn't think it had been, as yet, banned anywhere else.

    As to whether the children grow up wearing them, most women who wear the full burka are 1st generation immigrants from countries where they are worn. In the same way that the majority of pakistani girls only wear a headscarf for cermonial or special occasions like weddings and attending mosque nowadays, I would not expect the daughters of these women, who are brought up in the west, to be wearing burkas every day either.

    What I have found, though, is that the more it is frowned upon, the more some muslim women I have met have decided to wear it more often just to underline their identity, almost as a counter-protest to what they perceive as the unfair scape-goating of the muslim community that has been going on over the past near-decade.

    Anecdotal I know - but isn't all of this?

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  51. Jay (the joke about line by line is old hat now isn't it? ;-))

    "it acts as a barrier between communities"

    Ok, I kind of see your point, but you could argue that drinking/not drinking does the same between strict/liberal communities.

    "it is a security issue"

    In and of itself? Yes it makes it easier to conceal your identity, but is it worse than other baggy clothes for e.g. concealed weapons?

    "it stops them doing certain jobs"

    That's their problem*: they have a choice, veil or job.

    "it is a barrier to normal interaction with people"

    Again, their problem*, they want to interact properly they take the veil off

    "it makes identification impossible which has many implications - going to a bank, driving a car, making friends, etc, it is unhealthy - wearers suffer much higher levels of Vit D deficiency"

    Again, the bank can insist the veil is taken off at the door the same way they do with crash helmets etc., if vision is impaired for driving then make it illegal to drive in one, making friends and vitamin D come under the wearer's problem again*

    "and hiding your face is synonymous with ill intent in this country, and has been for a long time."

    I know, but I'm never fond of "the argument from tradition", lots of wrong things have been justified under that.

    "Balaclavas on a winters day are both extremely rare and if need be for consistency - ban them, people can wear a scarf and hat."

    I was talking about a scarf and a hat: I wear the hat down to just above my eyes and the scarf up to just below, showing about as much as a woman in one of those veils with a slit.

    *I'm aware that the wearer often wouldn't have a completely free choice, due to cultural/family pressures etc., but as a libertarian counteracting one set of strict rules with another makes me really uncomfortable, and smacks of the "he hit me first" argument: two wrongs don't make a right.

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  52. This is specifically to annoy our Greek and Belgian lurkers whose constant sniping about UT posters on Cif is becoming increasingly childish and boring.

    Kizbot today has already racked up an astonishing 31 posts on 7 different threads. This is in a period of 7 hours, and she's probably not finished yet! There was a gap of about an hour, which was presumably lunch. If you allow 5 minutes to compose and post a comment and 10 minutes to read each article, this comes to about 4 hours. Allowing another hour or so to continually read the ongoing comments on the threads she was following, I calculate that of the 6 hours that her employer is paying her to work, she's used about 5 hours spouting bollocks on Cif. Can anybody advise me as to where I could get a job like that? And if possible, one where I wouldn't even have to turn up - my employers could just post me my pay-cheques every week.

    PS the sprout has only managed a very disappointing 15 comments today - I'm guessing that she was run off her feet today dispensing lashings of hot tea and champers to high-profile 'aid workers' who are really CIA spooks!

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  53. Jay

    Because, if we were made to walk down the street in a Bikini, or banana hammock, or whatever, many of us would feel uncomfortable because we were exposing more of ourself than we were either happy with, or used to.

    There is the argument, and I'm not saying I agree with it, that to force people to remove headwear, which is either culturally, historically, or religiously mandated, would constitute a similar level of enforced exposure....

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  54. Not ganging up on you Jay but I agree with James and BB's points too!

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  55. Scherfig

    She might have the sort of job I had where I was stuck donwstairs on my own occasionally answering the telephone and bored out of my face - did a lot of Ciffing in that job ;0) but the people I worked for were greedy right-wing wankers so I didn't care....

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  56. BB

    Unless I'm mistaken, its banned in public places in Turkey, Tunisia and Belgium (via a generic law on face covering - which is what i would favour).

    "As to whether the children grow up wearing them, most women who wear the full burka are 1st generation immigrants from countries where they are worn."

    How do you know though, you cant see their face, you dont know how old they are, have no idea of their ethnicity, etc?


    Hi Dot

    (Sorry for the line by line)

    "Ok, I kind of see your point, but you could argue that drinking/not drinking does the same between strict/liberal communities."

    Come on, Dot, there is no tenable equivalence here whatsoever.

    "it is a security issue" In and of itself? "

    Yes, absolutely - it conceals identity, hence covering the face is routinely employed by criminals.

    "That's their problem*: they have a choice, veil or job."

    Not really ideal - they already have the highest unemployment rate in the country (a fact endlessly wheeled out by Griffin and co).

    "Again, their problem*, they want to interact properly they take the veil off"

    Its not just their problem though, we are not 60million individuals - we live together on one island as a nation-state.


    "know, but I'm never fond of "the argument from tradition","

    Agred, but its become tradition for a reason - hiding your identity has strong links with criminality and ill-intent, thats why it is so rare throughout world cultures to completely cover your face as a matter of course. Tradition doesnt evolve in a vacuum.

    "I was talking about a scarf and a hat: I wear the hat down to just above my eyes and the scarf up to just below, showing about as much as a woman in one of those veils with a slit."

    Up to police and jury discretion i suppose - common sense is required in many laws.

    I appreciate your arguments, a ban is far from ideal, but on balance i would support one. Other countries have them - i have never heard of these bans being either unwelcome, problematic or oppressive.

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  57. "Because, if we were made to walk down the street in a Bikini, or banana hammock, or whatever, many of us would feel uncomfortable because we were exposing more of ourself than we were either happy with, or used to."

    Its tough, really - we live in large, complex, diverse states - everyone doesnt get to do what they like, actions have consequences, and cohesion matters, secularism matters, being able to identify people matters, or even just smile at a neighbour and have it reciprocated.

    The world doesnt end because someone is forced to reveal their face - about 99% of the worlds population manage just fine without burkas.

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  58. scherfig

    This is specifically to annoy our Greek and Belgian lurkers whose constant sniping about UT posters on Cif is becoming increasingly childish and boring.

    Yes, they really are the sludge which sticks to the bottom of the barrel once it has been well and truly scraped.

    Still, the begging-bowl was passed around teh internetz yesterday and it seemed that nobody was really interested in CiF any more, so this pair of fuckwits (sorry, Peter Bracken - is it OK to use that in connection with your loved ones?) probably represent the bright future of the site.

    Just out of very vague interest, did anyone ever see the handbagging which the one who is not a waiter is supposed to have given me?

    I take it I wasn't there at the time, but SpecialBrut keeps mentioning it and I just wondered if it was simply one of his many little fantasies, concocted to lend creaky support to his only (virtual) friend.

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  59. Jay,

    I see where you're coming from but every pinko-liberal fibre of my being recoils from the idea. I'd set the logical part of me to a good old fashioned line by line rebuttal but I have work to do and have to leave at 5.15 cos I'm tree hugging hippy car sharing, sorry!

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  60. Jay

    Good point about not knowing the ages of the women, but the type of head covering is specific to different types of countries. There is a little diagram on the beeb website somewhere. The full burka is worn in some countries with Islamic theocracies - Saudi, Afghanistan under the Taliban - but not others. In Iran, for example, the women wear a headscarf over the back of their heads but don't cover their faces at all.

    I didn't think the banning in Belgium went through in the end. I must have got that one skewiff. I didn't know about the ban in Turkey and Tunisia though.

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  61. "Its tough, really - we live in large, complex, diverse states - everyone doesnt get to do what they like, actions have consequences, and cohesion matters, secularism matters, being able to identify people matters, or even just smile at a neighbour and have it reciprocated.

    The world doesnt end because someone is forced to reveal their face - about 99% of the worlds population manage just fine without burkas".


    Yes, and to some extent, I agree.

    However, and I appreciate I'm using extreme examples here, the impact of 'exposing' people against their will has long been known and used to 'great' effect.

    It's why Prisoners, Terror suspects, etc, are often deprived of their clothes, because it's humiliating, and because it creates feelings of powerlessness, fear and shame.

    Now, without wanting to be all relativist and that, if we concede that 'nakedness' can, perhaps, have degrees, and that the same 'impact/effect' can be potentially reached at lesser ones, I have to conclude that I'm very uncomfortable with forcing this on somebody else, when, ultimately, the alternative has such little overall impact on me.....

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  62. "And I've been thinking of suing anyone who calls me a gay man pretending to be a woman/transvestite/transgendered and anything else a fevered imagination and a few of bottles of wine can conjure up."

    from the Guardian News page...

    "Pseudonymous truck-driving transvestite fantasist threatens legal action against anonymous posters who draw attention to the fact that he's a fantasist"

    In the (insert made up place) Crown Court today, Mr Justice (insert made-up name) awarded damages of eighty-twelve hundred silver dinari against Mr (insert pseudonym) for "months of abuse" after he insinuated that well-known, well-bred and well-buttered internet poseur and fantasist Brusselsexpat was in fact a transvestite lorry driver from Scunthorpe who lived with his mother. Mr Justice (insert bullshit name) ruled that although Mr Brusselsexpat was indeed a transvestite lorry driver, Mr (insert pseudonym) had effectively breached his human rights by not going along with Mr Expat's fantasy existence in which he was a much respected Brussels tea-lady and trusted confidant of CEOs and Italian princes.

    Mr Justice (made-up bullshit) told Mr (pseudonym) you have acted recklessly and callously in not playing along with this freak's little fantasy and although your fine may be considered excessive by some, I hope it will a deterrent to others. Mr Pseudonym has until the 49th of Juloon to settle the amount in full or will become liable to a further penalty of 20 monopoly pounds per day plus a one-off punitive payment of the little metal dog, the Water Works and Charing Cross Station.

    #Just out of very vague interest, did anyone ever see the handbagging which the one who is not a waiter is supposed to have given me?#

    ER..no..but then again I wouldn't worry about it mate, outside of her head, she has never actually given anyone a handbagging..she's not really smart enough. That's why they're CIF "aristocracy"...thick twats with imaginary lives have a virtual red-carpet aimed at them around there.

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  63. thaumaturge

    Nah, the one His Bruship keeps mentioning must date from months ago - around the same time I was banned under about five names in one morning.

    Thanks for looking, but I wouldn't waste any more time on it. I would imagine it to be about as cutting - in a blunt butter-knife kind of way - as the one you found.

    Matt Seaton, JessiBella and the BruKiz Gang.

    What a fucking mindless waste of time and space CiF became.

    Still, I hear Peter Bracken is up for the editorship, so you never know, eh?

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  64. James

    Thanks for that.Trouble is Laurie Penny wasn,t quite who i had in mind when i asked the Guardian to start campaigning against welfare reform etc.

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  65. Paul

    You beat me to it. I was about to post something very rude on the thread about giving the job to a lightweight and thought the better of it.

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  66. I mentioned the IDS "work will set you free" comment and linked it to Arbeit macht Frei and the fact that IDS has also spoken about the poor and unemployed occupying ghettos.

    Quick as a flash, he jumps up - must be the Pavlovian finger-clicking training - to declare his Jewish heritage.

    There is nothing in the world which can be mentioned without SpecialBrut thinking that the only reason for raising it is to give him a chance to display his idiocy to everyone.

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  67. The Laurie Penny article is very lightweight but it isn't actually offensive like some of her past work has been.

    It basically says 'oh isn't this awful', I think Cif is just going to run the same article until the right wingers get bored with swamping them in hatred (which may be never).

    I had a great day shopping, bought some trousers and a couple of tops for a fiver, half price sales in second hand shops are great. ;)

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  68. I honestly thought that the above posts referring to Laurie Penny were a joke.

    I mean, CiF could not really be that thick, could it?

    Yep.

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  69. I wonder if IDS starts to wear a swastika tie pin all these people will pipe up with the fact it used to an india symbol and blah blah blah.

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  70. Atomboy/James/BB

    ''I mean, CiF could not really be that thick, could it?''

    If it wasn,t such a serious issue the fact that the Guardian have put Laurie Penny on the case would be laughable.Trouble is it is a serious issue and i ain,t laughing.Are the Guardian really that ignorant or are they just going through the motions until the story becomes more newsworthy-ie when more people start topping themselves,rioting and doing fuck knows what else out of sheer desperation.

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  71. I'm not unsympathetic to your arguments at all, BB, James, Dot etc, i think they are valid, i dont think a ban is ideal or without problems, but on balance thats the side i fall on.

    BB - the headscard, hijab, is common in Iran and i think the hijab is another matter entirely - i am specifically talking about veiling which covers the face. Thats why it wouldnt need a specific law, but merely one banning total face coverings.


    James

    "However, and I appreciate I'm using extreme examples here, the impact of 'exposing' people against their will has long been known and used to 'great' effect."

    Is there not a point though at which an analogy becomes so tenuous as to lose its strength as an argument? Exposing to humiliate usually means nakedness in front of strangers - something rare in just about any culture on the planet. People dont tend to walk around their own home naked if they live with other people, friends or family.

    But, even wearers of veils dont walk around their own home veiled. Showing the face would be something they are used to in front of friends and family and any time they are at home. Nakedness in front of others (except partner) is extremely rare across the globe - showing your face is the opposite, common to just about everyone except the people in question.

    If i thought any of these people would walk out either with no head covering or just the hijab and feel alarmed or "exposed" by people looking at their face, then i might agree - i find it extremely hard to believe.

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  72. Paul/BB/Atomboy

    Or, alternatively, Laurie Penny is actually the best and most qualified writer they've got to tackle this one.

    As chilling as that may be, I'm not sure I'd bet against it.....

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  73. James and Paul

    If anyone was really still wondering whether this issue - and its connection with Atos, A4E etc - is actually something which The Guardian has any serious intention of investigating or pursuing, you now have your answer.

    Still, CiF has a certain grim consistency.

    Whenever you think it cannot get worse, it just pulls out a few more stops and miraculously manages it.

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  74. Jay

    "Is there not a point though at which an analogy becomes so tenuous as to lose its strength as an argument?"

    Yes, absolutely, but it's about knowing where that point is, and in the case of 'exposure'/humiliation/genuine discomfort, it's not a universally fixed one.

    Anyway, it's a complex issue, and I'm only trying to point out that where we see it as x/simples/a relatively small sacrifice, it's potentially something much more than that for others.

    And even though I'm a big supporter of secularism in general, I also appreciate that cultural norms etc are always going to differ, and while sometimes it is possible to reach a 'middle-ground' eventually, sometimes it's just better to err on the side of caution....

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  75. Jay
    "If i thought any of these people would walk out either with no head covering or just the hijab and feel alarmed or "exposed" by people looking at their face, then i might agree - i find it extremely hard to believe."

    Well my pennies worth.....In Rajasthan women in the countryside cover their faces with a long veil over their faces when in the company of male and some female members of their husband's family and when they go outside of the family home. When I spoke with various women about this basically they said that they felt uncomfortable if they didn't cover their faces for them it is the same as not exposing their thighs...

    I think I mentioned a while back that a local council in northern italy banned the use of niqab. A woman was fined 500euro for standing outside a post office, her husband said that she wouldn't therefore go out. This law was enacted with the rationale that it was a form of "liberation" for women. Obviously this has further restricted this women's freedom....

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  76. It also proves Georgina Henry's comment about the other Guardian squib who rose without a trace, Sian Anderson.

    "Think how far she could have gone with the right encouragement," said Henry.

    With a bit of Guardian grooming, the world is absolutely anyone's lobster.

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  77. added to all of this about veil or no veil there is one fundeamental point it obscures more potent problems facing women: lack of educational opportunites, child marriage, honor killings or the legalized sexism of family laws across the Muslim world.....

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  78. Little piece in the groan today:

    Peterloo book named as heritage document in Unesco initiative

    'The record of the victim's injuries sounds eerily modern: James Walkden "shoulder bruised. Struck by horse. Ill treated by the constable"; Ann scholes, "Thrown down and trampled on. Beat about the head with truncheon"....

    However, these were victims not of a recent riot but of an ancient fracas: the Peterloo massacre in Manchester in August 1819 - the event that led to the foundation of the Manchester guardian...'


    It would be good if the groan remembered that sometimes. Still I suppose a few paragraphs tucked away on p10 is better than nothing.

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  79. Leni

    Absolutely quality comment on the Penny thread.

    *tips hat!

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  80. Fair points, James, just seems a bit of a stretch to me.

    Anyone see PMQS? Osborne was smirking and jeering throughout, he is so unspeakably repugnant i find myself almost transfixed watching him. Its on iPlayer if anyone wants to watch the gimp in action.

    Interesting as well to watch Hatties largely trivial questions - of course they cant criticise the actual ideology of privatising the NHS - they were at it themselves for 13 years.

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  81. James:

    There is the argument, and I'm not saying I agree with it, that to force people to remove headwear, which is either culturally, historically, or religiously mandated, would constitute a similar level of enforced exposure....

    I have to agree with you on this, irrespective of my personal feelings about covering up ones face and hair, it is the fact that the removal if the veil is being forced upon these women that is a worrying development in the attitudes of Govts. to Muslims. To be fair, shouldn't the same law apply to Nuns and Orthodox Jewish women in the name of 'embracing our culture'?

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  82. I wonder how The Guardian's thread on this will go, in comparison to our discussion, which was quite reasonable, interesting and considered, even in the absence of moderation......

    (I've got a tenner on MaM showing up soon!)

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  83. The moral Maze on R4 are discussing the 'veil' issue tonight at 8pm for anyone who's interested. Likely to be more heat than light if Mel P is on the panel but its often entertaining if not enlightening.

    I'm quite conflicted about a ban and tend to agree with gandolfo when he says it takes up so much room in public discussion that it tends to obscure all the other day to day oppressions some Muslim girls and women face.

    On balance I think I would oppose a ban. Banning things does tend to make them more attractive and it would be a terrific outlet for the lunatic fringe to make social martyrs of themselves, at the same time as forcing women who do veil themselves out of the public sphere.

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  84. La Rit

    Yeah, I was wondering too about other religions/cultures that, perhaps, to a lesser extent, also cover their heads, legs etc!

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  85. "To be fair, shouldn't the same law apply to Nuns and Orthodox Jewish women in the name of 'embracing our culture'?"

    They dont cover their face though - they are more akin to headscarves which i think are a very different matter.

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  86. Gandolfo

    "This law was enacted with the rationale that it was a form of "liberation" for women. Obviously this has further restricted this women's freedom...."

    This is what makes me very uncomfortable - as I pointed out upthread, if Women are banned from wearing a veil and they are not permitted out of the house by their husbands if they don't then they are ostensibly victims twice over - it is the antthesis of 'liberation' and will lead to many already isolated women, being further isolated and prisoners in their own homes. IMHO smacks of a kind of imperialism - to say - 'oh, well we know better' - it's infantalising Women further.

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  87. "They dont cover their face though - they are more akin to headscarves which i think are a very different matter".


    But, Jay, without wanting to re-ignite the debate, which we both know is getting us nowhere, that's part of the problem.

    If we say to one group, 'your chosen way of expressing modesty/deference to god/cultural respect' is acceptable to us, and therefore not a big deal, but to another, 'your piece of head cloth has a bigger surface area, and therefore is unacceptable', we're not only in danger of creating (in)equality/discrimination issues, but, perhaps more importantly, I'd argue that we're undermining any secular outcome we're hoping to achieve!

    Perhaps...

    ;0)

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  88. Jay

    "They dont cover their face though - they are more akin to headscarves which i think are a very different matter"

    Is it a different matter to completely shave your hair off and wear a wig for the rest of your life or to be married to Jesus and renounce sexual intercourse for evermore - is that less extreme Jay?

    I really don't think so. The same principles lie behind it all - masculine fear of women (look at the battle the Church is going through to permit Women Vicars and women being elected to serve as Bishops) and control of women as chattels that runs through every religion which has been honed through centuries.

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  89. La Rit

    I don't really think that the thinking behind the law has anything to do with liberating women, it is purely and simply throwing a bone to those who hate islam.

    Notice how they aren't doing anything about forced marriages, halal meat etc, laws which would actually take a great deal of enforcing and would cost money.

    It is a sop to vocal right wingers and those trapped in the middle are the women who have no control over their lives.

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  90. Leni I liked your comment on the Laurie Penny thread a lot. ;)

    Some very good and thoughtful posts from ratherbehappy as well.

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  91. Sarkozy said last year "we cannot accept that women are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of an identity ... This is not the French republic's idea of dignity ... When we meet women who wear it, we try to educate them, and explain to them that moderation is a better choice."

    Now if this comment by sarko isn't full of imperialistic, sexist bollocks I don't know what is......

    I'm against banning and here in Italy it has been pursued by predominantly right wing and facist politicians such as Daniele Santanché, Alessandra Mussolini and the Northern league who really have no other motive than exaggerating with their sick propoganda hidden beneath the "liberation of women" banner that Muslims are to all intents and purposes barbaric and uncivilised.

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  92. atomboy
    "If anyone was really still wondering whether this issue - and its connection with Atos, A4E etc - is actually something which The Guardian has any serious intention of investigating or pursuing, you now have your answer."

    Probably not. In the eyes of the Guardian, the UT is essentially a private lobby group. Many have talked consistently on the UT about 'organising'. Look at it from the Guardian's position. It is not answerable to ten or twenty bloggers on an external site.

    Make no mistaker I still think this is a serious issue that has to be raised, but when it comes to power and opinion making in this country, even just in the confines of the Guardian and the liberal/left media, the UT is small fry. Perhaps if a few of us had Oxbridge humanities degrees we might get somewhere :(

    If you really want to do something to expose the likes of Atos/A4E, then you will need to use 'pre internet' methods, distributing flyers, writing to your MP, arranging meetings and support groups. Of course use the internet as well, fro communicating and research, but an internet only lobby organisation will get you nowhere, because there are literally thousands and thousands of them.

    I personally think the best thing is to hang with the coalition. If electoral reform gets through, more representative and niche/single issue political parties will get elected, to the benefit of the country, and to most people on here.

    Other than that, I have not been following much on Cif, or on here. Too busy, going to London tomorrow as well.

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  93. I don't think I will hang with the coalition thanks Nap and I think voting reform (unless they can work out how to keep themselves in power for a long time to come) is a pipe dream.

    Have a good day in London.

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  94. Just had a glance around cif - notice that Porter is extolling yet another ConDem - Theresa May this time. arrrgh!

    Can't face Laurie Penny on the spending challenge. Laurie Penny??? FFS!

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  95. 'Hang with the coalition', oops, did not see that double entendre.

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  96. James

    "If we say to one group... "

    Its actually a case of saying "walking around with your face completely covered is not really the done thing here - it causes a number of issues and is socially unhelpful. Therefore any garment, religious or otherwise, that covers the face entirely is not welcome."

    Headscarves are trivial in comparison, like an old woman's bonet - the face still shows, they breach no fundamental social convention. Covering hair is not abnormal, countless people wear hats, their identity is not concealed.

    Can i ask whether everyone here supports the current laws on public indecency? Would you support their repeal? Perhaps the first reports of some old men parading their wares in female faces on public transport would cause the odd U-turn.

    If it was Muslim *men* that veiled themselves entirely we wouldnt be having this conversation - it would have been banned a long time ago, no doubt supported by many currently opposing a ban when its women (not without reason, but nonetheless).


    LaRit - "IMHO smacks of a kind of imperialism - to say - 'oh, well we know better'"

    Democracy is imperalism then. Its the majority imposing their will on the minority.

    "Is it a different matter to completely shave your hair off and wear a wig for the rest of your life or to be married to Jesus and renounce sexual intercourse for evermore - is that less extreme Jay? "

    I cant follow this, really. I find all religion "extreme", but am not arguing for the outlawing of religion.

    "The same principles lie behind it all - masculine fear of women "

    But you're not saying that that is wrong or immoral, are you? That requires making a moral judgement. If we can make a moral judgement on whether "treating women as chattels" is wrong (can we?), why can we not make a moral judgement on whether its wrong to veil your face in public? How is this circle squared?

    Cant flip-flop between moral relativism and moral absolutism.

    "I don't really think that the thinking behind the law has anything to do with liberating women, it is purely and simply throwing a bone to those who hate islam."

    Turkey is an Islamic (though secular) state, Jen. They have banned even headscarves, let alone veils, in public buildings. We already have a forced marriage unit and some of us have posted repeatedly about the shameful religious slaughter of animals (new EU ruling on food labelling is expected soon, relating to this).

    "It is a sop to vocal right wingers "

    It has a lot of support on the left in France, including feminists. But France is a very different place - its a secular republic, it is a proper democracy and it has enough of a spine to say "these are our values - we want to keep them". France is probably in the top 3 most desired countries to live in the world.

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  97. Nap

    Those of us on UT who have posted on CIF asking for the Guardian to get more involved in the Campaign against Welfare Reform etc are doing so as individuals.We are not operating as a group although we are all broadly in agreement with each other.I for instance have no idea when Leni,Princess,Alisdair or anyone else is going to post on the subject.Also there are plenty of people like Northred who regularly post on CIF on the subject but who have never posted on UT.So i,m afraid your theory doesn,t stand up to scrutiny.Also some people facing ATOS medicals for instance literally don,t have the time to 'hang with the coalition' as you suggest.They need support NOW.For when/if we ever do get electoral reform in this country they may have already experienced extremely miserable deaths.In other words it will be too late for them.

    Hope you,re enjoying your holiday.And BE SAFE up in London tomorrow.

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  98. Jay what has public nudity got to do with anything, by some convoluted twists you can logically link the two issues but it is pretty much bull.

    It just really seems like a non issue to me, when it comes to security at airports etc then yes they should have to show their faces, other than that what is the problem?

    Exactly what problems, specifically has it caused?

    As for French feminists, well once women start telling other women what they have to do or wear in order to be acceptable then they cease being the kind of feminist I relate to.

    I am an atheist and if I had my way all symbols of religion would be banned but unfortunetly it doesn't work that way.

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  99. About the veil ban:

    Jay, I agree with pretty much everything you say about the veil, except that at the end of the day, I don't believe that a free society can justify a ban. I don't, for the life of me, understand why you would emigrate to a country whose values and social norms violate your own -- so I am mystified as to why these people want to live in Europe in the first place. However, most Western nations claim to have individual liberty at the heart of their values, so I just don't see how banning the veil is defensible.

    I think that the marginalisation and isolation brought about by a ban is, ultimately, a greater danger/evil than allowing women to wear burqas in public -- both for the women as individuals and for the greater society.

    As others have pointed out, any man who is determined that his wife will wear a burqa or niqab is just going to keep her from going out in public at all if a ban is enacted. Worse for the individual woman.

    And I fear that making Muslims feel marginalised and disrespected could ultimately radicalise people who are, at heart, moderates. Worse for the greater society.

    People have a tendency to get defensive about things they don't necessarily agree with if they feel that their "tribe" is under attack. For example, I can spout off all I want about how boring and uncultured Iowa is, but if someone from, say, New York, starts in with some sneering condescension about Iowa or Iowans, and I go into full-bore defence -- pointing Iowa's long tradition of social progressivism. So, tell Muslim women that they can't wear the niqab and I am certain that you will only end up driving women who ordinarily wouldn't be caught dead in one to wear one out of sheer defensiveness.

    By the way, burqas aren't necessarily all that modest.

    In a related note, it has recently come out that plans are under way for a mosque and Islamic cultural centre to be built near "Ground Zero". There are a lot of people who are (if you'll excuse the phrase) up in arms about it. As I understand it, the group that plans to build the centre is a moderate group that hopes the centre will promote understanding and provide a cultural bridge.

    What signal does it send them that non-Muslim Americans are so anti-Muslim as to think that any mosque at all -- even one built by moderates who are just as opposed to terrorism as any of the rest of us, would try prevent the mosque from being built?

    Again, I fear that such wholesale rejection of an entire religion will only radicalise people who would be moderates if their religion was accepted on the same terms as any other.

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  100. Jesus my next OU course is going to be spelling for dummies. ;)

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  101. "Jay what has public nudity got to do with anything, by some convoluted twists you can logically link the two issues but it is pretty much bull."

    People have kept saying there must be no law on "what people wear" - the point is there already are such laws, on public decency. Hardly a convoluted link. I presume we all support *those* laws on what people wear?

    The specific problems the veil causes are quite numerous, some tangible, some less so: social dislocation, a very visible barrier to communication and integration, employment issues (hairdresser, school teacher), identification (driving, banks, airports, hospitals, workplace), lip reading and facial expressions - these are universal aids in communication completely concealed by the veil, the inability to even recognise the wearer, whether its for security reasons or even to recognise a neighbour or friend to say hello to, 25% higher cases of Vit D deficiency, criminals using veils to avoid detection, the suggestion that "uncovered meat" is ripe for rape, the suggestion that women who dont wear it are immodest, the list goes on.

    Your spelling's fine - one typo ;)

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  102. To be fair to Jay, there is a huge difference between nuns' habits (which haven't been worn by nuns here in the US for about 30 years now) or celibacy than by wearing a niqab or burqa and we surely all realise this, do we not?

    I don't have the slightest problem with any of the other head coverings and don't see any reason why anyone else should, either. And Jay has already made the same disclaimer multiple times. The issue is the niqab and burqa.

    As someone who is extremely uncomfortable trying to converse with someone whose face I cannot see, whether it be on the phone or even in the same room with someone who, for example, is sitting in front of a strong source of light so that all I can see is their silhouette, I totally understand the argument for a ban. I just can't get myself to agree with it, for the reasons given above.

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  103. Like I said Jay in cases of security, airports, banks or even driving tests and such then yes someone must be able to verify that the person is who they say they are.

    All the other stuff is basically down to the person who chooses to wear the veil.

    So no more pandering at school or for jobs but a full ban?

    It's a no from me.

    Do people want to ban Goths because the thick makeup and lack of visible flesh makes them vunerable to being misunderstood or have Vit D deficiency?

    It is amazing how many rabid right wingers make their way to threads about the burka because they are so worried about the poor women, yeah they must cry themselves to sleep.

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  104. Jay

    "Its actually a case of saying "walking around with your face completely covered is not really the done thing here - it causes a number of issues and is socially unhelpful."

    Again, I sort of agree, and I'm no fan of any religious symbol, but....

    I'll see your 'not the done thing', 'issues' and 'socially unhelpful', and I'll raise you a 'potentially traumatic existence (which is easily avoided)', 'Undermining of my reasonable cultural/religious norms', and a 'fundamental breach of my Human Rights/the UN Mandate on Religious Freedom'.

    For me, the last one, will, 9 times out of 10, trump whatever it goes up against.

    And while I see your point, and, ironically, while I am very anti-religion, for me, this just isn't one of those 1 times....

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  105. I've just watched the Hank Scorpio episode of the Simpsons, it's a good un.

    I wonder if our HankScorpio and the megolmanic Hank Scorpio share any personality traits. ;)

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  106. http://maxdunbar.wordpress.com/

    You've gotta look at this..sorry if you know about it already..first I've heard.

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  107. Hi Montana,

    Good post, and good argument. That is something i probably hadnt considered adequately - the potential that rather than accept the women will now go out either uncovered or just hijab, the women (or more likely men) will decide that they will never leave the house.

    This seems, at first, absurd - surely this wouldnt happen. But maybe it would, for the older generations maybe this is how it would turn out.

    For younger generations, schooled communally and brought up in a society where face covering is illegal - i'd hope this would come to be recognised as normal (and young men and boys obviously need this message rammed home too, all the more). I'd hope this would be the path it took rather than thousands of women literally never leaving the house again (absurd and grotesque even by religious standards).

    Our states do have liberalism as an important value, yes, but it isnt the overiding or sole value, we have others - justice, community, communication, equality, etc. These have to be juggled. Liberalism is too empty and morally neutral to build a society on by itself - this needs to be recognised.

    "Again, I fear that such wholesale rejection of an entire religion will only radicalise people"

    The veil is quite central to the rejection of Islam, to the extent that it exists (the rejection that is).

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  108. Jen

    "Like I said Jay in cases of security, airports, banks or even driving tests and such then yes someone must be able to verify that the person is who they say they are."

    Is it just these places? What about shops, your neighbours, being treated by a doctor/nurse, how about your colleague who sits next to you all day wearing a veil, etc. Living in 21st century Britain throws up constant problems for full facial coverings.

    People have made some really good arguments here and I'm beginning to waver, but analogies with goths or the humiliation of prisoners are not really applicable i dont think.

    "So no more pandering at school or for jobs but a full ban?"

    Half of life is being at work (sadly). We could make hundreds of mini laws on uncovering in various situations - not too much different from total ban, but maybe would be a better compromise.

    James

    "Undermining of my reasonable cultural/religious norms', and a 'fundamental breach of my Human Rights/the UN Mandate on Religious Freedom'."

    But it isnt religious, and it isnt reasonable - 99% of humanity doesnt wear it, in the history of the species 99.99999% of the species havent worn it.

    Surely it isnt a "fundamental human right" to engage with modern society (or even medieval European society) with your face entirely covered. Is it not my right to see the face of my neighbour, my colleague, my doctor, my boss? I'd say thats a much more fundamental right.

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  109. MF - saw that in PE, very amusing.

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  110. I gotta do some work, back later, hope i havent been too blunt or charmless, been an interesting debtate.

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  111. If I have to sit next to someone at work that wears the full veil and makes me uncomfortable (not that it would) then I realise that it is my problem.

    If I don't want to see a Dr who wears the veil then I will see another who doesn't.

    I realise that what I want and my comfort are not the most important things in the world and seeing someone elses face as a human right?

    Are you kidding.

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  112. Jay

    This seems, at first, absurd - surely this wouldnt happen. But maybe it would, for the older generations maybe this is how it would turn out.

    maybe you missed my post earlier here is a link that may interest you

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  113. MF

    Read about that in the Eye when I picked it up yesterday. Harassing postmistresses for the lose. Eejits.

    Jay - you are never charmless. :o)

    I am off to watch V for Vendetta again - on Beeb 4 if anyone is interested - just to remind myself of what things are going to be like in five years time... :p

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  114. Not charmless at all Jay and this is difficult for me because my heart says ban it because it is a step on the way to banning all of that kind of crap.

    But I have to engage my brain sometimes and this is one of those times.

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  115. Five, BB? Five??

    I admire your optimism!

    ;0)

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  116. Gandolfo

    Did the Graun do something on the Italy gagging whassit?

    (I noticed something about a generational gap something or other, but if that was what Jess was talking about, we were both way off with our predictions....)

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  117. Moral Maze my arse Sheff. Fox (and a few others) were deliberately selective in their listening to / hearing, of people - directly opposite them.

    I liked the one from New York who had lived in Saudi; to modify / extend a point of hers - if only the French had invested in organisations like Ni Putes instead of wasting taxpayers money on banning there would be a lot more girls saved from the constant abuses of the balieues.

    I would hope we would likewise see in thiis country, e.g. Southall Black Sisters get a few quid instead of the thousands bound to be wasted on think tank "research" into Brittish Soshal Attitoods to Sharia etc etc...

    Enough to turn a man to drink.

    ..
    Anyone heard from Deano ? Haven't seen him since I got back second week of July.

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  118. It is very worrying BW he has been absent a while now, it was mentioned the other day and I hope someone managed to get in touch with him.

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  119. Bitterweed,

    No, he's not posted since informing us of his loss!

    I don't know how to get in contact with him, other than here!

    Deano

    Give us a shout if you're about mate!

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  120. James
    Loss ? I was a way a few weeks and missed all that...

    Cheers

    My email = hardbjorn@googlemail.com

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  121. FWIW-i wouldn,t employ someone covering their face and i wouldn,t view that as being my problem but rather my right.If i were a shopkeeper who had just invested in security cameras to protect my business i would see it as being my right not to serve anyone who refused to uncover their face.Several shops in my neighbourhood have 'No Hoodies' signs so why can,t they also say 'No Burquas' allowed.

    To be fully integrated into British society you have to be prepared to show your face.If however you want to live in a' Muslim ghetto' and cut yourself off from non Muslim Britain then at least have the guts to admit it so we can debate the pros and cons of that.

    And who are the women being coerced to cover their faces?Are they mainly British or mainly foreign brides coming here on arranged/forced marriages.Or asylum seekers perhaps?And who are the coercive husbands and in-laws?Are they mainly British or mainly those who,ve come here as part of a Family Reunion following an arranged/forced marriage.

    The bottom line as far as i,m concerned is that if people choose to live in this country they cannot assume it is their right to impose all their religious/cultural values on the rest of the country.And as far as i,m concerned my right to see the face of the person i,m dealing with supersedes the right of that person to cover it up-unless they have some serious health problem/disfigurement.And if that person refuses to uncover their face then i have the right to ignore them.And if that person in effect becomes unemployable as a result of their refusal to uncover their face then i have the right to say something.Because it,s my fcuking taxes that are paying for their benefits.And finally if people are being coerced into covering their faces then we need to look at ways at getting tough with those who are doing the coercing.And that may include tightening up on marriage visas,prosecuting more parents who take their children out of school to send them abroad using the guise of a family event to marry them off etc etc.In other words getting to the root of the coercion rather than pussyfooting around the issue.And using cultural relativism to justify something which in my opinion has no place in 21st Century Britain.

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  122. Napoleon K.

    I agree with your comments about using various methods in order to achieve ends. I have frequently said that the internet is actually a pretty clumsy means for attempting to bring about change and probably makes matters worse as much as making them better.

    However, I was not implying that I saw a connection with whatever collective views there may be here and any actions The Guardian might pursue.

    That would be a bit like imagining that the requests for articles on WADDYA would actually get followed up, even if The Guardian did not really want to, because they felt compelled to bow to popular opinion or demand. That would be deluded, to use the mot du jour.

    The point was to ponder whether The Guardian operates as a functioning news medium with traditional journalistic values and a sense that its role is to question the status quo and the government, business, society at large etc or if it sees itself as just a peddler of an endless stream of petty sensationalism, opinion pieces and various instars of lovely celebrity lifestyles.

    The simple point is that The Guardian should be pursuing this matter and should not need to be cajoled and prompted and pushed by anyone to do so.

    The fact that it is so unwilling and then shows its contempt by being so blase leaves you not really needing to wonder too much about its credibility.

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  123. Come on Atomboy don't you like the idea of the UT as a pressure group, demanding that the Guardian puts it's finest minds on the ATOS/Government website scandal until they finally relent and unleash the mental giant that is Laurie Penny.

    Oh right, that actually means they spit on anyone who gives a shit about welfare, my mistake.

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  124. james

    bloody hell didn't think that was it......!!!

    think she's got the "Liberty Central" lot as she said "looking into it" as if it needs more looking into....just hope it's not henry he'll most prob see it as another great liberation...... but the way things are going here with ministers resigning almost everyday for corruption scandals and masonic connections who knows they maybe no need (says optimistically)!!!

    Apparently code name for berlusco for the P3 (masonic stuff keep up giyus!) is Ceasar.....thought Caligula would have been more appropriate.....

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  125. "cannot assume it is their right to impose all their religious/cultural values on the rest of the country."

    paul I don't think anyone is actually wants to impose anything on the rest of the country are they? I haven't heard of people saying all women must wear veils, niqabs etc......

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  126. I'm really sorry, I tried to be serious about the veil debate, but I listened to the Moral Maze.

    Serious people talking about a laughable French law. How the hell can you enforce Jay's law? Faces must not be covered, for security reasons... do the CRS know this?

    How are mascots ever going to make a living again?

    Oh well, maybe the fake beard sellers will make some money...

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  127. Gandolfo

    "Apparently code name for berlusco for the P3 (masonic stuff keep up giyus!) is Ceasar.....thought Caligula would have been more appropriate....."

    Hahaha. Or Nero (if you exchange what he was fiddling with from a violin to a stripper, obviously...)

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  128. gandolfo

    I think you may have misunderstood what i said.If someone covers their face either by chose or coercion they are in effect imposing that on all the people they interact with.My argument is they don,t have the right to impose that on anyone in this country in 2010.

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  129. James
    just waiting for the horse as a senator....

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  130. Fair enough Atomboy, I see what you are saying.

    Chance of more in depth social reporting, or another ode to the ipad?

    posed the cynic.

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  131. *Sorry, Coalition plans for the NHS!

    (I can't even type that without laughing...)

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  132. Evenin' all. Just a flyby, did any one bookmark those dialogue of graphic designer and folk wanting free work? Charts, logos, the missing cat.. Thought I had, cant find it..

    Missing Deano! Hope it's just his dongle out of juice. Is pissing down here, lightning earlier.

    I heard a pundit on the radio, months ago now, but an interesting (2me) point: does the veil not hyper-sexualise women, rather than preserve modesty?

    #backs out of the room#

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  133. Has everyone read Invisible Dirigibles' quotes from the Raoul Moat facebook page?

    I am going to avoid people from now on, for all you know people you pass the time of day with might share those views.

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  134. paul

    ok, I don't mean to be pedantic but you could say that of anyone that dresses differently from the so called european norm couldn't you? It's whether you percieve that as an "impostion" on you as an individual or not....personally I don't feel imposed on by it maybe uncomfortable because it's not what i consider to be the norm but I do feel people have a right to dress as they chose, and this is surely the argument. Do women make an informed choice and if they don't how can our society enable them to make informed choices. Not ban something because it's not culturally "ours". I think the whole burqa, niqab debate is a bit of a red herring that actually allows us to negate and ignore other more pressing issues about equality and crimes against women. It's just to easy to focus on something visual rather than the real issues that are often hidden behind closed doors...

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  135. deano

    Just to add my voice to everyone elses can you let us know you,re OK.UT ain,t the same without you.

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  136. Hey Turm,

    (Well, there is the apocryphal tale that the veil originated because one woman was so beautiful that she distracted everyone, and had to take one for the team and cover herself up, lest everyone go mental.
    Then, in order to make people think that they too were as beautiful, all the other ladies started wearing one too....)

    It's an interesting point though......

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  137. heyhabib

    Oh well, maybe the fake beard sellers will make some money...

    LOL :o)

    Hope you are feeling better... xx

    Turm - linky.

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  138. Turm and James you do realise that in terms of sexualisation it doesn't matter, burka or bikini it is always the woman who is either too or not sexual enough.

    Yes woman comply with idea that our fuckability is the only thing that matters about us and that is the definition of patriarchy (or however you spell it).

    I am being slightly tongue in cheek but only slightly. ;)

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  139. "How the hell can you enforce Jay's law?"

    Not too difficult I wouldnt imagine, Turkey and Tunisia have managed ok. France will soon be finding out I suppose.

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  140. Turm -- did you look at the link I provided above? Helpfully re-supplied here.

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  141. gandolfo

    I did say as i,ve often said that if women are being coerced into covering their faces then we need to cast aside cultural relativism and get to grips with the root causes of that coercion.As far as your point about euro-centric norms goes i think that ,with respect ,is a bit of a red herring.The issue for me is that my right to see the face of the person i,m inter-acting with in any normal everyday activity supersedes the right of right of someone to cover their face.And i would wager that most Muslims would agree with that.

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  142. Paul how do you plan to get to grips with that root cause of coercion without making that womans life worse?

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  143. Jen

    "Turm and James you do realise that in terms of sexualisation it doesn't matter, burka or bikini it is always the woman who is either too or not sexual enough.

    Yes woman comply with idea that our fuckability is the only thing that matters about us and that is the definition of patriarchy (or however you spell it).

    I am being slightly tongue in cheek but only slightly. ;)"


    Are you flirting with me??*

    ;0)

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  144. *That was just a joke, honest. No offense intended. Please don't hurt me, anyone.

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  145. James, accussing feminists of the intention of hurting you if you disagree or make a joke is derailing feminist discussion for dummies 101.

    I could flirt if you like though. ;)

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  146. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  147. Oh dear, drunken spelling lessons here I come.

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  148. Jen

    My sincerest apologies, you cheeky minx...!!

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  149. Montana

    I sent you my 'portfolio' in confidence, thank you very much!!

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  150. I may get a bit aggro sometimes but don't tell me you haven't heard or seen that conversation.

    Woman - I am a feminist.

    Man - Oops I better be careful, don't hurt/hate me.

    Woman - Stab stab stab.

    Oh sorry that last bit never happens. :P

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  151. I don't know, James. I think the sisterhood just might have to do some re-educatin' on your misogynist ass...

    One other thing from me about burqas/niqabs: I sincerely believe that the quickest way to "get rid" of them is to accept them and not treat them as any big deal. I think you'll find that, if non-Muslims don't make an issue of it, the daughters and granddaughters of the women who are wearing the niqab/burqa today will choose not to do so much sooner than if this is treated as an affront to our culture.

    When small-town Iowa first started getting a (relatively) large influx of Hispanic immigrants, people got nervous about it -- were we going to be overrun by people who spoke only Spanish, etc. That sort of nonsense. When people realised that the children of those immigrants were growing up to be just as "American" as anyone else's kids, the tension pretty much evaporated for all but the most racist among us.

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  152. BVA opinion poll in France, 2003, about veil ban -

    49% of Muslim women supported a ban.
    43% objected.

    So this allegedly "Islamophobic", "appalling", "right wing" law to "demonise" Muslims was in fact supported by more *Muslim women* than opposed it.

    Funny old world.

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  153. Jen

    Well, to be fair, in my neck of the woods, it sometimes did happen!

    (In my defence though, I was meaning 'intellectually' hurt me, as I realised that it was probably a rather ill-conceived attempt at humour*!!)

    *As are most of my attempts, to be fair...

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  154. Oh Jay 43% is a significant minority and a lot less than 100% of muslim woman have either worn or supported the veil, that vote is worth about 72% of nothing.

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  155. Montana

    Doesn't re-education imply some form of initial education?

    I fear you may be overestimating me..

    ;0)

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  156. "When people realised that the children of those immigrants were growing up to be just as "American" as anyone else's kids, the tension pretty much evaporated for all but the most racist among us. "

    Things are a bit different here, Montana. Our liberal heroes developed a wondrous policy of "multiculturalism" - people aren't supposed to grow up "like everyone else" here, they are to be ghettoised according to race and religion. We're even supposed to "celebrate" this. Luckily faith schools are spreading so even more kids can grow up excluded from 95% of the population. Fun times ahead.

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  157. In fact Jay opinion polls are worth generally less than shit.

    What sometimes happened in your neck of the woods James?

    Stabby feminists?

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  158. Thanx MW & BB. x all linkys thoroughly investigated : )

    Bon soir, mes amis..

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  159. "Oh Jay 43% is a significant minority and a lot less than 100% of muslim woman have either worn or supported the veil, that vote is worth about 72% of nothing."

    Its worth about 49% of Muslim women supporting a ban - a higher number than those who oppose it. We can talk anecdote all night, i thought a little hard fact might help.

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  160. In fact Jay 87.625% of opinion polls are worth generally less than shit.

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  161. "In fact Jay opinion polls are worth generally less than shit."

    Why dont people's opinions matter?

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  162. Paul

    are our rights to see someones face more important than their right to cover it because of a religious conviction? If a woman has chosen freely to cover her face then does she not have as much right to that?

    I don't actually like burqas or niqabs but imposing laws that ban clothing is IMO retrogressive.

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  163. Its 87.624987 Turminder, get your facts straight man...

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  164. Jay now stop being shady, peoples opinions do matter, have you ever been asked because I know I haven't.

    It is the application of the principle that is wrong not the original idea.

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  165. Jen

    Yup: Stabby, swingy, slappy, punchy...

    Although I may be extrapolating from my own family a bit there....

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  166. Jay

    I think you,re right.Most Muslims i know are dead set against the face veil.Dunno whether that,s reflected in the wider Muslim population in this country.But it highlights the fact this isn,t simply a muslim v non muslim debate.

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  167. Really James, tell me more, sounds pretty interesting.

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  168. Jen and James

    Are you two indulging in some form of cyber sm?
    Punchy? Slappy? Stabby?

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  169. Good link, Gandolfo

    "I wear the veil because it is required by Islam, but it is my own choice,” she said."

    Cant be only me that finds this contradictory, surely - i choose it, it is "required" by my faith - so its not really a choice, you've been told that god needs you to wear it. And who has an iron grip on revealing gods will? Men - religious leaders. Lo and behold, god reveals to them women must be veiled as their own property.

    "The Novara council spokeswoman said she was deeply shocked by Mr Braim’s reported announcement that he would respect the law from now on by keeping his wife permanently indoors. “That would be tantamount to kidnap, and the police would have to intervene,” she said."

    Indeed - keeping someone at home, not letting them leave the house, permanently, is not legal.

    "Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born ­opposition MP, said the police should act immediately to protect the woman’s rights. “This episode shows that the burka is not a free choice but really a kind of slavery,” she said."

    Islamophobe.



    Jen

    I'm not really following you, but i think it is highly relevant that more Muslim women were against it than for it. Do you really not think that is relevant?

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  170. Jen

    I was raised by what I can only describe as 'strong, working class Northern women', who had a very particular approach to feminist thought and ideology.

    This involved, amongst other things, the odd slap, kick, hurled object, to keep the few men in my family in check!!

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  171. Paul

    I think, what's actually happening, is that I'm inadvertently digging myself into one hell of a hole.....

    ;0)

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  172. Bit like Yorks v Lancs then...

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  173. Aimed at James tht last one.

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  174. Bitterweed

    What the fisticuffs?

    S'pose it was, 'cept we didn't have no umpires to protect us!

    ;0(

    (Did you get my e-mail? - hotmail was being daft when I sent it, so you may not have!)

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  175. Sorry -The Koran does not require any Muslim woman to cover her head let alone her face.All it requires is for women to dress modestly.The Koran does not require arranged marriages.It is against abortion but not against contraception. I could go on but the point is that the Koran teaches Muslims that men and women are equal.The education of women and girls is every bit as important as the education of men and boys.That women have as much right to be financially independant as men.That Muslim women in effect have as much right to be in control of their destinies as men.It is cultural values in SOME Muslim communities that are in effect condemning SOME Muslim women in this country to living in a twilight world where they are in effect second class citizens.Islam itself is not the problem as i,ve said a zillion times before.

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  176. Bunting (echoed here)

    "And yes, there are instances of patriarchy where some women might be encouraged or even forced to wear a full veil by their husbands or fathers. But generalisations don't fit. Increasingly, young women are choosing to wear the full veil, seeing it as a powerful statement of identity."

    Now there's a contradiction here isnt there, a dilemma:

    If it is being chosen by the women then banning it would deprive them of the choice, they can either stay at home by choice, or leave without veiling by choice.

    If, on the other hand, it is true that "if it is banned then their husbands wont let them leave the house", then they are not "choosing" to wear the veil - wearing the veil is a precondition for them being allowed out of the house by their husbands.

    They cannot both be choosing it themselves but also facing imprisonment by their husbands if veiling is banned - that doesnt make sense.

    Anyways, im off to bed, all this veil rowing has tired me out...

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  177. jay

    there are lots of people that do things in the name of religion that are in fact contradictory but nevertheless they say that they chose to do it because for them it is part of their faith.
    This law quite clearly demonstrates IMO that banning niqabs and burqas (infact this woman wore a niqab not a burqa as it said in this report) actually has had a even more negative effect on this woman's life

    "---But her party colleague, Sara Paladini, said it was the mayor’s by-law that was discriminatory. She had concealed her face behind a Western-style hat and scarf outside the same Novara post office without any reaction from the police." so in fact was islamophobic!

    In fact Souab Sbai is an MP for Berlusconi's party not the opposition and I can't find anything about further action being taken. The fact that the poor woman only left the house ONCE a week to go the mosque before she was fined doesn't seem to have worried anyone.......

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  178. Right, that's me out too.

    Night folks!!

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  179. Good words throughout the day, Mr Dixon. G'night.

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  180. Gandolfo, you want to talk about my mistakes last night?

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  181. James, got your email, thanks.

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  182. (Seen through a burka)

    Mama ! He's makin eyes at me!

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  183. Bitterweed

    Yeah i take your point.Some things are best seen and heard through a burqua!

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  184. Indeed Paul
    I'm bored with the whole debate (see above recommendations)

    Here's Marianne Faithful. Sad. But not bad.

    Nite.

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  185. heyhabib
    That was fucking horrible. Cheers !

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  186. Hello to BB, just about caught up on the thread, things are the way they have to be. Don't worry about that. x

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  187. This rocks though habster

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Ssk7-ModU&feature=player_embedded#!

    Now. Midnight. Bed.

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  188. Happy end of the aniversaire of your bastille you French heroes !

    Shit.

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  189. Right, me and you outside now!

    Damn good version your tune, by the way... oooh like it lots. Ever been to the Band On The Wall in Manchester?

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  190. Bloody hell, in late and just skimmed the thread.
    See there's mention of the Laurie Penny piece. Not her worst, but it's centred on that fucking stupid "Suggest a cut" website. As was Chris Dillow's piece yesterday. As is the Zoe Williams piece that went up this evening.
    The Guardian is being fucking spineless in not tackling welfare reform horrors head-on, as has been endlessly requested. They also, and this is possibly the reason, singularly lack writers in their circle with either enough personal lived experience, or sufficient proximity to those getting WCA shafted now, to do the topic justice. As for investigative journalism, forget it. The paper seems to have done so. Better off looking in Private Eye for the skinny on ATOS,A4E etc.

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  191. Hey Habib! I think we have de-synchronised diurnal/nocturnal activity! Salam and Sat Sri Akal. Hope u are TeeK Tak. Have to have a tunes night soon. Really off to bed now. L8rs : - )

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