Boris and the Burqa

Something Donald Trump is very good at, and I’m sure he does it deliberately, is forcing his opponents to defend the indefensible. Probably the best example is when he referred to members of MS-13 – a particularly vicious Salvadoran gang who hack off people’s heads – as “animals”, causing liberals to line up and attack him over his choice of words. Ordinary Americans, who hitherto had thought MS-13 an element both sides could agree was beyond the pale, watched with interest as Democrats went on television to defend them. Yes, these guys:

Now I am sure Boris Johnson was looking to provoke when he likened women in burqas to letterboxes, but this could have been straight out of Trump’s playbook: it appears rather a lot of people who don’t like Johnson, i.e. remainers, wet Tories, and lefties have taken to social media to call him racist and, incredibly, defend the burqa. Meanwhile, ordinary people who are getting rather irritated by the increasingly common sight of burqa-clad women wandering through British streets can scarcely believe what they’re seeing. Never one to miss an opportunity to shoot another of her own toes off, Theresa May has waded in – as usual on the wrong side. Given Johnson might well challenge May for the Prime Minister’s job over the next few weeks, this can only be to his advantage.

I think as the ruling classes, media, and their metropolitan cheerleaders become ever-more out of touch, provoking them into a succession of Marie Antoinette moments will become a common tactic for populist politicians. I expect Johnson in this case stumbled upon it in the course of his usual trouble-making, but he and others must surely have noted the own-goal his opponents have subsequently scored. They will also be aware of Trump’s antics, and how effective they are. So I think we’ll see more of this; Lord knows, there are enough topics on which one could state a blunt opinion and have most of the country nodding in agreement while the chattering classes go into yet another meltdown.

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47 thoughts on “Boris and the Burqa

  1. Couldn’t agree more.

    The attacks on Boris are ugly. Lots of people who should know better saying that women should be free to wear what they want. Then muslim women come out and say if they don’t wear it they risk being shunned or beaten up – are they free to be beaten? The threat of violence against those choosing not to wear it seems far worse than the threat of mockery of those who choose to wear it – yet somehow that isn’t something people want to dig into.

    Once again the people claiming to be the nicest, are standing up for or hiding behaviour that disgusts any normal person. The only cheery news is that most of the polls show that normal people are far far more sensible than the bubble-heads.

  2. I think May saw an opportunity to destroy Boris’s leadership potential.

    A cynical move from her, when in normal times you would just ride the story out of the news, as this damages the tory party. In effect she hopes to trade off damaging her own party in order to undermine a rival.

    Considering her record of judgement and political calls, this will backfire, in both damaging her, her party and strengthening Boris as a potential replacement.

    Oh and yes I’ve noticed too the ‘defend the indefensible’, apparently its not enough to oppose a ban and condemn racist harrassment, you have to convince yourself that such dress is rebellious and progressive and not nearly always an expression of hardcore religious conservativism at odds with the politics of the liberal elites and the left.

    I dont get it. There is such a thing as negative capability, to oppose bans, to oppose even anyone whose an ‘outsider’ telling women what they should wear but also arguing that such dress is reactionary and not a progressive development in the UK.

  3. Soon we will see Boris Derangement Syndrome, similar (though necessarily on a smaller scale) than the Trump Derangement Syndrome that fuels so much hatred in the US of A.

    Interesting how speaking something openly that many people think and privately speak about is an igniting force for hatred, especially by people who say they ‘love everyone.’

    We are entering a time of increasing animosity. Dangerously so; before long our lunatic lefties will like some lefties in the States, loudly call for the death of people they don’t like, or rather, who hold opinions not 100 per cent aligned with their own (And yes, it is always fun to watch the left eat itself: a recent demonstration oop north by gays opposed to Sharia law brought howling outrage from people who actively support gays but felt that adoring a restrictive religious law was more virtuous on this occasion. Socialism though was always self-destructive, so expect running battles between gays for Sharia and those opposed to the veil)

    One minor point here: it isn’t a burqa that is often the issue, but the niqab. Same effect, but with more eyes.

  4. “I expect Johnson in this case stumbled upon it in the course of his usual trouble-making”

    I don’t think Boris does much stumbling, unless it’s preplanned and scripted.
    I see a very carefully worded and totally deliberate strategy to get the grass roots on Boris’s side, while making his opponents look ridiculous by taking a position so obviously divergent from that of the public (excluding the PC fringe who hate Boris anyway, so who cares about them).

    Moreover, his position of ridiculing the garment, while ostensibly opposing a ban on it, establishes a ‘reasonable’ position, while openly inciting support for such a ban, increasing his grass roots support further.

    This was the opening salvo of Boris for No.10 by 10/10
    Cometh the hour….choose the best available even if its not 100% to your liking, it’s better than that awful incompetent in office now.

  5. If I was a Conservative MP, or party member, I would be within my rights to be furious at Boris. You can be pretty sure that his provocation was not intended to boost support for this government, nor calibrated to help the Conservative party in general, and not even because he cared particularly about the issue, but purely to boost the prospects (particularly in the leadership stakes) of one Boris Johnson.

    It’s particularly poorly timed given the Labour antisemitism self-destruction that was hogging the headlines – by bringing the Tories into a racism controversy at this juncture, he has committed the Napoleonic sin of interrupting his enemy while they were making a mistake.

  6. @Tim the coder

    Quite agree with why he’s doing it.

    Moreover, his position of ridiculing the garment, while ostensibly opposing a ban on it, establishes a ‘reasonable’ position, while openly inciting support for such a ban, increasing his grass roots support further.

    Where Boris has miscalculated, I think, is that there has been a shift in the public sphere since 2013 when the issue was last in the news with the French ban. The thing that’s got him into trouble isn’t his liberal, and more traditionally British, viewpoint that sartorial bans are just not the way we like to go about doing things but the provocative, posturing language he used. Saying a subset of Muslim ladies look like criminals or letter-boxes is insulting in a way that is not redeemed by saying he supports their right to do so. It echoes racist jokes. SJWs were always going to decry such language, but it is hard for senior political figures to come out to bat for him after writing that either.

    In 2013, Emily Thornberry (Labour) said she wouldn’t want a woman wearing a burka to look after her child but they can work in backroom offices doing records; Anna Soubry (a very “wet” Tory) called the burka a “peculiar concept”, Ken Clarke (Tory arch-wet) called the burka “a kind of bag”.

    Standards have shifted on what it is deemed (who by?) acceptable for politicians to utter in public and I don’t think any of those three – perhaps Clarke, he might be past caring – would couch their views in those terms now. The language seems insufficiently accepting or tolerant.

    Boris likes to play the provocateur and has made judgement mistakes before when pushing things too far – anyone remember the Liverpool apology? It’s tricky to push just the right amount to create a reaction, but a reaction in which those who react actually show their worse colours by doing so, and where the people who you need on-side will either step in to support you or at least not feel compelled to condemn or punish you. Trickier still when you have made yourself something of a hate figure to many, and there are legions of people just waiting for you to slip up so they can pile on the bandwagon. Perhaps he had not taken into account the dangers inherent now that his Brexit role has ticked off millions of keyboard warriors; perhaps he was out of practice from column-writing; perhaps he hadn’t taken into account how much more language-sensitive the world has become even in the last couple of years; perhaps it’s just the same kind of hubristic slip he made over Liverpool.

    Ultimately it won’t have helped much with his leadership bid. He’ll only reach the grassroots if he gets enough MPs to support him into the final two, and the sense that he’s let the side down with this controversy while the focus was on Labour’s troubles won’t help with that. Also, while polling suggests that among Tory leadership hopefuls he has the most “pluses” by a little way, his negative ratings are massively worse so his net figures are poor. To get onto the ballot he is relying on Tory MPs who do not personally like him or agree with him or even trust him, but are fearful of losing their seats and hope that Boris has a connection with voters that could sprinkle some magic on Tory results. This episode will likely harden his negative poll ratings even if it gains him new public supporters too, and reinforces to his potential MP backers that as an electoral asset he may self-combust.

  7. There are three possibilities here.

    If the wet Tories want to keep the status quo, they can dismiss Boris as just Boris, painting him as that doddering old uncle in the corner who is a bit embarrassing but who we all love dearly. This both keeps him onboard and delivers a short sharp kick to his ego.

    If they’re stupid though, they’ll kick him out and make a martyr of him. He launches his own party, invites all the disgruntled Tories and Ukippers to join him, divides the right-wing vote, and propels Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour into power for the next decade.

    The third possibility is simply to make Boris PM. This is the ideal outcome for the country. (Boris is far from perfect, but he’s the best we’ve got, other than Mogg.) But my guess is he’s waiting for Brexit to hit the fan before taking the reins.

  8. ” watched with interest as Democrats went on television to defend them. Yes, these guys:”

    Are those guys the Democrats or MS13?

    [gets coat]

  9. Firstly their is no requirement in scripture for either the Burqa or the Niqab, as has been confirmed by those Muslims who’s comments have reached me. Indeed I discover via an Imam that they are banned at the Kaaba. So there was no attack on either Islam or it’s practitioners.
    Indeed I have read reports from Muslim women expressing their fear that these garments be imposed on them, and describing the I’ll effects on the lives of friends who have suffered this.
    Boris remarks were therefore pro Muslims (the people) and not anti Islam.
    As far as I am aware no Tory has ever expressed a favourable view of these garments, and several are on record disparaging it, albeit in less memorable terms. Hence any split in the Tory party over this is the responsibility of those taking issue with Boris’s article, not Boris. Which would appear to be primarily those with whom the membership already had issues over Brexit.
    We hear that there is to be an inquiry into the matter under the Tory code of conduct. We hear also that the Chairman and Party Leader have already decided that Boris is in the wrong. Since the code calls for confidentiality that is already impossible. The requirement for the enquiry to be impartial can only now be met if both the Chairman and the Leader are replaced.
    Once again May has bodged it. She needs to go even at the risk of Corbyn who could not last long.

  10. Could a ban be pro-freedom? If >50% of the people wearing these are doing so out of fear and are being coerced, then <50% are choosing to do so. Then a ban would have the net effect of letting more people express their free choices. We can put children in the coerced camp when doing the math.

    I will disagree that Boris miscalculated. Just as £350m per week was an aggressive number in the possible range, it resulted in one side explaining again and again that actually it was only 290, 250, whatever – most people just heard "whatever the number it sure is a lot".

    Here, an army of people are lined up to try and convince you that he is racist (despite taking a more moderate position than countries that ban); that he is rude (because he takes the position that to tolerate in no way creates an obligation to respect – and there is a very long history of robust disrespect in the UK); that some people shouldn't be offended (and everyone notices that "some" rather than the equal treatment we should have). The people screaming will never vote for the conservatives. He shows that he can energise the tory base, which is currently utterly fed up with TM. He is saying the opposite of much of the establishment nonsense (london crime is up and time is being wasted on him?). I think he managed to sculpt and pitch a perfect demonstration of why he would do a decent job. Mr Mogg also has my respect (once you listen to what he says, rather than read the reporting on him) but if forced to bet I can see BJ having the edge over JRM in a general election. As for a challenge, you need to know you can unseat her due to the risk of attack, but once that tipping point is reached it is hard to believe anyone is going to stand up for TM and her support will vanish.

    What makes TM so suicidal is not just her shitty deal. The timing means transition and negotiation failure stories drag on for 2 more years, and another "cliff edge" shortly before a GE. Or just let the clock run out, don't sign the withdrawal agreement, any important issues will be sorted very quickly, and 2 years to open up to trade and grow before you hit a GE. If TM wanted to destroy the country, the conservatives reputation, and hand the UK to the commies I don't know what she would do differently.

  11. @MyBurningEars
    “The language seems insufficiently accepting or tolerant”
    Only inside the shrieking SJW echo chamber of the twatosphere, which is making itself less-relevant daily.

    I think Boris has judged that the time is right to puncture this bubble and appeal to everyone outside it: the electorate. He may be wrong, or premature of course. But his comments were funny, timely and true, as Mr Bean agreed. He could have used Daleks and Pepperpots, so he held his fire.

    In other respects, I agree with your comment. Mostly. 🙂

    But if ridiculing the look of a garment is now off limits, well that’s the fashion industry done for!

  12. I’m puzzled why Boris brought this up now. Perhaps it’s the effect of looking at those necklaces that look like leg irons TM wears.

    Unlike Boris I can think of good reasons to ban the binbag. Surely no woman (with the possible exception of a rape victime with PTSD) would want to be at once so conspicuous and so cut off from civil society. It’s an unhygienic and unhealthy garment. You would be breathing a good proportion of your own expired air (try using a snorkel for hours and hours) you would put yourself and your child at risk of rickets. We spend vast sums trying to reduce smoking and drinking and nothing on this menace to public health.

  13. He is not my cup of tea but at least and unlike the majority of european leaders he has children, that means I can tolerate him. I have always said that Brexit won’t happen, so whatever way it pans out it will further delay Brexit and ostensibly defeat it.

    And nice picture of the lads, I have used that before quite telling.

  14. I was very much amused when, on my way to a meeting in Birmingham this morning, I was passing a red letter box on a narrow pavement, and moved slightly out of the way of a lady obviously about to post a letter. Coincidentally, at that very moment, coming the other way was a mobile, all-in-black letter box. Same shape and height, but the lady posting the letter wasn’t colour-blind thankfully, and managed to use the right one. ‘Are the letter-boxes in Boris’s London black now that Khan is mayor?’ I thought.

  15. The Left demand that women are perfectly entitled to wear what they like when its a question of them wanting (apparently) to freely don the niqab, yet the right of a page three girl (or grid girl) to wear what she likes must be curtailed at all costs. In the former the right of the individual trumps the collective effect of that choice, but in the latter the collective effect is more important than the individual’s right to choose. Principles eh?

  16. Page three!

    Does anyone know where that crusty, glum, dour, calvinistic Scot and pedantic poster called dearieme is these days?

    I kind of miss him.

  17. Which is the biggest vote-loser? Appearing to be islamophpbic, or actually being anti-Semitic?

    Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

  18. Tim, I just read the Independent link where Theresa calls for Boris to apologise, this term has come up twice for me this week in fairly significant issues.

    I had one of my guys pull out of a contract yesterday and overseen his proposed withdrawal email. His second sentence said that we apologise….., I said to him that we had spent a lot of time on this bid and we certainly were not apologising and not to say that. He replied that he was Irish catholic and that’s what they do, seriously, he said that.

    That’s not what we sent and no he did not have to genuflect to me for changing it.

    I had a big run in with a peer earlier this week about something, I let him get his shit of his liver and all of that, and then when he was done I said that there was nothing wrong with what I had done. He went complete ape shit (Saffa) more so about me saying that what I done was okay and although it wasn’t said as he left my office all shaky, he was actually angling for an apology from me.

    Apologies are sincere and should not be given lightly.

  19. “Please tell me that UK tabloids still have a three page bird, do they”

    Not being a purchaser of the tabloids I’m not really sure. Not topless for sure, that got canned years ago. I think the Sun still has a semi-naked young lady on or around page three, I occasionally see a copy in the barbers when getting my hair cut.

  20. @zut alors
    I’m puzzled why Boris brought this up now.

    My Occam’s razor take is just that he had a column to write, a deadline to fulfil, and a current prominent news story was the Danish ban’s protests and first prosecution. I think he saw that as an ideal opportunity to get his material submitted on time, to bolster his grassroots Tory popularity by bringing up a difficult subject where other politicians were fearing to tread, yet at the same time burnish his liberal credentials by reiterating that he opposed the Danish approach and found sartorial bans fundamentally un-British. There must have been some intention to provoke – he surely knew that the letterbox and bank robber jibes in particular were basically poking lefties with a stick – but I don’t think he expected it to blow up in his face like it has, nor realise that so many Tory MPs and peers were going to take him to task over it. Getting hauled in front of disciplinary proceedings cannot have been part of his gameplan, and unless he was mad he can’t have been thinking “now Labour are wrapped up in a messy racism row, it’s about time the Conservative party started tearing itself up over one too.” The harm this has done to his leadership ambitions strengthens my suspicion this was a miscalculation of language and atmosphere, in the same manner as his Liverpudlian “grief wallowing” comments over a decade ago.

    @Tim the Coder

    Only inside the shrieking SJW echo chamber of the twatosphere, which is making itself less-relevant daily.

    I think Boris has judged that the time is right to puncture this bubble and appeal to everyone outside it: the electorate. He may be wrong, or premature of course. But his comments were funny, timely and true…

    I could have phrased what I wrote better, since it was not the veracity or humour of Johnson’s comments I wanted to pick up on. There is a freedom of speech issue in which it may well be beneficial for people to keep pricking away so that certain broad classes of opinion remain publicly utterable, but if what’s expressed comes across as insulting, belittling or exclusionary then it might be better for society if it comes from a satirist or comedian than a politician. In terms of how well-timed the comments are, from a narrow political point of view it was terrible – handed Labour a massive get-out-of-jail card on their anti-Semitism row that was consuming them. That is partisan tunnel vision and ignores many wider issues, including the actual substance of what Boris had to say, but the broader point is neither what this row is all about, nor the thing that affects his leadership prospects (which is, after all, the thing that matters to Johnson himself in all of this). None of his potential leadership rivals would be up for a burka ban either, but they have adapted better to the era of social media-driven mass offence-taking and would have found a choice of words to voice their concerns that is trickier to call out.

    The SJW-sphere is not all that reflective of the opinions of the masses – all but the dimmest politicians, or those who confine themselves to those circles (surely to some extent I repeat myself), are well aware of this. Nevertheless, the scope of what is practicable or advisable to say in the public sphere is increasingly constrained, and the Dark Window of the Unsayable moves apace. When Obama reiterated his belief that marriage was between a man and a woman, he was expressing a view that had majority support not just in the society he was speaking at that moment, but thousands of years of practice across more global civilisations than it is possible to count. The only serious historical discrepancy to his statement was whether, in some cultures, one or both “a” could be replaced by “one or more”, and even that was not a live issue in the America in which Obama was speaking. But in the America of today, a politician who claims marriage is between a man and a woman is a grotesque and virulent homophobe, who does not deserve to grace public office due to their moral ineligibility. This is regardless of whether that opinion is shared by a large portion of the society they seek to represent. You could count the timespan in which the window shifted this far as a matter of months.

    In 2013, mainstream British politicians could get away with saying they didn’t want a veiled woman looking after their young children, that it was peculiar, that it looked like a bag… but I think this is no longer a practical possibility in 2018, unless they are all battened down for the ensuing storm and have the stomach to face up to disciplinary proceedings. The window will move on to other topics too. Johnson hadn’t been working as a columnist for a while, and I suspect that the fine judgement that’s called for when playing the provocateur was left precariously unbalanced by his unawareness of just how far the window had shifted in his time away.

  21. @Jim – “I occasionally see a copy in the barbers when getting my hair cut.”

    Nice one!

    I have memories of page three on the coffee table whilst my mum and my sisters got on with the house work and never batted an eyelid. No offence intended .

    I am just back from the Mid East (again) including Kuwait and all the birds there that are heavily hidden wear the best Victoria Secret lingerie, check out their sales figures if you don’t believe me, some of them come on to you as well.

    I reject any Brit that supports this crap no apologies necessary.

  22. MyBurningEars: You may well be right that Boris misjudgded this, in racing to complete his column deadline. That’s certainly very plausible and compatible with the facts.

    But if he didn’t, if he did engineer this, as others have asked: “why now?”

    Perhaps because he knows the Chequers ‘proposal’ is an abject surrender that will destroy the Conservatives and his ambitions with it.That the current PM has no hope of doing anything else, and maybe is even advancing the surrender, for her own post-Westminster benefit.
    Perhaps he realises, now his only hope of ever becoming PM is to arrange a quiet coup during the summer hols, that leaves him enough time to make a good stab at a WTA no-deal walkout, the only alternative to unconditional surrender that now seems possible.
    If he fails in his coup, well, no loss over a post-Chequers sellout, he’s done for, either way.
    If he succeeds in the coup, but too late, he fails in the Brexit fallout.
    But if he succeeds now, quickly, and can make at least a fighting bash at a ‘Brexit’ victory, then…
    So his moment is now, or never. Against that, the Labour anti-Semitic thing is minor (to him) and had started to lose the headlines anyway.
    And May’s response: brainless virtue signalling and internal kangaroo court reeducation. Own goal after own goal.
    There must be an awful lot of Conservative MP’s thinking “How on earth can I keep my seat next election…what option is there…”

    Well, there’s no harm in having some optimism is there! 🙂

  23. Boris’s apology should be on the following lines:
    Sir, my reading of the Koran and the Hadith, confined to me by several Imams, showed the Burqa as not required by scripture.. I apologise for this, as I now realise Mrs. May and Mr. are in fact the world authorities on Islamic scripture, far superior to any Imam.
    Further I wrote opposing a ban on this garment, sadly without checking that a ban is now party policy, for which I also apologise.
    I would appreciate being informed why it is policy to ban something that is according to the PM required by the Koran.
    Finally I withdraw my remarks as to the appearance of this garment. It is.clearly charming, and I look forward to seeing the PM wearing it in the house. Perhaps some other ladies , Ms Soubrey or perhaps lady Niger might do so as well.

  24. Why thank you the honourable Mr Johnson, your apology is wholeheartedly accepted and I commend it to the house.

  25. Who know’s what’s going in Boris’s head but I think MBE may on to something with the rushed copy explanation. Max Hastings has mentioned Boris’s history on this front, often being quite late and needing a few reminders.

    If that is the case he may having been trying to get the classic liberal side of the Tory party and the undecided on side, but at the last minute worried that he would lose the Tory right. so threw them a bone.

    I can’t help thinking that if he’d called for a ban he’d have got far less flak.

    Pat on August 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm:
    Bravo! You win the Internet.

  26. May & CCHQ foot shooting Yes

    Oxford Iman supports Boris comment/joke, but want buqua/nicab banned.

    Rowan Atkinson says it is a good joke & funny and never apologise for a joke

    The Guardian 6 Nov 2013

    Since the burqa eye-opening has been called a letterbox slit, and with the privatisation of the Royal Mail, seize the moment to set up an independent mobile mail service, AKA The Burqa Post.’

    https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/08/letterbox-gate-who-said-it-first-boris-or-the-guardian/

  27. “MyBurningEars on August 10, 2018 at 4:52 pm said:

    @zut alors
    I’m puzzled why Boris brought this up now. ”

    Who cares? He did and it has worked to his advantage and against the Fish Faced Cow and her treachery.

    “My Occam’s razor take is just that he had a column to write, a deadline to fulfil, and a current prominent news story was the Danish ban’s protests and first prosecution. I think he saw that as an ideal opportunity to get his material submitted on time, to bolster his grassroots Tory popularity by bringing up a difficult subject where other politicians were fearing to tread, yet at the same time burnish his liberal credentials by reiterating that he opposed the Danish approach and found sartorial bans fundamentally un-British.”

    Again who cares–I hope he planned it catrefully but luck helps.

    ” There must have been some intention to provoke – he surely knew that the letterbox and bank robber jibes in particular were basically poking lefties with a stick – but I don’t think he expected it to blow up in his face like it has, nor realise that so many Tory MPs and peers were going to take him to task over it.”
    A load of WOMI remainiac scum, crawling RoP ass-kissing trash who live to fill their own boots and piss on this country don’t like Boris or his words. Tough shit to them and double -plus good to everybody else.

    “Getting hauled in front of disciplinary proceedings cannot have been part of his gameplan,”

    Now the backlash has hit–let’s see if BluLabour’s Wank Force Z have the bottle to follow thro’ with a hearing or not. I bet not.

    “and unless he was mad he can’t have been thinking “now Labour are wrapped up in a messy racism row, it’s about time the Conservative party started tearing itself up over one too.”

    You need to escape from whatever dream you are in. ZanU are hurting sure but if you think that the FFC’s treason is ok so long as BluLab win the next GE then you are a big part of the problem. If the FFC succeeds in pissing on Brexit let the People’s Antisemite win. That will ensure no tee-heeing remainiacs will be anywhere in site.

    The Cow and Grandpa Death are in a race to the bottom of the pan to see who’s the biggest turd there.

    “The harm this has done to his leadership ambitions strengthens my suspicion this was a miscalculation of language and atmosphere,”

    It has massively increased his chances.

    ” in the same manner as his Liverpudlian “grief wallowing” comments over a decade ago.”

    He looks to have learned a little from Trump.

    @Tim the Coder

    Only inside the shrieking SJW echo chamber of the twatosphere, which is making itself less-relevant daily.

    I think Boris has judged that the time is right to puncture this bubble and appeal to everyone outside it: the electorate. He may be wrong, or premature of course. But his comments were funny, timely and true…

    “I could have phrased what I wrote better, since it was not the veracity or humour of Johnson’s comments I wanted to pick up on. There is a freedom of speech issue in which it may well be beneficial for people to keep pricking away so that certain broad classes of opinion remain publicly utterable, but if what’s expressed comes across as insulting, belittling or exclusionary then it might be better for society if it comes from a satirist or comedian than a politician.”

    You may walk on eggs around WOMI SJW shite but vast numbers of ordinary folk don’t. As from Trump hearing the plain ugly truth is like honey and nectar poured into our shell-likes.

    ” In terms of how well-timed the comments are, from a narrow political point of view it was terrible – handed Labour a massive get-out-of-jail card on their anti-Semitism row that was consuming them.”

    Oh really? They are still down against the FFC. But so what?

    If you truly want to win the next GE–dump the FFC a s a p. Next step–BoJo as PM with JRM as Brexit minister. No more negos with bad faith scum on both sides. Fire Oily fucking Robbins for Gross Misconduct and confiscate his pension. Brexit on WTO Rules full steam ahead.

    ” including the actual substance of what Boris had to say, but the broader point is neither what this row is all about, nor the thing that affects his leadership prospects (which is, after all, the thing that matters to Johnson himself in all of this). None of his potential leadership rivals would be up for a burka ban either, but they have adapted better to the era of social media-driven mass offence-taking and would have found a choice of words to voice their concerns that is trickier to call out.

    The SJW-sphere is not all that reflective of the opinions of the masses – all but the dimmest politicians, or those who confine themselves to those circles (surely to some extent I repeat myself), are well aware of this. Nevertheless, the scope of what is practicable or advisable to say in the public sphere is increasingly constrained, and the Dark Window of the Unsayable moves apace. When Obama reiterated his belief that marriage was between a man and a woman, he was expressing a view that had majority support not just in the society he was speaking at that moment, but thousands of years of practice across more global civilisations than it is possible to count. The only serious historical discrepancy to his statement was whether, in some cultures, one or both “a” could be replaced by “one or more”, and even that was not a live issue in the America in which Obama was speaking. But in the America of today, a politician who claims marriage is between a man and a woman is a grotesque and virulent homophobe, who does not deserve to grace public office due to their moral ineligibility. This is regardless of whether that opinion is shared by a large portion of the society they seek to represent. You could count the timespan in which the window shifted this far as a matter of months.”

    So snot nosed SJW scum just wiped out thousands of years of custom and the entire UK is now shite-scared of incurring the bad opinion of young WOMI snot.

    You may be a frightened little rabbit but don’t come speaking for me.

    “In 2013, mainstream British politicians could get away with saying they didn’t want a veiled woman looking after their young children, that it was peculiar, that it looked like a bag… but I think this is no longer a practical possibility in 2018, unless they are all battened down for the ensuing storm and have the stomach to face up to disciplinary proceedings. ”

    You reek of fear–swallow the crap you are peddling and we might as well pack up and go home. The scum of the left have won.

    “The window will move on to other topics too. Johnson hadn’t been working as a columnist for a while, and I suspect that the fine judgement that’s called for when playing the provocateur was left precariously unbalanced by his unawareness of just how far the window had shifted in his time away.”

    Bull-fucking shit mate. Absolute weak, despicable bullshit.

    BoJo has said what most would and do say if they could get access to the media and done himself a power of good. If you want to help scrape off all the bollocks about SJW triumph and what we are “allowed to say now” and help fuck up fish face and the gang in every possible way

  28. @Pat

    Love it! Boris would never have the nerve, though. In fairness, it’s not the veracity of Johnson’s statements about Islamic jurisprudence nor his proposed policy solution he’s in trouble for, it’s his tone of language – as far as his critics see it, his echoes of racist jokes, his “othering” of veil-wearers (note that his column is exclusionary in the way it makes no sense if addressed to a veil-wearer; he is clearly addressing non-veil-wearing Brits who are uncomfortable about veil-wearing), and the way he strips veil-wearers of their agency (plenty can be found for a vox-pop in which they explain it is their own personal choice, for reasons of identity, connection to the divine, or even self-confidence, rather than a consequence of oppression).

    This is important in so far as it’s the mechanics at play, which links stuff-what-he-wrote to storm-what-he-provoked. Had he have framed exactly the same argument, making exactly the same points, in a more serious, more inclusive and perhaps more “patrician” voice, I suspect the column would have passed largely unremarked. Maybe a bit of lip from harder right figures who thought he should have called for a ban, I suppose. Which brings me on to…

    @BiND

    Yep, his reputation for dashing off late columns to meet looming deadlines informed my suspicion. And I also suspect you’re right that in calling for a ban he might have hit far less choppy water, even from the usual suspects. Because it’s in the nature of the man’s give-and-take argumentative style that he’d have been far more conciliatory to veil-wearers were he proposing to remove their rights from them. He’d have poked less fun at them. He would have been forced to address the issue of their agency – something along the lines of “for those of you who have made the choice to wear the veil because of personal or spiritual reasons, I’m sorry to say that for reasons X, Y and Z your right to do so is outweighed by our society’s norms and needs.” Not that I can see him actually arguing that – that kind of illiberalism would be very un-Boris.

    @Ecks

    Them’s the rules though. I didn’t write them. Boris was playing a game, he knew he was playing one, and he thought he knew the rules. Give the ant-hill a poke and get a reaction, but poke just hard enough to get the right reaction. Provoke them into a counter-attack that is utterly harmless to you, yet reflects badly on them – exactly the point of Tim’s header. Boris pitched it right, I suspect, for the spirit of five years ago. He pitched it wrong for the spirit of today because the rules that link what you say to the reaction you get have moved on – hence my suspicion of out of practice and rushing.

    For his troubles he landed himself a disciplinary procedure and calls from his peers to be suspended or expelled from the party. This from a guy who absolutely needs the support of the more “establishment” MPs to get onto the final two of the hypothetical leadership ballot – without that, any enthusiasm for him in the grassroots is worth a big fat zilch. He failed last time. Any possibility of a second chance has been very badly burned by this blowing up in his face. He could do with auditioning for the alternative statesman role, not playing the jester-provocateur in a one-man war against political correctness.

    (This is a quite distinct issue from whether I’m personally glad that there’s someone up there pricking the bubble and reminding the political establishment that much of the populace has a rather different set of opinions than they do. But that’s entirely besides the point. I’m not one of the 316 other Tory MPs in whose hands Johnson’s fate rests, nor am I a paid-up party member should enough of them decide to grant him a run at it. He’s doing me a favour, but he’s not doing himself a favour at all.)

  29. Tory MPs: Forget your bullshit fantasy of 316 of them sitting under spotlights looking grave, stern and forbidding like the fucking Court of Owls out of a Batman comic. Men of character they are not unless the character -type you are looking for is BAD. Most of them are chancers, self-serving scum.

    There are 20 remainiac loons who would cut their own bollocks off in service to the EU. Soubry already has but gin lessened the pain.

    100 or so genuine Brexit supporters .

    The rest are remain inclined but are self-serving pricks who know they will never get another cushy number such as they have. Under Corbin’s Marxian paradise most would struggle to eat. No more jobs/directorships for the boys etc. What is required for a proper Brexit ( of which BoJo would be the figurehead) is to put the fucking fear of Christ up the pack of cunts. They are slowly getting the message that May’s sellout is the end of them . Never mind if Boris Johnson has–whatever. Most of them have likely done worse but not had the publicity. The idea is slowly dawning that they are not independent of reality nor their party members nor the public. The idea grows in their empty skulls that if they piss on other people then people are going to piss back on them. Once the idea dawns that Brexit is their only chance to keep on troughing and pick up the pension they will carry Boris head high to No 10. And trample on the Fish Faced Cows carcase to do so.

  30. I believe that what BJ did is called “pulling a Trump.”

    What appears careless, unthinking, off-the-cuff, and career-ending can, with the right amount of chutzpah, be a game-winner.

    There are a lot of voters out there yearning for some unvarnished truth-telling.

  31. Today:

    Rachel Johnson: I do apologise for my brother Boris… he didn’t go NEARLY far enough!

    Critics accused him of dehumanising women, completely missing the main point which is that the burka/niqab dehumanises women. They do not express individuality, they suppress it.

    My brother Boris argued the law should not tell ‘a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear in a public place when she is simply minding her own business’. I don’t agree. I’d go along with the Danes, and France, Belgium, Bulgaria and Austria, in banning them.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6050835/Rachel-Johnson-apologise-brother-Boris-didnt-NEARLY-far-enough.html

    Note: Rachel voted Remain in 2016 and Lib Dem in 2015 & 2017.

    The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said burkas and niqabs should be outlawed

    Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said ‘oppressive’ veils should not become ‘normalised’. He added he ‘strongly supported’ the position taken by Bishop Nazir-Ali.

    He said: ‘We need to be able to identify people in government buildings, transport centres and tourist attractions, to take three examples. Security concerns trump cultural rights.’
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6050977/Pakistani-born-Church-England-cleric-voices-support-outlawing-veil-public.html

  32. I think an Australian politician has just tried something like this. In a nutshell, he said diversity sucks and immigrants should be European, and should assimilate.

    I haven’t got around to watching the speech yet, so I can’t even say for certain that he was trolling – but if so, he’s had mixed results. He’s definitely got lefties screeching, and he’s probably got ordinary people nodding their heads at much of what he said.

    But – and it’s a big “but” – he used the phrase “final solution to the immigration problem”. Obviously he’s not suggesting that immigrants be rounded up and killed; the question is whether he used that phrase deliberately. If so, then I’d his troll-fu isn’t up to Trump’s level. He’s managed to trigger lefties super-hard and generate heaps of publicity, always a plus for a minor party politician. But he had to know that anyone to the right of Trotsky gets called a Nazi these days, and he’s made it really easy for that charge to stick.

    A reminder that this sort of thing is best left to the experts.

  33. It gets better, Fraser Anning only got 19 votes and got into the senate on the back of his predecessor being stood down on failing to renounce his British Citizenship and then he flipped over from One Nation to old mate Katter’s Australia Party. Perfect storm.

    On the final solution question, no he didn’t mean that the immigrants should be transported to Madagascar.

  34. >Bardon, I always thought that dearime is a woman.

    He’s not a woman.

    He’s been the best British blog commentator for the best part of twenty years now. Hoping to see him back in action some day.

    (Professor Bunyip never came back, though.)

  35. Slightly OT, but in the same ballpark, anyone seen this:

    https://www.pluralist.com/posts/1824-millennial-couple-bikes-through-isis-territory-to-prove-humans-are-kind-and-gets-killed

    Millennial couple decide to cycle round the world to prove that ‘people are kind’, get murdered by ISIS nutters somewhere in the ‘stans. It seems to me rather like a parable for our times to be honest. A large proportion of the West has forgotten that the world is full of people who will rape and murder you much as look at you, and everywhere is not like western middle class suburbs.

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