RUTH DAVIDSON, leader of the Scottish Tories and widely tipped as a future PM, says a Muslim woman wearing a burka is no different from a Christian wearing a crucifix.
Ruth is a very intelligent woman and I find it hard to believe she can’t spot the obvious difference.
Rex Features Boris Johnson said that women who wear burkas look like ‘letterboxes’
Male and female Christians wear a crucifix, Ruth. But only women wear a burka.
In this scorchio summer, women in burkas have walked beside their menfolk wearing baseball caps, T-shirts and shorts.
That is why millions in this country struggle to see the burka as anything more than a means of subordinating women in a man’s world.
Racism doesn’t come into it. Islamophobia doesn’t come into it. The burka is an affront to a society that believes the same standards should apply to men and women, boys and girls. And that is why the vast majority of the British public would like to see the burka banned.
PA:Press Association Ruth Davidson is the leader of the Scottish Tories and made comparisons to wearing the burka and wearing a cross
The exquisite irony is that Boris Johnson is NOT one of the people who wants the burka banned.
And there are plenty of us who dislike the burka, who struggle to see how it can have any place in a society that believes men and women are equal, who do NOT want the burka outlawed.
Yes, the burka pushes our benign Western tolerance of other cultures to breaking point. Yes, the burka seems to actively and aggressively contradict all our notions of integration, sexual equality and an open society. But how can you believe in freedom yet tell people what they can and cannot wear?
And how can you believe in religious tolerance yet forbid an item of covering that is unique to one faith?
Boris Johnson says burkas make women look like ‘bank robbers and letter boxes’
I don’t want the burka banned but, at the same time, I can’t condone it.
How could I? As the father of a 16-year-old daughter who is being raised to believe she is the equal of any man or boy, I shudder when I see women or girls with nothing showing but their eyes.
The burka is a hostile symbol of separation from everything I believe in and everything my country stands for.
What troubles me most about the burka is the element of choice, the danger of coercion, the nagging feeling that — with our Western belief in personal freedom — we are tolerating the intolerant.
EPA Mr Johnson’s comments surrounding the burka have sparked outrage
Is EVERY woman and girl who wears the burka doing it of their own free will? Or are some of them wearing it because a community dominated by men requires them to do so?
And neither does anyone else because there is no way of ever knowing. So there is a serious, grown-up, respectful debate to be had about the place of the burka in modern Britain.
But frankly, we will never have it when Boris Johnson chucks around insults about “bank robbers” and “letterboxes”. When discussing the burka and why he does not believe it should be banned, Boris should have used the language of a statesman.
That’s what he got wrong. He has made the current debate less about the burka and more about Boris Johnson. And that is a real tragedy because there are brave Muslim women currently risking their lives on the streets of Iran to free themselves of the burka.
Getty Images – Getty Local people protest outside the Hillingdon Conservative Association office in Uxbridge
But if Boris got it wrong with his intemperate use of language, his hysterical opponents have also got it badly wrong. Those Remainers who would see love to see Johnson’s career crash and burn have picked the wrong fight to attempt to destroy him. His popularity is suddenly soaring.
At the very worst, Boris is guilty of poor taste. You would have to be a very sensitive snowflake indeed to believe his remarks make him guilty of any kind of hate crime.
Met police commissioner Cressida Dick, the most powerful cop in the country, confirmed that while some people undoubtedly found Boris’ words offensive, he was “engaging in a legitimate debate”. Dick stated that, after consulting senior officers who deal in hate crime, “what Mr Johnson said would not reach the bar for a criminal offence”.
You would never know it from the reaction of Johnson’s political opponents, though many of them feel EXACTLY the same way about the burka.
PA:Press Association Rowan Atkinson says Boris should not have to apologise for making a joke
“I wouldn’t want my four-year-old looked after by somebody wearing a burka,” one said.
“I wouldn’t want my elderly Mum looked after by somebody wearing a burka. They need to be able to show their face.”
The words of Johnson inciting the racist rabble in a cynical bid to grab the keys to 10 Downing Street? The blonde bombshell playing the populist card to whip up Islamophobia?
No: The thoughts of Labour’s Emily Thornberry, speaking on Question Time in 2013, shortly after Tory Ken Clarke had compared the burka to “a bag” — which is surely just as gratuitously offensive as Johnson comparing the burka to a letterbox.
The shrieks of outrage about Johnson’s comments have less to do with religious sensitivities and more to do using any weapon available to block Brexit.
Burka-wearing scientist Sahar Al-Faifi says Boris Johnson’s comments are making Muslim women ‘dehumanised’ and like ‘criminals’
But the Remainers have picked the wrong fight this time, just as the Tory high command have made themselves look pathetic by launching an investigation into Johnson’s remarks. Because the vast majority of British people would be very happy to never see a burka again in their lives.
I thought we had seen peak Boris.
Defending Johnson’s remarks as “a pretty good joke”, comic actor Rowan Atkinson insists: “All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them. You should only really apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.”
Mr Bean himself could surely not make a bigger mess of running this country than Theresa May — the Mrs Bean of British politics. But when Mr Bean has got your back, 10 Downing Street surely beckons.
We are all poorer when the truly rich go overseas
THE UK’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, is moving to Monaco and taking his £21billion fortune with him. Mr Ratcliffe, an eloquent supporter of Brexit, is apparently unhappy with the tax and business environment here. This is bad news because it means Jim, who grew up in a council house before making his fortune with chemicals company Ineos, will be paying taxes overseas. When taxes are too high, the truly rich move abroad. And we are all poorer. WHAT a crying shame staff at Gatwick have been banned from calling passengers “darling” and “love” – after just one person complained! But what about the people who didn’t complain? What about the millions of us who grew up with these harmless, friendly terms of endearment in the very air we breathed? We should have our say. Know what I mean, sweetheart? BRUSSELS is reportedly prepared to put an end to its insistence on freedom of movement if Theresa May makes more concessions. But she can’t. Because if this country is not free to make trade deals around the world, then it will not be true Brexit at all. And 17.4million people will be betrayed. CHRIS EUBANK is pictured apparently placing a fake parking ticket on his Bentley as he pops in to see his Savile Row tailor, Cad & The Dandy, for ten minutes, saving himself a whopping 81p. No wonder thrifty Chris has money for a £160,000 motor and bespoke suits. London’s crime needs to stop
SWNS:South West News Service Joel Uhrie shouldn’t have been a victim of London’s crime wave
LONDON’S crime wave – 90 murdered and 1,300 stabbed in 2018 – is tolerated because there is an unspoken belief it is just gang thugs killing other thugs.
The death of seven-year-old Joel Uhrie shatters that myth for ever.
The truly innocent are dying too.
Sister of tragic ‘arson’ attack boy Joel Urhie, 7, pays tribute with heartbreaking home videos