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Rod Liddle

Why Boris is wrong about burkas

The former foreign secretary is against a ban. I used to be but I am no longer so sure

11 August 2018

9:00 AM

11 August 2018

9:00 AM

Were you aware that men who transition into women can suffer period pains, despite not having a uterus? Oh, they can, apparently. There is of course no scientific explanation for this phenomenon, nor could there be, other than perhaps that the transitionee is mentally ill. But it is no longer enough simply to accept that a bloke who has had his scrotum turned inside out is as authentically female as a, um, female — you have to accept his right to a whole plethora of imagined victimhoods which are real enough in proper females but couldn’t possibly pertain to him (and which may, further down the line, include this new thing ‘period poverty’).

Incidentally, women who transition into men also suffer period pains, but these are real enough and are perhaps the body’s way of reminding the transitionee that while they may have had their breasts lopped off and a doughty piece of gristle glued somewhere in the groin area, they are still nonetheless women.

It is hard to keep up, isn’t it? The British Register of Victimhood lengthens almost daily, in defiance of science, common sense and reality. I think that the only way to avoid giving offence is for the BBC to lecture us on a daily basis about how we must see the world, according to its own implacable and berserk liberal agenda. Maybe a 15-minute slot after the early evening news, where Kirsty Wark or Huw Edwards could simply spell out to us where we’re going wrong and what we should do about it. That would be a genuine public service, no?

The corporation recently made a video aimed at GCSE students about multiculturalism — and it was, as you can imagine, a carefully balanced piece of work, giving equal weight to both sides of the story. ‘Multiculturalism is a powerful tool for survival and possibly the only way to survive, so let’s embrace it,’ the children were informed. Elsewhere a smug little Geordie narrator (the dialect of choice these days) said that Great Britain had ‘always’ been a nation of immigrants, there was no such thing as British people, and yet you could always hear malevolent idiots ‘banging on’ about the need to control immigration.


No mention was made of the overwhelming opposition to uncontrolled immigration, nor the weight of numbers that have arrived here recently, nor the relationship with crime figures. Still less the views of the majority of the population that immigration has actually not been a good thing, overall, for the country. In other words, they wish it hadn’t happened.

The film was eventually pulled by the BBC because, as viewers on YouTube pointed out, it was vacuous, tendentious, biased tripe. This must have come as a shock to the producers of the film, who will surely have believed that they were simply promulgating the usual BBC line on immigration — and that this isn’t remotely a case of bias but simply decency and civility, and that those who disagree are uneducated untermenschen who need to be taught a lesson or two, preferably by some Geordie halfwit so that it sounds authentic and not too metrocentric.

The problem is that this is indeed precisely the BBC’s view, without caveat: it is the mindset which informs every single report the BBC has ever done on the subject of immigration, be it on the news programmes or the dramas or even the bloody Food Programme. And as I say, they do not think that it is bias at all. It is simply right, and there’s an end to it. And if they pull this video, I assume they’ll be pulling Newsnight, The News at Ten, Today, World at One and every local news programme across the country.

Meanwhile, our former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has attracted the wrath of the liberals for comparing women who wear the burka to postboxes or bank robbers. This was, according to the Guardian, ‘dog-whistle’ Islamophobia. But it’s presumably not ‘dog-whistle’ if the Guardian can hear it, surely. Or do they think that they alone — with dogs, obvs — are able to hear these sorts of whistles which the rest of us, being lesser creatures, cannot? (I remember Nigel Farage being accused of dog–whistle politics when he said we needed to halt immigration. That’s not a dog whistle, that’s a klaxon, and straight to the point.)

As it happens, I disagree with Boris. Postboxes are bright red and bank robbers traditionally wear tights over their faces. I think they look more like Darth Vader. If you are an unpleasant person who enjoys rather macabre entertainment, wander down to Mile End and watch the women in the full burka trying to cross the A11. That’s always good for a laugh. Almost as good is watching them take selfies. I mean, what’s the point?

The liberals believe this is another pitch from Boris to the right wing of the Conservative party and that the Islamophobia within the Conservative party is every bit as corrosive as the anti-Semitism within Labour. My own view is that there is not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory party. Having one or two misgivings about this arrogant, oppressive ideology is not racism, but an antipathy based upon our respect for secular democracy and equal rights, allied to our Judeo-Christian history. Phobia implies these misgivings are irrational, when they are anything but. As it happens we are lagging behind in the race to ban burkas. They are already against the law in Latvia, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, a lot of Germany, Austria, Quebec and, uh, Morocco. Boris was against a ban. I used to be but I am no longer so sure, even if it would be an infraction of human rights. Maybe I need to watch a BBC film about how lovely the burka really is, just to get my mind straight.


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