Sunday 17 January 2010

UKIP Want To Ban The Burka

I read, with my head in my hands in despair, at the editorial in today's Sunday Times that Lord Pearson is proposing to ban the Burka.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the leader of UKIP, said (my emphasis):

“We are taking expert advice on how we could do it. It makes sense to ban the burka — or anything which conceals a woman’s face — in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn’t right that you can’t see someone’s face in an airport.”
As the Times rightly points out this makes UKIP the first national party to call for a total ban, and plants them firmly in BNP territory. Not even the BNP has called for a ban in private buildings - they are, rather predictably, gloating.

Lord Pearson continues:
“We are not Muslim bashing, but this is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”
I'm not sure how Pearson correlates the values of freedom and democracy with being forcing not wear certain clothes. It would also appear to be an infringement of the 'equal before the law' part of the supposedly Libertarian-leaning party's constitution, which states:
2.3 The Party will be guided in its activities by the principle of non-discrimination, including non-racism and non-sectarianism, and will be guided by the principle that all people are equal before the law.
Personally I largely hold the view that the less a government bans the better, I do not believe that a total ban in this case is the answer. Bans obviously should apply in areas where facial covering is deemed unacceptable for example; banks, building societies and airports, and it's also right to try to tackle genuine concerns regarding immigration and the rise of Sharia Law.

But to me Pearson is starting to show a worrying obsession with Islam, he was, after all, the person who invited anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders to the UK. He also stated in 2009 that Muslims are:
“breeding ten times faster than us. I don't know at what point they reach such a number we are no longer able to resist the rest of their demands. We must be looking at somewhere between 10 or 20 years. If we don't do something in the next year or two we have in effect lost."
Is it Pearson's aim to have Muslim-bashing as UKIP's second priority and why on earth is he using similar language to the BNP? In all it leaves me frustrated and a little angry.

As someone who wants the UK to exit from the EU, I have very little choice at the ballot box. Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems have all signed up to the EU project (and will continue to do so), the BNP is, for obvious reasons, a non-starter, so the only realistically choice I have is, for the main political issue I really care about, UKIP.

It is the only political party I have ever campaigned for on the doorsteps, one that I've voted for more than any other, and I often do so against my own better judgment. I despair, at the antics of the leadership, the in-fighting and even the chaotic nature of UKIP's organisation and its amateurish internet presence. But I carry on because I passionately believe in Britain not being run by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

There are two main criticisms I have faced when campaigning;

1) UKIP is a joke party, with no other policies other than EU withdrawal.

and far more serious;

2) that any Eurosceptic must be a closet racist, xenophobic little Englander.

The finer points of the EU's impact can be easily lost in the damaging second accusation, so any discussion on immigration and Islam by UKIP has to be treated with caution. Something, which Pearson acknowledged himself last year on the Politics Show (no longer online):
“We’ve got to be very careful, especially in this area of immigration, that we cannot be confused with the BNP. I accept that. There’s a fine line to be drawn here...”
UKIP needs to seriously focus on wider policy aims (which still suffer at the hands of the EU) such as education, crime and healthcare like the other parties.

However, thanks to Pearson, the job of trying to convince the electorate that UKIP is a non-racist, serious and 'safe' party to vote for has now become much much harder.


  1. I think UKIP might just have sensed which way the wind is blowing. In football terms, when you're near the bottom of the table you look to take points off the teams around you as a first priority. The Tories have somehow retained most of their voters if polls are to be believed, plus some non Tories will vote for them just to get shot of Labour.

    I've never seen the internals of UKIP, and from the outside they don't strike me as a racist party at all (although authoritarian on religion, in this instance, and very socially conservative).

    He does probably want to wind his neck in a bit if he's positioning himself away from the BNP and the others, and I think the key point you make here is that it's a lot harder to convince people of what the EU is really about than it will be for the media to portray the UKIP as racist.

    Controlled immigration dependent upon economical need, ridding us of quangoes, the EU, violent crime and improving the economy are what most UKIP'ers I know are all about.

  2. I think it's an attempt at populism, Islam is currently the "evil" of the month/year/decade so he thinks it will resonate with the general public who do see Islam as a threat whether they are one or not.

  3. Do you really believe that the majority of the public are against a ban of the burka? I mean, really?

    Your absurd astonishment reminds me yet again of the gap between liberal media commentators & the real world. When the Swiss held a vote on the banning of minarets on mosques the polls showed that it would be defeated & the commentariat clucked approvingly. Only come the vote the ban was overwhelmingly passed. The voters had lied to the pollsters so the media bristled with outrage. But it didn't make any difference & if there's a vote on the burka the British public will behave in exactly the same way as the Swiss. We don't like the burka, we know damn well what it represents - that loathsome strain of intolerant Islam known as Saudia Arabian Wahhabism - we know that those who wear it are sticking two fingers up to our values & our culture while living here & we know that Wahhabism is the ideological motor behind Al-Queda. But according to you & all the other cloud cuckoo land commentators this is UKIP being 'authoritarian' when what they are actually doing is voicing what a majority in this country privately feel & asserting our Christian, democratic values over those of a viciously backward faith with which we are at war.

    So allow me to be frank; you're an ignorant fool & you are most definitely in the minority on this.

  4. I do so enjoy reading comments such as those made by Anonymous - above. That a blog writer’s words can infuriate someone, who is let’s face it clearly scared witless about Islam and its believers, is an enormous source of amusement. To then turn to insults only demonstrates just how fearful poor old Anonymous is. Bless him/her.