Sunday, 18 July 2010

Diana Watch

Good Sunday to you all, how are we all today? Good I hope. I don't think that there will be a Diana Watch next week as I will be in Kent visiting Significant Other's mother. I might be able to do it but it seems unlikely, best you make the most of this one.

The French have become the first country in Europe to make it illegal to wander down the Street with your face covered. This is of course a problem for those who like to wear balaclavas or who tend to walk about with a full face motorcycle helmet on but they probably shouldn't worry, this legislation is not aimed at them.
 According to Radio 4's The Moral Maze there are 6 million Muslims in France, I think that it's safe to assume that about half of them will be woman, but only 1,900 wear the full burqa yet the French Government has seen fit to waste a lot of time debating and voting on a law that effects 1,900 who they don't like. This is not the smallest group ever to have specific laws passed that effect them alone, the British Government (under Labour) passed laws that were specifically aimed at moving the protester Brian Haw from Parliament Square. It failed.
 The arguments for a ban seem to run as follows, Woman should not be forced to wear a veil against their will, Ah, a good one, make it seem like you are on their side, on the side of choice and freedom and it is a good point but in order to do this you are forcing them NOT to wear a veil. There is no choice there.
 It's not good for community cohesion; it marks them out as different and stops communication. I bring you, again, to the point that only 1,900 woman are wearing them, I don't think that they have that big of an effect. The numbers are homoeopathically small. France is hardly a model of social integration as it is. The Islamic community already feel marginalised and disenfranchised so passing laws aimed directly at them won't help. Oh and whilst a covered face does make it harder to communicate with someone, it doesn't make it imposable. I don't communicate with the woman who lives next door to me, it's not because her face is covered (it isn't by the way), it's because she is an arse. Social Cohesion is a little more complex then the French Government would have you believe.
 As pointed out on the Moral Maze a woman can wonder around the park in a bikini and walk down the street wearing not much more and that is fine, try and have some modesty on the other hand. Now that is a little bit of a simplistic argument because to Western eyes the veil is a little more than modesty but I think that it is a point worth making because to Muslim eyes (if you can see them) it is about modesty.
 Well, this will stop men from forcing woman to wear the veil because the fine for a woman wearing it is small but the fine for a man forcing her is very big indeed. These things are true but how can you enforce it? Is an already subjugated woman going to say “My husband made me do it”, it seems unlikely. There is also the distinct possibility that if woman can't walk down the street veiled then the husband who would have forced her to wear it is instead going to force her to stay indoors. A much better solution.
 I ask you, why can't people wear what they like? I can wear a T-shirt that says “Godless Liberal” and you can wear a massive bit of jewellery that depicts a Jew nailed to a wooden cross dying in a horrific manner, that's fine with me.
 Of course some of our more right wing papers have used this ban as a jumping off point for their own campaigns against the veil, not because they feel that it suppresses women as they have no problem with that sort of thing, but because it is a Muslim thing and they don't like Muslims.
 We all seem to forget the Christianity covers it's most devout woman, they are called Nuns. In fact most religions and lots of cultures are keen on modest dress for woman so why pick on the Burqa? May it simply be because we in the West don't like Muslims very much? 

 If you want to rape a minor and then get away with it may I suggest that first you make some films that some people like and then move to Switzerland.
 First some background. In 1977 Roman Polanski was charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under fourteen, however under a plea bargain he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. He was to be sentenced to some prison time and then deported as he holds dual citizenship in France and Poland but in February 1978 he fled to France and in Europe he has stayed.
 Fast forward to 2009 and Mr Polanski was trying to enter Switzerland to pick up lifetime achievement award from the Catholic Church Zurich Film Festival but was arrested at the border by some heavily armed but very friendly Swiss border guards citing an outstanding US arrest warrant from 1978.
 He was then placed under house arrest whilst the Swiss decided what to do with him as the Americans were very keen for him to return to their shores.
 This brings us up to date. This week, after 9 months of deliberation, a Swiss judge decided that convicted child abuser Roman Polanski should not be extradited back to America to serve his time. This has annoyed the Authorities in California some what. Los Angeles county district attorney Steve Cooley said that the Swiss decision a "disservice to justice and other victims as a whole". Polanski is now free and is thought to have returned to Paris. The French don't extradite anyone.

Right, let's get on with some awards,

The Award for Surprise of the Week,

You may have noticed that last Sunday saw the final game in the FIFA World Cup (which I was home in time for following the Christening. Oh and I have proved that there is no God. I stood in front of a Church full of people and said that I believed in God and rejected the Devil, (why would I do that? He has all the best tunes, I mean have the heard the Christian ones? Shine Jesus Shine, it’s no wonder he hasn’t returned to Earth in his shining gloriousness if that is the best they can do) which were lies, and I wasn’t struck down.) and I watched it, like all right thinking people, on the BBC. The coverage was better, there were no adverts to make you miss goal and, more importantly, no Adrian Chiles. I was one of about 18 million people. What is bafflingly though is that about 3.3 million watched ITV! What were they thinking? You people are weird.

The Award for Missed Opportunity of the Week,

The man with just about the funniest name in all of the army is leaving. Sir Jock Stirrup is to stand down as head of the British Army. This is sad news to all people who find his name extremely amusing.
 Whilst it is sad for me it is also an opportunity for the army to promote someone with an equally funny name and, to be honest, I think that it is their duty. Think of the soldier’s morale. You are about to go into battle for Queen and Country. You are scared. You don’t know if you are ever going to see your loved ones again. And then you think of those inspiring words so eloquently spoken, rousing, stirring words that moved you to your very soul. And then you think of his really funny name and you go into battle with a stupid grin. That is what these brave young men and women deserve and what do the army give them? Sir David Richards? What's funny about that?

The Award for Just Being A Bit Confusing of the Week,

I don’t like Prince Charles very much, from his views on Architecture to his love of “alternative” medicine (there is medicine or there isn’t, there is no alternative, well maybe death. To quote many people, “Do you know what we call alternative medicine that works? Medicine) I find him annoying.
 He has ruined a perfected pleasant couple of fields with the stupid vanity project that is Poundbury and he attempts to stop new developments that he doesn’t like. His Foundation for Integrated Health (recently closed down due to fraud) promotes pseudo-science, such as detox (you have a liver, that’s what it’s there for) and homeopathy. He is proud to be an enemy of the enlightenment. That and I don’t like his Duchy Original biscuits and they cost too much. I don’t like him any pretty much anything he says.
 All of these things I have stated before but this week he said something sensible. He did it in a way that showed he has a degree of self awareness but that doesn't take away from the fact that he usually speaks nonsense. He accused those who deny climate change of ‘peddling pseudo science'.
 Some would now retort, “It takes one to know one” but that would be childish. Fun (and possible accurate) but childish never the less. Whilst he did acknowledge that he has been accused of doing exactly the same himself and the irony of him accusing somebody else doing it wasn't wasted on him.

The Award for Surprising Country Being Cooler Than Here of the Week, 

Another Country has pasted us on the Socially Liberal Coolness Table (and yes, I am keeping a chart. If you are very good I might show it too you one day) and it's a surprising one. It seems that Argentina has voted that Gay marriage is ok.
Now correct me if I am wrong but aren't most South American countries Catholic? Well yes they are and Argentina is no exception. Oh dear, they won't be happy about that will they? Of course the Catholic Church (who this week managed to piss off a surprising large amount people by adding to the Churches list of serious crimes, Attempting To Ordinate Woman. Now also on this list is paedophilia but unlike that the raping of children for which you are protected, if you try to or are an ordinated woman they will excommunicate you, tossers) reacted in the only way it can. It blamed someone else.
 In this case Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the highest ranking Catholic prelate in the country, decided that the Argentine Governments pleasantness towards their fellow men and women was in fact the work of the devil. Oh it's always the devil.
 Dear The Catholic Church, please try harder on your blaming things. At least try and blame something that actually exists, Love Martyn.

Like I said at the beginning there will probably be no Diana Watch next Sunday, I'm sure you'll cope.
 Have a lovely week all, I'm off to weed my allotment as the rain has encouraged everything to grow including the weeds.

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