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October 06, 2006


Igor Belanov

I don't like the man but, to be fair, he isn't proposing legislation, merely expressing an opinion. I'm against the veil personally, it is a symbol of oppression, but surpressing it would cause a disproportionate amount of trouble. Some women are happy being treated as second-class citizens, and in many circumstances are more religious and less anti-clerical than men.

John the Barman

'Idiot' is too strong but I agree with most of the rest.
The veil apart from making a quick statement encourages me to LISTEN to what the person is saying. Politicians should listen more and pronounce less.


>shrug< He is enough of a canny political operator to realize that the native peoples of England are very likely to get violent against the Muslims in the next couple of years, and wants to be on the right side when it happens. Multiculturalism is a naive, leftist delusion. Hopefully the last one.

sean morris

I agree with Straw, most conversation you have other people is not just vocal, its also body language and facial expression, these add to the vocal exchange.

To hide this from someone who is speaking to you is just plain rude as I keep telling my 7 year old son.

I think you will find hes talking about the veil to the face not head coverings.


Well, presumably if multiculturalism is about being free to wear and believe what you want, Jack Straw ought to be free to express the preference that people don't dress in particular ways when they come to see him. It's not like he's running around ripping veils off. None of which is to say either that his preference is sensible, or based in an acceptably liberal and tolerant world-view.

Rob Knight

I agree with my namesake above. People are entitled to wear what they like, but should not be insulated from the fact that others might not like it. Likewise, Jack Straw should not be insulated from people wearing veils simply because he doesn't like it.

Compromise is the solution, and that compromise is different in every combination of Jack Straw and a veil-wearing woman; some will remove the veil, others won't, depending entirely on personal preference.

angry economist

Well is he fed up with an MP and wants to lose his next constituency election? or maybe there's some BNP folks he wants votes from. Complete idiocy either way.

For a politician he showed an amazing lack of judgement yesterday.

Some folks might think its rude, but its their cultural and religious beliefs that you are criticising. Not something done likely.


Do you really want that sort of managerial, PR coached "judgement" from your politicians?

Straw likes to see the face of the person he's talking to and that veils are divisive and not merely as identifiers like yarmulkas or turbans. The first is reasonable and the second true. Where is the idiocy? The Sun on the Syrian/Lebanese policeman is idiocy. Straw was reasonable, in the sense that he didn't write in a way that suggested that he wouldn't listen or without thinking.

Straw may not be behaving like a libertarion would but that isn't exactly the same as idiocy. Even then I'm not sure what

As for gaining BNP votes, the maths doesn't work. How many votes would he loose for each one he gained?


Surely you can see you're not comparing like with like here?

You can have a face-to-face conversation with someone wearing a burberry cap but not if they are wearing a veil. Neither is it analogous to a telephone conversation because here *neither* party can see each other.

Most people feel more comfortable talking to someone if they can see their face because expressions like the smile - unlike the English language - are human universals.

Which is not to say his intervention was particularly helpful but it wasn't idiotic.


"multiculturalism should be synonymous with freedom": but what if one of the cultures is adamantly opposed to freedom?

james higham

Glad you wrote this, Chris because I came to the same conclusion on my site and thought it was a lone voice.


South, if you attribute violent and amoral motives to others, you can expect it to happen to you as well, you racist fuckwit.

I'm with Shuggy, Sean and the two Robs on this one. And Chris, I think Jack (not Straw, Jack the commenter) has hit on a flaw in your combined dismissal of politicians and managerialism.

And while we're on the subject, I think your understanding of MPs as 'employees' of their constituents suggests that you could do with a refresher on representative democracy. I've suspected you of being a bit sketchy on it for a while now.


Martin Kelly

Anyone who wants to hide their face from you when you're talking to them is a loony.


My view is that a unsupported delusion that makes you behave in odd ways (defined by the mental health acts) should not be supported especially one that is not the cultural norm of the host country. If a member of a country that supported instant murder of objectors presented themselves in front of you, made unreasonable demands of you in your home as a guest would you acquiesce or say no that is not acceptable? Not that any of that is relavent to the current situation of course but sometimes what is right and wrong is determined not by laws but by moral conventions. In my view the moral convention of this country says remove the veil. To ignore a country's conventions is tantamount to revolt, and this is what I see today a cultural revolt. It is up to this country to say whether we stand by our own traditions or let other traditions become ours. That is what is at stake here. And to be honest the revolters are in a tiny minority, it is up to the majority to speak up if they want their traditional values to continue. From looking at the BBC's website readers feedback on this subject the resounding answer is YES HE IS RIGHT

davy wavy

I'm with Chris. Also because whatever Jack's personal preferences, and right to exercise them within the personal domain, his office demands of him that he represent all constituents - not just the ones he feels 'comfortable with'. This is correct because, of course, he is their only MP. If Jack Straw was a barber - no probs. I avoid many barbers on basis of their obvious racial bias.
Shuggy's point regarding phone calls was correct, but trumped by Chris example of Dave Blunket. I would have thought after 20 years representing Blackburn, Jack Straw would have figured out that veil is not insuperable barrier to effective and congenial communication. Me thinks it would not have prevented him solicting their votes.

chris y

I would prefer it if male members of the government removed their trousers before talking to me, so that I could see they were blithering idiots without having to listen to the rubbish they spout.

paki princess

I think that what jcstraw has said,is ridiculous and basically should keep his nasty comment h=to him self and by the way muslim women have been wearing these veils since god lnows centuries back so why has he made it a big deal like they've just been worn 3-2 monthes ago.peace
i'm out.


muslim women don't hide their face coz they're shy maybe they rae but that not the reason why they wear the veil (which is known as bhurka in arabic)it,s because it,s what they believe and they want it to be their identity and who ever got a problem talking to with muslim women wearing the veil how do u cope over the phone? do u get uncomfatable then?me as a muslim doen't actually wear the the veil but that does not mean i go around telling the sikhs ,jews to remove thier turbans or hats.why did jackstraw have to go straight for the muslims i think it,s just racial hatred


It is not the question of being comfortable talking to someone wearing a veil or not. The matter is much more grim, its a sheer violation of human rights here. Nothing comparable to turbans or any other specific form of clothing. Come on, you force your women to wear it and then say they like it! Just try thinking how it must be performing those household chores under the sultry desert climate with that fucking black thing on you. Ok, just try it out for yourself and then you'll know the true perspective.
No other religious dress codes including Hindu ghunghat can be condoned either, but this one seems by far the most painful..

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