Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A comment about banning the burqa

My comment to this Samizdata post by Perry De Havilland:

It’s one of those situations where you have to laugh, because if you don’t laugh you will cry.

The Establishment has, belatedly, nerved itself to say (after obligatory frantic protestations of non-racism) that burqas are, y’know, a bit, um, er, socially undesirable.

This after decades of putting in place measures to make sure that any social disapproval of burqas was punishable in law.

Many of you no doubt remember the discussion in the run-up to what became the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. Bad as it is, this law would have been even more repressive if not for two amendments made in the Lords. The Labour government failed by one vote to overturn these amendments. During the debate in the House of Commons, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins himself offered up as an example of speech that would be punishable under the Act the suggestion that burqas might be used to hide that someone was a suicide bomber. I repeat, that was not scaremongering by opponents but the Minister’s own example of speech he thought ought to be forbidden.

Here’s the quote from Hansard: Link:

Dr. Tony Wright (Cannock Chase) (Lab): A number of hon. Members have provided the Minister with example statements and asked him whether the Bill would catch them. In each case, he has said that the Bill would not catch that statement, but it would be helpful if he provided an example of a statement that the Bill would catch.

Paul Goggins: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point and shall provide him with an example that I used earlier today and on other occasions. The example involves a poster that depicts women, some of whom are white British and some of whom are not, wearing the burqa and that includes quotes from the Koran. The poster states that such women cannot be trusted, because they are recruited in various parts of the world as suicide bombers, and asks what they are hiding under their ugly clothes. That could be the kind of material that would be relevant under the Bill.

That is but one example (not forgetting that although the worst few words in the Act were softened, in the main it was passed as originally intended) of the numerous laws and other types of state-backed pressure that have been used to stop individuals attempting to peacefully dissuade others not to wear the mask.

In other words the Establishment laboured long and hard to stop in its tracks the sort of “pressure” that does not violate anyone’s rights and which actually works – as it did work to diminish almost to nothing the barbaric custom of putting women in black bags over the nineteenth century and the first two thirds of the twentieth century.

And now, when burqa-clad women – and men pretending to be women – are known to have used the burqa to hide weapons of murder many times, to say nothing of the less drastic but more pervasive evils of the custom, the clowns of the Establishment STILL cannot move themselves to allow their fellow citizens to oh-the-horror discriminate. Like an alcoholic whose only solution to his drunkeness is another binge to stop him thinking about it, the only strategy the Establishment can think of is more force in the opposite direction, this time banning the burqa.

Despair is a sin. Best to laugh.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Friday, September 06, 2013

A song for Australia

Over at Samizdata I reassigned the roles in the song One Day More from Les Miserables from French revolutionaries to Australian politicians. Then I was completely upstaged by the team supporting the guy challenging Kevin Rudd for his seat, who had the same idea. My version still might give a chuckle to fans of Australian politics (which as far as I can see is basically Game of Thrones without the tender moments), and I did get in a bonus rant about that irritating little brat Gavroche:

Got it! I have finally settled on which character from Les Mis best represents Kevin Rudd. Gavroche. We are meant to find him loveable but he is an irritating little brat. He endlessly plays up his proletarian origins and faffs on about “what little people can do”. He denounces Inspector Javert and gets him sent off to be murdered by a People’s Court, setting the example for Children of the Revolution ever since. Then on the barricades, when the revolutionaries are offered the chance to leave, what does he do? He hams it up, sings his little song in a halting, childish treble, and basically dooms the lot of them. Go to the top of the class, little Gavroche! Or preferably go prancing out onto the top of the barricade – go on kid, you know you can’t resist an opportunity to show off – and get yourself slaughtered. Oh, you just did. Good show!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Polly Toynbee might possibly be right

In most ways the Pollyverse is a place where the rules of our continuum do not apply. She worships strange gods and that which she fears causes Earth-humans to rejoice.

But could she be right to fear the new lobbying bill?

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations publishes a report from a human rights QC warning that the bill could breach the right to freedom of speech. Lawyers for many charities warn of a legal minefield for trustees: if they trip into electoral law they must send weekly reports of all their spending during the electoral period, when any slip risks criminal charges. The government denies the bill will silence campaigners, but a letter of protest representing swaths of charities – from the British Legion to Citizens Advice – crosses the political divide. The campaign group 38 Degrees says the "proposed gagging law would have a chilling effect on British democracy". The Taxpayers' Alliance agrees: "The bill is a serious threat to independent politics that will stifle free and open democratic debate."

Ironically, the bill seems to my uneducated eye to resemble the attempt to stifle free speech in the US that was defeated by the Citizens United decision, a ruling demonized by the Left. That irony might be fun to point out but the consequences are not reassuring. We in the UK do not have the protection of the First Amendment.


Karl Marx was nearly right

The quick version of something the old plague-carrier said is that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Second time as tragedy and farce would have been more accurate.

Top comment: "I did not set a red line, Bush did it and you are a racist"

Monday, September 02, 2013

Samizdata quote of the day

These proceedings are closed.

- General Douglas MacArthur, bringing World War II to an end as if it were a parish council meeting, sixty-eight years ago today.