So, Boris’s mask slips.
A couple of weeks after it was reported he was hanging around with racist populist Steve Bannon, he comes out with all sorts of racist guff about women wearing burkas and niqabs.
The worst of his comments is this:
If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled – like Jack Straw – to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly.
If an MP can’t talk to a constituent who has come to make representations to them or who has come looking for their help, then, frankly, they should get better social skills.
Bragging about your sense of entitlement is not a good look.
Why is it always women that get this stuff? From “witches” who in the end of the day were just women whose beliefs strayed from the “norm”, to women who wear Islamic dress, we are considered fair game in a way that men aren’t. Why is it ok that Jack Straw and Boris should be able to tell women how to dress? Why can’t they just make up their own minds?
I find it hard to reconcile a world where women who choose to wear a veil are subjugated and women who come under pressure to be thin, cellulite free, perfectly groomed and available for sex at all times aren’t. Just look at any magazine marketed to women and you’ll see what I mean. Yes, progress has been made, but the world, all of it, is still very much run for men by men.
I actually first wrote those two paragraphs in this post nine years ago and I haven’t changed my mind since. Men, don’t criticise what the woman in front of you is wearing. You have no right to do so. Listen to her. You never know, you might learn something.
Our Christine Jardine made the point that comments like Boris’s make women’s lives more difficult:
Mr Johnson’s irresponsible comments mocking women who wear a burka are abhorrent. He has proven himself to be a xenophobe.
This desperate pitch to stay in the news completely disregards the women who are facing daily discrimination on our streets.
He should instead be fighting to protect everyone’s right to live their lives as they choose. That is what responsible politicians do.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron’s Musings