Britain’s politically correct society is far too tolerant
Sep 26 2013
I discovered this recently on two trips to Mumbai airport. One was to see off people on a 2.30 am flight. At 11 pm, the airport was chaos: the police did what they could, but what can you do at an airport that is totally inadequate? Traffic snarls outside, people snarl inside. Queue upon queue, you need the temperament of a Zen Buddhist to cope.
The second time was when I was catching a flight to London. I chose a British Airways flight leaving at lunch time; it may seem like a day wasted (you reach London at 6 pm), but it isn’t if you take a good book along. I took J K Rowling’s new book that she wrote under a pseudonym (Robert Galbraith: A Cuckoo's Calling). The airport was deserted — I thought there was a strike on — and the BA’s large lounge was stocked with food and drink rather than people. The flight itself was what an ideal flight should be: uneventful, with good food thrown in. I had possibly the best in-flight meal I’ve ever had.
London is at its autumnal best. The sun is out, overcoats are not; a jacket is enough. Those of you who know me may wonder about the ‘jacket’ bit since I am never seen in one. But I gave up my usual kurta-churidar a few years ago on trips abroad for purely pragmatic reasons: to start with, customs single you out for attention at the airport; worse, loonies in not so crowded places will pick on you for some unsolicited advice, like suggesting you go back home, home usually being our neighbouring country.
A British journalist of the Sunday Times decided to try out this country's limits of tolerance by donning a niqab, the full face burqa for two full days, doing the normal things like travelling by bus and tube, shopping in stores or just strolling down Oxford Street. The reactions ranged from curiousity to ridicule to open hostility (“Take that shit off your face”, a man in a suit said; “You are ridiculous, honest to God, absolutely ridiculous,” a well spoken woman said).
There’s a full scale debate on in Britain at the moment on the subject ever since a judge told a niqab wearing accused that she could sit in court in purdah, but would have to reveal her face on the witness stand. Her lawyer claimed it was against her religion to be seen by men not known to her, but the judge dismissed these arguments. A footnote: those who know the woman said she never wears a niqab normally!
For me, Britain’s multi-racial, politically correct, tolerant society, is far too tolerant. France has banned the burqa and Switzerland is following suit. There’s an argument that many women want to wear the covering, that they are not coerced into this decision, that it is their choice, so why should it not be allowed? This ignores the obvious possibilities of unstated peer pressure, and more than that of upbringing and indoctrination, so that women accept an inferior position in society.
Britain's ultra political correctness has also allowed sundry maulanas to preach their message of hate, asking their followers to overthrow the very system that allws them the freedom to speak. In the latest horrific Nairobi killings, there is suspicion that some British jihadists are involved. Photographs in newspapers show many of these jihadists in Somalia and other countries, in full military fatigues, going through military style training. That's a sick joke when you consider that their targets were unarmed men, women and children.
Given all this, you would expect strict security checks. But there are none. No metal detectors or body searches, not even at airports till you reach immigration. Notwithstanding that there is now a well publicised petition by Britsh writers and artists, including our own Anish Kapoor, against electronic ‘snooping’ as exposed by Edward Snowden.
They ignore the fact that the snoops will not have time to hear our inane chatter, that in the age of Facebook, privacy is an outmoded concept, that the age of ultra political correctness is over in the age of the ultra jihadist.