"Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain, Britain. Conform to it; or don't come here. We don’t want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed."
... except when it comes to their votes for Labour in the next election.
"It is a mark of separation and that is why it makes other people from outside the community feel uncomfortable."
...because, after all, women should be legally compelled to dress in a way that doesn't potentially intimidate men.
So, will this proposed legislation also apply to Hasidic Jews, who could be said to dress in a demonstrably goofier manner? Is Blair going to forceably remove turbans and bindis too? What about Mormons and their special underwear? What about other various types of facial masks? What constitutes a legally acceptable facial covering? Can you wear a veil if you're a professional belly dancer, for instance? Are SARS masks okay? What about bandanas? Will construction workers still be allowed to wear masks? Will you have to be male to still wear a veil?
And for all of you dogmatic, wannabe feminists out there who rail about the horrors of women wearing the veil, let me make this perfectly clear: There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman wearing a veil, so long as they choose to do so of their own free will... and the great majority of them do.
Now, of course, you could suggest that cultural pressures push women to wear the veil, but I ask you... what does *your* culture pressure women to do, to be, to look like, or to act like? Do you feel comfortable saying that women who choose to dress in a sexually provocative manner are being pressured to do so by a male-dominated society, and, as such, are incapable of making their own decisions, which should be made for them by force of law?
Ultimately, I would argue that there is no practical, justifiable political reason to target what Islamic women choose to wear. It's simply a case of politicians latching on to a non-issue issue, in order to keep the public distracted from more serious issues... like Blair's total toadying failure in Iraq, for instance. Maybe if he can win a ceremonial victory at home, his people won't hold him and "New Labour" responsible, rather than defecting to another party, or simply saying that given all of their excesses, Old Labour is starting to look pretty good in comparison.
...and Blair will take any victory at home he can get, no matter how meaningless it is, or how ineffective it will be in stopping terrorism both overseas and in his own country. Perhaps such a veiled victory -- at the expense of civil liberties -- will make the British public somewhat more pliable, until scores of British are killed in the next major terrorist attack.