Boris and The Mask

I thought ‘The Mask’ was a great film. Loads of laughs. Of course, if face coverings had been banned back then, the film would probably never have been made.

Big burly buffoon Boris Johnson is in trouble over a mask. The ‘niqab’ that some Muslim women in the West, and many (in some countries, all) in the Arab worldย  use to cover their faces. He likened it, quite fairly I thought, to dressing up as a letterbox. It does look a bit silly but we in the West, especially in the UK, have a tolerance for those who like to dress up silly. We’ve never tried to ban Pearly Kings and Queens nor have we ever tried to ban the astonishingly silly dress of the Morris dancer. It has never occurred to anyone to ban those things.

Now we have a call to ban an article of clothing. This is something new and I, for one, am not comfortable with it.

Let’s be clear. It’s the niqab, not the hijab, that is the issue. The hijab is the headscarf thing. My grandmother, a staunch and sometimes slightly violent Christian of iron and coal mining extraction, never left the house without a hairnet and headscarf on her blue hair. Never. She spent money on hairdressing and blue rinses that nobody outside the house ever saw. I doubt she had ever even heard of Islam even though the last Caliphate ended in 1924, when she would have been around 30. The headscarf is no issue at all for me.

The niqab is the mask that covers all the face except the eyes. Some even have mesh over the eyes so you can’t see those either. Personally, I don’t like talking to someone so masked because I have no visual cues to judge the veracity of their words. Also, if they stab me, I can’t give the police a description.

But then, are they the only masked ones? Antifa are masked violent thugs. Nobody has demanded their masks are banned. The ‘Anonymous’ movement hides behind the Guy Fawkes mask from ‘V for Vendetta’. Any campaign to ban those?

How about bridal veils? You could be marrying anyone! What if you lift that veil and find a bearded Darren with three teeth and halitosis at the end of your vows? Should we ban wedding veils?

Old Holborn made the point very well on Twitter today. I can’t be arsed seeking out the actual tweet, that place scrolls too fast, but the essence was ‘Banning the veil and enforcing the veil are the same thing’.

He is right. Either of those things is enforcing what women can and cannot wear by law. Both are wrong. A better law is ‘forcing someone to wear a niqab is illegal’. That law punishes the enforcer, not the one being forced to comply.

And it’s the enforcer who is the real criminal here.

See, prosecuting a woman for wearing the veil is a bit like prosecuting someone for getting beaten up. You’re taking someone oppressed and oppressing them more.

The law ‘forcing someone to wear a niqab is illegal’ also means that if a woman wants to wear a veil, that’s fine. As long as nobody is forcing them to wear it.

The rule about no face coverings in banks and some other places still stands. If you go into a bank wearing any kind of mask you cannot be surprised if security take you down fast. Banks and masked people have a bit of a history there.

If you want to wear a mask in the street, fine. I will avoid any contact with you because you’re weird but I would not support any ban on you being weird. It should be your choice.

When France suggested banning the veil, I was uneasy. Denmark has banned it now and it looks like a lot of other EU countries including the UK are considering it too. The thing is, they don’t ban ‘the niqab’. The ban ‘face coverings’. All face coverings.

China uses CCTV with facial recognition. I was most impressed that they can tell the diference between Chinese people (channeling Prince Philip here) but if you have CCTV with facial recognition, it won’t work if your face is covered. The niqab is a really good excuse to ban all face coverings – even a scarf over your nose and mouth in winter.

Boris should not be forced to apologise over his remarks.ย  I really hope he won’t. The British take the piss out of everything – or used to – including and especially ourselves. Nothing was immune. If a religion – any religion – is so insecure that any comment aimed at them sends them into apoplexy, then they are following a very sad and weak god indeed. If your god cannot withstand a few snarky comments, then you really do need a better god.

As we need a better Prime Monster. Tessie ‘Jackboots’ Maybe is pushing Boris to apologise. In doing so she has set a challenge. If he does, then the rest of the Tory party are a bunch of tiddly lapdogs to political correctness and nobody will vote for them. If he says ‘Stick it up your censored hole’ then the last shreds of Tessie’s authority are gone faster than third hand smoke in a dry cleaner’s. Either way, she is toast. The first option takes the entire Tory party down. Let’s wait and see what the rest of their members think.

Banning face coverings is, as Old Holborn said, the same as enforcing it. It’s using law to force people to dress as directed. Nobody, anywhere, has suggested a law to punish those who force women to wear masks against their will. The Muslim patriarchy is sacrosanct, it seems.

I have recently wondered if Jacob Rees-Mogg would be our Chancellor Sutler.

Now I wonder if it’s going to be Boris.

If you haven’t seen, or better, read, ‘V for Vendetta’, it’s worth your time.

Just keep in mind that in real life, there is no hero coming to change it.

You’ll have to do that yourself.

24 thoughts on “Boris and The Mask

  1. Making it illegal to enforce its wearing would never work as no Muslim woman would betray the enforcer. Afraid I disagree with you on this Leggy: I think that it isn’t unreasonable for a Western country to argue that women have never covered their face in daily life and, therefore, that all citizens conform – our country, our rules and that we want citizens who will fully participate in our society. The niqab is a barrier to that paricipation, I understand that it isn’t a religious requirement, merely cultural, it has no tradition or place in ours and those who want to enjoy the hospitality of the West should have the courtesy to adopt its mores.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The problem with banning it is those same ‘enforcers’. In their minds, if she isn’t wearing the veil, she isn’t leaving the house. Ever.
      So a ban would effectively leave those women under permanent house arrest.

      I agree that it has no place in the West, but getting rid of it won’t be easy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Also anyone wearing a (safety officer enforced) mask while spraying paint ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reminds me of the ‘no lock knives’ law we have now. Meanwhile, in Safety Land, lock knives are the only kind you should use. But you can’t have one…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Never ban anything unless you have a really, really good reason.
    And at regular intervals, review all bans and get rid of some.
    Create a “Ministry of Removing Bans, Laws and Regulations”.

    Otherwise, we will eventually be unable to move.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BoJo was actually spot on for once. He said he doesn’t like the binbag look, and also that we shouldn’t have laws against it.

    Just apply the standard rules. If you enter a bank you need to uncover your face (hence removing helmets). Same for face coverings (not scarves). Otherwise it’s Muslim privilege.

    Actually, it’s not Islam, nothing there about that. It’s a cultural thing from people who happen to be Muslims, it’s not religious. I have a cultural thing about needing to see someone’s face when I talk to them. I wouldn’t hold a conversation with someone in a crash helmet, nor a facebag. If you insist on wearing it, fair enough, but don’t oppress my cultural beliefs by expecting me to converse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s the real issue. I’m not comfortable talking to someone in a mask either, but to object is ‘Islamophobic’ and I could be arrested for it.
      I would not be arrested for refusing to talk to someone in a Halloween mask or a crash helmet. There is no difference.


  4. Actually there’s already been a testing of this “right to wear a veil at all times” thing, on a bus of all places.

    A lady boarded a bus wearing a full face covering, brandishing a bus pass which showed her uncovered face. The bus driver immediately pointed out that it was his duty to check that the person holding the pass was the one on the photo, and that unless she removed the veil briefly to allow him to see that her face resembled the photo, he would be unable to let her onto the bus.

    Reasonable enough, but the lady refused and was told to get off the bus. Simple enough, the driver is merely following the rules laid out for his job. However, the lady complained, and the driver was suspended for something like “cultural insensitivity”. Then after an outcry, he was reinstated.

    At least on the buses, it would seem that common sense isn’t dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear he was reinstated, but if he had refused to accept someone in a Guy Fawkes mask, would anything have happened to him at all? I doubt it.

      It’s the double standard that is going to end badly.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve blogged about it here:

    Basically my premise is if the state upholds the freedom to people to be able to wear the veil, the veil wearer must also as part of that “contract” with the state meet half way and show their face when required.

    For instance when using Photo ID. Be it a passport or a driving licence or a bus pass. The person presenting or using the ID should be prepared to show their face to validate their ID as a consequence of using that ID.

    It’s not an attack on the Muslim religion, it’s common sense.

    The thing is that some Muslims use the veil as a political statement, a statement that they subscrice to Sharia rather than UK law. Wearing the veil here should be classed as offensive as unmarried couples sharing a room or drinking alcohol is in a Muslim country.

    My conclusion is that a law is necessary, not to ban the veil, but to enforce the removal of any face covering to validate the identity of the wearer. Including removing the covering when driving, so that the driver can be identified if for instance photographed speeding.


    • Also when driving, so the rest of us can be confident they can see where they’re going!

      If you take one swig from a bottle of water while driving you are ‘driving without due care and attention’. Driving with restricted vision must come under our driving laws!

      Then again, if they really follow Sharia, they won’t be allowed to drive. Can’t pick and choose which bits to follow.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just a personal (female) perspective, but I’ve often thought that in the past that wearing a niqab would be highly gratifying in a passive-aggressive kind of way – I can see you but you can’t see me.

    That being so, I sometimes find it hard not to attribute a similar motivation to the niqab-clad women I meet; why, for example, should my optician retain her niqab when she and I are alone in the examination room if not to emphasise her status and put me at a disadvantage? Were I in the habit of enjoying such splendid isolation and inscrutability in public places, I should be ready to fight tooth and nail to retain it – no oppression required!

    As an aside, it would be interesting to know whether the erudite Boris is familiar with the comments of a 16th century writer describing the vizards then worn by affluent European women to protect their faces from the sun;
    …they have visors made of velvet… wherewith they cover all their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they look so that if a man that knew not their guise before, should chance to meet one of them he would think he met a monster or a devil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wholly agree with Boris that we should not ban them. The man’s entitled to his opinion on how they come across to him, however his underlying message has been largely ignored, even by leaders in the Muslim community.

      Re the general thrust of your comment, I recalled that some balls demanded all attendees wear elaborate face masks – one reason being that the wearer could disguise all manner of scarring caused by sexually transmitted diseases as well as leprosy as well as from rodent and animal bites.

      However the main reason why was to level the playing field. The lower classes could mix with their betters and no one had any idea who was whom.

      And I get rather peeved at the one sided nature of the hijab debate. They’re not wearing it for us lot, any more than a young lass going out dressed to kill is interested in what anyone over the age of 24 thinks.

      We think Muslim men only grope or pass lewd comments to white females. Not so, they’re infinitely worse with their own. The women who wear the gear are doing so – in part – to let these low life’s know she’s a respectable woman – and spoken for (and Allah help any twit who tries it on ‘cos she’ll have brothers and cousins and such who’ll happily uphold her honour).


      • Good point – I can see why a woman would wear a veil to deflect pervy attention to someone else.

        If the pervy attention was properly stamped on, the need for the veil would disappear.


  7. I’m old enough to remember when punk rock first hit this country and the outcry from daily mail reader types giving it the “ought to be a law against it” outrage at the wearing of safety pins, zips, fancy make up and brightly coloured spiky hair. imagine if they were told at the time that the law was going to be changed to ban them wearing what they wanted to. Now the same generation that created that look want to ban someone elses choice of clothing. When did I enter this alternate universe where such idiocy prevails? legislating against clothes has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard….


  8. I never say it enough, but thank you for your missives.
    Always thought provoking, sometimes amusing but always appreciated.
    As for burqas I think it would be nice to be able to go out wearing a sort of stiff sombrero with opaque curtailing, to the ground, all round the brim, with black netting for vision. I could be stark naked underneath, unshaven (I am of the male persuasion) – a slob. I could be doing anything inside my private sanctuary. From there we could move on to two-person, tandem burqas. Ah the mind boggles. And so long as I / we stayed clear of banks and busses …….
    Good luck.


    • Add a slot and you could stand still and commit mail fraud when people post letters in you ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Is it stealing when they voluntarily hand them to you? That would be a very interesting court case.


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