Sunday, March 26, 2006

Boris "guilty" Benn disappointing

Following Johann Hari's mea culpa in the Independent for supporting the attack on Iraq (see earlier post), Boris Johnson admitted he'd been wrong to vote for the war (on BBC1's "Question Time" earlier in the week), claiming he'd been misled (read more Boris), and he said he now felt "guilty".

Tony Benn was disappointing for once; he supported Shabina Begum's campaign to be allowed to wear the jilbab to school, and talked about the need to respect other people's religious beliefs. Evidently he wasn't aware that the school had consulted with the local Muslim clerics and had come to agreement with them about an acceptable uniform, and it was at least not at all clear that wearing the jilbab was required by the religion. It seems to be merely an Arab tradition, but not an Indian one. Furthermore it seems that some of the girls at the school don't want some fundamentalist relatives and clerics to be able to pressure them into having to wear it too. The latter point was made clear by the Liberal on the panel, but ignored by the representative of Liberty, who claimed not to understand what harm it could possibly do.

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