Friday, 19 August 2016

Burkini bedlam

After Trump and Brexit, along come the French to prove that these aren't just isolated aberrations - people all over the industrialised world are totally losing it.

This Burkini ban. Now I'm as secular as the next person (in fact, I'm quite likely to be more secular than the next, randomly-selected human). But this idea is just completely barking mad. Even if we put to one side the feelings and rights of people who have done nothing more antisocial than choosing atypical swimwear, what problem is this intervention supposed to solve?

Seriously - if "banning people from wearing full-length swimsuits to the beach" is the solution, what, in the name of sanity, is the problem? If Monsieur Lisnard had said something like "heatstroke" that would have sounded implausible, but still vaguely rational. Instead, he just shrugged his shoulders at reality and went full Trump:
The burkini is like a uniform, a symbol of Islamist extremism. This is why I am banning it for the summer.
"Like a uniform"? Yeah, that really makes sense. Because, now I come to think of it, when countries decide to celebrate the awesomeness of the motherland with a great big parade of people marching about in spiffy military uniforms, they always include  a 1970s Miss World-style swimwear section.

OK, they don't really. That snark was for comic effect, although I don't know why I bother when reality does comedy so much better, with classics like self-appointed defenders of the liberal,* secular state enforcing arbitrary dress codes with all the po-faced zeal of those morality police tasked with upholding conformity in such enlightened parts of the world as Saudi Arabia.

*"Liberal", in the sense of letting people get on with their lives unmolested, so long as they're doing no harm, as opposed to one of the definitions of "liberal" which involves some specific flavour of political economy.