"One to watch", as they say. The French have taken a stand on the burka, with some force too, only one MP voted against introducing the ban. This is going to be very interesting as an opposition movement is being formed, funded by a wealthy Algerian, Rachid Nekkaz.
He insists that the ban, which was approved by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and is set to be ratified by the senate in September, is "anti-constitutional" and a move that could put France on a slippery slope towards greater intolerance.
Well it does all depend upon what you think intolerance is, Nekkaz also said -
I think this would never happen in the United States or the United Kingdom … France is a country which is not scared to compromise its principles, he said.
Unlike the typical country where Islam is the majority religion? Lessons on intolerance to the French might not be a good idea. France was very welcoming to black jazz musicians at a time when mixed race bands were not possible in the United States. In another report we see how this move had true cross party political support.
Our Chancellor, Alistair Darling, see right, has got himself into a spot of bother and all because of what he said in the Guardian, see HERE. Normally very generous to Nulabour heavies, the paper was rewarded with a quote or two which may in time, so we are told, come back to haunt him. But why? Was what Darling said a remark too far or is it the endorsement of what the man-in-the-street, 'our man', had known for ages? Namely that the UK economy is not in rude health now and it could get worse. If it is the latter then what we are not told, is why Darling lags behind 'our man' in terms of perception and speaking out; is Darling afraid and if so of what? If it is the former, a remark too far and so the classic gaffe, then 'our man' will wonder if Darling's honesty will cost him his job. After all 'our man' is worried about keeping his job, so why not have doubts about Darling keeping his job too? The chances are that those remarks are not one man's moment of madness and will not be forgotten. So how do other countries and their politicians square this circle, speak out or keep quiet?
A Muslim member of the French government has backed a court's decision to deny citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears the burqa. See here.
Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara said she hoped last month's ruling would "dissuade certain fanatics from imposing the burqa on their wives". "The burqa is a prison, it's a straightjacket," she told Le Parisien. "It is not a religious insignia but the insignia of a totalitarian political project that advocates inequality between the sexes and which is totally devoid of democracy."
This is one of those rare cases where EU harmonisation would be a good thing. The niqab and burqa could be banned in enclosed public places and nationality denied to those wearing the garment.
Though, no doubt the feminist 'sisters' would protest - saying that it's a woman's right to choose to be oppressed.
At the start of December Mr Putin's party won the elections in Russia. At once there was the suggestion that not all had gone well, there was suspicion about the outcome. This in turn led to caution in the way the results were greeted by some European Leaders, but not all. The effervescent Mr Sarkozy heaped praise on Mr Putin from the moment the results were known. Then, just a few days later we see that Renault, in partnership with Nissan, have bought a 25% stake in the Russian car maker that we call Lada, but is called Avtovaz in Russia. Could these events be related? To get this stake the French and their partners beat off competition from, amongst others, General Motors and Volkswagen.