No BoJo apology needed after burka comments
When Boris Johnson sat down to nail down an idea for his popular column, which is almost as influential as this one, did he do so with the overriding goal of causing chaos within his own party?
Knowing BoJo he probably did but to suggest that his now infamous burka article was a calculated attempt to bring down the prime minister is perhaps giving him a bit too much credit.
Surely not even Boris is that conniving? Regardless, the consequences of what he wrote have been wide reaching and the question of whether he should apologise for writing it is still being asked.
Many of those both chastising and congratulating the former foreign secretary don’t appear to have read the piece and have assumed he was calling for an outright ban on the burka or the niqab. He wasn’t.
He was actually doing the opposite, although in the process he did say those wearing a full or near-full face veil resembled letter boxes and bank robbers.
It is that part of the column which has caused the most controversy. Was what Boris said Islamaphobic or even racist? No. Was it funny? Not particularly, despite what Rowan ‘Mr Bean’ Atkinson says. Was it offensive? Probably. Does that mean he should apologise? No.
At first I was guilty of dismissing his comments as typically out of touch despite not having read the column, then I read it and decided despite the playground rhetoric, he was making a decent point, then I thought about it again and began to see an issue.
The target of Boris’ language appears to be Muslim women who choose to dress in such a manner. But there’s no way all women who don a burka or niqab choose to do so.
Some are exceptionally vulnerable and many not free to make their own decisions.
Should a leading politician be mocking the way vulnerable women are being made to dress? Surely that will lead to a rise in hate crime? There’s nothing wrong with the points Boris made but he’s firing at the wrong target.