The burqa was banned in France . . . and then there was light

Will Sarko’s veil ban improve life in France? Yeah right.

From the BBC website:

France's Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.

The proposed measure was already backed by the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, in July.

The ban will come into force in six months' time if it is not overturned by constitutional judges.

. . . On Tuesday, the Senate voted 246 to 1 in favour of the bill.

Now that the nation's legislature has tackled, head-on, the "threat" posed to the country's constitution and to French "values" by 2,000 veiled Muslim women, I guess France will finally become the secular, integrated, cohesive, liberal utopia that the burqa's opponents have always wanted it to be.

In fact, I am convinced that this historic vote will, overnight, solve the problems of poverty, unemployment, discrimination and racism which blight the nation's various minority communities -- but, in particular, the Muslims in the banlieues.

Oh, and 246 to 1? Good to see there was a proper debate . . . !

UPDATE:

I see that the burqa ban will apply to foreigners, too. What will happen to all the rich, veiled women from the Gulf who come to shop in Paris along the Champs Élysées and the rue Saint-Honoré? Will French tourism take a hit?

 

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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Keir Starmer's Brexit diary: Why doesn't David Davis want to answer my questions?

The shadow Brexit secretary on the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, the Prime Minister's speech and tracking down his opposite in government. 

My Brexit diary starts with a week of frustration and anticipation. 

Following the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, I asked that David Davis come to Parliament on the first day back after recess to make a statement. My concern was not so much the fact of Ivan’s resignation, but the basis – his concern that the government still had not agreed negotiating terms and so the UKRep team in Brussels was under-prepared for the challenge ahead. Davis refused to account, and I was deprived of the opportunity to question him. 

However, concerns about the state of affairs described by Rogers did prompt the Prime Minister to promise a speech setting out more detail of her approach to Brexit. Good, we’ve had precious little so far! The speech is now scheduled for Tuesday. Whether she will deliver clarity and reassurance remains to be seen. 

The theme of the week was certainly the single market; the question being what the PM intends to give up on membership, as she hinted in her otherwise uninformative Sophy Ridge interview. If she does so in her speech on Tuesday, she needs to set out in detail what she sees the alternative being, that safeguards jobs and the economy. 

For my part, I’ve had the usual week of busy meetings in and out of Parliament, including an insightful roundtable with a large number of well-informed experts organised by my friend and neighbour Charles Grant, who directs the Centre for European Reform. I also travelled to Derby and Wakefield to speak to businesses, trade unions, and local representatives, as I have been doing across the country in the last 3 months. 

Meanwhile, no word yet on when the Supreme Court will give its judgement in the Article 50 case. What we do know is that when it happens things will begin to move very fast! 

More next week. 

Keir