Missed a day yesterday going to London for a meeting. I’ve become part of the ‘have laptop will travel’ brigade but I got some quite difficult stuff dealt with just by being away.
Interesting to see how the veils issue moves on. The teacher, of course, lost her case yesterday. As so often in clashes of identity and culture, there is not a direct opposition between the view expressed. The western secular mind says, ‘I – and the children you teach – need to see your face, your eyes, your mouth because so much of what is communicated is subliminal …’ The Moslem response is, if I understand it right, ‘I cannot appear in front of other men unveiled’ Meanwhile, it was interesting to hear the thrust of the speech last night from Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice. He warns against erosion of human rights – I suspect what he may mean is selective reductions in human rights legislation as applied to particular racial, religious or cultural groups. I’ll allow myself one ‘back reference’ to Ireland – the security-driven response to IRA terrorism had the effect of alienating the mainstream Catholic population. It doesn’t mean that they became active supporters of terrorism – far from it. But they became ever more separated from the mainstream of the community and young people in particular moved towards Sinn Fein in large numbers. I believe that these security-led responses were counter-productive then and they will be counter-productive in Britain.