Boris Johnson, a biographer of Winston Churchill, has either made a Dardanelles-sized blunder in his Daily Telegraph column in which he compared Muslim women’s dress to the garb of a bank robber (kindly note that real bank robbers wear suits, shirts, and ties) or it is the start of something new and something big. Of course, he referred specifically to the dress code of a tiny percentage of Muslim women but down in the street that’s not how it plays. There is a total lack of understanding in Britain about what burqas and niqabs are, even just a simple headscarf, like that worn by the Queen at Balmoral, can be misinterpreted.
The trigger which the former foreign secretary has pulled will have consequences for all visibly Muslim women and that’s a problem because these women are already the number one victims of racial and religious abuse and even physical attack. So, we invited veteran BBC man, Andy West, a broadcaster, writer, and journalist into the studio to discuss whether this was a whizzo jolly jape which went wrong or a carefully calculated Steve Bannon-type dog-whistle.
And you don’t have to be black to be expelled from today’s Labour Party, but it helps... Marc Wadsworth has been a prominent black activist in Labour Politics since the 1970s. He’s rubbed shoulders frequently with Nelson Mandela, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn over the decades. Now he rubs shoulders with the likes of the son of a Rabbi, Tony Greenstein, expelled from the Labour Party as part of the great anti-Semitism controversy which, like the swallow, accompanies every summer. He’s back in the news now because he’s within reach of his £30,000 crowdfunded legal action to overturn his expulsion. So, we invited him into the Sputnik studio to tell us about his continuing fight.