There was a spontaneous Smoky-Drinky this evening. Those are always the best ones. Since the wind is well above the local kilt safety limit and it's so cold the brass monkeys haven't even noticed yet, I wrapped up very well indeed. We have snow again, it's whiter than a BNP rally out there and it feels well below zero. So it was the peaked hat with the furry ear coverings, scarf over the nose, and gloves. You could just about see my eyes. CCTV would need a powerful zoom lens and iris recognition technology to identify me, and as they don't have my irises on record, that wouldn't work either. I was showing less flesh than any Muslim woman anywhere.
France has tried, and as far as I know is still trying, to ban the muslim women's veil. There is considerable support for such a move here too. I don't support it other than in banks and other places where masked people have done unsociable things in the past. On the street, in the park, in public spaces where a masked person poses no serious threat, I don't care. If you wear a cloth over your face, I'll avoid you and I won't speak to you because it makes me uncomfortable, but I would never support a total ban.
Not just because I'm a smoker and have a natural aversion to total bans, but for another reason. It was clear from the outset that the real target was not the Muslim veil. That was a convenient excuse, something the public could be persuaded to support. No, as Belgium makes clear in its moves to 'ban the veil', it's not the veil they are banning at all. It's this:
The home affairs committee of the Brussels federal parliament voted unanimously to ban the partial or total covering of faces in public places.
Not 'the veil'. Any partial or total covering of anyone's face in any public place.
My scarf, my furry hat with the peak, any hood or hat, anything that makes seeing who you are on CCTV more difficult. That's what they are in the process of banning.
Once it's done, we're all going to have blue noses all winter. For our own good.