Thursday, 14 April 2011

Double Standards

In recent weeks, there have been a lot of headlines regarding various things which, to my mind, display very obvious double standards.

The first example of this is the bankers. It may seem that I have an unnatural dislike of bankers, but my main dislike of these people is the arrogance that they so often display. Just a few years ago, these people almost destroyed the economy of this country. They were rescued by the Government stepping in and bailing them out with billions of pounds.

Yet there seems to be no acknowledgement on their part that they may have done anything wrong, and their insistence that they still receive bonuses seems to support this. However, the latest thing now is that there have been threats by certain banks that if the Government increases their tax liability further, they will relocate their headquarters abroad. So they are refusing to acknowledge any fault for their dire financial position and they want all the rewards that come to someone who is successful. And if they don't get their way, they are threatening to leave.

So what should the Government do? Should they submit to what is essentially a ransom demand? Personally, I would tell the bankers to go. But there would be conditions. The first of these would be that they would only be permitted to relocate abroad once they had paid back all of the money that they had received during the Government bailout. If they are unable, or unwilling, to make this repayment, they can either remain in this country and accept their liabilities, or they can continue relocation but face having assets to the value of what they owe seized and sold off to recoup the money. And if that leaves the bank unable to continue trading, tough. The bankers can go and claim the equivalent of dole in the country where they intended to relocate.

We've also seen double standards displayed by the Government of this country regarding Libya. What has been and is still happening in Libya is appalling. Gadaffi, desperate to cling onto the power that he seized in 1969, has had no hesitation in using the full force of his military to quell the uprising that has occurred this year.

In response to this, initially the United Nations and now NATO have launched an aerial attack on the heavy weapons of the incumbent regime, in an attempt to stop Gadaffi from attacking Libyan civilians. Britain has subscribed to this wholeheartedly, sending aircraft to enforce the no-fly zone and to attack the heavy weapons used by the pro-Gadaffi forces. And despite the initial claims that this was nothing to do with regime change, it can clearly be seen that this is exactly what the whole thing is about, with the various politicians insisting that there is no place for Gadaffi in a "new" Libya.

Yet, just under four thousand miles from where all this conflict is taking place in North Africa, for the last ten years there has been a very similar thing taking place in South Africa, including a Government that it is accepted has no legitimacy following "rigged" elections and that has no hesitation in using its armed forces against its civilian population to ensure that it remains in power.

Yet despite this continuing and despite there being lots of political hot air stating that this should not be allowed to continue, Robert Mugabe remains the President of Zimbabwe. Why? Well, as I've said before I'm sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that Libya is a wealthy oil-producing country and Zimbabwe is a dirt-poor mineral exporter.

So whilst this country appears to be taking the moral high ground in an effort to assist the oppressed population of Libya, it is only because there is a possibility of there being benefit to the politicians, a benefit that the oppressed people of Zimbabwe cannot give them.

The final area of double standards relates to the recent French law that bans anyone from concealing their face in a public place and seems to specifically relate to Muslim women who choose to wear a niqāb.

My personal opinion is, because in Britain we live in a democracy, people should be allowed to wear what they like as long as it causes no harm. If they want to walk down the street wearing a purple bin bag and a felt top hat, they have the right to do so. The same with regards to a burka or a niqāb.

Whilst there are some security issues regarding the use of burkas, specifically the case of the 21st July 2005 bomber Yasin Omar, who attempted to evade arrest by fleeing London disguised in one of his mother-in-law's burkas, the majority of women who wear these items do so because they wish to, not to conceal evidence of wrongdoing.

However, since the ban in France, there has been an outcry by certain groups objecting to the fact that Muslim women are being dictated to about what they can and cannot wear in public. And many of these objections are originating from middle-eastern countries that will arrest and jail women for wearing what they consider to be indecent clothing. Yet you hear no objections from the west when this happens, because it is the law of those particular countries and is respected as such, just as the no-face coverings law in France is the law of that country and should be respected.

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