Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tories' cynical two faces on veils

Referring to the Muslim veil debate, on Thursday David Cameron told ITV's "Frost Tonight" :

I think there is a danger of politicians piling in to have their tenpence-worth and really they have to ask themselves whether this is having an overall good effect or not.

He also said he was concerned British Muslims were left feeling "targeted".

No doubt one of the people in Cameron's mind when he spoke of politicians "piling in" to the veil debate was the politician last Sunday who 'piled in' with a lengthy article on the subject, including this thunderous comment:

The shock waves (of the veil debate) have reverberated around Britain, loudest in the Muslim communities. Which is not to say Jack Straw was wrong. He was not. His comments were perfectly proper and he highlighted an issue that is both important and difficult: the question of the very unity of our nation.

This politician suggested that a "voluntary apartheid" is being created in this country and 'targeted' Muslims with these searing remarks:

At its very least, there is a growing feeling that the Muslim community is excessively sensitive to criticism, unwilling to engage in substantive debate.

Much worse is the feeling of some Muslim leaders that as a community they should be protected from criticism, argument, parody, satire and all the other challenges that happen in a society that has free speech as its highest value.

No doubt David Cameron was thinking of that sort of remark when he said he was "concerned" that the Muslim community were feeling "targeted".

As the remarks last Sunday were made by David Davis, David Cameron's front bench spokesman on Home Affairs, are we to take it that the Conservative party executed a complete U-turn on this issue between Sunday and Thursday?

Or, more likely, is this yet another case of the Conservative wanting to blow its dog whistle for its core voters (reading the Sunday Telegraph), while simultaneously blowing its Pied Piper flute for new voters (watching ITV in London)?

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