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Labour should be embarrassed about holding a sex-segregated rally

4 May 2015

9:39 AM

4 May 2015

9:39 AM

Labour MPs who spoke at Satruday’s sex-segregated rally in Birmingham don’t seem too keen on explaining themselves to The Spectator.  Siôn Simon, now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands, proudly tweeted a picture of a Labour rally in Hodge Hill, in which seven Labour representatives spoke at a packed Islamic community centre. Only problem? The picture clearly shows that men and women were seated separately in the audience, during what was supposed to be an event to encourage political engagement.

And rather than defend this practice, none of the Labour candidates have been willing to comment on the subject. Jack Dromey, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, and husband of leading Labour feminist Harriet Harman even blocked me on Twitter for raising the question. It’s almost like they’re embarrassed.

They’ve got plenty be embarrassed about. There can be no excuse for requiring women to sit separately at an event at which they’re supposed to use their brains as engaged citizens, not as sex objects or as baby machines. True, orthodox branches of both Islam and Judaism require men and women to sit separately in their religious services – one reason why I’m not planning to convert to either any time soon – on the grounds that proximity to the opposite sex may distract worshippers from meditating on God. As yesterday’s rally wasn’t a religious service, I can only conclude that rather than meditating on God, the organizers were anxious that no sexual thrill should distract the watchers from meditating instead on the noble figure of Tom Watson.

If that sounds ridiculous, is it more ridiculous to assume that men and women are incapable of engaging with each other politically without thinking about sex? And engaging politically does start with sitting next to each other. The idea that men and women should hold separate conversations about politics might have a fig-leaf of equality about it, if men’s conversations hadn’t been the only ones that mattered for the past umpteen thousand years.

There’s nothing voluntary about any sex-segregation in a society with such pre-existing pressures within it, which is why we need leaders to refuse to accept it. As I’ve written before, simply having the option of separate seating sends a message that anyone who doesn’t conform to traditional male and female roles is a problem.  Would Liam Byrne speak at an event that asked gay people to sit separately, or allowed white people to ‘choose’ to sit in a reserved space? If not, why not?

If separate male and female political engagement doesn’t sound to you like ‘male political engagement, in which a few women are allowed to watch’, look again at the photograph Siôn Simon tweeted. In the front two sections, I count seven seats per row in the male section, and five for the female section. The women are crammed in, far outnumbered by the men in the room, who also hem them in at the back. Here is the old adage made flesh: separate is never equal.

This was a rally to rouse the local Labour party to get out the vote on Thursday: one wonders if Hodge Hill women are allowed to volunteer alongside men, and if so, how any of them climb up the local activist party. Back in 2010, of course, Harriet Harman was championing all women’s short-lists in places like Birmingham Erdlington to tackle women’s historic exclusion from politics. Until a certain Jack Dromey decided to stand.


Show comments
  • Paul Johnson

    I’m a proud full member of the Labour Party, but this is just plain embarrassing. The mainstream left in Western society needs to grow a backbone and stop kowtowing to discrimination. Just because that discrimination is religious in nature doesn’t stop it from being so, and apologising for it in the context of “cultural appropriation” not only helps contribute to the myth that “Muslim” (in this context) is a separate culture from Britain, rather than being integrated into British/Western culture, but is nothing more than moral cowardice.

  • Richard Harris

    “As yesterday’s rally wasn’t a religious service, I can only conclude that rather than meditating on God, the organizers were anxious that no sexual thrill should distract the watchers from meditating instead on the noble figure of Tom Watson.” Brilliant.

  • Auntiemilibland

    You can almost feel the Islamophobia (irrational fear of Islam) exuding from the political bigwigs but they are powerless to do anything because of the FEAR. What a bunch of spineless hypocrites, but what are we to expect from rubber mouthed Miliband and company? Not long now and the UKIP candidate will replace Miliband in Doncaster and that will be the end of him.

  • MrJones

    The PC cult would attack a white church who did this.

  • Verbatim

    It’s an ugly, ugly, ugly look and Britain deserves what it gets for letting these people in to its country, pandering to them and all the while criticizing its own citizens for sexism and discrimination. Shocking, shocking hypocrisy.

  • Liberanos

    All the women are wearing the uniform of subjugation and are obediently squashed into their own space. So everything is as it should be in muslimland.

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet

      If the idea was they’d change their ways after being exposed to a superior culture and perhaps feed that back to their motherland then I’m afraid that’s a big FAIL. We’ve had 7 decades of this nonsense now and all the signs are of a worsening social landscape as a result. Time to call a halt to the experiment and reverse its effects.

  • shoneyboy

    What if the punters voluntarily segregated themselves when they walked in? It would still indicate a grim future for the country,next it will be buses, cafes, schools and bathrooms,(hang on we have them already). It would let Lab off the hook in this case, not that they deserve it.

  • Ebst

    Where’s Harriet when you need her? Oh, actually she sent her cockhold…..

  • Mark

    Can a Labour dolt explain why segregating the people in the photo above on gender grounds is a matter of “respect” whilst a working men’s club segregating women out of the snooker room is an affront to the sisters to be overturned?

    I think it’s purest hypocrisy, but I’m sure there’s a more “correct” explanation that demonstrates the superiority of the islamoleft.

  • StrategyKing

    You may not be aesthetically pleased but the embarrassment and outrage are overstated. Men and women participated and there was room for both to do so. That they are sitting separate instead of intermingled didn’t stop them from doing so.

    Look closely conservatives and if you go past your own ethnic tribal identity you will find you have a lot more in common in terms of morals with the people who attended this event than you would with someone attending an intermingled talk in a trendy part of London.

    • Genie Balham

      No, no thank you.
      love
      A Conservative

    • cartimandua

      Gender apartheid is a failed state custom. It leads to expensive behaviours.
      So no it should NOT be tolerated.

  • Peter K

    This is a typical Labour peace of work, Condemn things when not in view ((( BUT))) when an undemocratic act is in your face and you can see Asian men sat to the left and the females sat crunched up & subservient to the Right, Not one labour or union official had the back bone to say anything there and then. you gutless wonders.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Texas shows Liberal Muppets way. Provoke um and waste um.

  • Daidragon

    I see a room full of muslim women engaging with democracy and the democratic process. A fairly rare sight for most muslim women. Let’s not get carried away with this ‘segregation’ issue. See the positives for once.

    • jim

      I see a room full of muslim women who will vote as their muslim men tell them to. Double the muslim trouble for us.

      • Callipygian

        And, they will so vote because 1) the ideology that keeps them down also keeps them ignorant; and 2) their husbands are like Mafia dons with the power of life or death over them.

        Who brought this sickness into Britain? Labour.

        • jim

          Agreed but there is plenty of blame to go round.Global Capitalism and End Of Empire did as much as International Socialism to arabiseafricanise western europe..

          • Callipygian

            You cannot blame capitalism for these people. No way, josé.

            • Genie Balham

              No, they managed it all by themselves.

    • Anton Duem

      Alas no, Labour introduced postal voting so the elder male in the house could cast the votes for whole family, long live the patriarchy! Although it was nice to see younger people rebel against this abomination in Bradford and elect Galloway, even if he is a total **** he’s better than Labour.

      • Genie Balham

        Mr G isn’t better than current Labour…

    • Mark

      I see a group of Labour hypocrites sitting at the front, who if asked to address a segregated meeting in any other context, say at a golf club, or a working men’s club would suffer an outrage melt down.

    • Infidelissima

      should have gone to specsavers!

  • Callipygian

    There’s nothing voluntary about any sex-segregation in a society
    And it’s not just segregation, it’s a symptom of oppression. The men sitting there don’t have better brains or kinder hearts, but they do have bigger fists. It is nasty, nasty, nasty.

    Shame on the Labour party. But let’s face it, they have nothing to be proud of anyway.

  • Mark

    Why was Eddie Izzard campaigning in Scotland?

    Where does he stand on this, and, more to the point, on which side of the hall in Hodge Hill would he have sat?

  • Wildflowers

    We need a few more people like this to put the message across about Islam.

    “CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, in this joust with Pamela Geller, exemplifies the moral blindness of the West, and its eagerness to go gently into that good night, submitting to the dictates of killers.”

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/05/video-geller-vs-camerota-free-speech-warrior-bests-advocate-of-sharia-submission/comment-page-1#comments

  • nana

    Harman is two faced.it’s AWS, except for Dromey.don’t do as i do,do as i say.this picture made me feel sick to my stomach.we are in the 21st century.this was a public meeting.women are not chattles.

  • David B

    Are labour ever embarrassed

  • MikeF

    They showed no shame when exposed as aiding and abetting the systematic rape and sexual abuse of some1,400 young women in Rotherham in order to sustain the system of political hegemony they had constructed so why on earth does anyone think they should feel any sense of shame over this? They don’t know what the word means.

    • red2black

      I don’t think people in such circumstances expect much from politicians of any persuasion any more. It seems lot of people only really care if they’re directly affected by something.

  • Anton Duem

    Careful girls, if you even uncross your legs the men will rush on you on mass like a troop of randy monkeys!

    • Callipygian

      Exactly. For a religion that is pathologically hypersensitive to insult, they are magnificent at insulting themselves. Respect begins at home, etc.

      • Anton Duem

        I know it looks really pathetic doesn’t it, its like if a women was beside them they’d have to yank off their pants and jeez off in front of them!

        • Callipygian

          That’s one way of putting it. In any case there is no dignity and sense in their position.

  • Zando

    Labour the party of equality!!!………………….was Harriet there…………………………LOL.

  • John M

    You danced around what you really wanted to say didn’t you – that the Labour Party decided to dump all thier women’s equality campaigning symbolised by the “pink bus” these past few weeks and instead pathetically pander to the mysoginistic views of Birmingham’s intolerant Muslims just to make a good impression.

  • Albert Zbingswiki

    Meanwhile, in a communication from Labour Head Office: “No one talk about it to anyone. It’ll go away soon, and if anyone drags it up after that, we’ll call them a racist and/ or Islamophobe, and arrest them when Ed enacts his glorious new law. Keep up the good work, all of you: I am assured that we will be rewarded when the UK Caliphate is established, so let’s keep working towards that!”

    • jim

      Exactly.This will only be a problem for labour if the media cover it and they won’t.Meanwhile they hoover up the moslem vote at no cost since almost no one outside these pages is even aware this is happening. Soon we won’t just be dismembering the UK.We’ll have to carve up England too.Herd these creatures into Bradford and let them have it .There is no way we can live with this.

      • Albert Zbingswiki

        Sadly, I think they’ll have everything north of Bristol and east of Bournemouth.

        • jim

          So it’s war then.Sooner or later.How can it be avoided?There is no living with this.

          • http://i-squared.blogspot.co.uk/ Katabasis

            War it is.

          • Daidragon

            You want to go to war because some women sat separately from the men in a political meeting?

            • Genie Balham

              Oh but it is so much more than that Daidragon.

              Don’t reduce such pernicious indoctrination to a simple action. It is not one act. It affects everything, all dictated by ancient, unchanging, made-up religious lore. It needs revoking.

            • jim

              You want to wait until they’re chopping soldier’s heads off in the street or gang raping white working class girls with impunity….Oh wait…they’re already doing that.

      • Genie Balham

        Like our very own Gazas….

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet
  • The Masked Marvel

    The BBC can’t report this because it would, in the words of veteran BBC journalist Hugh Sykes, “give permission for prejudice”.

  • PTB

    Labour legalized sharia law !!!

  • swatnan

    Its about time we faced this issue head on in the Muslim Community, and not turn a blind eye. This is Britain; we don’t do things like segregation here, and we need to tell them so. Change.

    • Albert Zbingswiki

      HATE CRIME!

    • Callipygian

      Change, or get out. It’s that simple.

      • Daidragon

        Why don’t you change or get out.

        • Genie Balham

          Change because of a man-made religion? Or because of the violence that refutal of any of the precepts of the religion provoke?

          No, no thank you.

        • Callipygian

          I’m not getting out of the West. It’s the only place worth living in, and it belongs to me.

  • Muttley

    Let’s not beat about the bush. This is a photo of a bunch of backward bigots, fronted up by some white bigot apologists (that’s the same people who call UKIP bigots. So confusing!).

  • lindzen4pm

    As a certain idiot poster below proves, to Spartists Islamism trumps feminism, and even Luciana Berger, when questioned about this by Andrew Neil on The Daily Politics, would not condemn her colleagues, and variously blathered on about not knowing the context, maybe it was a religious reason, er….can’t hear you, and then again said didn’t know the context.
    If you vote for these c***s, you should be sectioned.

  • stuartMilan

    i’ve taken a close look at the picture and just can’t see anyone wearing one of those “this is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt. how strange…

  • Bushfire Bill

    Ludicrous. What sanctimonious hypocrites the Labour party seems to be a haven for. (Wonder if this’ll make the BBC national news. . .)

    • Callipygian

      Worse than hypocrites: two-faced.

  • MrJones

    Labour feministas would attack a white church or political organisation that did it.

    Is there anything Labour MPs wouldn’t turn a blind eye to for postal votes?

  • Sue Ward

    Maybe Femen will take note and crash the next such event? Or do they just victimise the church and right wing parties these days?

  • Chalcedon

    The knife is firmly in the gut. Now, just twist it. They don’t like it up ’em as their silence shows. Utterly pathetic pandering.

  • EnglandLaments

    How many of those poor women have postal votes, cast under the ever watchful eyes of their husbands?

  • Precambrian

    So much for ‘moderate’ Islam….

    • TrueNorthFree

      “Moderate Islam”? There is no such thing!
      British people: either you take a strong and vocal stand against this now, or your grandchildren will all be bowing submissively to Mecca five times a day. After Rotherham, even left-leaning Brits should be waking up now about the poison they have allowed to flourish unchecked in their own country, due to politeness and fear of offending and fear of being called “racist”.

      • AverageGuyInTheStreet

        It could be that the worms on the Left are finally turning given the comments under this story. The constant flood of Muslim bad news stories has to have an effect eventually.

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/03/birmingham-headteachers-say-subject-campaign-intimidation

        • Mr Grumpy

          “Many, many of our members have suffered greatly from rogue governors.”

          What a lot of rogues there must be.

        • Genie Balham

          Below the line at the Guardian has for some time been very interesting (>2007).
          Like the commenters at the Speccie, they tend to educated, literate and well-read types. The comments are well reasoned and insightful.
          The high-rated comments are strongly anti-islamism/islam. We have more ‘friends’ than it may seem from just reading this site.

          • Damaris Tighe

            But I notice that dozens of posts under this article have been deleted by the moderator. With such a high proportion of comments unacceptable to the Guardian they should really consider closing down their comments sections completely.

  • gerronwithit

    It’s respec’ innit, just ask former Labour MP George Galloway.

  • CommonSense Matters

    Malty – you should have run this one by your more enlightened colleagues – epic fail:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11547287/David-and-Samantha-Cameron-visit-Sikh-temple.html

    • Steven Carr

      Attending a segregated religious service, while of course not believing a word of it, is bad, but not the same as an election meeting.

      • CommonSense Matters

        “Siôn Simon, now a Labour MEP for the West Midlands, proudly tweeted a picture of a Labour rally in Hodge Hill, in which seven Labour representatives spoke at a packed Islamic community centre.”

        The two are comparable and both are perfectly legitimate as both meetings were held in religious buildings. If you are going into someone’s place of worship you have to respect their code of conduct where it not does not contradict British law, which this does not. Freedom of expression and freedom of conscience is absolutely critical to democracy, particularly in places of religion. If this segregation happened in a secular town hall or other public space for an election meeting, that would be problematic and could be seen as an attempt to normalise sex-segregation in the public square which is absolutely not proportionate to a legitimate aim and potentially harmful to public morals etc.

        So this was a misjudged attack from a clear Tory stooge.

        • Damaris Tighe

          An Islamic community centre is not the same as a mosque. It’s not a place of worship. It’s the Muslim equivalent of a parish hall. The parish hall is not a church. An Islamic community centre is not a mosque.

          • CommonSense Matters

            Are you assuming that or do you actually know? There is no segregation in a church and there is no segregation in a parish hall. That is the Christian way. On that logic, would it not follow that if there is segregation in a mosque that it would also extend to their religious community buildings, their Islamic community centres? Seems likely so your comparison is a good one but I think your conclusion is lacking.

            • Damaris Tighe

              The distinction should really be between a place of worship & a meeting venue. Even if the meeting venue is owned by a religious group, whether or not there is segregation is simply customary, depending on the group, & not part of a religious service.

              Edit: another poster has said that it wasn’t even a community centre but a banqueting suite. I’ve gone to the link & it looks completely secular. If that’s the case there’s not the slightest justification (apart from wh*ring for votes) for Labour to accept gender segregation.

              • CommonSense Matters

                We cannot be certain f1-karen knows where the event was held. But If it was held there please read my response to her.

                • Mr Grumpy

                  Time to stop digging. It was not (ostensibly) a religious event in any shape or form. It was a Labour Party rally. IF it was the venue that insisted on segregation they could have taken their custom elsewhere.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  You obvs have not read my response to f1-karen, go and read it and then say something useful.

                • Mr Grumpy

                  It’s OK for the Labour Party to hold an election rally at a venue that requires segregated seating, yes or no?

                • CommonSense Matters

                  It is OK for ANY party if they are holding a specific event reaching out to a one cultural or faith group to observe the customs as a sign of respect where it does not contradict British law. Yes, I find sex-segregated seating offensive. But that doesn’t mean I can enforce people to sit together when they don’t want to when I am inviting just that type of person to an event. If they have soley invited people who because of their religion don’t sit together, it would be disrespectful to make them sit together. Like inviting a group of vegetarians our for dinner and making them eat a steak.

                • Steven Carr

                  So if a group of white people said they ain’t sitting with no coloured folk, Labour would say ‘Respect!’

                • CommonSense Matters

                  I haven’t known a religious book yet that calls for that. Unless the BNP/UKIP manifesto is now a religion?

                • Steven Carr

                  So you are happy with meetings that segregate Muslim men, but not happy if Muslim men are being segregated?

                  Could you make your mind up?

                  Should we respect the wishes of people who do not want to sit with Muslim men? One minute you say ‘yes’ – the next you say ‘no’.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  If a meeting is reaching out very specifically to a single religious community, eg. Muslims, and the Muslim men and women at the meeting would prefer segregated seating because of their religious beliefs, then yes it is probably acceptable as a sign of respect.

                  If anyone one else at all is invited to that meeting so it is not just for a single faith group, then it is not justifable to segregate at all. Surely this is not that hard to understand.

                • Steven Carr

                  So the party of equality has to bow down before the great god of religion.

                  You don’t let husband and wife sit together in an election meeting, I don’t vote for your party.

                  If equality offends your religion, then you don’t get to make laws.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  If you were a muslim you likely wouldn’t want to sit with your wife anyway. And read my reponse to pyewacket on the interaction between secularism and religion.

                • Genie Balham

                  Gender is something you are born with. Religion is learnt, it is not an innate trait. These people are taught by their religion to segregate.

                  Religions are a set of precepts and ideas, like any ideology. The ideas of a religion can, and should, be questioned, criticised and rebuked as necessary.

                  Gender segregation, like race segregation, is wrong.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  GB, please have look at my convo with Damaris Tighe, Pyewacket and Steven Carr for our bashing out of this

                • Genie Balham

                  I have read it. I think you are in error.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  Ok, why? Just saying i’m in error with out explanation is not convincing. I’d be interested to know your view.

                • pyewacket

                  The Islamic religion itself is backward in believing that women and men should be segregated – especially those particular groups of Muslims who believe that women should also be veiled. This is an extremist worldview. Muslims living in the West should be expected to abide by our rules. Gender segregation (apartheid) is no different from racial segregation based on skin colour. Likewise it would be undemocratic to segregate gay people from hetrosexual people at a public meeting.

                  No religion should be allowed to run rough shod over the Western secular value of equality between men and women.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  Calling Islam a backward religion isn’t helpful; though I agree the text itself is absolutely subjugates women and makes me wonder how Muslim women can read the text and not wonder why the God of this book treats men and women so differently when he made them both. In the Koran men are promised lots of virgin in paradise but women don’t receive similar promises, their heaven seems to be a very lusts of the flesh fulfilling place compared to say heaven as described in the Bible.

                  Western values have been defined by Christianity and our law is based on Christianity, what is happening now is that the law is increasingly becoming secular. So it would be entirely inconsistent that as the law becomes more secular for Islamic law to be given any weight having its basis in a religious doctrine which is in the broad opposite to the direction in which the law is now travelling.

            • pyewacket

              The danger you are missing is that these particular Muslims are unable to separate their religious behaviour from their secular behaviour. It’s one and the same thing – Medieval gender bias against women. Muslim women are regarded as inferior to Muslim men. A disgusting concept in 21st Century Europe.

              • CommonSense Matters

                Look at my other posts on this; I agree segregation per se is wrong. But where the men and women want it and you have only invited those kind of people holding those kinds of beliefs to your event which is just for them, they would perceive it a disrespect to be made to sit together and you would be imposing your beliefs on them by making them sit together.

                • pyewacket

                  As I’ve said, in a roundabout way, but will try to say it more clearly. when religious belief runs counter to Western secular democracy, then the religious belief must not be allowed to reign supreme.

                  People who live in a democracy should be good citizens and abide by the tenets of democracy. We disapprove of racial segregation within our democracy, thus we rightfully disapprove of gender segregation.

                  Likewise within a democracy we should be free to critique religions of any creed. I refer to the Charlie Hebdo protests. Such protests are not only an attack against free speech but also a demand for an Islamic blasphemy code.

                  Further to my earlier comment , I believe that it’s extremely helpful to call something ‘backward’ if that’s exactly what it is. A simple word for a simple fact. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  I appreciate what you are saying and agree with it to a degree. I don’t know if you have a faith but likely you don’t. I am concerned about freedom of expression and freedom of conscience being taken out of the public sphere and secularism being accepted as a norm when it is simply another belief system. Forcing religious communities at events solely for them to toe a secular line when they are not breaking the law is not the goal of democracy.

                  However, when a political party who is seeking to become government are running events perhaps it ought to be that no events should be segregated on any grounds in order to avoid confusion as to the law of the land and avoid the potential confusion of one rule for them and one for us, which seems to have happened from the comment so far, even if that is not what has actually happened. However you cannot account for freedom of choice and if there are two banks of seats and you invite just muslims where do you think they will all end up sitting? And if a photo is taken, what will everyone infer? I’m not saying the separated seating wasn’t deliberate at the rally but we are all creatures of habit.

                • pyewacket

                  Interestingly, some Muslim women are speaking out about gender apartheid, so there is hope in this respect, although it will be a long time coming.
                  https://muslimreverie.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/its-time-to-end-gender-segregation-in-mosques/

                  Personally I have no faith. I used to be a Catholic, at least Catholicism is the religion I was born into. I gave up all forms of organised religion some time ago and feel better for it!

                • CommonSense Matters

                  That is encouraging news, but I think you are right about the time delay.

                  I certainly know faith in God has caused people to do some of the most amazing and good things Wilberforce etc. Religion has caused man to do some of the most despicable things (Crusades) – religion is man without God. Faith is man with God and that shouldn’t be excluded from public sphere, hence my caution in treading on the beliefs of others, even if I strongly disagree.

                • Genie Balham

                  Yes – there is a move within parts of islam (not solely UK) for female only mosques, female imams, etc. In some ways this is further segregation. But in other ways it is a search for a valid gender-empowerment within a islamic umbrella. So we shall see.

        • f1_karen

          This was NOT a “community centre” of any type, it is a banqueting facility.

          http://www.thediamondsuite.co.uk

          • CommonSense Matters

            if this was an event specifically held for the Muslim community and they were invited to the rally in the context of being Muslims, then it again shows respect for that faith. However, if other faiths or those of no faith were invited or it was a meeting open to the public then the segregation cannot be justified.

            • TrueNorthFree

              You defend the indefensible.
              For shame!

              • CommonSense Matters

                by saying that you are imposing your views on people, when what you should be doing is trying to convince those people to depart from their views using sound arguments. the real shame is you judge but do nothing.

            • Freddythreepwood

              Pusillanimous, cowardly, smarmy, indefensible claptrap. Labour must be proud of you.

              • CommonSense Matters

                All those big words yet tumbleweed in place of an actual response.

                • Freddythreepwood

                  You are a nasty, unpleasant, hypocritical Labour troll, and I have no intention of corresponding with you further.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  As you wish but you are the one doing all the name-calling so really whatever you have said is like a boomerang. Can you see it coming back yet?

                • lindzen4pm

                  Here’s a short one. You are a c**t. I’m sure you’ll work that out.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  A UKIP voter if ever there was one and only so as the Nazis are yet to make a reappearance. Go and read a book to develop your vocabulary and your capacity for reason.

                • lindzen4pm

                  National socialists? Clue’s in the name. Big mates with Islamists and not hot on free speech. Right up your street, in fact.
                  I’ll stick with the concise epithet, though. You’re not worth any more.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  All I have been talking about is free speech which suggests you are limited in your reading. More books for you then.

            • Anton Duem

              You’ve changed your argument completely, at first you justified it on the basis of it been a religiously building, and you explicitly stated that if it was secular building or public place segregation would not acceptable. But now you’re claiming any gathering of Muslims, regardless of the place or building segregation is justified if the context of gathering is based on faith. That my good friend is called a logical contradiction!

              • CommonSense Matters

                The argument hasn’t changed, but rather I have explained further situations in which it would be ok for a single faith group to observe their customs in a secular setting. If a group of muslims hire a private function room and sit separately that is perfectly lawful.

                So if just muslims are invited to an event which speaks just to their community, sitting separately is probably ok if that is their custom and it is lawful.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  If it were truly a private function I’d agree with you. But I think that it’s highly unlikely that a political meeting at election time involving senior politicians would be private.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  I guess we don’t know but if the audience were just muslims then in that situation it would be ok. it’s feasible for particular groups to go to politicians with their concerns, particularly this close to the election as what they say matters now more than ever.

                  On another note, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech are absolutely necessary – so I think if we didn’t criticise Muslims’ need for separate seating something would be wrong. Separate seating does not chime well at all with equality but it is what they believe they must do and however much we disagree with what they do, we must defend where it is lawful, their right to do it. But we must not change our law or have one law for certain people and another for others or pander to the interests of one particular group over all of society, that will not do. Whether they are Muslims or any other particular group.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  I generally approach these issues on the basis of whether the meeting is in private or public space. Whether we agree or not they’re free to arrange their seating as they please in private space. But wherever it’s held I equate a political meeting of this kind with a public forum. I think you make a good point that people are going to self-segregate if they want, even if it’s not encouraged. It’s a conundrum.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  Fair enough, and perhaps there needs to be a clearer line made by those in and seeking office that when they hold a meeting with the public or any group with any identity they do so on the basis of the laws of the land, on the basis that it is always a public forum when the office holder/seeker holds a meeting (so no separate seating). But freedom of choice means yes they can self-segregate but at least for those who don’t want to, they don’t have to and both can sit together in good conscience and set cultural boundaries based on the law.

                  I think the Muslim community needs their own Rosa Parks for an internal change on their gender inequality struggle, outsiders can’t really effect it, it would be a bit colonial.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  Yes! Agreed! I thought about it again first thing this morning & I decided that a political meeting of this kind is always a ‘virtual’ public forum wherever it’s held. Otherwise it would be a cabal. But your first paragraph elaborates the principle very well. And the Muslim community do indeed need their Rosa Parks.

                  It was good to have a civilised discussion & I appreciate your careful arguments which helped to hone my own position.

                • CommonSense Matters

                  Agreed, I think this is what these forums are for, for bashing out our thinking on our opinions (and also for bashing government). Iron sharpens iron, good to have people on here who are interested in fruitful discussion in which we may agree or still may not but remain civilised nonetheless!

                • Genie Balham

                  With these things now, an ‘islamic’ event (speech, debate, etc) has people guiding you to your seat. They insist you get it culturally right.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  Well, it must not & cannot apply to non-Muslims & secular Muslims who don’t want it. As CommonSenseMatters says, you can’t stop people segregating even if they’re not directed to, but it must be possible for others to sit where they want – all political canvassing meetings are in effect public forums. If that causes issues for the segregators, it’s their problem.

        • Steven Carr

          So you are saying it is perfectly acceptable to assign ‘special’ seating to Muslim men so that other people do not have to sit next to them?

        • TrueNorthFree

          “Freedom of expression and freedom of conscience is absolutely critical to democracy”
          Really?
          Tell that to the cartoonists who were slaughtered because they dared to offend Islam. We Western people are supposed to meekly grant freedom to Muslims but of course Muslims respond by killing anyone who dares speak against them.
          There is something very wrong with this picture!

          • CommonSense Matters

            Can’t you see I am defending both Charlie Hebdo’s right to draw what they want but also the right of muslims to legitimately and peacefully protest and use the lawful means to challenge whether the Hebdo cartoonists were operating within bounds of freedom of expression. Not to gun them down in cold blood because they don’t like what they were drawing, that;s not lawful.

            • Steven Carr

              Muslims can certainly protest against the cartoonists, but they don’t have time, as they are too busy arranging protests against Boko Haram and the massacre of children in schools in Peshawar.

            • Damaris Tighe

              More importantly, it’s not moral.

        • lindzen4pm

          There is a problem in this country. You are the problem.

        • Mark

          Islam seeks to extend sharia throughout society. Give an inch, surrender a mile.

          • CommonSense Matters

            Please have a look at the convo Damaris Tighe, pyewacket, steven carr and I had on this – perhaps you have another view?

  • Neil2

    It’s a fair bet they won’t be. They do not recognise hypocrisy when it’s on their part.

  • foxoles

    I am old enough to remember the days when ‘segregation’ was the word for what everyone later called ‘apartheid’.

    Are Labour suddenly going tolerate that, as well? After all, once the principle has been accepted …

    • Mc

      Labour didn’t care about apartheid then or now. It was all about making lots of noise in order to garner votes.

  • TrueNorthFree

    It is astounding that the once-proud British people are meekly and quietly permitting their values to be over-run and fundamentally changed at the core by this violent and repressive religion. For God’s sake people, stand up and start speaking out to defend your Western culture, heritage and values.

    • SentryattheGate

      “Then out spake brave Horatius, the captain of the gate, To every man upon the earth, death cometh, soon or late! But how can man die better, when facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods?” from the Lays of Ancient Rome

  • Odo Saunders

    Recently on the Guido Fawkes political website, I read a nauseating and deeply worrying article, which clearly illustrates how far the Labour Party is prepared to go in order to gain power on Friday. The aricle relates to a political meeting organised in Hodge Hill, West Midlands, organised by the Labour Party and addressed by Tom Watson M.P., Liam Byrne M.P. (the person who wrote the infamous Trasury note explaining that the country had run out of money), Jack Dromey M.P. (where was Harriet?) and the equally ghastly Sion Simon M.E.P.. Nothing wrong with that you might say, in view of the fact that we are going through an election campaign. But if you look at the photograph of the meeting, you will notice that the audience is Moslem and that the men and women attending the meeting are strictly segrated! I was always under the impression that the Labour Party was in the forefront of upholding the principle of equality, so why are these stalwart members of the party so content to ignore one of the party’s fundamental tenets in order to gain some extra votes? What this clearly illustrates is that the Labour Party is content to forget its principles in order to gain power at any price. It is interesting to note that the BBC has made no mention of this fact and it must be assumed that Auntie is also quite content to ignore her feminist credentials for the duration of this election campaign, irrespective of the future consequences of adopting such a stance.. This leads on to the wider question as to what will happen on Friday morning if no party gains an overall majority? Clearly the Labour Party will now agree to any deal with La Sturgeon and her S.N.P. pals in order to allow Mr. Ed to enter Downing Street. The result will be as Jim Sillars, the deputy leader of the S.N.P., predicted, that there will be another referendum held in Scotland next year on whether it should be allowed to become independent. South of the Border, the Moslem supporters of the Labour Party will demand their own concessions, one of them being that the principle of equality will not be upheld in largely Moslem areas, as well as the lawful introduction of Sharia courts. Are the British people so stupid as to sleep walk into this situation? The answer I am afraid is yes, as they have completely lost their self-respect in their continuous demand for greater financial support from the state.

    In 1941, Winston Churchill addressed both branches of Congress in the United States, and during his speech he attacked the Axis powers by posing this simple question: “What kind of people do they think we are…?” One wonders how the great man would view the kind of people we have now become? What indeed has happened to the freedoms and independence for which he urged the British people to fight? When 70 pert cent of Britian’s state-educated pupils do not even take GCSE history, the answer I am afraid is obvious. It would appear that Thursday will be a seminal moment in our nation’s history and the British people need to wake up before then in order to deal with the Trojan horse that it already here, because the BBC will not alert them to this constitutional challenge.

    The inspiration for this entry was an article written by the respected economic and social commentator, Jeff Randall, entitled, “What kind of people have we become?,” which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, 30 January, 2012.

    • Joe Long

      “I was always under the impression that the Labour Party was in the forefront of upholding the principle of equality, so why are these stalwart members of the party so content to ignore one of the party’s fundamental tenets in order to gain some extra votes?”

      They were happy enough to have turned a blind eye to industrial scale rape, sexual torture, trafficking and pimping for votes so I wouldn’t have thought a segregated audience would be an issue for them

      http://cdn.breitbart.com/breitbart-london/2014/09/12/rotherham-kashmiri-votes-for-silence

  • Joe Long

    Paedo-Finder General Tom Watson is, as we know, much exercised by alleged historic Westminster child abuse.

    But here we find him so engaged in hoovering up these segregated votes he has no time to spare to comment on the rampant current abuse being committed in his own area

    “”Children in the Black Country are being sexually exploited, with gangs similar to those in Rotherham operating in the West Midlands, says a police report.”

    http://www.expressandstar.com/news/crime/2015/05/02/sex-abuse-gangs-in-black-country-significant-similarities-to-rotherham-scandal-say-police/%C2%A0/

    “Parks, hotels and taxis: The terrifying truth about child exploitation in the Black Country”

    http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2015/05/02/parks-hotels-and-taxis-the-terrifying-truth-about-child-exploitation-in-the-black-country/

    Still he is a very honourable man and he must have a good reason for this omerta

    • TrueNorthFree

      Those supposedly “Asian” gangs of rapists are simply bringing vibrant cultural diversity to thousands of white English schoolgirls, and anyone who dares to speak against those so-called “Asian” gangs is immediately silenced by being branded “racist”.

      • Joe Long

        Well that’s very true

        One wonders what these Labour malignants were promising here in order to grub up votes.

        Probably going to make any enquiries into grooming gangs a matter of Islamophobic bigotry, punishable by their Stasi law

        If they do get into office I’m sure they’ll close all investigations into Muslim rape gangs down

        • red2black

          The issue isn’t in middle or upper class interests, so you’re probably right.

  • Lydia Robinson

    Where is Alice Louisa Davis who was making such a song and dance about the beach body poster on here the other day?

    • Genie Balham

      Posters, such as the ‘beach body’, of women showing some skin, are prone to vandalism in some areas. Seen it myself in a bus stop near Uxbridge – blacked out completely except for the eyes. It is a sign of ownership, in a geographic sense.

      Articles such as ms Davis’ skirt the ‘real’ issue imo

  • Mc

    Unless I’m mistaken, there is no mention of this story in The Times or BBC. Surprising?

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