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Monday, 9 February 2009

Who are we

Strangely proud of Iain Dale today.

Strangely? Because he's a Tory and I'm not. We may both be gay but so what.

What we agree on is that the treatment of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown MBE tells us something is wrong in the UK. (Maybe the gay thing isn't so irrelevant after all.)

Alibhai-Brown is an Independent columist and commentator.

In a highly personal and moving video on the Guardian's site (fix this Guardian, put in ads like the US networks, embedding makes monetisation sense!) she describes her treatment as a Muslim attempting to travel to Scotland.

Tell me you aren't ashamed at what our country has become when a middle aged muslim woman of Asian descent can be treated like this. She was questioned at length by plain clothes police officers who never once told her who they were or why she was being questioned. They frightened her so much she wet herself.

Draper's crowd should be proud of themselves. They rail against imagined racism, yet introduce laws which allow muslim women to be traduced like this. In the video, Yasmin says she loves this country. Hearing how this country treated her, I could forgive her if she had had other thoughts.

Yasmin and I agree on virtually nothing. Where she is right wing (and on some social issues she is) I am not, and where she is left wing I am not. So whatever your opinions of her writings and opinions, I hope you will agree with me, that when this sort of thing happens, for no apparent reason, it is grounds for us all to be concerned about what is happening to our liberties.
I was under the impression that we fought wars so British citizens weren't treated like this.

But to Dale's commentators Alibhai-Brown is NuLabor, someone who deserves this treatment, someone who invited it, someone who does not deserve sympathy. To them, those wars were fought for purely 'British' people, not her.

To them I say that sympathy is a British value. The same value which should be extended to gay men or lesbians fleeing Iran or Iraq — otherwise what are we but just another country? Or just the imperialist country everyone else thinks we are that behaved like thugs, racists and vandals down the years?

Strangely proud to be British in finding this agreement with Iain Dale.

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