And the award for barbarism goes to…

7 06 2017


Just time before the polls open for the UK General Election to make the award for the party manifesto policy which most advances the cause of  barbarism. The clear winner is … UKIP for FGM inspections. Here is the winning policy:

“Implement a screening programme for girls identified to be at risk of FGM from birth to age sixteen, consisting of annual non-invasive physical check-ups.” UKIP 2017 Election Manifesto p.35

It’s almost as if they didn’t think about, couldn’t imagine, what that might mean. Like they just got out the notorious dog whistle and that is the sound it produced.

Imagine for them. A little girl going to school and waiting to be dragged off for her annual FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) inspection. ‘From birth to age sixteen’. The shame, the humiliation, exacerbated by the cultural mores of exactly those families most at risk. Families for whom avoiding shame and humiliation are paramount. The result of this annual, date in the diary, sexual assault would be depression, mental disorder, self-harm and honour killing.

Just so you know UKIP, irony is when you seek to defend liberal democracy by utterly undermining its values.

And in a section of your manifesto titled ‘One Law for All’, nothing contradicts that stated intention than singling out one section of society for ritualised humiliation. And more than that, the group you have identified as most at risk of harm is the group you choose to harm. The group you would most like to protect and see integrated into Western democratic values is the group that you single out and alienate.

No-one sitting around that little pub table where the policy was surely drawn up had a sense of history either; none had heard of the Contagious Diseases Acts, among the more notorious Victorian legislative disasters.

Women suspected of engaging in prostitution could be subject to compulsory checks for venereal disease. The problem is; who defines adequate suspicion of prostitution, who ensures the powers under the Acts are not abused by the individual policemen and doctors, and, most importantly why on earth should fallen women (to use the language of the time) be singled out as being without the basic rights enjoyed by the rest of society?

It was the catalyst for the politicisation of women in the UK and led to the organised political movement which campaigned for and eventually brought women the vote. But you didn’t know all that UKIP.

Of all the ill-considered, foolish, impractical, hypocritical and financially ruinous policies that bloat the manifestoes of all the political parties, this is the one that stands out for barbarism. Congratulations UKIP; it is, perhaps with good reason, likely to be the only thing you will be winning in the next couple of days.



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