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a blog by Chris Barrow

What day is it? Where am I?

Oh yes – it’s Thursday and I’m in Newcastle. Gig fatigue is beginning to cut in this morning – another presentation last night ending at 10.00pm, a drink and a chat in the bar and then bed at midnight. Up with a 6.30am alarm call because I have meetings here this morning before driving to Edinburgh. After my encounter with the restuarant staff in Huddersfield I travelled North, stopping to watch in amazement as two truckers started a fight in a service station, because the guy with the little white truck pulled out in front of the guy with the big white car transporter. It was like watching a ritual played out on the East African plains. First, there is the tooting of horns – won by big trucker with the bigger truck (and louder horn). Then there is the waving of fingers – won by little trucker who executes a perfectly formed single finger out of his cab window. Then there is the slamming on of brakes and the climbing out of the cab – easily won by big trucker because his truck is higher. And now the inflating of chests – big trucker again I’m afraid – he is a big gorilla of a guy, whereas little trucker is a miniature fat guy (who looks quite worried as he slides sideways out of his cab and sees big trucker emerge from his cab like a silver-back). Then there is the pushing ritual – big guy places both hands firmly in the middle of little guys chest and pushes him violently backwards. Now – we have a moment of truth. Little guy considers his position (which is not good – he is smaller, fatter and can’t run quickly – he has a truck in the middle of the road – big guy looks mean). Little raises both hands to the sky and looks bewildered and confused. “Why me?” He clearly regrets the earlier finger. Big guy considers his position (which is very good – he has won the ritual hands down in front of a bewildered car park of reps, other truck drivers, pensioners out for a day trip – and travelling business coaches). The honour of his tribe has been maintained – he walks away, mouthing obscenities. Both truckers return to their trucks. As they drive away, little trucker (whose truck is faster and lighter) winds down his window for one last triumphant finger. But we all know that big trucker won – and big trucker knows that we know – so he ignores this final gesture. All truckers resume trucking. Whilst I am watching this ridiculous pantomime by two full-grown (but obviously brainless) men, I am listening to BBC Radio 2, where Jeremy Vine is conducting a heated debate on the number 1 media issue in Britain at the moment – whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear the veil. (read more) It seems that some of our political leaders consider that members of the Muslim population should do more to integrate into our society and culture? I’m trying to understand:

  1. how, in a liberal democracy, Cabinet ministers can express their disapproval of the way in which members of a religion choose to inerpret their scripture by the way that they dress? Perhaps we should ask Nuns, Orthodox Jews, Rastafarians and others to abandon their traditional dress and integrate?

  2. Integrate into what? Integrate into a society where people vomit their excess alcohol into the street on a Friday night, where an affluent village gets a white container to double as a police station because of the level of anti-social behaviour? Where two brainless truck drivers are fighting each other in the middle of the morning?

I have to say I’m not overly proud of the “cultural traditions” of the UK – and feel strongly that our Government is seeking a soft target to marginalise Muslims and deflect attention away from their own problems of economic and social mis-management, crony-ism and discredited foriegn policy. In the democracy I grew up within, we tolerated well-behaved citizens who expressed their individual beliefs – terrorists and anarchists could never provail against true impartiality. I don’t live in a democracy any more – I live in a nanny state where social do-gooders release sexual offenders back into society to rape and kill further victims whilst the prisons are full to capacity with morons who think that stealing is easier than getting a job. Now, our Government is turning racist. Apologies, by the way, for the politically incorrect reference to silver-back gorillas, who are far more intelligent than either truckers or politicians.

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