For a few seconds, time stopped and the audience dropped a collective jaw as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked if we knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s brother was a Muslim convert, Mohammed Osborne. No we didn’t! But…but… how did that happen?
In the aftermath of the riots, I do wish the political point scoring by both parties would just stop. Whilst crisis often offers the opposition party an opportunity to make political impressions, does every news programme or media discussion on the riots have to be based on one party having a go at the other? I feel in this case neither party can wash their hands of the problem behind the riots. Hasn’t today’s generation of looters been exposed to both party’s ideologies over the past 20 years?
I have sat in dismay as I have listened to, and read, the disastrous efforts Ken Clarke has made at justifying sentence reduction for rapists over the past 36 hours. The word “serious” has been debated across the country and rightly so. Rape is a serious crime and people including ministers do need reminding of the seriousness of this crime.
However, it wasn’t the differentiation of the seriousness of different rapes that offended me most, but the suggestion that only violent rapes were serious and indeed deserved higher sentencing.
I recently arrived back in the UK from a long trip to Delhi and as I tried to catch up with the life I left in London, I happened to listen to BBC Radio 4’s profile of Baroness Warsi. While I found it interesting listening, I must convey my various conflicts with regards to the Baroness.
I am not a fan of the Conservatives (or any other political party) but I think it’s great that the Baroness has such a high profile position in British politics, ticking so many minority boxes…woman…Muslim…blah blah. She is also educated, articulate and opinionated – all positive traits. Is she unfairly judged for conveniently ticking all these boxes? Is her appointment as the Chair of the Conservative party affirmative action or did she earn the position? What does a Chairperson do anyway?
I found out about her Muslim bashing dinner party conversation comment only recently and even the weekend papers included readers’ letters in response to Baroness Warsi. It is unhelpful to make sweeping statements but I do find many people still being shocked upon learning that I am a Muslim. I’m just a regular Brit with the same dreams and worries as many other Brits and people around the world of my age. I hope the positive outcome of the comments is that we learn that perhaps we all need to communicate more openly and on a regular basis even if we agree to disagree about certain aspects.