Nadine Dorries MP, Mahmoud Ahmedinjad and Shilpa Shetty

I consider myself a liberal; so long as it doesn't affect other people, you should basically be allowed to do what you want. It's a rule of thumb and there are shades of grey, but that's where I'm coming from. There is an opposing tendency that becomes outraged at the idea that there are people doing something, somewhere, that they don't like; it doesn't matter that it doesn't affect them, they want it stopped.

Thus the first kiss. Judge Dinesh Gupta issued a warrant for the arrest of Richard Gere for kissing Shilpa Shetty. Beyond that, it made the front pages. Now, maybe it's an arresting visual that looks good on the front page, but deserving of criminal charges it is not. Indeed, senior legal people in India have, according to the BBC, said that it has no validity and the magistrate in question has been transferred. One wonders, though, whether a Bollywood star and the star of Pretty Woman should cause that much surprise if one kisses the other.

The second kiss is from one less likely to be involved in such scandal: the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, who kissed a former schoolteacher's hand; the teacher, though, was female. He was criticised for acting contrary to Sharia law by the Hezbollah newspaper, we are told.

The third person who takes offence at other people doing things that don't bother them is Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire who has said, opposing travellers and the particular fact that Mid Beds DC has to find four extra pitches a year for five years (twenty pitches) for travellers.

Quoth the raven:
I take the view that if you want to live in this country, you do it by living in a house, sending your children to school and live like the rest of us have to, because that's how it is in Britain. That's how we live – it's part of our British culture
Oh, really? Firstly, the illiberalism of it. What if I want to home-school my kids? What if I want to live in a yurt? British culture is not the monolith Dorries pretends it to be. Secondly, this is frankly racist. It is picking on a definable ethnic group (the Romany) and insisting that they conform to a particular vision of what it is to be British. The Romany arrived in Britain in the 1500s - before the Huguenots and before the Jewish resettlement - making Dorries' argument even sillier if you even accept the premise that you can't move somewhere and live your own lifestyle.




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