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Speaking of Islamic dress, I caught the ramblings of one Mr Hollobone - congratulations Kettering on voting this man as your elected representative. He considers the wearing of a Burqa to be "absurd", which is basically how people who don't understand something articulate the fact that their ignorance directs them to dislike it. It's sort of the equivalent of saying "I don't understand it, I don't like it, and I don't understand how much of my not liking it is down to not understanding it". Or the equivalent of writing a book like The God Delusion. It's just a bit more snappy.

In his view, it's un-British. This is a view to which he is entitled, I suppose, and which could be demonstrated to be factually accurate, if a definition of "British" could be found such that the wearing of a Burqa was its antithesis. Fortunately for us, he went on to elaborate, so we need not speculate - the essence of the British way of life is to pass people on the street, smile at them, and say hello.

As I write this, I'm on a train to London, in a carriage with about 30 people. When I get there, I will travel down an escalator, passing something like 50-80 people. I'll board an underground train with another 40 people, before completing my journey by walking up Charing Cross Road past another couple of dozen people, which is to say nothing of the crowds of people I'll pass at Waterloo.

Would you like to guess how many of them will say hello to me?

Before you ask, this is not a trick question - I am not wearing a Burqa to dissuade them from approaching me for the purposes of rigging this question.

I'm not the most observant person in the world, but I would imagine that few if any would smile at me either. If this is the British way of life, then we've already lost it. Rather than targeting people who wear Burqas, as though this addresses the real problem, I have a better idea.

The Being British And Saying Hello And Toodle-Pip Bill

All persons above the age of five years old will be required to greet any person with whom they make eye contact. Failure to do so will result in a fine of no less than £50, or life imprisonment, at the judge's discretion. The wearing of sunglasses or other garments/accessories that confer the effect of preventing eye contact from being made will be treated as a criminal offense, and offenders will face harsh penalties. Saying "Nice to meet you" and not meaning it will be considered thoughtcrime.

I just want to protect my way of life....

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Really fucking well done essay!

Ooh, I would welcome some good toodle-pipping in the street.

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