Wednesday 12 August 2009

Alton Towers And The Burkini

The burkini, coming to a pool near you soon

Charles Bremner in the Times has highlighted the case of the banned burkini in France.

Here we go with a summer episode in the saga of France versus Muslim dress. This one involves a 35-year-old French convert to Islam called Carole who was thrown out of a suburban swimming pool for wearing the head-to-toe swimsuit known as the "burkini".

Carole was on her third burkini outing to the town pool at Emerainville, in the eastern outskirts, when the chief lifeguard ordered her to leave. She was said to be breaking hygiene rules but everyone is casting the incident as another clash between fundamentalist Muslims and a state that has banned head-cover from schools and wants to curb face-covering.

French muslim groups are up in arms about it, of course, as is Carole who did exactly what we all wouldn't do. Went straight to the police. It does appear to be a confrontational stance and with the running battles over muslim dress in France, it most probably is.

The police don't seem too bothered about it for a perfectly rational reason.

The police refused to accept the complaint on the grounds that the lifeguard was just enforcing the rules that apply in all French public pools. Women must wear swimsuits and men must wear brief trunks -- Speedos -- rather than shorts, which are said to be more likely to harbour bacteria.

Say that again, Monsieur Gendarme? ALL French pools have rules against bacteria-harbouring shorts? Not over here, they don't. In fact, it's the other way round.

Alton Towers in skimpy Speedos ban

Morwenna Angove, sales and marketing director for Alton Towers, said: "We feel this small brief style is not appropriate for a family venue so we are advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as shorts."

Have health and safety been trumped here? France, Holland and Canada have hygiene rules on such swimming attire, but not us. Hoorah.

Unfortunately, it is instead imperative that the chiiildren should be protected from seeing anything remotely resembling the human body.

Fortunately for muslims, though, they will be able to wear the burkini wherever they choose in this country. And seeing as it is a fast-growing phenomenon, you'll no doubt be seeing them at your local pool very soon.

Who knows? In Labour's prurient and multi-cultural Britain, they may even become mandatory.


j said...

That's another job-creation scheme for local authorities.

Swimming-pool hygienist - every Council will now NEED to appoint one [Elf+Safety].

Anonymous said...

Over here, unless you're a member of a protected minority group you probably won't get the chance to use your local pool, anyway. I think that it might be 'Nanny Knows Best' which found that a public pool in London had special sessions set aside for wimmin/Muslims (male)/Muslims (female)/children (separate sessions for each).

Personally, I think we could do with importing some French common sense.

I suppose I should have prefaced my remarks with the obligatory disclaimers but, sod it, I don't feel inclined to feel obliged any longer to point out the obvious.


Anonymous said...

It's a wonder these muslim prats don't object to a male lifeguard (maybe they already have ?)
I bet they wouldn't object if they were drowning though, if a bloke pulled them out and saved they poxy lives.

Witterings from Witney said...

DP: re the ban on speedos over here due a sense of decency, ie they show 'what a man has got' - the thought struck me that what the hell do the skimpy bikinis that women wear do??????

Sex discrimination??? Hell, even the government shows their 'balls' every day of the bloody week - in fact we can't seem to keep those out of the bloody media!

Unknown said...

If they continue to ban those gorgeous men in speedos, I shall go to my local baths in my bikini and see what they have to say !

Angry Exile said...

I have less of a problem with the Alton Towers ban on skimpy cossies than I do the French ban on everything else. The reason is that Alton Towers is privately owned, and just like me asking you to follow the rules I set in my house they're entitled to set rules for people on their property. Yes, this is a stupid rule but we don't have to go and spend money there if wearing budgie smugglers is important. In France the situation is the state telling everyone what to do - yet again. Again, yes, I suspect this Carole was being bloody difficult to make a point, but I'd be tempted to do the same. Is it so different from sparking up under a no smoking sign or climbing a step ladder without doing a health and safety risk assessment first? I don't particularly beat the drum for Muslims or any other religion for that matter - usually the reverse because of humanity's long history of religion inspired fuck ups - but in this case there's an element of my enemy's enemy is my ally.

Anonymous said...

she shouldn't even be going there if there are men in speedos even if she is dressed from head to toe. Mixing is forbidden - so what is this woman playing at?

Dick Puddlecote said...

AE, you misunderstand me.

I agree Alton Towers are fully entitled to institute a ban on whatever they like. As you say, it is their property and we don't have to spend money there if we disagree.

I also agree that France comprehensively banning attire they deem unhygienic appears draconian.

What I find amusing (this wasn't an ire-filled rant, merely observation), although a tad worrying, is the very recent British tendency to protect children from real life.

The French ban would seem to have at least a decent health reason behind it, even if it is hysterical in its nature.

The British one is further bubble-wrapping of kids. As if kids really care too much, or even notice.

This attitude has gathered pace so much that it is now endemic. As my previous post about the chimps points out, some who bleat about the poor children probably don't believe it themselves, it's just the done thing now.

Here is another example from today. A big dipper crashes, and a few people are mildly injured. The BBC interview a guy who can barely speak English and his wife. Pushed for a comment, the default response was "I'm shielding the kids" or some such.

Risk-averse can no longer explain it. It's now a kneejerk response resulting from perpetual conditioning. It's akin to saying "look at me, I'm a responsible parent, don't shoot me".

The future may feature a generation of lily-livered obsessives as a result, and/or a collection of teens who rebel and buck the system by being deliberately obtuse and perhaps dangerous as a result. Neither is helpful.

The more we proscribe and cosset, the worse the potential consequences IMO.

The best adjusted adults who I have known since childhood were the ones who were not shielded from life, but encouraged to learn for themselves what it is all about.

One of my kids just discovered Eminem and loves the music. I'm not stopping him, but I'm getting barbs from other parents for being laissez-faire. My kids have manners, theirs are fucking brats. Go figure. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I read one report of this story. It seemed to imply that the 'hygeine' issue with shorts is that they could have been worn elsewhere than a swimming pool and could, therefore, be contaminated by dust and so forth.

Now, I don't want to put you off your cold beef and horseradish, DP, but a little dust doesn't seem much to me when you consider what else, in terms of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, parasites, weeping sores, and so on, could be going on underneath a pair of speedos.

Anonymous said...

At the pool I go to in Paris, you must wear a swimming hat and speedos and you must wash thoroughly with shampoo and soap before getting in the water. You are not allowed near the pool otherwise. It is hardly draconian and most swimmers probably welcome it. I certainly do.

Angry Exile said...

DP, my comment wasn't particularly a response to your post, just mentioning where I stand on the two respective bans and why. FWIW I agree that the Alton Towers reaction seems unnecessarily prudish and unintentionally amusing, though I'd say both are examples of bubble wrapping kids. Likewise what you say about creating a generation of 'lily-livered obsessives' - the only thing wrong with that statement is that it's probably the present rather than the future ;-)

banned said...

As far as I am aware I am still subject to a lifetime ban from Hathersage outdoor lido for wearing cut-down Levis in the early 1970s so Carole gets no sympathy from me.
I'm not sure if the ban was on hygiene grounds, taste, elfnsafety or religion; it was probably just 'against the rules'.