THANKS to the French the world has gone burkini bonkers. As the picture below shows, even Scots pensioners on Irvine Beach have claimed the burkini as the garment of choice to withstand those days of long exposure to the savage ravages inflicted by hours spent in the searing glare of the Sassenach sun.
Back in hi-fashion France, whose police so popularised the new look with their armed seafront ‘Get ‘Em Off’ patrols, the all-over onesie look has also become a firm favourite.The Boulogne Burkini Biker Brotherhood’s tearaway trips to the coast wouldn’t be incomplete without full leathers and optional safety headgear for their ‘downtime on a towel’ sessions on the searing sands.
BUt not ALL outfits are deemed appropriate and care must be taken not to give offence or cause alarm. Can YOU spot which of the beach bums (right) would have been asked, possibly at gunpoint, to strip down to a more modest Bardot-style teeny-weeny bikini or leave the beach at Orly-de-la-Plage?
Yes, of course you got it: the outlandishly-garbed woman on the extreme right would have been hustled quickly from the seafront having affronted France’s secular ideology.
Seriously, though, what IS this very peculiar French secularism that much of the rest of the world fails to comprehend? This extract from an essay in Prospect magazine may help explain:
“In December last year I gave the children in my local primary school, deep in rural France, a taste of an English Christmas. While, with typically French good manners, they gazed in awe at the snow scene on the iced cake, I explained to them that, originally, mince pies were bigger and were made in the shape of the manger, you know, the manger where the baby Jesus was laid… at which point the teacher came rushing up shaking her finger: ‘No mention of religion in a state school,’ she said, sternly. Not even at Christmas.
“Later that month, and again in January, thousands of French women and schoolgirls took to the streets, demanding the right to wear headscarves in schools. Every year some 150 Muslim girls risk expulsion from their schools because they insist on wearing a headscarf, which, they say, their religion demands and French law allows. But the directors of the schools and most French people say headscarves are not just cultural emblems: they proselytise, thus upsetting the neutral balance of the classroom, essential for the “serene transmission of republican values.”
Funny old world, ain’t it?