Thursday, 8 May 2014
Much hullabaloo in the news again about the introduction by stealth of halal-butchered meat in most of Britain’s supermarkets, restaurants and take-away joints (although it is doubtful whether your standard kebab ever experienced life as a recognisable animal). Of course kosher and halal, to all but adherents of those religious certitudes, are the exact same thing; the detail and distinctions don’t matter one jot. It is just jolly well not the way things are done in Good Old Blighty. Except, it turns out, it is and has been for some time.
Whereas the devout, however misguided, are compelled to only consume meat slaughtered in the way their god insists (although for the life of me I cannot think of a single rational reason why – and for that matter, how would they know otherwise?) the rest of us simply want to assuage our flesh-devouring guilt by being assured that the meat didn’t suffer on the way to the plate. Having said that, on the whole we’d prefer to maintain the fiction that meat grows right there on supermarket shelves rather than confront the whole issue of our own animal appetites.
Faced with doing something the Captain Mainwarings of Westminster suffer a dithery unease about being found guilty of that most concocted of modern sins – islamophobia. The greater mass of the population meanwhile harbours misgivings about eating something that not only may have suffered unduly, but has also had the voodoo of the halal blessing muttered over it during its ordeal; incantations from the same religion which has inspired atrocities the world over and is currently the motivation for the kidnap and enslavement of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.
Rather than cause a fuss, the establishment has done, once again, what it always does with islam and has quietly acquiesced, banking on simple ignorance to maintain the silence of the non-muslim population. Easier to say and do nothing than stand up to the quarrelsome minority expressing yet another grievance about our infidel ways. The British equivalent of calling for beheadings and stonings is to meekly insist that ‘something must be done’ to protect us from this thing! I suppose it momentarily distracts us from tackling the much more sensitive issue of organised grooming gangs.
Yet I feel unease about this clamour for central government action. The information is now out there and the solution, if we can be bothered to pursue it, is to revert to self-reliance. You won’t do it, but you could start using local butchers again, thus putting pressure on supermarkets to fight harder for your custom. To offset higher prices you could (but you won’t) choose to eat less meat, after all doctors keep telling us we should. Hell, you could even consider becoming a vegetarian – a swede-ophile – anybody fancy a mango?
It's just halalarious!
But no, damn it, we demand even more food labelling. Demand; that word is music to the ears of politicians. It gives them permission to compel. Make crime illegal! Stop calling me names! Demand that somebody else look out for your welfare and you are stepping into the shackles you say you want to slip. Labour has already made clear its agenda to control what you eat- the halal row plays straight into those ambitions. It’s almost inevitable that hastily drafted laws end up being abused and end up doing the opposite of what was intended. Soon it will become illegal to discriminate against halal - before long we’ll be adding meatist to the never-shortening list of hate crimes.
Compulsion; it’s the wet dream of socialists with their enterprise-strangling minimum wages, quotas, shortlists and prohibitions, all introduced with their smug air of intellectual self-confidence. But stop a minute and ask yourselves, is that what you really want? When what you want from government is to be told how to behave and what to think you end up with the kind of leaders who believe they can pass off a Harry Enfield sketch as a serious Party Election Broadcast.