The French have just succeeded in defeating at the European Court an attempt to have their ban on the wearing of a 'full veil' in public overturned.
As some of you may recall, our Gallic cousins had previously banned the wearing of a full veil (that's a Niqab or a Burka, but not a Hijab, an Al-Amira, a Shayla, a Khimar or a Chador), not on religious grounds (though they did also introduce a ban on the wearing of headscarves (now that is an Al-Amira, a Shayla, a Khimar or a Chador) in schools because it conflicted with France's secular values), but because it posed a potential security risk in that it concealed a person's identity.
The court ruled that the ban on the full veil 'was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face'.
Inevitably, there are those over here in the UK who are now suggesting that if the French can get away with arguing that a Niqab or a Burka should be banned because it is a security risk, then so should we.
I, however, beg to differ.
I'm going to be particularly controversial today and argue that a piece of attire similar to the Niqab/Burka which I am going to call the F-BOG (short for Full Body Over Garment) should actually become an item of everyday clothing for individuals of all denominations…and even , in some cases, made mandatory…okay, okay, let's get the argument for mandatory out of the way first. It's simple. All those really, really ugly people that we have in this country (and there are a disturbing number of them) should be made to wear the F-BOG all the time. It saves us the awkwardness of realising we're staring at them in horrified fascination and then looking away too hurriedly in embarrassment, and it spares them the discomfort of being gawked at whenever they go out - controversial, I admit, but what's life without a bit of controversy; and it is what politicians like to call a 'win-win'.
And now to the bigger concept of the F-BOG as an everyday, secular fashion garment. How will that work, I hear you ask?
Well, first of all, unlike the Burka or Niqab or Yashmak, which seem to follow the Henry Ford (urban myth) approach when it comes to a choice of colour, the F-BOG could be available in wide variety of colours and shades - vivid yellows, subtle lilacs, strong blues, anything in fact that catches the mood of the day. It can also be livened up with stripes, polkadots, swirly patterns or those ever popular pseudo-Japanese symbols that people think look cool on wallpaper but actually translate as 'You're a git!'
Secondly, the F-BOG could come in a variety of materials, from a light cotton version for hot sunny days, all the through to a heavy-duty Goretex version for rainy winter nights.
But thirdly, and perhaps its most useful and appealing feature, an F-BOG worn in the office would afford the wearer the opportunity to mouth the words 'Oh you are such a fucking knob' to their boss without the 'knob' being the least bit aware of it. The F-BOG would also enable the wearer to gesture with their hand that said boss is a wanker, again with the 'wanker' being completely oblivious of the abuse they are receiving. Yes, folks, the F-BOG, soon to be available at a Primark store near you (after being manufactured in a small sweatshop just outside Karachi that has no fire escapes), is the ideal garment for the office environment, encouraging freedom of expression whilst protecting the wearer's right to privacy. It's a sure-fire winner!
Just remember...you heard about it here first.