When Virtue-signalling Goes Wrong: Lib Dem Politician Tags Muslim Council in Bacon Breakfast for Ramadan

Ramadan
Brian Ach/Getty Images for New York Magazine

A Liberal Democrat politician attempting to curry favour by observing Ramadan in “solidarity” with Muslims during the coronavirus lockdown badly misstepped by tagging the Muslim Council of Britain in a picture of his bacon and eggs breakfast.

Councillor Ian Manning, who has previously identified as a member of the fanatically anti-Brexit #FBPE (‘Follow Back Pro EU’) movement, was participating in the so-called #LibDemIftar, in which Liberal Democrat politicians would observe “the holy month of Ramadan” in solidarity with Muslims whose activities have been disrupted by the lockdown.

“Up early to start my fast for #LibDemIftar! Really not sure I’ll get through to the evening but we’ll see!” the councillor announced enthusiastically, alongside a picture of some bacon and eggs in which he had tagged the controversial Muslim Council of Britain.

Bacon, being a pork product, is of course very much haram (forbidden) to Muslims under virtually any circumstances, never mind during Ramadan — and so the left-liberal politician’s gesture was received something less than warmly.

“Re food photo earlier. Important point is the fast. Allergies mean choices limited,” he tweeted after realising his error and quickly deleting the offending post.

“This is a learning experience, and I’d prefer to be honest about it than not. Sorry if it caused offence.

“Also, it was 4am and I was half asleep,” he explained desperately.

“I just didn’t think about it. Because there was some bacon in my fridge, I had some bacon,” he elaborated in a subsequent video message quoted by The Telegraph.

“I went on Twitter and posted the eggs and the bacon, tagged the Muslim Council of Great Britain, in one of my finest moments of idiocy.

“I just didn’t think actually.”

Even when practised correctly, the #LibDemIftar scheme appears to have done the party — once the third force in British politics, forming a coalition government with left-leaning former Tory leader David Cameron in 2010 — more harm than good, being denounced as “virtue-signalling” and a “publicity stunt” by critics.

It also appears to have caused a degree of irritation among other religious groups, with people highlighting the party’s comparative lack of interest in the Christian period of Lent or the recently-concluded Hindu fasting days of  Navratri.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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