England: Cabbies banned from wearing the Three Lions
The Taxi drivers in Blackpool have been told they will have their licences to operate revoked if they display anything featuring the word England, the Cross of St George and the Three Lions shield on the grounds that their display might offend visitors from overseas, Wales or Scotland.
Taxi drivers have been banned from wearing England football shirts or anything else backing the team’s World Cup bid.
Cabbies in Blackpool were told they will be stripped of their licences if they sport anything featuring the word England, the Cross of St George or the Three Lions shield. One claims he was told it might prove offensive to visitors from other parts of the UK.
The angry drivers have accused the local council – which is currently flying a flag in support of a Gay Pride event above the Town Hall – of taking political correctness to ridiculous limits.
“This is barmy,” said Stephen Buckley, 42. “No one will be surprised cabbies are backing the national side – they’d expect it. I’ve been working here for 17 years and I’ve not had one complaint about wearing shirts supporting England. The sooner the council backs down on this crazy ruling the better.”
Mr Buckley learned of the new rule as he sat at a taxi rank. A licensing officer, whose job normally involves checking vehicles are safe, told him his T-shirt – bearing a Cross of St George, lions and the word England – was banned and served him with a notice suspending his licence.
Strict dress code
Blackpool cabbies reluctantly agreed a dress code last year which bars football shirts or clothing bearing “abusive, indecent or provocative words or images”.
But Mr Buckley – whose licence was restored when he changed – said: “This wasn’t a football shirt, it was just a T-shirt with England on it. I rang the licensing boss, and he said it might incite an incident with someone from Wales or Scotland.
“That’s ridiculous. Our council is supporting a Gay Pride event yet we’re not permitted to support our country – where’s the logic in that?” Blackpool Town Hall is flying an internationally-recognised rainbow-coloured flag to support this weekend’s Gay Pride event.
Trevor Boaler, secretary of Blackpool Licensed Taxi Owners’ Association, said: “The council should be relaxing the rules during the World Cup.”
Taxi drivers in London have been told they can wear shirts backing England or any other team. Labour-controlled Blackpool council said last night: “The consensus among our officers is that a shirt featuring the Three Lions or the Cross of St George constitutes a football shirt, and these are not permitted”.