12 March, 2011


The worm sneers

I find myself in the proverbial one-and-a-half minds over this one,

Pendle cabbies face Asian clothing ban

On the one hand I'm not all that keen on overweening public authorities interfering unnecessarily in people's lives and work, just because they feel they can do, or in order to fit in with some jumped-up power-tripping councillor's idiosyncratic concept of propriety. There are certainly contexts where the prescribing of a business dress code is appropriate, but beyond a basic requirement for cleanliness, decency and a general absence of disconcerting whackiness, I'm not entirely convinced that this applies to the cab trade. It would be more useful for the relevant authorities, local and national, to ensure that vehicles are well maintained and correctly insured, that drivers are who they say they are (and not the licensee's cousin on an expired visitor's visa), that drivers are paying their taxes and that they are not distracted from their driving by the difficult decision as to whether to rape their current female passenger before or after signing on at the Job Centre.

On the other hand my hackles do begin to quiver gently when I read stuff like this,

And Mohammed Akram, chairman of Pendle Private Hire Association, said drivers were extremely unhappy with the plans.

Mr Akram said: “A lot of them are saying it would be discrimination because it would take away their rights.”

and this,

Glen Bulcock, chairman of Rossendale Taxi Association and owner of GB Taxis, said Rossendale Council had put forward a similar proposal recently, but it was rejected following a number of concerns.

He said: “It was refused because it infringes on human rights and, 90 per cent, if not more, of all taxi drivers in Rossendale are Asian.

"You can’t force Asian people to adhere to a code that doesn’t include their national dress.["]

Oh yes you can, Sunshine. Anyway, aren't we always being told that these people are "British"? As British as like wot I am, guvnor, innit? I hate to break this to you, but whatever garments might qualify as "British national dress", they do not include a Millets anorak worn over a salwar kameez.

Let me be brutally honest. I'm being opportunistic here, not indulging in some form of logical Libertarian analysis. On one level I'm not really bothered if Mr Ilyas wants to drive his cab while wearing his pyjamas. On the other hand, perhaps it's about time Mr Ilyas and his ilk made up their minds who they want to be. Are you going to participate fully in British society or are you going to remain Pakistani colonists, chaps?

Now that the Great and the Good have reluctantly acknowledged the failure of the multicultural project, the emphasis is all on community cohesion. Well let's define the basis of that cohesion, shall we? This is not a multicultural society. Nor is it a multiracial or a multi-faith society. It is an ethnic North European, secular-Christian society. That's the baseline. If you want to stay, you cohere with us, not the other way round. It's a one-way street.

Now if you want to wander our streets in your salwar kameez, or if your wife prefers to go forth in full jilbab and niqab, we are a tolerant people and will most likely indulge your eccentricity. We rather like eccentrics, do us Brits. But if accepted standards for business dress require that you dress à l'anglaise or if accepted security standards require that your wife reveal her face to facilitate identification when entering private premises like banks, shopping malls and even buses, then I'm sorry, don't come the bleedin' old soldier about your human rights and your sacred cultural and religious practices. Our gaff, our rules. If you can't hack it, you might be happier driving a cab in Mirpur.

Wasn't it CallMeDave who was banging on about muscular liberalism? Perhaps it's time for a bit of muscle. Come on, posh boy, show us your pecs. And, again, let me be honest. If some of our recent arrivals can't adapt to Britain, as opposed to Britain made over in the image of Pakistan, and if in consequnce they decide to leave, then I for one will not be shedding many tears.

(You know, I think I may have blown my chances of doing a guest post on Pickled Politics now, but heh, sod it, you can't win 'em all.)

Damn, it's another 'Can't they BOTH lose?' situation... ;)

If you don't fancy the idea of your taxi driver wearing a shalwar kameez get in one whose driver isn't and, if ordering a private hire car ('minicab'), specify that you require a driver wearing a tie (which is your right); it's called the "free market".

You might be in for a long wait when the bearded men in frocks have grabbed 90% of the market as they seem to have done in the Pennine valleys.

Taxi drivers.. ah yes, those would be the ones who have found a way to 'integrate' into western society while being completely separate, as in "I wear my tribal outfit cos it shows I am different."

And all the while not knowing where anything is (if you want to go to number 23 Station Sidings Avenue you better know which part of town it is as your newly arrived taxi-driver hasn't a clue).

Plus apparently the ban on mobile phone use while driving doesn't apply to them.

I have long suspected local taxi-drivers who are so determined to be a visible reminder of a certain faith largely don't pay taxes, as no one can track who they are and how much trucking they do.

But, in a multi-culti world, we are told it is 'vibrant' to see jabbering, hairy men in long nightshirts.

Don't forget to always leave a bag of pork scratchings as a tip.

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