You know the old stereotype about taxi drivers? They’re all dodgy racists etc. etc. Anyone who doesn’t have a car and who is therefore forced on occasion to take a taxi, against our financial better judgement, knows this to be a myth. Many drivers voluntarily engage in and provoke long discussions about their desire for rampant communism, the benefits of immigration or getting rid of all the fucking Tories on a regular basis. Yeah, I’ve heard shit racism from random people whether they drive taxis or not, but the one thing all drivers seem to have in common is a desire to take money from you, in exchange for driving you places. It’s what they do. I can’t imagine most drivers are head over heels at the prospect of having an obnoxious queen in the back of their motors but they generally put up with me until I’ve handed over my dosh.
Glasgow’s great purveyors of private hires, Hampden Cabs, have been making headlines this week, as one of their drivers apparently refused to tolerate his passengers. The allegation is that the passengers had the gall to be Gaels and spoke IRISH in the back of the car. They soon found themselves out on their arses. The official tale from Hampden seemed plausible enough – they were drunk, there was a fight, nothing to see here. That is, if it wasn’t for their spokesperson, Paul Muir, declaring,
I couldn’t imagine four people coming over from Donegal and going to a party in Britain and not being drunk.
The inability to even imagine that every single Irish person doesn’t spend their time getting constantly entangled in drunken brawls is not a great defence against accusations of racism. It’s also frankly a bit rich coming from us weegie types. I personally can’t imagine thinking a taxi was a rational use of my money when I wasn’t out my face but that’s another matter.
Speaking on Highland Radio, one of the passengers, Anthony Blair (oops!), recounts being told,
You can’t speak that language in here, you’re talking about me
If they want to speak in that language they can get out of my taxi.”
So they left without paying, being unwilling to cease their Irishness. It’s safe to presume that when the driver goes away on his holidays in Marrakesh, he’ll speak in a mix of French and Arabic, depending on the audience, in order to please the sensibilities of the local cabbies and not just speak really fucking loudly and slowly (with a few Spanish words chucked in coz well, it‘s abroad!) like everyone else does. And I’m sure he’ll be stone cold sober at all times.
Hampden has failed to crown itself in glory, first insisting the passengers were involved in a completely separate incident in which an elderly taxi driver was allegedly intimidated and abused by passengers, despite this occurring on a different night and well… it not being them; before declaring that whatever it was, they were Irish and therefore obviously steaming. One of the passengers is now pursuing an official complaint.
OK, so “taxi company is dodgy” probably isn’t going to be on many front pages tomorrow. Wherever this story has appeared online, most of the comments are from hackney drivers, insisting this would never happen in their more expensive motors. I’m not really buying that. But it’s still pretty shady for a taxi firm to slander their customers by accusing them of harassing an old man on a night they weren’t in Glasgow and then resort to just calling them drunken Irishmen.
It probably doesn’t make much business sense in Glasgow either, when a decent chunk of your punters might have committed the heinous crime of being a wee bit Irish. So for their efforts in turning a slightly embarrassing looking news story into a PR nightmare, Hampden Cabs are more than deserving of their place in A Thousand Flowers’ wanker bank.
Between the unnamed driver and Paul Muir at Hampden Cabs, it’s taxi for a couple a fannies. We’ll be getting on our bikes, so we will.
WEEKLY WANKER #009: DIAL-A-BOOZE MAN
Whatever happened to the East End subway extension?
WEEKLY WANKER #011: STEFAN KING
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Good reporting and spot-on analysis. If Scots cannot tolerate other Gaelic speakers, then there is not much hope for Britain.
“If Scots cannot tolerate other Gaelic speakers, then there is not much hope for Britain.” Eh?
Given that the commenter is not from Scotland, I was prepared to take the comment in the spirit intended despite my rabid seperatism and pedantry. But for the record…there is no hope for Britain.
I had to stop using Hampden cabs altogether because I lived in Govanhill and got sick of having to defend my Roma neighbours to racist taxi driver after racist taxi driver, all of whom clearly thought that because I was also white that I was a racist as well.
The icing on the cake was when a Hampden driver chased my girlfriend and her friend along the street because he wanted them to pay in cash, but they had booked and pre paid the taxi with a card. The local police sided with them and we received several very unprofessional phone calls from a civilian member of staff at Aikenhead police station threatening to arrest her unless she came in and paid, which she duly did. The civilian staff member took the money and put it in an envelope to give to the driver, who was clearly known to her personally, rather than logging it or putting it into an evidence bag. When we complained to the police about being threatened with arrest by a civilian member of staff pretending to be a police officer they threatened again to arrest my girlfriend, despite her having paid the taxi fare.
The only conclusion I can come to is that Hampden and Police Scotland are in cahoots; this was confirmed to me by an acquaintance who is a police officer, who said the police and the taxis do favours for each other all the time. Not only did I lose my faith in Hampden (not really a big deal) but I’m now very reluctant to go to the police if I have a problem as well.
I use Network these days, if I absolutely must get a taxi. They’re cheaper and have set fares. Haven’t heard any racism since.
weirdly enough it was Strathclyde Police who kicked off when Network were given the Glasgow NHS contract, make of that what you will!
Interesting! I had to change my taxis from Southside Radio Cars to Network a few years ago now. I had an extreme experience with Southside Radio Cars in Glasgow re racism towards ME! He guy was huge (his best mate did “time” apparently), for a second, I thought he’s gonna kill me (with his best mate lol). I left him tips when I got off, to keep him off my case. Some people speak with accents – get over it! I too can confirm that Network taxis are better peoplewise. They might be slow but they cheap and also not racist! :-)