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.
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AThousandFlowers
Follow us on Twitter @unsavourycabal