He's a veteran of the First Gulf War who now drives a taxi in Cheshire. Being a self-described patriotic Englishman, John got a friend who writes signs to make him one for his cab.
It says "British by birth, English by the grace of God", and is based on several in the same vein he saw being displayed by Welsh lorry drivers whilst on holiday.
John had to remove the sign, however, after two separate members of the public complained to the council claiming it had "racist overtones".
Whilst the council and the taxi licensing body now refuse to rule on whether or not the sign is racist, John has been forced to remove it because he - gasp - didn't get permission from the council to display it on his own vehicle in the first place.
I think John sums up the situation very well:
All very interesting. The council have as good as admitted that they see displaying such a sign as wrong:
“There’s nothing racist about this slogan at all. It is just a statement of fact by a patriotic Englishman. We should be proud of our nation, especially in times like these, but for some crazy reason we’re not allowed to display that pride.”
He added: “I have served Queen and country and I’m very proud of my nationality and heritage. I don’t see what is wrong with that. I got the idea when I went to Wales and saw one that said ‘British by birth - Welsh by the grace of God’, so I thought I’d adapt it. My friend is a sign writer and he did it for me.
“To say I’m racist is a massive allegation against someone. The fact is I fought for my country and I’m proud to be British.”
Good of them, I'm sure. However, in my part of the world, it is very common to find Sikh, Hindu and Muslim taxi drivers who display some symbol of their nationality or faith in their vehicles, normally by hanging it from the rear-view mirror.
A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council’s licensing enforcement office said: “The authority has received complaints from two different members of the public who felt that Mr Woodward’s sign was racist. The council has not made any decision on that allegation but it accepts that Mr Woodward did not intend any offence and that he regards his sign only as a reflection of pride.”
He added: “However, as a Hackney cab driver he is not allowed to display a sign without applying for permission and was asked to take it down only on that basis.”
I wonder if they get permission first?
The story neatly sums up the madness of the times we currently live in, and the culture of denounciation which successive governments, egged on by the people who actually run the country from Brussels, have create with politically correct legislation.
I thought it served more as a useful point of comparison, however.
Back in April, a chap called Tohseef Shah (below) appeared in a British court. He's 21 and was born here.
For this act, an outrageous slur on those who have given their lives to defend this country, and a clear attack on its heritage and values, Shah walked free from court with a two year conditional discharge and a £500 fine.
Why did he walk free? Because the CPS decided that his actions did not constitute a "hate crime"; i.e. inciting racial or religious hatred, i.e. our dreaded old foe racism, i.e. the one thing our "justice system" actually considers to be serious. They explained: