Royal British Legion’s Statement On How Freedom Works

2
1018

Given that the Royal British Legion exists to recall, remember and take care of those who fought for our freedoms and liberties it’s appropriate that they – near uniquely in modern public life – have a good grasp of what those freedoms and liberties are.

The background here is that a taxi driver seemed disinclined to pick up someone taking poppies off to be handed around in this period of remembrance. We could, of course, get all outraged and demand heads on pikes. That’s not the correct response of course, liberty does indeed mean being able to tell people of whatever persuasion about war, sacrifice and the rest to bog off. It ain’t liberty if you can’t.

Thus White Poppies, none, even an anti-war march at 11.11 am on 11/11 at the Cenotaph this very year, the centenary of why we recall that date, are just fine. We might have the occasional public order complaint about that last but then all such liberties are subject to the third party harm constraint. The concept is fine at least, even if physical reality might be a little difficult.

Still, the taxi driver has been fired. And this does look like the right response too, despite that liberty thing:

A TAXI driver in Birmingham has been sacked after they reportedly refused to transport boxes of Remembrance Day poppies.

The boxes were meant to be taken by cab from the Perry Common Royal British Legion Club in Kingstanding to Aston Villa’s ground Villa Park yesterday afternoon.

No, that’s not quite right. Or at least the specific thing said there is correct if not the connotation of it.

Taxi firm KMR Cars said the driver had since been sacked for failing to alert the company the boxes had not been collected and it “apologised for the outrage” caused.

He’s been fired for having lied about having done the collection, not for refusing to do it:

In regard to the allegations made on the 01/11/18. KMR Cars have completed the full investigation Please see summary points of the Investigation below:

In regard to how we had seen the journey at the office. We had taken the call of the booking at ‘13:01’. We then ‘Dispatched’ the journey to the driver at ‘13:01’. The drivers ‘Vehicle Arrived Time’ was ‘13:19’. His ‘Picked up’ time was ‘13:19’ and His ‘Job Completed’ time was ‘13:19’.
Therefore, on our system it had shown that the journey had been completed by the driver, which clearly had not been.Which shows that the driver had lied about even picking up the journey and completing the job. Due to this gross negligence of the driver and incompetence by not alerting the office of him not picking up the passenger. KMR Cars have dismissed the Driver who cannot be named (due to Data Protection Act) and He shall no longer be representing KMR Cars any longer.

Seems fair enough. If you can’t trust a cab driver then you can’t trust the cab driver. Which brings us to the Legion getting it right:

A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion said: “We take the view that remembrance honours the sacrifices and contributions our Armed Forces community have made in defence of freedom, and so how people choose to remember, or not to, must be a matter of personal choice.

“If remembrance became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance.”

Quite so, you can have any attitude to the whole thing you want- including not providing a cab service to boxes of poppies – and we get to think whatever we wish of your position. That’s rather what the whole thing has always been about in the first place, that freedom, that liberty.