Last year, I reported how a bar in Coventry had refused service to a group of soldiers in uniform who had been acting as pallbearers at a military funeral. The owner of the bar said, slightly grudgingly, “I can only apologise again to the family and anybody else who was upset during the funeral service. Just that I'm sorry and that it wouldn't have happened if we had been aware of the funeral at the rear of Brown's, in the cathedral."
Just a one-off, you might think. But only this week, the Ensign Ewart pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh refused service to a group of Royal Navy personnel in uniform who had been attending a ceremony to mark the decommissioning of the destroyer HMS Edinburgh. This was particularly ironic as the pub in question bears the name of a Scottish hero of Waterloo. Not to mention particularly shameful in the week that saw the barbaric murder of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich.
This also underlines another feature of these cases, how the guilty parties often fall back on the law even when there’s patently no legal justification for their actions.
A spokeswoman for the Ensign Ewart claimed staff had been following licensing regulations which she said made it illegal to serve people in full dress uniform. She said: “We work within the confines of licensing laws.”You have to wonder if the barperson had any connection with the rentamob morons who, failing to see any irony, recently told Nigel Farage to go back to England because (alleged) racists such as him were not welcome in Scotland. But there does seem to a tendency amongst a minority of extreme nationalists to regard the British armed forces as an occupying power, even if the personnel themselves are Scottish or, as in this case, their ship bears a Scottish name. Indeed, although this ship was built at Birkenhead by Cammell Laird, her successors are being built on the Clyde.
However, council officials said there were no licensing laws banning people in military uniform from being served alcohol, and although in the past such a ban had applied to policemen, that law was no longer in force.
Maybe pubs should start displaying signs saying “We are proud to serve British service personnel in uniform”.