The world's jaws dropped last week when hearing that a Rochdale taxi firm were catering to requests for white drivers, causing a great stir within the taxi industry. It surfaced that in 2012 taxi drivers in the borough were involved in grooming young girls, a scandal that the area has not forgotten. Two of the men involved in this crime have now been jailed for their part in the rape and trafficking of young white girls. But is their Pakistani origin relevant? Stephen Campbell, the manager of Car 2000 took over Eagle Taxis, a firm that employed drivers involved in the scandal. He claims that as a consequence of the affair many white customers were asking for “local” drivers. By catering to these requests many have deemed the businesses as promoting discrimination. However, the businessman also thinks that these requests are ‘insane’, wanting all customers to understand that the horrifying episode was not down to race.
“We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale. “But it’s a business and we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to. I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back,” he said.Campbell said he wants customers to opt to have any of their drivers, insisting that Asian drivers are great workers.
“The Asian drivers are harder working, they do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it. They have a much better work ethic. If the public could actually see these [Asian] people close up and see what they are about, I don’t think they would be asking for white drivers.”Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said:
“This is extremely worrying and a stark reminder of the impact that grooming scandals have had on northern towns. This will not be a problem exclusive to our borough, I’m sure. “It must act as a wake-up call to politicians who just pretend tensions like this don’t exist and bury their heads in the sand. There’s a lot of work to do to improve race relations and if we’re going to build stronger communities then we have to tackle these concerns head-on,” he said.With a lot of conflicting ideas on this story I think we should take inspiration from Michael Jackson when forming our opinion.