Police deny England shirts were ever banned


8:55 am - May 25th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Last week I tried to debunk the Facebook rumour that police had banned England shirts for fearing of offending minorities.

Of course they hadn’t. It was thanks to a misleading tabloid story.

The rumour spread across Facebook like wildfire and it is still carrying on.

Then on Friday the BBC have finally picked up the story and asked the police:

Insp Howard Lewis-Jones, of West Midlands Police, said there had been no directive stating that pubs should not bear flags. He said: “It is nonsense. Police officers are football fans too and patriotism should be an important part of enjoying the tournament in a fun and friendly atmosphere as long as people are sensible.”

The Metropolitan Police says the advice, issued in March, was never meant to be seen as a ban on England flags or shirts. A spokesman said: “This letter contains a series of suggestions to make pubs safer for everyone. “However, licensees are not obliged to follow our advice and there is no policy to stop the wearing of England shirts.”

A pretty clear statement I’d say.

On Facebook groups have sprung up around the controversy.

Some buying into the xenophobia: IF IM TAKING MY ENGLAND TSHIRT OFF – YOU TAKE YOUR SHITROLL TURBAN OFF !!.

Others trying to debunk it: Nobody is banning any England shirts, you gullible xenophobic fool (61,000 members) and No one is offended by your England shirt/flag. Shut up. (6,500 members).

Don’t you just love the interwebs?

More at: Tabloid Watch and Enemies of Reason

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Shatterface

Did the police hint that licences might be refused if pubs failed to follow their ‘advice’?

There are two issues here: the obvious nonsense about people being ‘offended’ by England shirts (for which there is no evidence) and the police bullying of drinkers and publicans (for which there is plenty).

I think the first memo did remind them of police powers to revoke licenses or some such, but I think the memos were sensible from the behaviour I have witnessed at previous world cup matches.

Twas only four years when I was watching England on the big screen in Manchester and there were random bottles smashing on people, after the match which we won there was then an impromptu football match, which then descended into a brawl.

Best of British

Well, it’s too early in the year for ‘Christmas is banned’ stories isn’t it?
Still, no matter that the police have denied that ‘England t-shirts could be banned’ (as the papers say ‘could be’ which means ‘has already’ in their language) no doubt many twonks who read the tabloids would still believe it’s already happened and will continue.
After all, you’re not allowed to put up Christmas decorations at work any more, you’ve GOT to celebrate Eid and St George flags are illegal. True.

4. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

SHUT UP, I’M WHITE AND I’M BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALA.

5. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Don’t worry Shatter old bean
Your Tory, sorry coalition government is going allow you to vote for your police chief
Perhaps you can get Carlsberg to sponser the nect PC plod.
Then you can say
If Carlsberg did police chiefs, it would probably be the best police chief.

I’m still hearing this one apocryphally. It’s not unheard of for police to read between the lines of memos in order to throw their weight around unnecessarily. Just look at how photographers are treated.

The point is, surely, not that we know it is all made up, but that if it does happen, we condemn it utterly.

And elected police chiefs or commissioners would be good for this sort of issue because they’d be out of a job at the first opportunity if they banned England shirts.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. Grace F-H

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  10. Hannah Mudge

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  11. Hannah Mudge

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  14. Jackie

    RT @libcon: Police deny England shirts were ever banned http://bit.ly/954pii Great blog by @sunny_hundal

  15. HeroesandHalos

    Police deny England shirts were ever banned | Liberal Conspiracy: Insp Howard Lewis-Jones, of West Midlands Police… http://bit.ly/ac06w0

  16. Aliya Zaidi

    @ellazwart It's a fake story / Facebook group, but unfortunately the tabloids think it's true. http://bit.ly/b5woak + http://bit.ly/aXHjuD

  17. Jack Barker

    @EnglishDrum http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/25/police-finally-deny-england-shirts-were-ever-banned/





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