By Adrian Chan-Wyles
ON THE 29th October 2013 the staff of the Picasso’s Coffee Lounge, Union Street, Torquay, refused entry and service to a female wheelchair user on the grounds of her disability, stating that the manager had taken the decision to exclude such people from the café. There are many similar complaints emerging from Torquay, and it is significant that Torbay has been linked with the fascist British National Party in the media, and in Mark Collins’ book [Hate], which exposes the British right-wing and its connection to the area.
Compared to what is considered normal in the progressive cities of Britain, this is a shocking event in a civilised society, particularly as no one in the cafe raised a concern, and the manager, despite authorising this blatant act of discrimination, remains unrepentant (and unpunished) despite UK law being very clear on this point. I understand that the local Police (and Member of Parliament) have been informed, but despite nearly a month going by, no action has been taken.
This is not surprising, as outside the major cities there is a lack of will-power within less cosmopolitan areas to acknowledge that such discrimination exists, or to do anything about it. The Devon and Cornwall Police were criticised in a 2012 report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary – which "indicated some cause for concern – specifically the under-recording of crime", and the local Member of Parliament (Adrian Sanders) is a Liberal Democrat who fully supports the current Con-Dem government and the vicious attack it has made on people with disabilities that has seen hate-crime against the disabled rise by 75 per cent in just one year.
There has also been a separate report that states the floor manager was over-heard berating an employee for not “looking like the right kind of person” to work there – and then sacking her, all within earshot of customers. Due to news of these events spreading across the internet, a campaign has begun for all right-minded people to boycott this café in the name of solidarity and socialism.
Picasso’s Coffee Lounge,
3 Union Square Shopping Centre Union Street,
Torquay TQ1 3UT
Tel: 01803 212 166
Complaints to the Manager Mr Mark Lewis - firstname.lastname@example.org