The Sun said this is such a common story, they didn't think the public would care enough to justify covering it.
(TUrn your volume up, and you'll hear nearly every word)
But other publications have covered the story, and now, for the first time, we're releasing the video so you can see what happened for yourself… no need to take my word.
I genuinely get fed up blogging and broadcasting about being turned away because I have a guide dog since I'm really not a disability rights campaigner, but what can I do when time after time the law is flouted and my rights are trampled over?
I was invited along to have a go at Blind Tennis, headed by talented coach Alexander Wheen - @blindtennis on twitter. Now I'm not big on blind sports, but I have to say that Blind Tennis is great fun, and I'll be going again… perhaps you should get along with a blindfold on?
We left the Letchworth Tennis club at 7:10pm on Sunday night but the pre-booked taxi refused to take me because I have a guide dog. I really don't care what the excuse is… the law is very clear, it is a criminal offence for any Hackney Carriage or Private Hire car to refuse any assistance dog unless the driver has a medical exemption certificate. These exemption certificates are actually really easy to get… driver A goes to their GP, either genuinely, or by deception tells their GP that they are allergic and hey presto, certificate signed. The more enlightened local authorities are insisting on a Specialist or Consultant signed certificate as advised by the DFT - but this joker hadn't even heard of an exemption certificate.
Let's be clear, "I'm a Muslim" is not cause for breaking the law. This story will unfortunately cause some to think I've some kind of agenda on religion - those who know me, know otherwise - but let's be clear, the law applies to everyone, and if you break the law, you should expect to be prosecuted.
North Herts Council are currently investigating what they describe as "allegations". Have a look at the evidence above. Either they will Summons the driver to Magistrates Court, or I will by way of private prosecution.
I apologise to regular readers for posting this story - I find it deeply frustrating myself, but for the benefit of all those who have abused me on twitter for complaining, and specifically to the idiot who suggests I have complained for self publicity, I say I don't like being known as the blind bloke who keeps banging on about guide dogs - I am a political journalist, and this is the only exposure I hope for. The point of highlighted yet another issue (as above) is partly for my own benefit - yes and unashamedly, but more than anything, it's for all the blind and partially sighted people, all the deaf and disabled people who work with assistance dogs who might just accept this lying down. It's for all those people who decide not to train with another assistance dog - a genuine lifeline, because some people think they're above the law.
Ignorance is no defence.
On previous occasions, I've agreed that drivers should be verbally cautioned since I don't like affecting people's ability to earn money… but this happens too dam often and every driver signs a license document agreeing to take assistance dogs by law. I've had enough - in future, any driver who flouts the law in this regard with me WILL be dealt with and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.