A pub landlord from Barnsley, South Yorkshire has twice been asked to take off his Union Jack jacket by local officials who said it risks being offensive – but mystery surrounds the identity of the officials as the local council has denied any knowledge of the episode.
Jason Mawer who runs the Manx Arms in Barnsley has told the Daily Mail that he has twice been stopped while wearing his mod-style Barbour jacket around town. Specially designed in honour of British mod band The Who, the colourful jacket has been made up in the red, white and blue of the British Union Jack flag.
But Mr Mawer said on both occasions he was asked to remove it by women who appeared to be local council enforcement officers.
On the first occaision he was on his way to the bank when he was stopped by a woman wearing a high-visibility jacket. “To be honest I was in a hurry and I was walking along as she asked me to take it off. In the end I just said, ‘No I’m not taking it off,’ and carried on,” he said.
“I thought it was ridiculous to be honest. What’s offensive about the Union Jack? I only had a T-shirt on underneath and it was raining so I would have got really wet.
“It was an insult to be asked to take it off. It is my pride and joy. I’m a big fan of The Who and the Mod era and have all the gear.”
On Saturday he was stopped again by a second woman who also appeared to be a local official, who told him “Would you mind removing your coat? It might offend somebody.”
“She was polite enough and came alongside me before asking me to remove my jacket. She didn’t say who it might offend,” he said.
“It’s definitely political correctness gone mad,” he added. “It’s an overused phrase but I think it definitely applies.”
Mr Mawer is happy to be openly patriotic: his pub, the Manx Arms features a mural on an exterior wall of a silhouetted soldier, a poppy, a cross, and the words “Lest We Forget,” painted for Remembrance Day last year. Inside, Union and St George’s flags adorn the ceiling. A 21ft flagpole with an English flag also stands outside.
The jacket was a birthday present for Jason from his partner Lyndsey Smith, who bought it from a Scottish Who fan who had won it in an auction but decided not to keep it.
“It’s a one-off design and he’s wanted it for quite a while,” she said. “I managed to get the owner to part with it.
“He’s been stopped twice by officials who we believe are enforcement officers who police the town centre. I think it is disgusting.
“It is purely a flag and has no offensive slogans on it. If you can’t walk through your own town in your own country with the Union Jack then there is something seriously wrong.
“There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from. It doesn’t mean you are racist.”
Barnsley Council refused to comment, other than to say that they could find no record of their enforcement officers being involved.