Discrimination on the No Vacancies Board?
1. The Tory Party’s election campaign has faltered over their Shadow Home Secretary’s remarks on refusals of b and bs to offer accommodation to homosexual couples. For years “Mr and Mrs Smith” have met curious interpretations of the No Vacancies notice, but vegetarians, non-smokers, and other subjects with aversions have suffered such refusal, discrimination, and embarrassment in other contexts, especially as a more open, green, and liberal society has allowed such “non-conformists” to come out and want to enjoy all the joys of modern life without enduring restrictions in avoiding restraints that can now be overcome, especially by some positive thinking on all sides.
2. There is no doubt that a small b and b lacks some of the facilities of a big hotel to accommodate, especially without warning, “guests” (paying) with certain disablements, rigid diets, pets, extended families, and religious observances, all being legal. A labour Minister has emphasized that vegetarians should be given special rights and VEGA’s Portfolio of Eating Plans, aimed at caterers and individuals, carers, shoppers, and consumers offer recipes, menus, and nutritional information suitable for ensuring ready means of meeting special demands and hints on provision and availability from factors, big and small.
3. The Eating Plans meet the requirements of many sorts of vegetarians and flexitarians. They overcome the confusion created with the “vegan” word: it creates an unnecessary distinction and division, leaving the vegetarian to choose as a committed abstainer to all animal-derived foods and products to people trying to heed the authoritative “Stern” message to cut down on meat and dairy. Nonetheless, a b and b might be hard pressed to accommodate a couple of 90-year-old vegans with wheelchairs and zimmer-frames, who declare themselves allergic to nuts – whether or not they are “gay”. Whereas travelling veggies postwar always kept fruit-and-nut mixtures as stand-bys, the supermarkets now sell for caterers fresh versions of such products by the kg and the muesli era has ensured that the humblest b and b has no cause to turn away veggies and others avoiding the fry-ups without a good breakfast.
4. Let’s hope that all Home Secretaries understand the wealth of possibilities in food-service and the need to accommodate equably the “funny” choices of people who at least do not harm and, better, enrich life and custom and stimulate thought rather than prejudice.