Since I was a kid, I have always been taught politeness and manners. Without sounding patronising, I have maintained that respectful stance ever since, and so have my four grown up children.
If I bump into somebody or impede them in a supermarket, I would always apologise. I always open doors of shops etc, for both men and women and always refer to punters in my cab as Sir or Madam. I retain the dying chivalry habit enthusiastically, and wouldn't dream of not allowing my wife or daughters time to sit down first in a restaurant or on a train. I always open the car door for my wife first, before I get in myself.
Which brings me to my point. There is one thing in life that I abhor more than almost anything else, and that is people who take politeness for weakness.
Sadly, along life's path, I seem to come across this loathsome trait, with regular occurrence.
The problem with me though, is when somebody actually does it to me or my family, my friends or the company I am in, I recoil like an angry viper that has just been trod on with a size 12 !
I am incapable of just a deserving sneer or a tut tut to the perpetrator of the offending "crime", and I really kick right off !
I have always despised bullies, and I find ungracious reciprocation to a gentlemanly act of kindness, unacceptable, and tantamount to bullying. It is fair to say, that in my lifetime, I have come perilously close to breaking the laws of our land, when confronted with an ungrateful churlish, unrefined oaf !
For longer than I care to recall now, Transport For London, and the louts dressed in elitist ensemble who run it, have treated our respected profession with disdain, disrespect and contempt.
Tragically and totally unacceptably, we appeared to have got used to being spoken down to, being tricked, being coerced and being made to feel like we are scum.
We are neither of the above of course, in fact, on the contrary. We are highly trained, widely respected, upstanding professionals, medically fit, licensed, and thoroughly checked out for any lurking flaw in our character.
But you wouldn't think so would you ?
We have taken the disrespect and treason from TFL and City Hall on the chin up till now, and attempted to keep our pride, professionalism and agitation sheltered beneath a cloak of respectful dignity.
However, earlier this week, the Deputy Chair of the GLA, Tony Arbour along with the scurrilous, and betraying Mayor of London served up a monumental portion of impertinence and insult to all of us, that was nothing short of goading.
Personally, I believe the whole schedule of events that day was orchestrated, rehearsed and choreographed. They didn't fancy answering questions with us lot in attendance, so in true bully like form and expectation...............bottled it!
We attended in correct democratic procedure. That is what the seats in City Hall arena are for. To be sat in, whilst concerned members of trade, the public or whoever...........listen to the lawful procedures in correct democratic orderliness.
To my mind, and from where I'm sitting, that was the London Taxi Trade attending the correct venue, at the correct time, using the correct seating in the correct manner........................and showing total and correct POLITENESS !
Also, to my mind, and from where I'm sitting, bully boy Bullingdon club Johnson who has form for telling us to "fuck off and die" referring to us as a load of "luddites " and unable to show more disrespect for us if he tried, twists the knife even deeper !
Backed up by a sneering two bob councillor, a man who has cocooned himself as a public servant all of his life, with no other professional skills to talk of, backs up his Bullingdon, elitist mate with a further slur on us to indicate we are merely shit on the soles of his public paid for shoes .
Now folks, I'm not being a drama queen here, but if that ain't a blatant display of taking politeness for weakness, then, yes, once again, mine's a bloater !
Naturally, I agree with a democratic lifestyle. Obviously, I totally understand that our trade has to be seen as professional rather than a load of "chirpy cockney boy thugs". I would love to think that we could have our trade disputes and worrying licensing issues dealt with by a fair, democratic, lawful and unbiased opposition. I'm not silly, I realise that that is the preferred way forward. Of course I do !
But how about if the people you are trying to sit around the democratic table are bent, corrupt, unfair, scurrilous, unprofessional, tarnished, abusive, dodgy, crafty, secretive, self focussed, snidey, uncooperative, unreasonable, illicit, unbalanced, unsteady, non compliant, incompetent, inconsistent, bullying and have unmanageable and ludicrous hair cuts ?
Then folks, it is fair to say I think, that the democratic path to putting our trade back where it deserves to be, is futile. Isn't it ?
It is surely obvious that these abusive thugs in suits who continue to insult us, have got it well and truly in for us.
I am extremely proud to have served with a very senior and specialised regiment in my military service. I came out of the army with an exemplary "red book " record, and thankfully, with a pulse.
Interestingly, we were generally only called upon when either National Security negotiations had broken down, or somebody somewhere in some part of the world "had taken politeness for weakness". And we weren't short of work!
And let me assure you, that if and when we were deployed...........snot, bogeys, whiskers and feathers would fly ! No prisoners !
In all honesty, I think we have given TFL and the Blond fellow ample time to recognise our respect, democratic willingness and a preference to work this out in a responsible and fair strategy. And yet, he takes the piss out of our platinum service trade, prodding us in repetition that would make a stuffed lion attack.
In 2010 I predicted that Men Were Coming To Kill Us. I knew this was coming. And sadly, they have ALMOST done us.
I have always said, that if enough of us were to gather in one place in our cabs, which we are legally allowed to do so, paralysis of the capital would swiftly follow. When British Fighter planes took off on missions during world war 2, intelligent strategic battle planning was used to great success. Instead of going on a mission to bomb "anything", they soon realised that to attack, reservoirs, electricity supply stations and other sites of national importance, was indeed, a much more successful ruse.
If London was brought to a standstill, the people who make our lives a misery and bully us with their intimidation, would absolutely quake in their plastic soled shoes !
London's moving infrastructure is vitally important to trade, industry and commerce. When it stops, the repercussions serious, and hugely costly !
If some of us think that going to court will be the best option, then I will go with the flow. But its the clock that worries me folks ! Its still ticking and tocking and ticking and tocking. Have we got the time ? Maybe I'm deluded ?
Our trade is infamous for poor unity, apathy and an inability to muster together. But I think that even the most laid back of us are now concerned that we are being eradicated.
And let's face it.......it ain't Uber's fault is it ? They are only earning their coin on the back of what they have been allowed to get away with ! Its TFL and City Hall we need to target, just like the reservoirs and sub stations !
Our UCG colleagues are deploying themselves next week at the Bank Junction. We could do a lot worse than to give them a hand out there folks. Don't forget, they are made up of working cab drivers like you and I, all concerned about their future, all completed the arduous knowledge, all been through the same hardship to gain their badge and all listened to being told that they are luddites and best we fuck off and die !
When the blond bully and the jumped up two bob councillor showed the unforgivable display of disrespect to our trade this week, and took our democratic politeness and 400 year old legacy, for weakness................my blood temperature increased and my brain back tracked at 100mph to that barrack room in England's countryside 30 years or so ago now.
The message on the PA system was brief but precise and repeated every 5 seconds. " Stand by !" Stand by !" "Stand by !" followed by a deafening klaxon.
Our boots were rarely off in those precarious days, but you could bet your life that if you're laces were going to snap, it was when that tannoy was screaming !
Get ya boots on and check you're laces folks ! We can't have this for much longer !
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick..................................................
Be lucky all and see you out there.