Wednesday, September 23, 2015

World Taxi Unite – A Day of Reckoning...by Paul Tavares.


Wednesday 16th September 2015 was a date upon which the London taxi industry had intended to unite as one and descend upon City Hall to put forward a number of important questions to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The intention was to hold him to account and ask him what he would do to protect the future of one of the oldest and most noblest professions in the history of this city, with the very livelihoods of tens of thousands of hard-working and law-abiding people at stake against an immoral corporation whose unethical business practices spit in the face of our laws and yet continue to operate unabated and unchallenged by our unconscionable and elitist politicians and the industry’s inept regulatory body, who themselves have proven to be, beyond any shadow of doubt, grossly unfit for purpose.

As someone who attended the protest, I can tell you that the day, all in all, was peaceful despite the desperate tensions in the air. Men, women and children attended the gathering and you could feel the unbreakable bond between everyone adorning the green badge of honour around their necks.

However, those emotions came to a head when word spread of how Boris Johnson had accused the taxi drivers and trade representatives present during Mayoral Question Time of being ‘Luddites’, all of whom “...don’t want to see new technology.”

James O’Brien recently delivered a damning yet accurate indictment across the airwaves on his LBC radio show aimed at the conduct of London’s Mayor of London.

In one of the opening remarks in his broadcast, James defiantly accused Johnson of being “a disgrace” and said that, “his insult to taxi drivers at City Hall yesterday was one of the single most reprehensible public political postures I have ever seen”.

Such behavior from Boris Johnson was, at best, unbefitting of a Member of Parliament and Mayor of London duly elected to a position of power and influence by the public, and at worst, a disgraceful and contemptible lie.

For those of you unaware, Luddites were English workers in the early 1800s who destroyed machinery, particularly in cotton and woollen mills, which they believed was threatening their jobs.

However, as O’Brien correctly pointed out during his LBC show, “the first taxi drivers in the world to use an app to be booked were London cab drivers.”

To call ordinary yet decent, hard-working and honest people such a derogatory and insulting name was, in my personal opinion, contrived and intentionally aimed at provoking them in what was a highly sensitive and emotive situation.

The sinister aim, and rather successfully as it turned out in the end, was to deflect attention away from his impotent and incompetent tenure as Mayor of this great city of ours.

This tragic debacle has shown me the true face of our political elite in all of its true yet ugly glory.

During elections, politicians tell us how much they care about us, how much they sympathise with our plight and our suffering, and how much they will save us from the disgraceful and disastrous havoc caused by opposition parties. They will be our saviour. Hallelujah!

Though the faces and personalities change over time, the promises they deliver are the same; promises that are then broken once they get into office. Once the power is theirs, they turn off this fake public façade because they now have what they wanted and we the public are left picking up the pieces, lamenting at how we could have been taken in so easily by the lies and insincere smiles.

All the while, these privileged politicians sit in their ivory towers locked away from all reality, sipping champagne and, on occasion, courting the media spotlight in contrived PR stunts aimed at further pulling the wool over the public’s eyes and painting themselves as knights in shining armour, which they clearly are not.

Boris Johnson was, and is, such a man. We were taken in by this seemingly bungling yet affable buffoon only to see his true colours now, at the end.

But back to the other day...

Although Boris Johnson slithered away without delivering the answers or giving the glimmer of hope that taxi drivers and their families had so desperately hoped would come that day, I saw enough to tell me that every single person who was present there will fight for their livelihoods to the bitter end and that this is a fight worthy of being fought; idealistically and morally.

For those who are losing hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is closer than you think.

To quote Charlie Chaplin:

To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed,  the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people...”

My friends, that day will come for you and all the people of London - The London Mayoral Election on the 5th May 2016.

I offer you an independent Mayor, unbeholden to corrupt political will or agenda, answerable only to the people of London; someone who will fight political and corporate corruption to safeguard a better and more hopeful future for our people, for our communities, for our businesses and for all future generations.

I know that I will be targeted and mercilessly persecuted by the press, the media and other insidious representatives of the political parties and big corporations as I seek to become the next Mayor of London, but I can assure you that my family and I will stand strong throughout.

We will fight for all of you to the bitter end because we know it’s the right thing to do and because someone has to take a stand against the corrupt and unjust political system we have today for the sake and the future of every decent man, woman and child in London.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, 

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.”

To those who read this, I believe in all of you. 

All that I ask is that you please believe in me.