Letter From Harry Wall:
It's the start of another week with another detrimental article, this time in the Independent by Janet Street-Porter, a lady I've picked up twice before and would've said she was trade friendly, but now I wonder.
The article's about Dads Defending Daughters and an apparent propaganda war against Uber claiming to be a campaign group trying to protect women from Uber rapists but it's really designed to mask the true agenda which is to kill off the competition (She said).
Her argument is so weak and boring it's sad, although her article was in response to an over zealous cabman trying to educate her colleague about Uber rape figures.
She also eludes to the group being a British version of the violent American DDD, which obviously couldn't be further from the truth. As usual John Warboys and David Perry reared their ugly heads as examples of black cab rapists and as usual their was no mention of the cab driver wrongfully accused and convicted of two counts of rape which resulted in him receiving two 8 year sentences to run concurrently.
I won't name him out of respect for the man's family.
He was an innocent man who had consensual sex with a young "lady" who discovered her boyfriend waiting for her unexpectedly when the driver dropped her home.
All she could think of to hide her infidelity was to say the cab driver raped her.
Unable to accept his fate, the poor man took his own life in prison and was subsequently posthumously acquitted after his "victim", wracked with guilt, decided to tell the truth about what had really happened.
Nor did she mention that in some countries rape is a conviction that, on average, is expunged from records after 3/5 years. That being the case a rapist in Slovenia for example, can receive a jail sentence for rape, which ranges from 6 months to 1 year, yet have that record removed after 3 years.
Similarly, in Bulgaria, convicted rapists are jailed for an average of 2 years and convictions of 3 years or less are removed from record after 5 years.
A large number of Uber drivers are from Eastern Europe so it's not inconceivable that some could possibly have an expunged record.
If a qualified check can't be made how can TFL ensure women's safety?
That tells me DDD has a legitimacy that must be listened to and given a platform to make themselves heard instead of being constantly questioned by the media, especially when the media should be questioning TFL about the late release of the rape figures.
Every time journalists like Ms Street-Porter write lazy articles like this it makes my blood boil.
She didn't even have the good grace to contact DDD for comment before submitting her article to print, which is fundamental to the reader developing a fair and balanced view of the subject.
DDD have written to her explaining where she went wrong and I hope she learns something.
Time will tell.
Letter From Dads Defending Daughters :
Dear Ms Street-Porter,
I have no idea how to contact you, so this is the best I can do.
I believe I know why you wrote that piece about DDD, and I empathise.
I empathise because a cab driver pestered a friend of yours.
I have had to block that same driver from my phone.
He is an incessant pest.
He is not a part of DDD. Nor do I know anything about the USA version.
My friend and I came up with the name over fish and chips in Whitecross Street.
DDD is not about Uber. It is about TfL deregulating the Private Hire industry to appease Uber. Therefore background checks are not as stringent as they should be. Male and females have been attacked as a result.
Uber are not so much a threat to Taxis, as they are to other minicab companies.
The threat to the Taxi is TfL's mismanagement of our roads, leading to a high volume of congestion. Nothing to do with DDD.
I am not here to apologise for someone else's actions. And believe me, I sympathise with your colleague. Her protagonist is as thick skinned and backward as you will ever find.
You have written your article, which I agree is straight about most things.
We all have to bare the burden of Warboys.
As you know, there are nasty bastards in all walks of life. Seventeen police officers committed rape during this past year. Paedo rings involving prominent MPs, judges, doctors, celebrities, milkmen, postmen, etc.
A Taxi driver was charged with rape in 2014.
It is not about the odd teacher or priest, it is about the scale of rape and sexual assault by TfL licensed minicab drivers in London alone.
Getting into a minicab or Uber does not have to be dangerous. If TfL are backed by this Government to do proper background checks via a minimum of a three year DBS, most of these sexual and physical assaults can be avoided. This is exactly in line with Mayor Khan's wishes.
The scale of minicab rape is backed up by a Metropolitan Police freedom of information application, and acknowledged by Sadiq Khan during his Mayor's Questions by the GLA, earlier this year.
Staggering statistics, I know. It was a shock to us too! This is why we organised Dads Defending Daughters.
I do not have to discredit Uber, they do that to themselves, all across the globe.
Uber will never go away. They will just become another AddLee, when they are regulated.
As for DDD's hidden agenda, we simply do not have one. No egos, no sought after limelight. Nothing other than the desire to inform the public.
The media refuse to acknowledge the problem. Murdoch scuppered the story. The BBC remains silent (nothing new there).
You are not the first to question our motives. And why not? Our aim comes across as obvious protectionism. I can see that. Val Shawcross views us that way too.
I personally do deal in protectionism, but not under the guise of the DDD. The DDD is pure of heart.
We can talk about a corrupt TfL, the 'Great Bus Scam', the CSH, the mismanagement of building sites and roadworks that are affecting and destroying our city and my trade. But that has little or nothing to do with DDD.
I honestly believe Uber has had very little impact on my pocket.
I do not hate Uber drivers. I know they are as much victims of Uber as their rivals. But neither do I feel sympathy for them.
When Uber are toeing the legitimate line, and TfL have been made to take their duty of care seriously, DDD will be satisfied.
Although, I do see a problem with an understaffed and under policed 24 hour tube.
Click here for Janet Street-Porter's article.