Not my words of course. But the words of arguably the greatest leader of people in England's history, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. And the words make sense too, don't they ?
Battles and wars are not always won on firepower, bravado and manpower. Indeed, the victors are very often the ones who use psychology, strategy and tactical stealth.
It's been a rough old year for our battered profession, hasn't it ? Thanks to our former traitor Prime Minister's incestuous relationship with some of Uber's high command, London "registered" Uber mini cabs are now causing havoc as far up as the Midlands, Birmingham and further. Swooping onto areas of work for which genuine members of our industry have worked so hard to have the right to ply. The unqualified imposters are like the giant mutant rats who have recently infiltrated our shoreline. The green roundels from Palestra will be spotted on the moon next.
It can only get worse. The genie is out of the bottle, and I would be amazed if we or anyone else could get it back in.
So what then ?
Where now ?
Where do we go from here ?
A trade Public Inquiry ?
Hard Core United Demos ?
Without doubt, we are under the cosh. Without doubt we have our work cut out, and without doubt we should have seen it coming. We should have put up a realistic challenge long before now too, but this is not the time to be looking back blaming each other and stewing in our mistakes. Christmas is here now. A chance to reflect. A chance to be with our loved ones. A chance to sit back for two minutes and hopefully plan where we are going next. And be grateful that we have that option, as not everyone has got it.
My mates will know that I have another professional life away from the Black Cab Trade. I train and operate a service traveling all over the world, with my Specialist Detection Dogs. I have done it for many years, and I absolutely love it. Most of the time I do anyway. Normally, and very sadly, when I get the call for assistance to deploy and load the dogs into the car, it is already too late for good news for the suffering families concerned, as my dogs are Blood and Human Tissue Detection Dogs. When the emergency services call for my help, they are generally not expecting a happy outcome.
For the last two weekends though, I have been assisting Suffolk Police and other Specialist Search Teams in the search for missing RAF Airman, Corrie McKeague. I haven't enjoyed it at all. I have sons around the same age as Corrie, only 23. His life in front of him, everything to live for. A good looking, strapping young lad, disappeared. Vanished into thin air. The kid must be somewhere, but it's not looking good. To look into his poor Mum's eyes and listen to her anguish and pleas to our specialist dog units, is a feeling that I find hard to describe. She is a very level headed, rational women too, a serving Police Officer no less. Her despair and heart breaking in half literally as she stands in front of us, was very upsetting. I struggle to think what this poor women and her immediate family's Christmas and Christmas's to come, will be like.
I am not one of those Bible bashing cranks, but attend my local church on any Sunday that I am not deployed with or training the dogs. I keep my Christian values and beliefs quite private, as I know it is not to everybody's taste.I understand why, too. I agree that the Big Man has much to answer for. Personally, I have had some extremely close calls in my life time, one in particular, but have honestly found strength through prayers and the church. I have not always been comfortable in some of the pathways that I have been forced to walk down in life either, so have used the church as an excuse for a pardon, and put the blame on someone else ! I'm not silly !
Normally, I only attend on the Sunday Service normal days, but this week and during an ordinary weekday, I found myself the only one in there, offering up a prayer for strength for the suffering family Of Corrie McKeague. It was the least I felt I could do, as our arduous search came to nothing. I hope to God that closure can come to these people, one way or other real soon. It must be hell on earth.
As I say, not everyone has the luxury of planning where to go next......but we do. So let's get down to the drawing board .
A Public Inquiry for our trade will take time and money, but it may flush out the rats, and maybe we should throw the dice and go for it. On an optimistic note, it is nice to see our UCG Battalions will deploy in the New Year. Please trade org leaders, please consider supporting them. We can no longer continue with the football supporters mentality, and need every bit of help we can get.
I believe that 2017 will be a big game changer for our London trade, one way or the other. TFL don't need me to tell them that they just can't keep selling 600 mini cab licences a week without something very bad happening to the foundation infrastructure of London's ability to move around. Or do they ?
Perhaps they DO need me to tell them ! They MUST know it is ludicrous ! Somebody up there surely has to intervene. Mayor Khan, eh ?
The promises, the spiel, the hype, the drama ! And what ? I tell you what. Two bob mate, that's what ! The same as Mike Brown. Absolutely useless ! Another two Government and Civil Service stooges. Another lame duck. Just like Livingstone, just like Johnson ! Just like Hendy.............Not worth a rub !
How about when our Mayor said London was open for business ?!!
Its like saying that Wembley is open for business to go and see Adele perform.................you try and get in there !
London has melted down and paralysed itself. You just cannot put 100,000 mini cabs into a City built primarily for going from A to B in a horse and carriage ! As me and my taxi knowledge colleagues know, there are many parts of central London that have remained unchanged since the reign of Queen Victoria ! Quaint cobbled roads and streets, just about wide enough for a taxi.
I hope it stays like that too. It is beautiful, it is historic and it is unique. But you don't have to be a Statistical Transport Analyst to grasp that you can't just add 100,000 extra vehicles in the mix, just because they earn you two and a half each ! Well, you can, but it's a false economy and sure to bite your arse somewhere down the line real soon.
One thing is blatantly obvious by now, The Great London Taxi Trade is surplus to requirements according to the Rt. Dishonourable Transport For London. They won't be happy until we are gone. Brown Bread. Extinct. And to give them their due they ain't doing too bad a job on us, either. We have had a terrible hiding this year, and if old cut man Danny Holland was still alive, he would have applied the vaseline and adrenalin sponge onto us a few rounds ago.
I am confident that 2017 will see our destiny decided for us folks, and it is entirely up to us, to decide who the victors are.
It is inconceivable to me to allow them bent shysters up there to beat us to pulp and finish us off forever. What they wouldn't give to host the winners celebration party among the dubious stench of City Hall and Palestra's party room, as we were carried into the Transport Museum.
Do you know what chokes me up the most though ? The thing that upsets me so much and winds me up like a spring ?
We didn't deserve ANY of this ! We were doing the job that we had trained bloody long and hard for, in a professional, legal and honorable manner. We weren't incompetent, we weren't complacent, we weren't disrespectful. We worked hard, we proved ourselves through vigorous knowledge, thorough long drawn out training, and evidenced, transparent character investigation. We gave 100% loyalty and commitment and worked totally and utterly within the legal compliant remit of our profession. We served Governments and London's people with steadfast loyalty and abiding affection. Not for six months, not for five years and not even for fifty years. No, we served Government, London, Londoners and visitors to our great capital from all over the world..........for almost 400 years !
400 years of Platinum, Loyal and Professional service. And the distrustful, low punching, snidey betraying imbeciles of City Hall and Palestra.............have ceremoniously shit on us ! They have stood by and watched us struggle gulping for air, slowing dying , and witnessing some of our colleagues taking their own lives. Houses repossessed, marriages dissolved, family breakdown and taxis taken by bailiffs. Our working tools, our only hope and our future towed away from outside the door.
And for what ?
What was in it for them ?
I tell you what it was. Money. Loads of it. And loads more to come. They all thought it was worth it. They all thought that our Iconic, World famous brand known in every isolated corner of the globe, was worth killing off...............all for a poxy few quid ! And they didn't give a monkeys.
If I didn't have such a loving family and seriously ill stunningly beautiful wife, I would confront the lot of them on my own.
But I do, and thank God that I do, I am immensely grateful that I have.
I tell you what else I've got shall I ? I've got a Green Badge of Pride around my neck, I've got 25,000 good mates, I've got my health, I've got my strength and I've got the right fu**ing hump !
I've swapped the Government issued sub machine gun and balaclava for Unity, Democracy and the Right of Protest these days. And I'm gonna test the granny out of it after Christmas ! I shall be joining my UCG mates out there soon, and hopefully all of our other Trade Organisations, Clubs, Unions and Associations who I know will join them. We have much to fight for folks, but more importantly.......much to lose !
As our great Sir Winston also said "It's no use saying we are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what's necessary if you want to win the battle"
I can't wait to get stuck in.
Colleagues, friends, allies, UK Taxi drivers nationally, fellow scribes and especially our own Taxi Leaks and it's legendary founder, Jim Thomas.....
May myself and my family wish you all a very Happy and Merry Christmas. I hope you all have peace, love, friendship and good luck, not just over the holiday but throughout the New Year. Enjoy you're families enjoy you're health and enjoy you're well earned rest.
We have got a lot to do after Christmas. We are on the ropes for sure, but as we all know, not out of the fight yet. We can and will win this. You watch.
Be lucky all. Be careful Merry Christmas and God bless.
Editorial Comment :
We have recently been informed that an all trade org meeting took place a couple of Monday's ago at Taxi House and because of the severity of the issue, all orgs have committed support to the action being taken by the UCG at the Bank Junction in January.