Monday, February 20, 2017

Is My Enemy's Enemy My Friend ? : Is It Time To Fight Dirty ?... By Harry Wall.

I knew that week would be tough but it was a killer and apparently record worthy by half term standards, it's behind us now so onwards and upwards. I'd like you to picture the scene, you're nearly home from work and dreaming of pulling on your drive. When you get there you're met with the sight of a Prius parked on it, pissed off you park behind it. You walk through your street door and see Mr Uber in your kitchen making himself a sandwich with food you've bought, from your fridge. 

You walk into your front room, cuddle up with the wife on the sofa watching your tele when Mr Uber walks in, snatches the remote out your hand and changes channel, sits in your armchair with he's feet on your coffee table. 

There's a knock at the door, your daughter answers it and in walks four strangers, who proceed to empty your house of every thing you've worked your whole life for. They load up a lorry with the lot, everything. They leave you with nothing, the kids have nothing, they even take your cab.
They even strip you of every ounce of self respect you had.

My question is this:
At what point during this scenario do you, would you have grabbed hold of these thieving slags and gutted them like the pigs they are?

If for no other reason than to have protected your family, no man would allow this to happen without a fight.

So why have we allowed imported thieving rats like these to take away everything we've all worked so hard for?
It's such a no brainer, I just don't get it. The reason I ask is because Friday night whilst driving south on Regent Street I noticed three cabs ranked up at Heddon Street. Nothing strange about that I know but what enraged me was second car on the rank was a PH and none of the cab drivers were doing anything about it. I tooted up and shouted across but it fell on deaf ears, they wasn't interested because it's obviously somehow acceptable now. 

When I think of the sacrifices I made on the Knowledge, going out on that moped in all weathers, sometimes soaked to the skin inspite of wearing wets, the numb fingers due to extreme cold in winter, the 17 punctures!! Not to mention being permanently skint but dreaming of passing out and suddenly being flush with fluid cash flow. I could never have imagined 23 years down the line I'd be praying for a miracle to save us, never in my wildest dreams. I remember that day in March when I earned the right to call myself a London Cab Driver.

I told my wife we'd never have money worries again, I'd always be in work. As it turned out my eldest was born with health problems which caused enormous financial struggles on top of the dreadful strain of worrying about him so life hasn't been that straight forward but the jobs been kind to me and I haven't finished with it yet.

People held us in high regard even though they were convinced we were millionaires, but no more. Why?, because we're nothing to fear for the authorities. We're predictable, fragmented, we have no joint leadership or strategy and nor are we likely to have one willing and able to form the structural base from which we can launch the defense spirited enough to fight against this tyranny that is TFL and Uber.

Over this weekend a planned national day of action, to be held on 28th February, was announced by associations across the country calling for an urgent public inquiry into TFL's fanatical licensing of all and sundry without proper procedures being adhered to, resulting in Uber drivers working wherever they like without any fear. 

Local authorities are apparently powerless to act it seems and Taxi and PH across the country are suffering just like us. 
After much thought and a change of mind, I think we should take part in this action.
The idea of going in with PH, given our history of mutual dislike, doesn't sit well with me but we're in desperate times and desperate measures must prevail. Before I'm called a sell out or any other choice name let me explain my reasoning.

All 3 main orgs have decided to go the legal challenge route which is understandable, but that's it, nothing else. I've been waiting, we've all been waiting for all our orgs to join forces, form a coalition and arrange a national day of protest for months, if not years. We've been waiting 5 years for them to sort it out on our behalf but nothing's happened, nor will it ever happen. 

All of a sudden drivers up and down the country, associations including genuine PH drivers have decided to take the matter into their own hands and instead of waiting for the local authorities to deal with it, they're dealing with it themselves and I have to say, fair play to them. Perhaps they had inspiration from our own ITA, who knows, it doesn't matter. 

What does matter is it's up and running and in spite of some people wanting nothing to do with it, I think we've nothing to lose. Our own orgs either won't or can't organise a national even though our fight and the majority of the mobilised members of our trade are crying out for one, so if someone else makes it happen, I'm all for it.
We badly need a public inquiry and I'm now at the stage where I think after exhausting so many avenues of our own with fruitless results, I see no reason why we should dismiss an attempt from elsewhere.

Face it people, we need as much help as we can muster.
We need firm, decisive action on a scale this country has never seen, it has to be unprecedented on a scale the media cannot afford to ignore and if handled properly, who knows what could happen?

French and Italian protests might be linked in with their Uber fight. Even if this first one isn't as successful as is hope it could light the touch paper for bigger and better action in the near future. Uber has destroyed trades throughout the country and the anger's beginning to reach fever pitch which can only be a good thing, fueling the level of future protests.

It's not ideal going in with PH but what choice do we have?

We're all fighting a common enemy here and we need each other, we need to be adults and admit that the common sense thing to do is fight together on this one. Once the battle is won, draw up the boundary lines and carry on as before but for now I think we need to travel the same road.

We can't rely on a legal challenge alone in my opinion, even though the advice comes from well respected law folk. That would be irresponsible in my view which might piss a few people off but I've a right to my opinion, so to run a campaign for a public inquiry along side the legal route, I would suggest is sensible.

Please think it through and make a rational decision with your brain in gear, try and understand we need a public inquiry and it will come easier with help from around the country.

We have to compromise in life sometimes and this is one of those times.

All that having been said, half terms over, it's London Fashion week and for some it's payday on Friday so start the week with optimism and a smile, especially with a Caribbean blast on the way.

It's going to be a good week chaps and chapesses.
Be lucky.