For all of my adult life, I have been in environments whereby my natural instinct was to be confrontational. A full on challenge in situations which were in danger of a victory against either myself or whom ever I was alongside, were pretty much all in a day's work.
I have been and still am a very militant minded person, and have always believed in going in hard and strong.
Indeed, I was a founder member of our militant Flash Demo and Hit Squads, and I still believe that their secretive and lightning operations can be extremely effective when deployed to deal with some of our trade problems, especially touting.
Mass demonstrations are and have been successful to a degree, but their ultimate goal tends to depend on too many permutations and favourable statistics.
If 25000 London Taxi Drivers were to turn out at every genuine concern that our trade had, victory would be guaranteed. However, in the real world, this would rarely happen, and with that and the fact that we would have to comply with the Metropolitan Police by giving 6 days notice, submitting a Form 3175 and conforming fully to The Public Order Act 1986, the real effect is lost.
The Met's Gold Control Commanders have a week to organise themselves. Routes are given, times are allocated, overtime is dished out and strict rules implemented to our organisers.
Obviously then, and as a democratic nation, the control and advantage lies firmly within the restraints of the Police Service, and although inconvenient for a few hours, a human adaptation of One Man And His Dog in the centre of London is the end result.
Had Winston sent a letter to Adolf warning him our bombers were en route, it's probably safe to say we would have won eff all !
I believe that there could be another way to fight the imbeciles who are so disrespectful and incompetent, yet so unfairly powerful, dangerous and threatening to our futures.
Studying high profile cases of public figureheads, there is a common denominator that appears to have devastating and potentially fatal professional consequences.
Take any of the hierarchy who control our professional future, and you will see men and women with extremely attractive salaries, perks, and platinum plated pensions and benefits.
When their position is threatened PERSONALLY, panic and arse covering will naturally follow as a standard reaction. After all, the last thing in the world that they want, is to lose their cushy number. Exposure of incompetency is the ultimate ruin for any career chasing professional.
I have personally been in a senior position of the Civil Service, and trust me, when professionally challenged, most of these people would put their own kids up for the rap, rather than take it on the chin themselves.
My suggestion therefore, is that rather than deploying a demonstration that historically hasn't achieved too much for us and inconvenienced the travelling public who are also our own passengers, we go for the scalps of the Generals instead.
In the old days of Zulu warriors, if the Chief were to be killed in action, the tribes would retreat and pull back, as they believed the heart and the strength of their numbers were cursed.
Sadly, the use of trained snipers and assassins carrying rifles are also not allowed in a democratic society, but there are men and women who are just as lethal in hitting their target, without the use of camouflage jackets...........BARRISTERS !
Expert barristers well oiled in Hackney Carriage Law don't come for peanuts. I know we have litigation teams attached to some of our trade organisations, but by and large, they are not hard punching enough at top level are they ?
I'm not referring to a brief who stands up for you in court because you failed to pick a wheelchair up, I'm talking about very senior Queens Counsel top guns who have the knowledge and razor sharp answers to tear a new arse into some of the two bob jack of all trades junior solicitors, whom TFL use for their defence cases.
If we could amalgamate and get one or two of these judicial maestro's to take up our challenge to expose the top tier of our enemies, combined with the success of our Flash Demo Hit Squad deployed as and when we need them, I fancy we would have half a chance.
It is FEAR that wins battles.
Not many people have managed to pull it off in peacetime within a democratic structure. Bob Crow did it and so did Jimmy Knapp. We could do it as a combined trade, but for reasons highlighted earlier, have logistical problems to address which we always struggle with.
The problem is, that there isn't much fear from the hierarchy who control us, as they know that historically we only have one answer......a road demonstration. When that happens, control is passed on to the Police Service, we turn up, we block the roads, we scream and shout, we comply, we go on LBC and we go home again. Police hand over back to the authorities, and another day at the office comes to an end. I don't criticise our colleagues for doing this, after all, what else do we have to fight with ?
However, to have a top notch Hackney Carriage expert Barrister at our disposal, who could infiltrate the offices of TFL and Government is surely the way forward?
Legally educated eagles constantly watching what Leon Daniels, Peter Hendy and Co, say and do to our profession, would be extremely stressful for TFL.
As we know, currently they say what they like, do what they please and if we don't like it we can lump it. With collaboration within our trade, confrontation from our Hit Squads and representation from our legal corner, with the ultimate threat of exposure, I wager the bullying and neglect would stop.
With each and every statement, condition, rule or operation from TFL, would come a thorough and conclusive legal evaluation from our corner, of the legality, the collateral damage threat and the reasons behind any of it.
EVERY SINGLE TIME !
My guess is that TFL could not handle the stress of supreme litigation constantly watching them, and threatening exposure, and would both draw back and treat us with more respect.
We need finances for this I know, but surely we could amalgamate and pull the money up? I always make a point of never getting into trade org in-fighting, but I know we already have the funds available. Naturally, they would say it is for the benefit of the members who paid it in the first place, which of course is understandable. But surely there must be a way to fund this for ourselves?
Our lives, our culture and our London has changed so much over the last 20 years.
The brilliant and late Johnny Speight with his cast of Till death Do Us Part and series such as Love Thy Neighbour, sadly (in my opinion) have no place in society now.
If Johnny were alive today and submitted a script like that, his feet wouldn't touch the ground. And who would kick him in the air?
In the modern world today, there are still guns, still knives and still bombs. However, when it comes to making a professional killing in today's democratic society, it is LEGAL REPRESENTATION that manages to strike at the heart of the professional establishment.
An illegal statement, an incorrect action, an incorrect claims form, a misjudged perception or a dodgy lack of personal judgement, even in their private lives, can wreak havoc and spell the end for many top flight Civil Servants and the cushty pensions.
I think we need to join the modern world. Year by year, month by month, week by week and day by day, our old battered trade is getting eroded by the tide of the disrespectful.
They a'int worried about history. They a'int worried about legacy. They a'int worried about pride. They a'int worried about the Knowledge, and they a'int worried about us.
But what they ARE worried about, is their job, their perks, their pension and their future.
We need to change that attitude from these imposters and put the advantage back in our corner.
We have left it late I know, but so did Lieutenant John Chard and his men at Rorkes Drift in 1879!
I think it is time for a new battle strategy of brains and bravery for our trade now. We have been the whipping boy for that lot in the tower long enough now, and it's time the tables were turned.
Collaboration between ourselves, confrontation when attacked and the very best legal representation for every single flaw that we have thrown at us.
Iv'e seen TFL's Legal Team in play and ive heard the very elite of TFL speak live on air.
An expert barrister in our corner would eat them alive in the court rooms, and that seems to be the battle fields of our 21st Century. Raising the dough would be the hardest part. Other than that, I can't see us losing.
Be lucky all.