Monday, June 29, 2015

That Was A Week, That Was ! by Semtex.

 Well, it sure has been a bit of a scurry within the catacombs of TFL's warren this week, hasn't it ?
For The London Taxi Trade, it is absolutely superb news that Sir Peter Hendy has gone at last.
If it wasn't apparent a while ago that this chap simply didn't have either the experience or skills to hold the reins of such an monumental remit.......then it certainly is now!

The moody announcements that Hendy's leadership has been so inspiring, that it would be criminal if his masterful talent wasn't passed on to Network Rail, and quote "take on the biggest programme of upgrades since the Victorian era" is City Hall's way of saying that it is a promotion, rather than announcing that under Hendy's guidance TFL have been criticised as WOEFUL AND INADEQUATE, and have become a lesson of how NOT to run a City Transport Infrastructure, all across Europe !
Part of the problem with Hendy and our trade of course, is a natural conflict of interest. It's understandable, but not admissible in the professional position that Hendy was in. He absolutely adores the Bus Network. He loves Buses. He has worked within the Bus world all of his professional life. He was even Knighted in 2013 for his love and commitment to Buses and services to transport, for goodness sake ! 
I would even wager that the stirrings beneath his silky Japanese Kimono would manifest themselves quicker, at the sight of a Routemaster, than the seductive vision of Rachel Grundy adorned in stockings, suggestively caressing a £10 Oyster Card.
Personally but not professionally, Hendy didn't  want to see the travelling public of London getting off his buses and into our cabs.....did he ? Course not ! And yet his crystal clear remit would require unfavourable views, one way or the other. That most definitely hasn't been the case though, and Peter Hendy hasn't just displayed favouritism for his buses, but blatantly shown a unhealthy respect for us.

His position bestowed upon him from original Taxi hater Livingstone in the first place, was from the outset, one of unhealthy conflict of interest. And rest assured, that was no accident.
I had to chuckle when Livingstone was unseated by Johnson, and Hendy made a statement to say that despite his allegiance with the Labour party and Livingstone, he felt he actually got along with Johnson better ! Ha Ha! 
If that wasn't a blinding attempt to save his three hundred and fifty grand a year salary, I don't know what was ! 

Once again you see, an utter and clear display of absolutely no loyalty whatsoever! To the Labour Party, to Livingstone or to anyone else. 
Show me an example whereby Hendy has shown loyalty.......TO ANYONE ! 
To these people, it is about promotion, careers, salary, perks and personal gain. Loyalty and empathy don't come into it.
So it should be clear to all then, that this man should never have been in charge of The London Taxi Trade, simply because of a professional and personal conflict of interest, if nothing else. It would be like putting me in charge, wouldn't it ?  
Could you imagine, I hate buses and I hate bikes, so that would be them two gone ! 

But professionally, that isn't correct, moral or fair is it ? 

So it would be accurate to say, that my passion for our London Taxi Trade, would be a hindrance and a conflict of interest, if I were to be put in charge. And it would be !  

But worryingly, bus loving Peter Hendy has an enormous amount of clout, when it comes to knocking and pushing our trade about as and when he wants to. Well, at least he's gone now, and we need to concern ourselves about the views and aspirations of Hendy's sidekick, Mike Brown.

He worries me as well. Mike, like Hendy comes from more or less the same genealogy. London Tube Underground Director and a huge Operating remit for BAA, in charge of running Heathrow Airport.

Make no mistake, that is a huge brief, and Mike is obviously no slouch and I respect him. But again, isn't there a clear conflict of interest, in that the London Taxi Trade is made up of 25000 self employed business professionals ?

Where do you expect our pecking order to be in Mike's projections? 
Probably no higher than where we topped up in Hendy's, that's where.
I hate to be a doom monger, but although Hendy has gone, I wouldn't be too optimistic about our tenure security under Mike Brown's stewardship either.  But we shall see.
More dramatic news this week of course, when the Mayor appeared to have reneged over the 15 year taxi scrappage scheme. Taxi Leaks and our readers however, were tipped off about this a month ago.

And whilst we are on a roll, I would also like to say,  that Taxi Leaks reported by myself two weeks ago, that we would see the ferret go down the hole last week and were betting on who would bolt first from the TFL warren. 
Others are on the way too ! Keep watching !
As if that wasn't enough for our trade to digest this week, it appears that the French President fearful of more action from the bona fide French Taxi Drivers, has caved in and banned Uber. As you know, I have always supported a militant challenge and just cannot find comfort from endless democratic dialogue, coffee and biscuits, and drawn out blah, blah. Its a recipe for getting shafted in my opinion. 

So, you may imagine my pride of how the French trade not only conducted themselves.......but won ! 
Their Commercial Fisherman colleagues are of the same calibre too. Mess with them and you've got a ruck on your hands ! And the French Government know it !

In an ideal world, it is all very cosy and civil to approach Governments and Authorities in a polite, democratic and composed manner, of course. But when your livelihoods are in jeopardy of collapse, and you are under the control of a dubious, woeful and inadequate authority........a militant stance is the only viable option.

As an ex-serviceman in a unit who upheld this principle daily, it comes as second nature to me, and I have witnessed success by taking this stance, more times than I have failure.
One thing is for certain. Even with the Bus Lover gone, even with the erroneous smile of pseudo friendship from the betraying Mayor still very much prevailing, it is not a time to wipe our brows and think we are safe, cos we ain't !

City Hall and its murky Transport For London Department may be having a re-shuffle due to fear and panic, but that isn't enough to save the great London Taxi Trade from our scheduled and planned demise in the form that we all know it.
Uber still trade with impunity. Enforcement on London's streets is still a million miles away from satisfactory and mini cab roundels still pour out of the TFL like confetti. We are still very much at risk of oblivion.
It's been a funny old week in our London Cab Trade, that's for sure. We still need to take the challenge to the woefully inadequate though and when the shout goes up for unity, I would like to see as many of us lace our boots up to support a united show of passion and strength........just like the French did !
Be lucky all.
8829 Semtex

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