Saturday, June 20, 2015

Boris Johnson rides roughshod over London’s black cab drivers.

           Steve McNamara's interview:

  

At the end of the interview, Steve reiterates the most serious issue that TfL recommended last week to revoke Uber's licence, compliance having now gathered enough evidence to do, but it wasn't. We believe this shows there is definite pressure from above, protecting Uber. 

Article from The Guardian by London Cabbie, Ian Beetlestone.

The mayor’s offensive comeback to the disgruntled cabbie reminds me of an aristocrat’s contempt for the peasants he’s supposed to protect


 “Why don’t you f### off and die?” was shouted on a London street at midnight recently. Gang warfare? A drug deal gone wrong? A domestic bust-up spilling out on to the pavement? No, just Boris Johnson, mayor of London, cycling home.

The words were yelled in response to a London taxi driver who, with a crafty bit of wrist movement out of the window, had said: “You’re one of these, mate.” By comparison that’s rather elegant, isn’t it? A clever little piece of 12A-rated understatement and suggestion.

The taxi driver has every reason to be annoyed. This is a mayor with an extremely laissez-faire attitude to a centuries-old industry, who allows competitors to operate in a grey – we cabbies might say pitch black – legal area, utilising regulatory loopholes and gaining an unfair advantage, while London’s traditional black cab drivers are bound by the strictest vehicle, knowledge and character requirements in the world.

The list of complaints from the taxi trade against Transport for London – which the mayor oversees – is long and legitimate. Blase enforcement of private hire regulations. Lack of definition of the right to ply for hire. Creeping deregulation of the industry. This is not just cabbies moaning: TfL’s regulation of the taxi and private hire industry has been called “woefully inadequate” by the London assembly in their own report.

Meanwhile on the streets it’s mayhem. Minicabs plying for hire everywhere, causing gridlock, driving the wrong way down one-way streets, buses getting stuck behind them while they stop to study their satnavs. Work is getting thinner on the ground. It’s pretty stressful out there. It wouldn’t be surprising if a cabbie wanted to let off some steam; in fact this one seems to have been pretty restrained.

In this context, Johnson’s outburst looks like an extraordinarily callous disregard for the livelihood of tens of thousands of London taxi drivers and their families from a man who treats Londoners generally with such contempt that he apparently considers it appropriate to combine the office of their great city’s mayoralty with a seat in parliament and the furtherance of his own political career.

I understand there was once a time, hundreds of years ago – before the French revolution happened and the peasants started getting uppity and they decided they’d better tone it down a bit – when the aristocracy rode roughshod over the lives of those who lived on their land.

I can’t help now but picture Boris Johnson on horseback, some ridiculous glittering cavalry vestments draped over his shoulders, riding down an ancient country track, having manure hurled at him by peasant farmers on the wayside, and shouting: “Why don’t you f### off and die?”

     Ian Beetlestone, in his Taxi 


    >click for full article< Source : The Guardian

No One Likes Us ! by Semtex.

 Any minute now, the prospective new Mayor, will no doubt be fawning over our taxi trade, promising us that either he or she is the person we should vote for.
They will tell us that they understand our trade, have always used a Licensed London Taxi to go about their business and to not assist and recognise our great service to London, would be tantamount to treason.
 
They will criticise their predecessors, and stage a mock horror wide eyed stance at how we have been treated, especially with regards to Uber, and promise that as far as they are concerned, if they get the vote, then the London Taxi Trade can confidently look forward to the next 350 years of prosperity.
 
Except of course............IT'S ALL BOLLOX !
 
And the true facts are.......they are all as dodgy, untrustworthy, disloyal and mendacious......as each other !
 
Sadly for our trade, we have only ever had two Mayor's and they appear to get worse each time we get a new one.
 
Both Livingstone and Johnson have history of betrayal, albeit Livingstone more than Johnson. To betray their colleagues, allies, friends and family, is all in a day's work for these calibre of people, so what chance do you think we, as a trade have got ? Exactly !  Absolutely none !
 
Livingstone came to within a whisker of finishing this trade off. His departure certainly couldn't have come any sooner. When the clown took the chalice after him, we thought that surely there cant possibly be a worse person for our call than Livingstone, and welcomed Johnson with open arms.
 
He started off well. The old schoolboy, mop haired buffoon charm, often posing behind the wheel of one of our taxis, was swallowed by us, and I even had a soft spot for him myself. At least I couldn't imagine Johnson sitting with his arm around an IRA Terrorist (which offended me deeply and personally) or shaking hands with the only other hand that wasn't a hook, on another of our off shore celebrities.
 
How naïve I was though ! Studying mop head's past form in forensic detail, both private and professional, clearly reveals that the high command of London Mayor, was and still is, merely a Curriculum Vitae endorsement, for higher places.
And his business plan is spot on !
 
Boris Johnson is absolutely masterful in the art of self promotion. He doesn't require PR companies to boost his appeal. He is capable of doing it all by himself. A private PR company would charge millions to do what comes natural to Johnson.
And unless you find yourself in the unfortunate position as one of his team, one of his loved ones, one of his employees or people like ourselves who are under his command, then Johnson is absolutely adored by millions of the public worldwide.
 
When I saw the report of him abusing of  our colleagues the other night, I knew that public opinion would go against the cab trade. I knew that the public would love the thought of "good old Boris" having a go back and standing his ground. And so did Johnson, make no mistake about that. I bet he put his hands together !
 
The thing is you see, the British Public love a Boys Own Hero, and Johnson fits their bill perfectly.
Do you remember how much and how quickly John Prescott's public image soared, when he punched that fella on the chin for throwing an egg at him ? The public loved it ! And I was one of them.
 
I know a person in the Civil Service who works quite closely to Johnson. In reality, he doesn't have very many close friends. Thousands of acquaintances, yes, but not many close friends. I also have an acquaintance who went to the same college in Oxford as Johnson, at the same time. He later went on to become a Major in the Life Guards.
When I discussed with him Johnson's betrayal to our trade, he wasn't in the slightest surprised.
 
See that messed up hair on interviews ? See the bumbling and under breath humour ? See the shirt tail hanging out and attending press meetings with one sock over his trouser leg, apparently by mistake ?  They are all masterful acts designed to gain affectionate support.
 
All these personality "flaws" are not flaws at all. They have been practised, practised and finely honed to perfection to buy in the public's love and affection, for the overgrown Boys Own Hero. Does it work ? You bet your life it works ! It works like a dream ! The public adore him !
 
In the real world of course, The London Taxi Trade know better and differently. As do our London Fire Fighters. As do the Tube workers, and as do the London motorists. As far as we are concerned, it is Boris Johnson who has finished off the London Taxi Trade as we all knew it. 
It was on his watch that Uber were licensed under dubious circumstances. And it was on his watch that we have had to demolish and scrap millions of pounds worth of perfectly healthy taxis. 
A woefully inadequate Commander in Charge of a woeful inadequate licensing authority, showing inaccurate pollution control statistics, inaccurate air quality analysis, and inaccurate mini cab licensing statistics.
 
Rest assured, the gaffe prone, Have I Got News For You, overgrown school boy, is loved by millions of the British Public, hungry for a different prospective, to the same old boring political faces.
 
This is bad news for our trade of course. At a time when we are fighting for our professional lives, we need all the help we can get.
Obviously then, with two previous Mayor's out of two trying to kill us...............I am dubious of the relationship we have to look forward to with the third !
 
You know what really personally winds me up with our politicians ? Its when people like Cameron, Milliband and others sit in a sand pit with children, or have a photo call sitting in a tiny children's chair, with their knees under their chin, painting a picture of a chicken !
How do they still get away with this deception and play acting bullshit ? They still do it on every major election.
 
Do you reckon Cameron has been in any sandpits with kids, or sat on a six inch chair painting a chicken in the last ten days or so ?  Course he hasn't !  Why do it on a pre-election campaign then ? 
They all do this deception, kidder, fake cobblers don't they ? And they don't get any more expert at it than London Taxi Trade Killer, Boris Johnson ! The only difference is,  his sandpit equivalent  is behind the wheel of a proper London Taxi.
 
Very soon, the same old spiel from the new hopefuls will begin gushing out with typical synthetic and patronising emotion.
 
The fact of the matter is, in all truth and reality............No One Likes Us !
 
 We need to stand shoulder to shoulder in professional trade unity and fight for our survival ourselves.
If we make the mistake of relying on the new Mayor as we have done with the other two................we only have ourselves to blame for our repeated naïve and misplaced judgement.
 
Be lucky all.
 
8829 Semtex.

  
 

Friday, June 19, 2015

GMB Union Call For Uber's PH Operator Licence To Be Revoked. Press Release.

GMB call for TFL to revoke Uber cab licence after driver is able to pick up paying customer despite having provided fake insurance papers to Uber.

Despite recent changes it is still possible to upload a fake insurance document without detection and transporting passengers without proper insurance puts them in jeopardy in the event of injury says GMB.

GMB, the union for professional drivers, has repeated the call for Transport for London to revoke UBER cab licence after a national newspaper demonstrated how a cab driver was able to pick up a paying customer despite having provided fake insurance papers to Uber. See notes to editors for copy of article in the Guardian on 12th June and GMB letter to TFL on 13th June.

Steve Garelick, GMB Branch Secretary professional drivers branch, says in the letter to TFL:

“I have been able to furnish yourselves with multiple instances where I was able to log on to the Uber platform and be allowed to drive with inappropriate documents such as restaurant menus and GMB application forms.

Despite recent changes to the document system it is still possible to upload a fake insurance document without detection. Transporting passengers without proper insurance cover places them in jeopardy in the event if injury due to road accidents.

It seems that despite my evidence to the contrary proving indefatigably that a driver could work without insurance this seems to have been dismissed as a misnomer.

Understandably I will now repeat my request to revoke this company’s licence.”

   Source : GMB

Borisgate 2 : How Does He Keep Getting Away With It ???

Black-cab drivers have been critical of Mr Johnson over his handling of Uber, and the Islington incident sparked Labour's London Assembly transport spokesperson Val Shawcross to say: "The mayor has the power to put in place a strategy to tackle the challenges facing the industry. But so far he's completely failed to respond to any of our calls to do just that."

The cabbie who was told to “f**k off and die” declared: “Boris is a buffoon.”

The dad-of-two was embroiled in a post-midnight tirade with the London Mayor after he accused him of failing to protect the black cab industry.

But tennis-loving Tory Boris has stood his ground and refused to apologise for the rant – claiming his volley of abuse was just a “gentle return of serve”.

Boris, who was cycling home down a busy city centre street, was filmed by a passer-by stopping his bike and shouting at The Cabbie to “f**k off and die” twice.

The driver concerned, only learnt the heated exchanged had been caught on camera when we published it last night.

He said he dislikes Boris “incredibly” for not backing black cabs in the face of competition from budget private firm Uber.

He said: “I think that Boris is a joke to be honest with you. I don’t care anymore to be honest, the man is a buffoon.

“I wasn’t shocked that he spoke to me like that, I think he is an idiot.

The Mayor of London made light of the incident when leaving his posh five-storey home in Islington this morning.

He also dodged the chance to issue the taxi driver an apology for telling him to “f*** off and die”.

When asked if he should say sorry, Boris simply repeated “should I apologise to the cabbie” under his breath as if considering the question.

But, straddling his push bike, after exiting his house, he said: “I think it comes under the heading of getting the ball back over the net.

“It was a gentle attempt at return of service. That is all it was.”

The floppy-haired Tory – tipped to be a future party leader – refused to answer questions over what exactly the taxi driver had said to provoke him, before cycling off.

How can it possibly be correct that Boris Johnson was never charged in relation to the Darius Guppy tape in which he conspired with Guppy for the assault of a journalist?


Tape has previously been posted on Taxi Leaks, but for those who may have missed it, here it is again:


    


It seems to be clear that it is an offence in law for someone to encourage or assist in a crime being committed

 

>http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/inchoate_offences/#P16_311<

Assisting or Encouraging Crime

Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 creates, at sections 44 to 46, three inchoate offences of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence; encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed; and encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed.

These offences replace the common law offence of incitement for all offences committed after 1 October 2008. They allow people who assist another to commit an offence to be prosecuted regardless of whether the underlying substantive offence is actually committed or attempted.

Sec 50 of the 2007 Act provides a defence to the offences in Part 2 where the encouragement or assistance is considered to be reasonable in the circumstances the person knew to exist or he reasonably believed to exist.

Sec 51 of the 2007 Act provides a limitation on liability to the offences in Part 2 where the offence encouraged or assisted was created in order to protect a category of people and the person doing the encouraging or assisting falls into that category and was the person in respect of whom the offence was or would have been committed. This would cover for example a child who encourages or assists a sexual offence of which he or she was to have been the victim.

Attempting to commit an offence

A person is guilty of attempting to commit an offence under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 (CAA 1981), section 1(1) if s/he does an act which is more than preparatory to the commission of the offence with the intention of committing an offence.

The offence consists of both an act (actus reus) and a mental state (mens rea).

In each case it is a question of fact whether the accused has gone sufficiently far towards the full offence to have committed theactus reus of the attempt. If the accused has passed the preparatory stage, the offence of attempt has been committed and it is no defence that s/he then withdrew from committing the completed offence.

An attempt is an offence of specific intent. It requires an intention to commit an offence to which section 1(4) Criminal Attempts Act 1981 applies.

 

It is also an offence to conspire to commit GBH

Conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm or conspiracy to murder: an additional charge against those who were involved in planning the attack beforehand. 

>https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/assets/uploads/files/Joint_Enterprise.pdf<

 

I noticed that Guppy has boasted about a similar subsequent assault on a journalist

>http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2361999/Boris-Johnsons-friend-Darius-Guppy-admits-horrifying-attack-journalist-insulted-wife.html<

 

 

What would it take to get a prosecution?

Would I need to file a formal complaint to the Police and see what happens?

 

Regards Dave


Sign Dave's petition here:

#sackboris

>https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/sackboris-as-mayor-of-london<

 

Thanks

                




     Sources: London Taxi Radio, Sunnation and Dave Davies.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

While London's Mayor Swears At Cabbies, New York Confiscates 938 Cars For Illegal Pick Ups.


Facing increasing pressure from the taxi industry, authorities in New York have begun to crack down on Uber, issuing tickets and seizing cars of Uber drivers who participate in illegal pickups in the city. 

Between April 29 and June 15, NYC authorities seized 496 cars from Uber drivers taking illegal street hails, mostly at the three airports in the region.  

Uber spokesman Matt Wing said that “street hails are not permitted on the Uber platform period. This is a small group of bad actors and the violations add up to less than one hundredth of one percent of our rides over the same time period.” 

Airports are the last domestic frontier for Uber, and even in cities where the service is well-ingrained, it faces constant scrutiny. The seizures of Uber cars were part of a larger operation that confiscated a total of 938 for-hire vehicles operating illegally, according to Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman Allan Fromberg.

“Our officers noted an uptick in illegal activity attributable to licensed for-hire vehicles acting outside their authority,” Fromberg told the Post. “And seizures have a greater deterrent value than summonses alone.” 

These small setbacks just don’t seem to add up for the company. The New York Times Magazine reported that the company is reimbursing its drivers who incur fines and tickets in Paris. And in China, it relies on huge driver subsidies to ensure customers are only billed at cost. 

Uber will soon face a major test in New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear in court on June 22 to face allegations from four of the city’s largest taxi financiers that the city should not have permitted any passenger pick-ups through an app. They allege that an "e-hail" is synonymous with a traditional street hail, the exclusive domain of yellow cabs.

NOW WATCH: Boris, arranging for someone to get beat up. 

At the time of the phone call, Boris was working for the Daily Telegraph in Brussels, after getting the sack from the Times for making up quotes. 

   

    Source NY Times

Remember The Euro 4 Upgrade? Receipt Printers? ... Be Careful What You Wish For.


Before you fill in the consultation on a mandating Credit Card acceptance, think back and remember the printer issue. TfL would only allow accredited partners to supply and fit them. That's what made cheap receipt printers so expensive to rent. 

We all know that TfL can no longer be trusted, the latest scandal from the Compliance team has showed us that. They will not be looking out for us as drivers or to make it simpler for the public. They will be looking to maximise the profits of their stakeholders.

Remember the exhaust upgrade issue. Only accredited TfL stakeholder partners were allowed to carry out he upgrade at vastly inflated prices. When people such as Dave Davies came up with a cheaper upgrade (over half the price) TfL refused to authorise.

It will be the same with CC readers as it was for printers. Hand held units like iZettle and PayPal would not be allowed. Only rear fitted contactless readers will be allowed under COF, with meter price only...no surcharge. 

Drivers would be expected to accept any surcharge, at present, popular companies charge between 10% and 5%.  Soon as its made compulsory, surcharges will probably be synchronised with monthly fee for rental of SIM card.

At present the law will not allow TfL to make acceptance compulsory, but they could make it a condition of fitness. It will be no good saying I just don't use it because you will still have to pay SIM card rental with a possible penalty clause for non usage. 

Yes with out a doubt, more cab drivers should take Credit  and Debit cards, the new systems from iZettle, PayPal and Cab:App are really user friendly and quite cheap. 
But no way it should be mandatory, it's a lose lose situation. 

Be careful what you wish for, it will only cost you dearly.

Don't say you haven't been warned!!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mayor Boris Johnson Videoed, Swearing At A London Taxi Driver.

The London Mayor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson, has been filmed swearing in a colourful way at a London Taxi Driver. 

The altercation took place on the 5th of June. 

The driver is heard to say to Boris: 
"You're one of them mate. That's what you are, one of them" 
To which Boris replied 
"Why don't you f##k off and die, why don't you f##k off and die....but not in that order"

Steve McNamara of the LTDA said: “They are two grown men and it was the middle of the night so there were no kids around – I don’t think much harm was done.

“I don’t suppose that the cabbie went home that night and cried himself to sleep.”

CALM DOWN BORIS!

The onlooker, who filmed the row on his iPhone, said that Boris looked “furious” as he cycled off after the exchange.

The man, who does not want to be named, said: “Maybe if he is going to be the next Prime Minister he should calm things down a bit.”

The video was obtained by the Sun news paper. A source close to the Mayor (hello Angelina) said it's a lot of fuse about nothing as the driver regularly heckles Boris at City Hall meetings.

The Daily Mail put out an appeal earlier this week to try to get the driver involved in the altercation to come forward. 

Editorial Comment:
Surely Boris should be telling Uber to f##k off!
and not a hard working London Taxi driver.

But then was he talking just to just the one driver, or to the whole Trade?

There's no dressing this up, this was disgusting behaviour from the London Mayor and member of Parliament for Uxbridge.

I was very surprised at the seemingly easy ride afforded Boris by the General Secretary of the LTDA in light of the current struggle the trade is facing at the hands of Boris and TfL.

IS THIS BORISGATE?
If it was right for Andrew Mitchell to resign as chief whip, for calling a police officer a pleb, then how is Boris telling a London Taxi driver to f##k off and die (twice) acceptable?
  
TtT.


     



    Source : BBC News, The Sun and the Daily Mail.

News Just In : Uber Appeal's After California Labour Commission Deem Uber Drivers Employees.

Uber has appealed a California labor commission ruling that declared employees of the ride-sharing company are employees and not contractors.

In its ruling, the California labor commissioner said Uber is “involved in every aspect of the operation”, negating the company’s longstanding claim that its drivers are contractors.

The decision appears to imply that Uber is in reality a transport operator and could have a significant impact on its business model. The company had argued that drivers were contractors, with Uber acting as a logistics software company.

If Uber drivers are employees, that opens Uber up to higher costs, including Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. That could affect its valuation, currently above $40 billion, and the valuation of other companies that rely on large networks of individuals to provide rides, clean houses and other services.

But the commission said Uber controls the tools driver use, monitors their approval ratings and terminates their access to the system if their ratings fall below 4.6 stars.

The company had appealed the commission’s decision to award Barbara Ann Berwick, an Uber driver in San Francisco, more than $4,000 in expenses.

The ruling was issued earlier this month and came to light when Uber filed its appeal in state court in San Francisco on Tuesday evening.


     Source The Guardian And Reuters.

Search For Cabbie, Allegedly Verbally Abused By Mayor Boris Johnson.

Are you, or do you know the Cabbie, who was subjected to verbal abuse from Mayor Boris Johnson as he last your cab on the nigh of June the 5th

If so the Daily Mail would be very interested to talk to you. There is also a small reward

Contact sam.greenhill@dailymail.co.uk
Or call: 07971 017624





Breaking News : Compliance Officers Revocation Request Overruled By Top TfL Person???


It was with great shock that we heard the news from the GMB yesterday that compliance officers from TfL, asked for a certain PH operators licence to be revoked, only to have their decision over ruled by higher powers. 




The news received has been sketchy, but it is alleged that the company in question is the big U.



If this is true, and the compliance teams had a legitimate cause which was then overruled by a higher power, then this is misconduct in a public office, commonly known as malfeasance.


It is now up to the trade orgs to make sure these aligations are thoroughly investigated. 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Save Our Black Taxis Campaign : Press Release.


In light of the ongoing dispute between London’s black cabs and the business activities of unlicensed firms and new private hire market entrants -  a brand new trade organisation with a difference has been formed.

Spearheaded by cabby’s wife Artemis Mercer, thousands of partners, wives, husbands and families of Licensed London Black Cab drivers have come together to stand united against what they describe as the “woeful failure of Transport for London to regulate the taxi and private hire market in London.”

With the aim of garnering further support from the public and highlighting the demoralising effects TfL’s lack of regulation enforcement is having on families and consumer choice – Facebook’s Save Our Black Taxis has gained 5,000 supporters in just a matter of weeks. In addition, the organisation has an active Twitter account @SaveTaxi, with over 1000 followers, which continues to gain popularity by the day.

With a peaceful, static demo planned (on foot) for the 31st of July outside TfL’s offices, 8 women are working tirelessly in order to organise the day, spread the word about the cause and attempt to save a trade that means so much to each of them.

The team fronting the group includes cabby’s wife Artemis Mercer who set up the group around a month ago, cabby’s girlfriend Cher Morresey, black cab driver Linda Morris and cabby's daughter and PR specialist, Georgiana Foster. 

In addition Amanda Shea, Deborah Martins, Shevonn Melvin, Johanna Pankhurst and Gail Kyprianides have combined their efforts in helping to plan the demonstration and assist with the development of creative ideas.

Artemis commented, “TfL is simply not doing enough to enforce rules that ensure public safety in London taxis. While the world around them evolves and adapts, London’s cabbies have been left high and dry without the support that they so desperately need from their own governing body.”

Cabby’s daughter Georgiana continued, “This campaign is purely to highlight TfL’s incompetencies. We’d like to stress that our demonstration is not, in any way, directed towards Uber as an entity. It’s all too easy to deem cabbies protesting about the way Uber is regulated as them actually moaning about Uber’s existence. We simply want to see an equal playing field.”

Artemis added, “My husband has been a black cabby for over 10 years. For months now I have listened to his anguish over how bad this situation has become. The last straw came when he said he was no longer proud to be a London cabby! I feel so strongly that us, as families deserve to be heard, we too have a voice and I thank everyone for their support so far.”


Editor’s Notes:

·  The group represents the spouses, partners and children, in fact anyone associated with the taxi trade. 

·  It is not affiliated with any unions or political parties.

·  On 31st July at 2pm, the group and its supporters plan to peacefully demonstrate on foot, in Westminster, against the inadequacy of TFL and demand that their voices be heard.


For more information please contact:


· (Group Director) Artemis Mercer: artemis.mercer@sky.com

· (Head of PR and Comms) Georgiana Foster: georgianafoster@live.com


Thank you, from the team at SaveTaxi





Have We Lost Our Pride ? by Semtex


It seems only a few weeks ago, when I used to talk to our old trade stalwarts, such as Alf Townsend, Doug Sherry, Freddie Franks and others. They all had an armoury of cab driving experience, and many a London Cab tale to tell. Some interesting, some boring and some hugely exaggerated! But they were all extremely interesting men, and I remember thinking that despite their hugely various personal characters, there was a common denominator . PRIDE !
 
They were all passionate members of our trade and all were extremely proud to belong to a profession, with such flawless history. I found this to be a contagious and admirable quality at the time I got my badge, and I don't think I am talking like an old fart, to say that something in our trade has changed. Etiquette amongst us is not a patch on what it used to be. I constantly shake my head at the outrageous liberties that our own colleagues pull on their own, with not the slightest of guilt or empathy to their offensive behaviour.
 
Not only in our Licensed London Taxi Trade though, but our Nation itself. As a very proud former Guardsman, I watched the Trooping of The Colour on TV last Saturday. I took part in it six times during my career, and was actually the youngest Guardsman on Horse Guards Parade on my very first one. I couldn't explain to people the pride that I had as I marched down the Mall in my bearskin and tunic.

On Sunday, in the newspapers, the beautiful coloured photos of the Queen's Birthday Parade, adorned the pages.
Not only was I saddened at the dozens of nasty and perturbing comments that viewers left about the parade, and our Royal Family, but once again, witnessed a huge lack of National pride.
 
Yes, I understand that not everyone is a Royalist like myself, I get that, and accept people's opinions totally. But wherever you look these days, things just seem to be different. The passion and pride for things in our Taxi Trade, and our country, just seems worryingly absent.
 
Four years ago, I went to New York to run the marathon on behalf of Guide Dogs For The Blind. I was dressed in a full size Disney Pluto like furry Dog suit. Complete with head, I was looking out of the mouth, and it weighed a ton ! Tail, ears, great big feet.....the lot !  Around my shoulders, my daughter stitched a full size Union Flag. Although other national runners were looking at me like I had just escaped from Broadmoor as I put the head of the dog on, I started off from Staten Island with full intent on keeping the dog suit on throughout the 26 miles.

The thing is, that Union flag got more attention than the bizarre dog suit ! Americans in their dozens were rushing up to me to shake my (paw) and continued to thank me. For what ? For being British !!!  "Come on, British Dog !" they screamed and cheered me round. They were actually thanking me for "coming over" . Honestly, that is the God's honest truth !  They were as pride as I was myself, for my Union Flag, and it was a very unexpected and humbling experience.
 
Some years ago, and my mates on the Forum will remember it, I told a story about when I lived in the very depths of Kent, twixt Folkestone and Canterbury. It was miles away from any main roads or shops and in all the time I lived there, I didn't pass another car.

Anyway, I'm coming home after a shift in London in my TX1. I turn off the road onto this desolate road that I mention, and I see a London Taxi TX1, the same as mine ! I couldn't believe it ! I accelerated and chased him. I'm about 2 feet behind him, flashing my lights, waving and making sure he sees me. After about a mile. He slams his brakes on and I had a job to stop myself going into him. My fault if I had of done !

I've got a grin on my face like a Cheshire cat, at the million to one chance of meeting one of my own on this deserted country road a few hundred yards from my house. He gets out, absolutely raving. " Hello mate ! Blimey, what you doing down here !" I said, about to invite him in for a cup of tea and a sandwich. "What's you're effing problem ?" he screamed ! "I come all this way and have a mug like you behind me ! You prick !"
I was gutted ! I couldn't believe it ! Talk about crawl under a snake with a top hat on ! I felt a complete nob ! It was so embarrassing ! I was so proud to bump into one of our own in such an unlikely place, and was horrified that he certainly didn't share my passion ! My wife and kids laughed themselves to sleep that night !
 
A few months ago, I had to attend a Detection Dog Seminar, right down in Newport, near Cardiff. I went from London, so took the cab.  Coming home, I get onto the M4 and pull into a drive in Macdonald's. As I put my order in the intercom, what comes in behind me ? A London cab, complete with green identifiers. Mindful of my embarrassment some years ago in Kent, I decided to play it cool and just gave a friendly wave out the window this time. He totally blanked me ! Is it me, do you reckon ?

I know Newport isn't as far as the moon, but its a schlap from Trafalgar Square, isn't it ? Be fair !
I'm sitting there eating my Big Mac, and he drives right past me and didn't give me a second look ! I know it has a humerous side to it, but I found this really strange !

There used to be a Brotherhood thing, a unity, a fraternal,  a club like feeling, in this trade. It seems to be disappearing now.
 
The only place I have never experienced this in any shape way or form, was in the military. Perhaps that's why I bang on about it so much ! I remember the tears coming down my face and running over the curb chain of my bearskin, as I stood 100 yards from the Cenotaph, as the Guards massed band played Sir Edward Elgar's Nimrod. Obviously unable to move to gain my composure, the Chinese pap had a field day with their close up cameras !
 
Why is this lack of passion and pride happening, I wonder ?  Camaraderie is definitely lacking within our ranks these days. At first I thought it was just me being a granny, but it isn't. There is a definite change of attitude out there at the moment. Personally, I feel it is a great shame and certainly gives any of our adversaries an edge when it comes to confrontation.

Don't get me wrong, thankfully there are still many of us out there with the kind of pride and passion that I mention, but it certainly isn't as common as it was some years back.

The dangers of this of course, is the affect that it has on any action or future unity that we need. Our old trade couldn't be in a more perilous position. Our future's hang on a thread as a woeful licensing authority, with worrying misplaced powers, welcome in cowboys from far and wide.

When the shout goes up to muster and lace up the boots for battle, pride and passion in what we belong to and what we represent is an absolute essential ingredient for victory.
 
I understand fully that the recession, the downturn in trade, Uber's dodgy existence and a woeful and inadequate licensing authority have all taken their toll, knocked the life out of us, and we are tired.  But one thing that was drummed into me on the training fields of Salisbury Plains and The Brecon was:
 
 If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they have gone
And so hold on when there is nothing left in you
Except the will which says hold on.
 
We have much to save and much to fight for colleagues. We will need pride and passion to get us through what lies ahead, as well as strength and some luck.  If we can regain it to the level we had in years gone by, we will never ever be beaten.
 
Be lucky all.
 
8829 Semtex