Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Police Play Dirty: Is It Time To Take The Gloves Off ? By Jim Thomas

        View from MP Peter Heaton Jones' window, looking out onto Whitehall.

A United trade demonstration, called by the UCG, supported by the LCDC, RMT, HATDU, Suburban Allience, ITA, DDD, MM and #SaveTaxi.
Let's not forget, that our biggest representative org said they wouldn't be supporting the demo, on advise from their political advisers....

Unfortunately, the met police did everything in their power to disrupt the effect of the demo in Whitehall. They arrived early, put cones and ribbons down the middle of the road and diverge cabs away from Whitehall. 

Four days prior to our protest, wearing masks, carrying weapons and daubing graffiti over public buildings, the police allowed the anti-austerity anonymous group to run a mock for many hours. A peaceful demo by London Taxis drivers and they decide to use heavy handed tactics. 

This is the respect we get, for playing by the rules and letting the authorities know our plans in advance....

A second protest venue was called off out of respect for the police, who promised we could hold our protest for 90 minutes. But it seems the police decided to break their word and tried to disperse vehicles before they got anywhere near Whitehall. Drivers arriving from Milbank were diverted over Lambeth Bridge, Taxis were kettles in Horse Guards Road  

Double crossed 
Just after 2 pm more cones were strategically placed, cutting off access from Parliament Square. At the same time this aggressive Traffic a Cop (recognise him*) and his team were diverting unsuspecting drivers away from entering Whitehall from Trafalgar Square. 

*Same aggressive traffic cop trying to divert cabs away from the demo.

After Marshals complained, the police relented and within minutes, the demonstrators achieved complete gridlock. 
Outside the gates of Downing Street, Trevor Merells, vice chair of the UCG gave an emotional speech, before leading a delegation down to number 10, where a letter was handed in, calling for an inquiry into TfL.

We were informed that the tactics employed by the police had actually backfired as the knock on effect from Taxis redirected, had caused chaos reaching back to Kensington in the West and the City in the east. 

Many drivers are now calling for future demos to be unofficial with multiple hits at various locations. 
Perhaps it's time to hit all of London's bridges at the same time.
This isn't the first time the police have broken their agreement to let drivers demonstrate peacefully. 
We had a similar incident on 10th of February when aggressive traffic cops stopped Knowledge Students from joining their future colleagues in Whitehall. 

One student was arrested and although the gold commander had him de-arrested, saying he would hear no more about the incident, he received a summons two months later. 
The case is still going on and scheduled to be heard in January, almost a year after the incident. 

Members from the GLA turned up and spoke to the organisers in front of Downing Street.

 Support again from the Cabstop and Knowledge students, plus it was really nice to meet proprietor Stephanie Prayer from A&S taxis.

We have been informed that the Met Police have agreed to meet with the UCG to talk about the continued plying for hire and the use of fog lights by PHV drivers 

One thing that saddened me yesterday was the amount of Taxis I saw with jobs in as I made my way in towards the protest. 
The drivers who carried on working, have no right to complain about the situation the trade finds itself in. 
I was informed that station ranks were well attended bby working cabs and so was Heathrow. 

Is it now time to take the gloves off ?

    With thanks to Artemis and Mandy : Stronger together #SaveTaxi

Least we forget
London's finest will be back in-force this coming Sunday. Poppy Cabs will operating a free service, taking our veterans to and from the remembrance day services.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning....we will remember them.


Anonymous said...

TFL are a private company, making millions out of London but doing everything to drive the black taxi from the streets. It's a disgrace that they don't do their job

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be so sure that the police tactics backfired. Maybe the whole point was to create as big and wide a disruption in order to turn the general commuting public against black cabs and the demonstrations.

Alan said...

The LTDA couldn't support was the message from SMc
The amount of orange lanyards and diaries show that although they listen to their political advisors
They are not listening to their members

Time to cancel the subs and join an org that dies listen to its drivers.

Anonymous said...

I got diverted to Victoria emb from parliament sq , I went up Northumberland av & got diverted to pall mall hour & 40 mins & demo finished, so carry on cabbie, , anyone can demonstrate in this country except the law abiding workers it seems , I wonder why 💷💷💷💷💷

Anonymous said...

many drivers I spoke to yesterday on Whitehall would fully support and vote for our next demo to take place across the bridges.We have momentum now,so let's keep the pressure up and organise a flash demo soon!!

Anonymous said...

Met traffic division did a great job yesterday with traffic management-the fat slobs only work a few times a year. If anyone needs to get out more often it's these pie shop regulars.

Anonymous said...

Driving up and down Whitehall at 2pm while everyone's at work - pointless - no press coverage - BBC in particular complete blank. No ones listening - no ones bothered. More drive ins at 5 stop em getting home. Then they will listen.

Anonymous said...

well done Jim
at the sharp end again mate

Anonymous said...

Isn't it personal choice for drivers? I didn't attend because I felt that another demonstration would work against us but, I didn't work either. I agree something needs to be done but think if we keep demonstrating, it's going to turn the public against us. Also, as usual, the press said that the demo was against Uber & not the incompetence of TFL. I know it's lazy reporting but it doesn't do us any favours.

Editorial said...

The public are already against us and doing nothing is no longer an option. Time has run out.

The LTDA's agenda of no rocking the boat by doing nothing has got us where we are today.

As far as press reports are concerned all the ones I've seen have got our message right.
All the media were briefed before we started.

See this report in the evening standard yesterday

The video was also shown on London alive news

We also made the BBC London six o clock news which also got the message right.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the answer is to have small flash demos at multiple locations on a regular basis?
ie roundabouts like Aldwych , Hogarth etc and bridges

This will save drivers time as they can protest at a location close to where they happen to be at a pre arranged time. Even a small demo with a few cabs will be noticeable because everywhere is already congested. The effect of lots of small regular flash demos will be massive and uncontrollable. By the time the Met respond the demo will be over and drivers on their way
There is no need for any trade org to be responsible for this type of action ; the Met cant blame the UCG or any other org or anyone else as it is just individual drivers protesting.

No one can be controlled or arrested

The difficulty with having mass demos is that they take a huge amount of work and effort to organise and trade org reps have to give formal notice to the Met in advance which means that they are then responsible and can be threatened by the Met personally.
It also gives the Met the opportunity to restrict and divert drivers and minimize effect.

The message is now clear and simple; its a call for a Public Inquiry into TFL.

Politicians can also support this call separately and there are many MPs who are already doing so

There is no need for negotiation or for anyone to be engaged.

The media have been given the clear simple message in the form of a Press Release.
If there is continued action they may be forced to actually report what is happening instead of reporting the spin of TFL

The Government initiates a Public Inquiry into TFL and the protests stop ; simple

Anonymous said...

The media did report this and they reported the correct message that Taxi Drivers are calling for a Public Inquiry.
The interview that Len did on London Live was excellent and this along with the Standard article will be read by a huge amount of people and by those who matter; the MPs.

The location of Whitehall has made all politicians aware of the situation and what Taxi Drivers are calling for. One MP took a photo and tweeted it so a huge number of MPs have seen it.
The letter to the Prime Minister makes sure that she is aware of the situation and leaves the ball firmly in her court to do something about it.

Any drivers who think that the Public care about taxi drivers need to read the comments on the Standard article.
It makes it clear that they have no sympathy and are actually blaming drivers for the Taxis being diesel, despite the fact that TFL have forced taxi drivers to buy them.

People are boasting that the Mayor, TFL and the Government are deliberately supporting Uber , Cyclists and anyone else except Taxi Drivers.
So why would you worry about any disruption?
TFL have caused massive disruption and congestion all day every day and none of these people are moaning about TFL
The cycle lanes have caused massive disruption because they were improperly designed and yet the Public does not seem to be moaning about them

Anonymous said...

It would be great if these last 2 comments were posted as an article? They make some strong points that need to be made