Saturday, January 21, 2017

Anyone Can Hold The Helm When The Sea Is Semtex.

There was a hell of a lot to learn about the Great London Cab Trade this week, and not just regarding our access to the Bank Junction.

When I stood on the steps of the Royal Exchange on one of our turnouts last week, a chap wearing a suit asked if I knew what it was all about. After explaining to him, his reply was " Well there is work all over London for you guys, why worry about this little bit?"

But the truth is, its not about 'this little bit' is it ? Excluding us from a central hub of the City of London, is merely the thin edge of the wedge. It is also I believe, part of the game plan structure to starve our trade into extinction.

This is not about my personal paranoia or our trade being dramatic, Transport For London without doubt, want shot of us. For good.

Once the Bank Junction is won for them, then it will be Tottenham Court  Road, then Oxford Street, then the whole of the City, then Knightsbridge..................until 25,000 of us are hemmed in around Soho, starving to death.

So the Battle of the Bank Junction this week, was far more than a group of sulking cab drivers, whingeing about petty infringements and the threat of losing 'this little bit.'

For me though, the one major point that came out of all this week was how impotent some of our trade organisations were, in a call of trade emergency.

And for reasons stated above, the Bank Demo's may not have appeared as an emergency, but history will prove that it certainly was.

The thing that I found so poignant and symbolic though, was watching our staunch, passionate Irishman friend, (who's name I have deliberately held back,) go onto the pavement and rally the troops in a display of heart, passion, spunk and commitment. The faces of our colleagues looking up to him, rallying and applauding, choked me up for several reasons.

One of the reasons of course, is that our impromptu understudy 'leader' just jumped in and took up the helm. He wasn't asked to. he hadn't been elected to, but he just did it. He did it because he saw the cavernous gap that has somehow shown its gaping void, in a battered trade who have decided that enough is enough, and in the absence of a General, chose to lead themselves.

In all the time I have had my badge, never have I seen a display of self preservation and fight back from rank and file drivers, as I have seen at the Bank Junction this week.

The officially unrecognised special forces of the Independent Taxi Alliance, Dads Defending Daughters and the great Mayfair Mob, using word of mouth, secret codes and tungsten camaraderie showing the way forward, and displaying that it is themselves who are the Pathfinders and future of our survival.

What interests me so much though, is that our trade is known for having so many 'Leaders', when the waters are calm.  There are miles too many trade representation organisations for a mere 25,000 membership, yet when the call went out for a red alert deployment............the vacancy for a  Brigadier was worryingly apparent! The silence was deafening.  And it took a rank and file colleague and one of our own to stand proud, jump up to the plate and take the helm.

Could you imagine the same sort of thing happening at an RMT rally when the late Bob Crow was alive ? Can you imagine a face coming out of the crowd and upstaging Bob's rallying speech ? Don't spend another second considering it.

But it happened at the Bank junction in our trade this week, simply because there was nobody else willing to do it.

 I don't want to waste time and damage trade morale in slating Trade Orgs and drivers who work when the rest of us are fighting, but to me, these acts speak volumes for us all and our future, if we are to have one.

Whatsmore, looking at the crowd gathered on the pavement as our Irishman mate captivated the crowd, one could have been forgiven for thinking they were viewing footage from a demo long gone. But no, your eyes were not deceiving you, it was indeed the same faces, the same supporters and the same trade loyal fighters, that are there time after time after time.

The trade small fry showed the big boys how it should be done this week, and have nobody to thank for their success, but themselves. They did themselves proud, they did us all proud.

On another good note, it is good to see that our trade ally and RMT's Taxi Branch Secretary, Lewis Norton has secured a meeting with the City of London for some 'dialogue', in the wake of our Demo's.

Regular readers of Taxileaks will know my opinion of dialogue, but I must admit, that it would be foolish to turn down this offer.

However, and Lewis will not need me to advise him I'm sure, that the planned dialogue needs to be constructive with genuine and wilful intent for our trade's benefit when dealing with the hierarchy.

We as a trade know only too well in our history, that 'Dialogue' can very easily be traded for blah, blah, blah, waffle, spiel and empty promise.

The biggest fear for me, and a ruse that has so often been cast upon our trade, is that the offer of dialogue isn't used as an Operation Mincemeat deflection trick.

City Hall and TFL need to be monitored and overseen by the cab trade's covert surveillance teams, to ensure that no activity is deployed from the back door, as we attempt to work out a deal at the front.

So many times in the past have our regulators have chucked out a mackerel for us to concentrate on, and then clobbered us with another pasting, when our eyes were on the dummy ball. TFL and City Hall don't abide by the rules of cricket and are well known for tactical deception strategies and suspicion.

So far so good then, we shall have to see what awaits us. I bid our colleague Lewis Norton well in the meeting and hope our trade gets the access that we trained and qualified for.

If not, I'm certain that our 'special forces' will have no problem deploying again, and again, and again, should be feel that we are being abused and bullied further.

Well done to our ITA, DDD, Mayfair Mob and the battalions of leaderless colleagues this week. It shows what can be done when we try.

To all of our 'Leaders' out there the message is simple...........Anyone Can Hold The Helm When The Sea Is Calm !

Be lucky all.

8829 Semtex.


lee ward said...

Great post with just the right amount of cut required to not wound someone but to get their attention.

Orgs have one thing in common, just like political parties, if its not their idea then they wont support it. Its all about the kudos for them.

As for drivers who do not support such a tions, fair enough they may simply not be able to afford any time off the road, but that is a very short sighted way of thinjing that could damage them greatly in the long term....

Or, they could be suffering from the dreaded boiling frog syndrome to which the cure is sure fire curtains followed by.many years of blaming 25,Taxi drivers in London, some 330,000 Taxi and PH drivers across England... now thats an army to muster and a General needs to step up that has no difference to colours, it sounds like an Irishman is needed....

MT said...

Now that the trade is firmly down the hole, we seen to have a plethora of individuals that have held badges for many, many years swinging from the rafters. Six years ago NONE of them were known as activists - they weren't interested when the UCG warned the trade in the "Death by Design" publication - They collectively burried their heads in the sand and coughed up their dough to the likes of the LTDA. They're getting the message now, and yet they still cough up money to to the LTDA COM. To be quite honest, I couldn't give a flying f*#k what they preach from their orange boxex!

Anonymous said...

Semtex great post mate
I am a member of both the UCG & the LCDC but after reading your post ,and walking around all five Demos to see no so called leaders
Attending except for Lewis from the RMT I'm cancelling both. l am sick and tired of hearing all of them going on about we must stick
Together ,what bollocks unless they call it they won't support it ..
After talking to Lewis and seeing him at the demos I've decided to join thr RMT

Anonymous said...

Thank You to: Thomasthetaxi
The Irishman.
Please accept from the bottom of my heart MY THANKS and those of my wife and children.Until this week, I truly believed I would quietly and politely be handing my hard earned Badge back to the Carriage Office very soon,as the trade I have loved working in for over 26 years was being eradicated.
BUT NOT NOW! if my badge goes now, I know, that along with all those men and women,knowledge boys and girls,who I was among all of last week,my badge will only go after fighting to the very end to protect it.
THANK YOU again to those above for your dedication and inspiration and to ALL those who gave up so much las week.

Dads Defending Daughters said...

Another good blog from Semtex.
I feel I need to clear one or two things up, about the ITA, though.
Only a small handful of people actually know who runs the ITA.

I was there when 'The Irishman' roused the troops.
I quite liked it.
But please allow me to clarify, 'The Irishman' is not the ITA.
The ITA are not his "crew".
The ITA allowed 'The Irishman' to give that speech, on the back of a hard earned win. A win that started on Monday, with only the 'usual suspects', and grew everyday.
The 'usual suspects' are the same fellers who hijacked the BBC, in Portland Place, back in February 2016.
The same fellers who hijacked the Evening News Awards.
The same fellers who hijacked Parliament Square on Brexit Day, when all the world media were present.
The same fellers who pulled off the St Pancras 5 day demo.
The same fellers did Palestra House, Windsor House, who relegated Steve Mc to a bystander outside Palestra, who gave Grant his first demo over the 'Dodgy Medicals'.
The same fellers who came the UCG's aid, like the cavalry, at Trafalgar Square.
The same fellers who get no support from the above Orgs.
The ITA walk the walk. When the going gets tough ...

The ITA are honest hard working Taxi drivers. They are no one's "crew".
The ITA outthought the police this week.
So far the ITA have achieved what they've set out to do. St Pancras is better (if not perfect). Evening Standard report more about our fight, and are less pro Uber; after our demo outside Tobacco Dock, where we educated ES's other contributors and advertisers about the rape app. The BBC realise how vulnerable they are - and showed how bias their newsroom is, by failing to report seventy Taxi drivers with banners and placards, giving out leaflets, on their premises.

The ITA acknowledge that the LTDA are rotten. And that they are a liability. And we commend 'The Irishman' for fighting back against them.
But the ITA believe the LTDA are a distraction. The ITA doesn't care how much McNamara and his band earn, or what cars they drive.
Yes, the ITA would like to see justice done to the LTDA. But ITA's fight is with TfL and any authority who wishes to undermine the Taxi trade.
The ITA doesn't care which Org anyone is in, if any.
The ITA doesn't do inter-Org politics.

The ITA do not need numbers. The ITA would rather 100 reliable men and women who will stand fast, when the going gets tough, than 10,000 of those loathsome I'm-alright-Jacks, who prefer to work while others do their bidding.
Whatever numbers we have, we will adapt and improvise.
Win or lose, whoever the ITA go up against, they will know they've been in a fight!

lee ward said...

So few comments, I will assume its because its the weekend...

these issues are not time relevant, they are here and now, the calendar does not stop due to these issues....keep the faith, keep the protests...but most of all, find a leader, join and stick with them, the others are growing o and stale, sitting comfortably in their little pocket and not wanting to upset the authorities...

Like I said to my own authority, we can be friends...but we will run hand in hand into the sea....

Anonymous said...

When are this trade going to wake up to how bad it has to get before drivers take action. There was about 25,000 protesters in London today making their feelings known about Donald Trump. Can you imagine if they were in cabs - the chaos it would bring to London. That's what we could do. I'm proud to have been on the protests at the bank this week & proud of all the men & women who were also there. The ITA have been a breath of fresh air and they have given us hope of getting our jobs back & not taking any more shit from the regulators who want to deregulate us.
From a proud cab driver of 35 years who was there every day this week and will be on every demo until we are heard.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget there are other issues to attend to also. Waiting and stalling favours the conniving.

TAXIVET said...

While we are protesting and these PRAYING MANTIS are still working off our backs ,to me you are not cab drivers but blood suckers and you know who you are ,you should go over to Uber where you belong. I actually let a driver out in gresham street thinking he was coming with me to the demo but this cowboy picked up a job in front of me i called out to him and he just told me to do one.i tried to get his pictureon my mobile he was gone, and i am fighting for this moron to keep his job........Scum

Anonymous said...

Anon 7.18PM

You're not fighting to keep anyone in a job; you're at a demo making a stance about taxis being denied
access to bank juncion 7am to 7pm.

How many demos have you worked through in the last six years?
Plenty at the Bank demo almost definitely have!

TAXIVET said...

Anonymous I don't know how long you have had your badge but I can assure you after 32 years driving a cab that I have been on many many demonstrations over the years so I do not get your Point. Surely surely you can see that the bank junction demo is just another chip at our very existence so in respect of these demos you must look at the bigger picture. If you do not see this then they will gradually win the day and the Trade will be no longer.

TAXIVET said...

So anonymous you do not know me to ask me how many demos I have been on. I have been on not one for many many demos how many have you been on !!

Dads Defending Daughters said...

The negotiating process is underway.
If we lose the Bank, we lose the City - our bread and butter!
We will not lose the City!
We will close bus garages and routes around London every day, until we win or take those unctuous bus companies and their unctions directors, Daniels & Emmerson, down with us!

We can whistle and ride, and we can walk and chew gum.
TfL are our enemy. They want us gone. Those with interest in promoting Uber, and snatching Taxi riders and stuffing them onto buses, will be our number one priority.
Bank Junction is too important to be called a distraction; suffice to say we will not be distracted from Daniels and his band of fuckwits.

Khan has become a silent Johnson. All promise and no substance. We will hold him and Val Doublecross to account - they made a series of unkept promises, in their 2016 Action Plan.
They're like a pair of dodgy double glazing salesmen.
Like all politicians, they promise they will respect you in the morning ...

The fight continues!

Anonymous said...

You posted at 8.04PM and 8.06PM. You obviously got the message loud and clear. I'm sure you have been to many demo's over the years, as have I - but the question was:

How many demo's have you worked through in the last six years?

PS, my badge number is in the low 4's, just like yours. And for the record I haven't worked through ANY demo's. I don't refer to other drivers as scum, insects or tell the to join Uber. The reason... I don't know what financial strife they are in, or what their personal situation is, many are desperate to keep the wolves away from the door and one step away from the point of no return!