Monday, April 24, 2017


Those of you long enough in the tooth may remember a film years ago called The Knowledge written by Jack Rosenthal.

It followed the path of Mick Ford's character doing the K and gave the most true to life portrayal of that agony you'll ever likely to see, complete with an examiner nicknamed the Vampire, who to this day I'm convinced Mr Orme modeled himself on. 

There's a line in that film that's stayed with me all these years, "We live, we never bloody learn".
And we haven't.

We've lived with the Uber virus for 5 years now. We know exactly what it's business model is, we know how it's implemented and we know how it's become part of the social fabric of London. It's been in the national press and it's quite clear those in high office couldn't give a toss.

What have we done in response?
Very little.

Up until last month, although we all knew the truth, nothing was getting in the papers and things were looking grim. All of a sudden, up pops the Daily Mail with a story all about the corruption we've been victim of and a light appeared at the end of that very long, dark tunnel. 

But instead of an all out, guns blazing charge on Whitehall with demands of public inquiries, heads rolling and vindication at last, all we've seen is one demo in Whitehall with a letter asking for an inquiry.

The ITA staged a foot demo but that's unofficial as opposed to an org organised one.

There's another mass lobby planned for Wednesday to demand an inquiry now, but only because a general election has been called and naturally all media attention will be focused on that. 

I understand a snap election can't be predicted, neither can the weather but if you planned a barbecue precautions would be put in place in case it pisses down with rain on the day. Contingency plans must be in place especially in a situation like ours which is so fluid otherwise we gain no traction where we should.

I believe the orgs should have met the day that story went to print and planned a response not seen before and we should have delivered it at the first opportunity, not over a week later. 

An immediate suspension of Uber's license should've been demanded along with resignations from Daniels. Blake and Chapman and that's just for starters.

We should've gone for the jugular every single day with continued, relentless pressure in every corner of the capital. We were in a position of strength then, were not so much now.

Now, we have a young man with a young family who's been in the trade for 4 years leaving because it's become unviable to the point he can't do it anymore, it's just not paying. 

What a waste, we've all seen the sign in his rear window, so sad and such shame on us for allowing it to happen.

We have drivers on anti-depressants, most of us are at our wits end with worry about our future, stories of drivers having meltdowns have become commonplace and I'm convinced some poor soul will succeed in taking his own life if we don't act in a more decisive manner. I read a thread on Twitter recently and the state some drivers are in is very worrying indeed.

 As I keep saying we need to take charge and be proactive instead of reactive, dictate events ourselves for a change, mould the future ourselves and set the stage for the fight of our lives. 

In my opinion Uber is undoubtedly here to stay, it's worth too much money and has become engrained in daily life as the government has seen to it. But that doesn't mean we can't make them pay for it. 

All this bollocks about free markets makes my blood boil as the markets are not free if our families are paying the cost, and they are along with our failing health. The reasons I'm so convinced about Uber staying are quite simple, TFL have come up with a new license system where by they will charge Uber £2.4m for a 5 year operators license starting asap. Add to that Khans reluctance to jeopardise losing all those thousands of votes if he banned them, plus their entrance into the NHS, as far as I'm concerned that license is nailed on.

I wrote a few months ago that Uber getting a foot in the NHS door, was a guaranteed second license... but I was told I was talking nonsense. 

'Country Boy' GarRETT RUSSELL Emmerson being made chief executive of London Ambulance has sealed the deal for me. We all thought he was made the sacrificial lamb but how wrong we were!

To add more credence, he takes up his new role on the 30th May which is the same day Uber receive license number 2.

Talking nonsense was I ?

He's now Uber's inside man and it won't be long before we see Uber written on the side of ambulances just like G4S in Kent.

I'll make another prediction, Hendy will return to our nightmare soon and sling us off the station ranks, putting them up for tender. Soon you'll see ranks for Addison Lee next to Uber ranks. Our ranks will be out by the tradesmen's just like during the Olympics.

"We live, but we never bloody learn".

The government have previous here, first it was the miners followed by the printers. 

Their are some similarities between us and the miners in that a bond developed between a section of the miners as opposed to a large number of scabs who crossed the picket lines regularly which could be likened to those rat cab drivers who willingly choose to work during demos knowing full well their actions counter those of us who are actively trying to save their jobs as well as our own. 

Their was also a women's movement not dissimilar from our own Save Taxi girls who worked tirelessly to help the menfolk in the struggle.

Thatcher's victory was achieved through a plan hatched some years before by right wing Tory MP Nichols Ridley who was a founder member of The Selsdon Group of free market conservatives. It was drawn up in the aftermath of the Heath government being brought down by the 1974 coal strike. 

It was called the Ridley Plan and was design to defeat a major strike by a nationalised industry. It was leaked and published by the Economist in 1978 but the unions, including the NUM showed no interest in it and made no attempt to adapt in order to avoid future defeat which was a mistake they paid dearly for.

Three of the points from the plan could be attributed to Cameron's involvement with Uber.

1, "Coal stocks should be built up at power stations" or issue as many PH drivers as possible ready to take over from Cab drivers.

2, "Plans should be made to import coal from non-union foreign ports" or import foreign non-union labour.

3, "Non-union lorry drivers to be recruited by haulage companies" or ignorant non-union minicab drivers to be recruited by Uber London.

This may all be nonsense but I see a recurring Tory pattern here. In order to fight these slags we have to understand there thought process. 

All they're interested in is our demise regardless of the cost, human or otherwise. They hold all the cards including the legal ones, they control the media, the police, the public perception of us which they control through the media along with there ultimate trump card, our license. 

Add to that a Labour Mayor with his own agenda that reflects the Tory aim and they've got it made except for one thing, nasty bastards like us with an attitude of nothing to lose.

I think the time is coming when orgs become irrelevant which will upset the apple cart because TFL and the government rely on them to keep order in my opinion, mainly due to the fact an org can be used to interact with a trade as opposed to individuals. 

That irrelevance will happen eventually because they haven't evolved as they should have. I don't think they've listened enough, done enough or been aggressive enough. 

I was interviewed on LTR in December and I made that plain, I was on LTR in January at Peak Friens with the org leaders and I asked why a strategy or plan hadn't been formed and I was dismissed as a nuisance. 

I said that, as a trade we should have began this year in the most aggressive way possible and that it was vital we did so but it fell on deaf ears. I don't profess to have all the answers but as already stated Ive seen an obvious trend that should have been addressed long before now that's resulted in the sorry state we're in. 

The Daily Mail stories are obviously a welcome sight and, as previously stated, a job very well done by those responsible in LCDC as well as Guy Adams. 

However, they will only benefit us if we add our voices and weight to them. We can't just hope someone, somewhere takes up the mantle for us. 

We've tried that on many occasions and been shafted, inquiries have been called and that's only right but we must push the issue daily in pursuit of them being authorised. 

We can't just hope they're granted because it won't happen, it's the political way to sweep shit under the carpet and we can't let that happen with this, the goal is too precious.

Three dates in May need to be made to count. 18th, 23rd and the 30th. 

The first is Mayors question time at City Hall, the second is a national day of action called Lockdown London arranged by the GMB and the third is Uber license renewal day. 

Question time at City Hall must leave Khan in no doubt he's in trouble when he grants that license with us making his life as miserable as he's allowed ours to become. 

GMBs day of action will also be held all over the country and is designed to pressure authorities into giving Taxi/PH the level playing field we all deserve and I would urge everyone to take part, as we no longer have the luxury of reliance on our own ranks to stand firm with us anymore and our trade orgs haven't been able to arrange a national action so why not. 

The third is self explanatory and I consider that one to be the biggie, that's the one that all orgs need to concentrate on and I really hope they've got something planned that drives home a real statement of intent.

Rumblings are already in place for driver led action which I will be only too happy to take part in soon and it's purely because patience has run out. 

May will be an important and defining month for all of us and unfortunately it's come at a time when drivers are unconcerned with the consequences of there actions which is a fault I lay firmly at all the orgs doors for reasons already outlined. 

The anger and fury has reached a point now where it's beyond fever pitch, it has a real tangible feel about it but needs to be harnessed properly to avoid unnecessary incidents.

This could be done if the orgs step up and dispense with procedure, protocol and being nice. (Some may say they have already but I'm not convinced). 

Change from being reactive to being proactive and remove some of the fear we all have for the future. Make a stand that can't be misconstrued, change the situation from being one of us asking for meetings to one of them begging us for them.

If the orgs can't do it, we have to do it ourselves.

Our future and that of our families is in our hands and if need be we must take charge. Please don't let this opportunity pass us by, we won't get another one, EVER.

I don't want to see scenes from the miners strike happening here but I have visions of it happening if we're not careful. I here drivers talking about having nothing to lose and that's worrying. 
I'm reminded of that line in the film:


Be lucky. 


Extra Comment : By 

From Paul Coghlan

The time for peaceful protest has passed. 

On a side issue 23 years of being in the west end at night watching the scum, has taught me how to hustle a living. 

Must I join this scum to feed my family as I can't see myself entering another profession at my age. 

Personally I'd rather fight to save what i have worked so hard for and by fight I mean by any means necessary.

From John Gerber

Please tell me why no one appears to be pushing in light of the Daily Mail articles the likes of Cameron, Osborne, Khan, Boris and TFL for a full response to the allegations.  

The silence is deafening and IMO shows their intentions to try and sweep this under the carpet.  As you say Harry here is an opportunity that we should be jumping on.  If we are waiting for the public to jump on it clearly that is not going to happen.  

On the face of it the general election is bad for us because everyone is so wrapped up in this.  But we should turn that around as an opportunity to push it to the forefront of this election by showing how corruption is rife in this government.  

The trade has to understand the power to try and stop this injustice is only going to happen by us.  In the main the media are as much wrapped around Uber as the government and the public don't care.  

So as you say Harry where are the battle plans and why so far has there only been one demo and a polite request for a parliamentary enquiry?

Editorial Comment :
Since publication, we've susiquently learned that the Mayor's Question Time for 18th May has been dropped. 

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