Tuesday, 14 March 2017

THREE CARD TRICK

ENGLISH MY ENGLISH

Who cares about the Language Test?
Why would I possibly care if a two-bit outfit can communicate with its unprincipled punters?
You pay peanuts, you get monkeys talking jibberish.

Who cares about the 'advanced' Driving Test?
All that is needed, to make London's roads safer, is a proper pass of the DVLA test.
What London needs, and the Motor Insurance Bureau is surely crying out for, is a British Standard of driving.
This dangerous, yet common practice of trading in a foreign, and often inferior, driving licence for a UK license, must cease immediately.
Surely the very least HM Government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London should be demanding is a consistent standard of driving in the UK.

The Language Tests and the Driving Tests will turn into farce, just like the infamous Medical Tests, and the dubious DBS checks.
Drivers' Medical Tests are of greater importance, and look what has happened to those.
The DBS is of greater importance, and look what has happened to those.

The fact that London may have dangerous, unhealthy Private Hire drivers ferrying children and vulnerable passengers around our once great city, seems of no concern to HM Government, the Mayor of London or Transport for London. For there has been no recall of drivers or insistence upon drivers to retake their medicals, after the 'Medicals for Sale' scam hit the headlines.
I wonder how many of those, all too frequent, PH crashes in London have been caused by an unhealthy or sick driver?

As for DBS checks, Brian Rix could not have written the script more farcical; letters of good conduct from strangers, to strangers, about strangers. No wonder we have strangers driving minicabs.
London needs proper background checks of at least 5 years UK residency. I am sure Mayor Sadiq Khan empty-promised as much.
These strangers are in a car alone with children and vulnerable people, for crying out loud!

Londoners and the media are being blinded by poxy English tests and penny ha'penny driving tests; all of which will come out of the drivers' pockets, not their employers.
Yet these Mickey Mouse tests will help legitimise toxic work models like Uber. The public will be fed crap about advanced driving tests and high standards of communication.
While nothing is being done about dangerous strangers driving minicabs around the dark streets of London, and beyond.

KEEP LONDON SAFE!

Friday, 10 March 2017

THEY SHALL NOT PASS!

IS SADIQ KHAN NOT A HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER?

I have heard rumblings that some people do not agree with Sean Driving Abaht, aka Sean Stockings. Some people do not like the LCDC. Some people do not like Grant Davis. It seems there are quite a few cliquey people about in this trade.

To be honest, personally, and I believe I am speaking on behalf of the entire DDD when I say; we do not have to like a Taxi driver or Org to stand up for them or their rights.
How much do you have to not like someone, to allow them to lose their license or their home? Have their house repossessed. Get divorced due to pressures brought on by a bullying company. And forced into part time parenthood. How much must you dislike someone, to wish that upon them?
I don't care if they are a member of the LCDC, the LTDA, Unite, the RMT or the UCG. I really do not care which Org or Union they belong to, if any.
What I do care about is if any Green or Yellow badge Licensed London Taxi Driver gets hounded by a band of dodgy characters in TfL. Dodgy characters who are trying to hang them out to dry, and take their livelihood from them for exercising their freedom of speech.

Reams of people retweeted and enjoyed the video, Sean filmed. Even those who did not agree with it, must have liked seeing the architects of our demise look so uncomfortable for a few precious seconds, I know I did.
Everyone should have the freedom to say what they like on Twitter, unless it is overtly bigoted or harmful.
If Leon Daniels has got a problem with Sean Stocking, then he should take him to court, siting libel.
Let Daniels pay out of his own bulging pocket, not TfL's pocket, not the taxpayer's pocket, not the fare payer's pockets. Let him pay out of his own pocket if he does not like it, or thinks what is being said is wrong.

Bare in mind this is about a Taxi driver. Forget the name. Forget the Org. He is a Taxi driver. Remember this; it could be me or you.
If you do not stand up for an individual Taxi driver, who is getting his livelihood taken away from him for something as mundane as speaking up or speaking out, then you need your head examined.
We are not standing up for a murderer, or a kiddie fiddler. We are standing up for someone who may have been rude, or obtuse or even irreverent. None of which makes him an unfit or improper person.
I do not care who it is. If Steve McNamara still had his badge, and was being railroaded by our common enemy TfL, I would stand shoulder to shoulder with him and fight.

If you have a badge, you have earned it. Do not let TfL take it because they do not like you, or what you say!
If TfL are successful, that will set a disgraceful, Orwellian precedent.

Anyone who hides behind some made up insipid excuse not to support Sean in his fight against this tyrannical regime, is a worthless and pointless wast of space.
And any leader of any Org or Union who would stand motionless and allow a fellow Taxi driver lose his bill, should be stripped of their leadership - for they do not deserve such a fraudulent title.
Are they on the side of TfL? Or are they on the side of the Taxi driver?
We have drawn a line in the sand. Do not step over it and join the enemy. Stand with us!
Join us and stop TfL crossing it!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

OUR LOSS

DADS DEFENDING DAUGHTERS BIDS FAREWELL TO ITS FAVOURITE SON

We wish Jimmy Thomas all the very best in his retirement from Taxi Leaks.
It is a sad day for the Taxi Trade, who will miss his well informed writings.
Transport for London must be having a party, celebrating the news that one of the very few people who exposed exactly what they were up to, is hanging up his pen and going to spend more time with his family.

How Jim kept Taxi Leaks going, seven days a week, sometimes three articles a day, only he knows.
People of a certain age will remember 'The Magic Boomerang' - that is my theory.

I do not want this to sound like an obituary, but in a way it is, as far as the Taxi Trade is concerned.
I met Jim about twenty years ago in the Warwick Avenue Cab Shelter.
Freddie Jones, Micky Traynor, Ossie and I would light up when Jim came in. He had a cheeky smile and saw humour in most things. Quick witted and smart, with a warm personality.
But when it came to some of Taxi Leaks exposés or opinions, he ruffled some uncomfortable feathers.

Sir Winston Churchill once said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Jim made enemies, but they were enemies of the Taxi Trade. They saw Jim as a threat. And indeed he was.
I believe if Taxi Leaks was a weekly printed publication, our trade would not be in the trouble it finds itself now.

So goodbye Taxi Leaks.
Enjoy your extra time with your loved ones, Jim. You remain an active member of Dads Defending Daughters, the Mayfair Mob, the Independent Taxi Alliance, and friend to the Taxi fraternity.

It is a personal pleasure to know you, Jim.
As my Mum once said of Ossie, I will say of you, "That man has no equal."
Georgie Vyce and Jimmy Thomas during a DDD protest.

Below is James Charles Thomas's article:


And Finally, It's Goodnight From Me...And It's Goodnight From Him... Jim Thomas






You get nothing in this life given to you on a plate. That's why you did the knowledge. You had to work and fight for that badge.
Now most drivers just sit back and do nothing but complain that no one is fighting for them.
It's no good blaming the orgs because when they've called mass demos, they've been lucky to see 20% of drivers turn up.
When Action4Cabbies asked for £20 donations...only 4,000 out of 22,000 pledge money.
Drivers complain about the LTDA and yet when asked to go to a branch meeting and vote new life into the org, only 50 drivers out of 10,000 showed up. 
Every night I see drivers sitting behind touts on our ranks, young fit drivers who do and say nothing. 
You've allowed small groups of individuals to take full advantage of your apathy, credit card companies and An App company have stuck their greedy fingers into your money bags and are helping themselves to part of your earning, and you say nothing. 
Drivers who have never complained face to face with their org reps, now think it's a great time to join in with the enemy Union, chaired by a man who rides round reporting Taxis for over ranking and who wanted to drive an AddVan through London advertising the exploits of John Worboys 
And now it's nearly all over, they say "stop with the gloom and doom" while sleep walking into a one tier system that is most certainly coming.
I predicted years ago that when the end battle came, all our leaders would have left the battlefield....I was wrong, it's the army who are deserting....
Well good night from me and God bless, it's all yours.
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
First they licensed Uber, and I did not speak out—
Because I was working.
Then the Trade Unionists and Taxi orgs called a mass demo, and I did not go—
Because it was busy and I had to work.
Then, after realising our largest org was doing nothing, two drivers stood up shouting and rebellious...but they were expelled—I did and said nothing, just carried on working.
Then they asked for members to go to a branch meeting to vote against Judas and his WAGs — but I didn't go as I was working 
When they finally took my Badge and Bill and handed it to an Uber driver— there was no one left to fight for me.

Friday, 24 February 2017

UPDATE ON BANK JUNCTION

Press release from the ITA...

NOTHING IS EVER A "DONE DEAL."
THE I.T.A. WILL ALWAYS  FIGHT ON
After of a series of actions, the ITA met with City of London and Transport for London representatives, concerning the proposed oxymoronic 'Bank on Safety' scheme.

It was evident from CoL and TfL that they were not going to negotiate. Even though CoL and TfL were shown that their data was faulty, to the extent of fraudulent.

The City of London seemed astonished, and Transport for London seemed rumbled, when we used their statistics against them.
We proved beyond question that the safest form of transport was Licensed London Taxis.

We showed the City of London our own statistics, proving Buses to be the most dangerous form of public transportation.

Frustratingly the City of London refused point blank, to accept responsibility for its actions. And unsurprisingly, Transport for London refused to accept that its inconsistent statistics were pure conjecture, bordering on make-believe.

The City of London conceded that if its scheme made any part of the City unsafe, it would have to rethink the whole trial period.

Even though the City of London and Transport for London's fraudulent premise of 'Bank on Safety' had been shown to be nothing more than a front for a more baser, mercenary motive, we had to accept that these people only care about their own interests, and democratic negotiations were of no value to them.
So we readied for industrial action.

Empty, dangerous TfL buses

An all-Org Ranks Committee met with City of London on Tuesday. This allowed the matter of Taxi exclusion from Bank Junction, to be broached again.

All the Org members present played their part in pushing home our trade's astonishment and displeasure at being unjustly excluded from the eighteen month experimental period.

The Orgs gave their own report to CoL, proving the displacement of vehicles will cause carnage to the surrounding areas.

Again the City of London refused to negotiate. But after Org reps disproved CoL's argument for our exclusion, the Orgs were able to get assurances that although the experiment will go ahead, we will get two weeks at the end of March, when Cannon Street is finished, to let the LTDA do ANPR analysis on Taxi fares.

If there is an alarming rise in congestion, the City of London assured the Orgs it will suspend the experimental scheme. The City of London claims it will not tolerate mass congestion on its roads.

The CoL is adamant it will take the advice of its own commissioned traffic modelling.

However if the traffic modelling proves to be wrong, CoL has promised to suspend its experimental scheme.
If there is an increase in RTA's or congestion, there is an option to allow Taxis into the scheme, to relieve the surrounding area.
The Orgs will be going back to the City of London with their own findings. If, as predicted, the congestion worsens, the Orgs will ask the City of London to suspend its trial.

The Orgs have left the City of London know, in no uncertain terms, that if the City does not suspend the experimental scheme, as promised, the Orgs will take industrial action.
A line in the sand has been drawn.

Chris Hayward - Planning and Transportation Chairman for City of London

In light of these recent meetings, and the unifying agreement of the Orgs, the ITA believes it would be detrimental to this cause, to protest in March.

We drivers expect all the Orgs to keep close tabs on this ludicrous Bank Junction scheme, and to act swiftly if the City of London reneges on any of its promises.


The ITA would like to thank everyone involved; organisers, researchers, negotiators, all the Orgs, and especially all those who gave up their time and money to protest.
There is no such thing as a "Done deal."

Footnote:
"Protests have only been put on hold.

"If, as we suspect, the City of London do not keep to their agreement, we will commence daily protests, for the whole of the eighteen month trial period, if need be.

We refuse to bow down to Machiavellian bullies!"

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

GREEN IS THE COLOUR

RACIAL OR RACIST PROFILING?

There has been wide speculation and varied reactions to fighting which broke out between Somali and non Somali drivers at Heathrow airport, on Christmas Day.
The question of whether or not some Somali drivers are Yellow Badge holders, has been brewing for some time.
Now drivers are being tagged 'racist' for bringing the subject of suspicious goings-on, to the attention of the authorities.

Sometimes people confuse a racial comment with a racist one.


Tagging your protagonist 'racist' is a weapon used in abundance, since Labour scared the bejesus out of the Tories, for playing the immigration card, during the 1997 election.

Remainers use it to demonise Brexiters.

The misuse of 'racist' tagging, is the new authoritarian gagging order.

I believe we are all racist, sexist, and autistic; it is just a matter of degree.
The fear of being 'tagged' is what allowed Rotherham, Rochdale, minicab rape, unsustainable mass immigration, etc., to happen.

True racism is born through fear and ignorance. Both can be reversed with positive education.


I remember a friend of mine pulling the race card on me in St George's shelter one day.
Lester, who is black by the way, was losing an argument and said "Well Lenny, I didn't realise you were a racist."
He thought that would put me on the back foot and expected me to defend myself. He'd obviously used that tactic before.
I replied "Like I give a fuck what you think."
Disarmed, Lester continued our discussion on an equal footing.
I cannot remember the specifics of our debate, or if anything was achieved, but I know he appreciated my honesty.

The truth can be both hurtful and emancipating, but it cannot be racist or sexist or any other 'ist'. Sometimes something is best left unsaid, for reasons of tact and diplomacy.

Lester stood up in my absence and steadfastly defended me once. He shut an entire shelter up in my defence.
He's retired now. And I miss his humour.
He was one of the least racist man I ever met. But he was astute enough to understand 'racist tagging' and its power.

My philosophy is, refuse to acknowledge any tag someone tries to attach to you; they are only trying to deflect your argument.

We all know real racism, institutionalised racism and passive racism exists. Just nip the ugly thing in the bud.
But crying 'wolf' and tagging someone a racist because you have no answer to their argument is in itself racist and dilutes the fight against real racism.

People I never considered overtly bigoted, had seizures when a Muslim was appointed Mayor of London.
Khan may or may not be up to the task, but his religious beliefs are not a problem.

I remember a cabbie known as 'Jewish Dave'. Ironically there was no other Dave who frequented the shelter.
That is what I call 'innocent bigotry'.
We are all guilty of some form of bigotry, but I judge by intent. Malice is what I base my judgements upon.

We must not let the fear of tagging get in the way of real debate and concerns.
As for Heathrow; it is not about the colour of their skin, but the colour of their badge.


I'll end with this:
If someone starts a sentence with "I'm not racist, but ..." They are most likely racist. They just don't know it.

Monday, 12 December 2016

A SYMPATHETIC EAR

THERE ARE NO VICTIMLESS CRIMES

Base jumpers know the risk. Uber users do not.

I know many Taxi drivers feel they are on the brink of an abyss; especially at this time of year. But let us not become like Uber executives and blame the victims.

At the moment Uber are trying to apportion part of the blame for physical and sexual assault onto the victim. The victim may have flirted or wore provocative clothing, or puked in the car. None of which are grounds to get physical with the passenger.

Being part of the Gold Standard carries huge responsibility.
Let us not lower ourselves to Uber's level.
Very few people know about Uber's toxic track record.
If an Uber customer is fleeced or abused, it is not their fault, but that of Uber.
So let us show all victims of Uber, sympathy.

Freedom of choice. Every person has the freedom to choose their mode of transport. Be it Uber or the bus, or Taxi or cycle.
We should show compassion to Uber victims, not disdain.
Even base jumpers deserve our respect.

See here for Uber: Don’t touch or flirt.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BACKWARD

WASHING MY HANDS OF 'MAD DOG'


Dear Ms Street-Porter,
I have no idea how to contact you, so this is the best I can do.
I believe I know why you wrote that piece about DDD, and I empathise.
I empathise because a cab driver pestered a friend of yours.
I have had to block that same driver from my phone.
He is an incessant pest.
He is not a part of DDD. Nor do I know anything about the USA version.
My friend and I came up with the name over fish and chips in Whitecross Street.

DDD is not about Uber. It is about TfL deregulating the Private Hire industry to appease Uber. Therefore background checks are not as stringent as they should be. Male and females have been attacked as a result.
Uber are not so much a threat to Taxis, as they are to other minicab companies.
The threat to the Taxi is TfL's mismanagement of our roads, leading to a high volume of congestion. Nothing to do with DDD.

I am not here to apologise for someone else's actions. And believe me, I sympathise with your colleague. Her protagonist is as thick skinned and backward as you will ever find.

You have written your article, which I agree is straight about most things.
We all have to bare the burden of Warboys.
As you know, there are nasty bastards in all walks of life. Seventeen police officers committed rape during this past year. Paedo rings involving prominent MPs, judges, doctors, celebrities, milkmen, postmen, etc.
A Taxi driver was charged with rape in 2014.
It is not about the odd teacher or priest, it is about the scale of rape and sexual assault by TfL licensed minicab drivers in London alone.
Getting into a minicab or Uber does not have to be dangerous. If TfL are backed by this Government to do proper background checks via a minimum of a three year DBS, most of these sexual and physical assaults can be avoided. This is exactly in line with Mayor Khan's wishes.
The scale of minicab rape is backed up by a Metropolitan Police freedom of information application, and acknowledged by Sadiq Khan during his Mayor's Questions by the GLA, earlier this year.
Staggering statistics, I know. It was a shock to us too! This is why we organised Dads Defending Daughters.

I do not have to discredit Uber, they do that to themselves, all across the globe.
Uber will never go away. They will just become another AddLee, when they are regulated.

As for DDD's hidden agenda, we simply do not have one. No egos, no sought after limelight. Nothing other than the desire to inform the public.
The media refuse to acknowledge the problem. Murdoch scuppered the story. The BBC remains silent (nothing new there).
You are not the first to question our motives. And why not? Our aim comes across as obvious protectionism. I can see that. Val Shawcross views us that way too.
I personally do deal in protectionism, but not under the guise of the DDD. The DDD is pure of heart.

We can talk about a corrupt TfL, the 'Great Bus Scam', the CSH, the mismanagement of building sites and roadworks that are affecting and destroying our city and my trade. But that has little or nothing to do with DDD.
I honestly believe Uber has had very little impact on my pocket.
I do not hate Uber drivers. I know they are as much victims of Uber as their rivals. But neither do I feel sympathy for them.

When Uber are toeing the legitimate line, and TfL have been made to take their duty of care seriously, DDD will be satisfied.
Although, I do see a problem with an understaffed and under policed 24 hour tube.

Kind regards,
Lenny Etheridge

Click here for Janet Street-Porter's article.