Adam blamed Eve. Stalin blamed Trotsky. The Bishop of Carlisle blamed the Tories’ pro gay legislation for the floods of 2007. Larkin blamed your mum and dad, and everyone blamed Jade Goody on CBB, as she wailed she was being used as “an escape goat.”
Black cab drivers (NOT all, but a large group) have issues over Uber and congestion, but refuse to accept, however many times it is repeated, that the Mayor of London is bound by the law.
Boris took advice from two barristers. Both told him, if he or TfL banned Uber, they would be challenged by Uber in court, and they would lose, costing London millions. They could argue that Boris was being protectionist, any number of arguments. A High Court decision would not be easy to overturn.
So Boris’s only option was to take the case to High Court, which he is doing. He is also applying to the High Court for legislation to restrict the number of mini cabs in London and ban pedicabs. Support and words of comfort are sent to black cabs in their ordeal.
However, a sort of madness has gripped the black cab industry. However many times the situation is explained to cabbies, those very people will be the ones vociferously complaining on twitter that it is all Boris’s fault. I spent some time explaining to their defender, Peter Stringfellow, that Boris is bound by the law, and the case needs to be decided in High Court. He said he understood.
The very next day, as I was explaining to the thousandth person, Peter tweeted this!
He must act? He must act Peter? Forgive me, you said you understood! Are you deaf?
Looking for someone to blame is always the easy option. The worst example of scapegoating is explored in Ken Russell’s film The Devils. Father Grandier is seeking to protect the people of Loudun from the corruption of Cardinal Richelieu, but the accusations of a hysterical nun spread throughout the convent, are believed by all the nuns and ultimately lead to his death. The Salem Witch Trials in 1692, dealt with mass hysteria and actually happened.
Nobody is suggesting that black cabbies are like hysterical nuns, or Stalin. We all hope that court legislation will ease the strain on the cab drivers, who are a treasured part of London life. But now that we have modern media and twitter, it is very easy for wrong ideas to circulate and there to be an overreaction. Additionally, the BC trade hasn’t modernised properly for 50 years. The facts show that Boris has done all he can, but somehow it isn’t penetrating that Boris is taking the only action possible on this occasion. The nuns and witches blamed Satan. Some cabbies’ remarks are a bit over the top, it would be wrong if things went that far.
Source: Scapegoat: a history of blaming other people. Charlie Campbell