The saddest thing of all about the scenes at City Hall yesterday is that I know from the many cabbies I talk to that 90% of them abhor abuse and hate violence. There has been horrible abuse aimed at Boris Johnson since Uber came on the scene, and so many drivers have sent messages to me to pass on to the Mayor saying they were shocked, appalled and hated what was happening.The militant element within the cab trade, have a stop at nothing attitude. It was clear from the mood of the huge crowd who gathered at City Hall that they were baying for blood, and looking for a reason for be offended. I have blogged before on these dinosaur sexist bullies.
Their attitude is block the bridges, lock London down, push Uber off the road. These are Luddites, who scream abuse whenever they see Boris on his bike, who favour violence.
There was growling shouting before Boris even mentioned electric taxis. Aggressive behaviour from Joanne McCartney, over PCSOs – Boris is just back from two weeks holiday – whipped up the anger. When Boris honestly said he didn’t know, Joanne belligerently attacked with “Are you calling me a liar?” ratcheting up the shouting even more.
It is absolutely wrong for cabbies to pretend there was peace and harmony until Boris used the word “Luddite”. I defy any cab driver to pretend that is the truth. Before the session began, Val Shawcross pleaded with the cabbies to calm down. Sensing the mood, she explained there was little business regarding taxis that day, clearly hoping they could be persuaded to leave.
To no avail. The furious cab drivers were looking for something to go beserk about. Boris tried to defuse the mood with a joke – Do I sense a feeling of hostility? (You can say that again) but the cab drivers would not be pacified.
Part of the problem is that black cab drivers, fire fighters and other union members have been allowed to get away with heckling for far too long that is against the rules. The fire fighters were allowed by Greens Darren Johnson to vilely abuse Boris Johnson for over two hours in City Hall. Jeanette Arnold is also an offender, who talks a good game but allows hecklers a free rein.
Tory Tony Arbour had clearly decided not to take any nonsense, and as soon as the abuse got out of hand, he emptied the chamber. He was berated in the foulest possible terms for using the phrase “these people”, what else should he have said? Boris’s use of the word “Luddite” was the match that lit the blaze of the drivers’s fury, but the definition of the word shows it is nothing but the truth.
1. One who fears technology (or new technology, as they seem pleased with how things currently are…why can’t everything just be the same?). Some are prepared to use violence.
Sadly rioting cabbies then attacked security guards. One man was knocked out and concussed. 4 more guards were attacked, and Scotland Yard is dealing with two allegations of assault.
It was shameful of Len Duvall to try to pretend Boris Johnson was to blame. The drivers were fit to be tied from the moment they entered the chamber and nothing was going to stop them having a major showdown. Two allegations of assault have been made to Scotland Yard.
Decent cab drivers, the reasonable 90% must be heartbroken.