Last night, I took a black cab home to show solidarity with the industry, as I have been doing for some time. I nearly shed tears as the driver, who has been a cabbie for 30 years, outlined his fears for the future. Part of the upset I felt was because the driver, a lovely decent man, was not fully aware of the causes.The open immigration started by Labour under Tony Blair is partly to blame for the dreadful traffic jams we are seeing now. There has been a huge influx into the capital. Another major reason is the private hire vehicles with which George Osborne and Sajid Javid are flooding the city.
Boris Johnson has been desperate for months to limit these PHVs, but needs primary legislation to do so and Osbo is saying No. Boris’s hands are therefore tied, and he can only sit helplessly by, taking most of the flak, as London gets more and more gridlocked.
Who is Osbo’s major rival in the battle to be the next PM? And whose huge popularity is a massive threat to Osbo’s ambitions?
Meanwhile, black cab drivers are the victims and the sufferers. This is appalling, upsetting and unfair.
Reasonable people would like to say to George, when will this stop? When will enough be enough? When motor vehicles are all nose to nose, and nobody can move an inch? When the London economy has stalled through no traffic movement? Because that is the way it is starting to look to Londoners.
Is George Osborne prepared to sacrifice an entire industry, the best in the world, to his ambition? For thousands of inferior Uber drivers? When he knows that as soon as Uber has destroyed the black trade, they will whack up fares, even higher than BC cab fares, so Londoners will be the losers? The answer would seem to be Yes.