Sometimes I feel like someone has pulled back the curtain and revealed that the world has gone a bit nuts and the people in it are completely loopy. Twitter and the like have encouraged people to publish thoughts that were previously kept to themselves, and the prospect of doing it anonymously means they are often much more likely to be downright rude or offensive.
Things aren’t any better in political circles. Recently, mayoral candidate Barking Mad Andrew Boff declared his intention to “save the black cab trade” by turning us into low paid Uber drones. Fortunately, his campaign was kicked into touch when Shaun Bailey was nominated to stand for the Tories instead. More recently, a self-styled green campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy and former Liberal Democrat, put his head above the parapet in the Southwark News with another genius plan. His idea for making London greener would be to charge cab users a £5 congestion charge – yes, you read that right. Wow! This he says, would encourage people to walk, cycle or take a bus – or drive them back to their cars perhaps? It would also ensure that only the rich would have the privilege of using a taxi or a minicab. McCarthy is supposedly an author, who once wrote another column urging people to shower once a week to save energy and make the world a better place. If his columns are anything to go by, his books should be avoided at all costs. In a misguided and confused piece, he sets out his case. He says that daily taxi entries into London amount to 60,000, whilst there are an additional 80,000 minicabs in the city thanks to the explosion of Uber. He says that “cabs” cause more serious injuries than HGVs, while black cabs and minicabs add up to 60% of the traffic in London. For a start there are 114,000 licensed minicabs in London, not 80,000, which casts doubt on everything else he says. And if it’s accurate that there are 60,000 taxi entries into London – a figure he does not qualify – the minicab figure would be more than 200,000, a lot more. He is not comparing like with like, but he’s clearly not interested in that. His mixing of the injury figures is an outrage too. Most “cab” related accidents are caused by his mates in the minicab trade, not London taxi drivers, who despite causing no incidents at Bank junction, for example, have been banned and stopped from providing the gold standard service for which we are renowned. Not only that, but in his effort to show taxis clogging the streets, he uses a picture of parked taxis with no drivers. The drivers are not in their cabs because they doing charity work at the remembrance service, one of many similar events which cabbies give up their time for, unlike his Uber chums. As with many of the people who loved to stick their oar into our business, McCarthy shows a complete lack of understanding of our trade, and wilfully mixes up minicabs and taxis to make his point. This ultimately reveals his bias. Towards the end of the piece he urges people to oppose the removal of the congestion charge exemption for minicabs, which he says would be unfair. The Southwark News must be desperate to allow such ill-informed drivel in its pages. Just like his plan for showering once a week, his proposal for London and the taxi trade is a real stinker.