Monday, March 30, 2015

TFL Consultation, & The Lollipop Trick. By Semtex.

Folks, as we have seen, Transport For London have initiated a public consultation, to apparently cast a net of concern and wider opinion, on how the mini cab trade should be managed.

Although I have responded, and as indeed our staunch friend Sparticus has sensibly advised us to do with caution, my personal and honest views on this Civil Service Bullshit is clouded with cynical scepticism.

Not only that, reading through the document, I find it incredibly patronising and can assure you that whatever the final outcome is, nothing will change the situation as us London Taxi drivers see it, night after night.
 
It is drafted as though somebody had just thought up a "mini cab service" in the capital, and TFL, unsure of what they should do, are requesting ideas of how it should be perceived to run ! That isn't probably too far from the truth actually !
 
As my closer colleagues indeed know, I have served with the Civil Service, to quite a senior level of command. And I can tell you, it is unfaithful, perfidious shite such as this, that eventually forced me to leave, and return to a more rational and authentic world.

When I was on the recruitment stage of joining, we had to attend a selection centre in a hotel not far from Gatwick.

As I say, it was not only a specialist section of the civil service, but a pioneering one too. It is fair to say then, that most of the applicants were of a mature-ish age and all had obvious life experiences. Ex coppers, ex military, ex commercial and corporate specialists, etc. Without blowing my own trumpet, I was proud to get as far as I did at this stage, as the 3000 applicants had been wittled down to 120 for 12 appointments.
 
Not only that, my life experiences in the military were of the prehistoric order of, if you can't do it, then bollox, your'e no good to us ! That's the sort of selection process I had been mainly used to, for most of my life !
 
So picture the scene then. I'm suited and booted, boned up for two months previously on what I thought I needed to know, and attend the hotel at Gatwick, hoping I'm one of the chosen ones.

After about 20 minutes, we are called into a room. We are split into groups of 10, told to sit in a circle, and for the first part of the "test", we are asked to try to guess the Christian name of the person sitting on our immediate right !! WTF !!!

I'm 45 years old on this day, married, 4 adult children and a 100 grand mortgage to pay for !! I'd previously spent 18 years deciding whether I would be correct both morally and legally to kill somebody in my cross hairs or not, and I find myself in this ludicrous situation in a hotel at Gatwick, currently resembling the Happy Little Monsters Playgroup School !
 
You think I'm joking don't you ? Well read on, there's more. Out of pure embarrassment, I guess the geezer next to me to be Peter or something, I cant remember. Anyway, we have to write it down on a bit of paper. We hand the paper in to the muppet taking the "exam" and he looks at them. We are then instructed to reveal our true names by showing the name badges that we were issued with on entry to the venue. If I thought I was embarrassed earlier, how embarrassed do you think I was when the "leader" announces that four of us in the room correctly guessed the person's name sitting next to them. 

AND I HAD GUESSED RIGHT !!
I WAS ONE OF THE FOUR MUGS WHO HAD NOT ONLY PLAYED THIS LUDICROUS RECRUITMENT SHITE GAME, BUT OUT OF PURE "LUCK", GOT THE BUGGER RIGHT !!

To make it worse, the four of us had to stand up, whilst the others clapped at our apparent David Blayne powers !!  How much of a prick do you think I felt, for standing up and taking applause for that ? Don't get bored with me yet, please !! There is more to come, it is relevant ,and I am getting to the point !
 
 
Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for a little ice breaker when groups of people meet up for the first time. Have a laugh, a bit of team work and all that. It gets the pace going. But throughout my service with senior civil service (I got the job by the way) this role play bollox is not only rife, but is the foundation and yardstick on how candidates are selected, progressed and trained through the civil service system.

It is worth mentioning, that I adored the actual job itself. The role was important, safety critical and dangerous, but I loved it. But the shite that the system demands to "propel" professional standards these days, is a complete and utter nonsense. It is silly, ineffective, demeaning, embarrassing and utter bollox.
 
When I was completing my training at The Guards Depot in Pirbright, you either got over the wall with full kit on carrying a machine gun.........or you didn't !  End of story. No ifs, no buts no if onlys. You either got over the wall and progressed...... or you were home on the next train tomorrow. There are plenty of ex Guardsmen in our cab trade that will confirm this, just you ask them.
 
Anyway and I swear on my kids lives, a few weeks into the training, we were split into groups of three. The winning team of the day were actually given a lollipop each !  Yes, you read that right....a lollypop. One of those hard boiled sweet things on the end of a stick with a wrapper on it. Teams used to sulk if they didn't get one ! On my kid's lives....honestly, that is the truth ! 
They got the hump cos they missed out on the lollypop !! 

The Training Supervisor used to walk in with this jar of lollypops in the morning, smirking with his power, as if the jar had the Turin Shroud stuffed in it ! You could actually hear other members of this mature training squad saying things like " we get the lollies tonight, pal !" WTF ! We were nearly all 50 years old for fux sake !!
 
Now, I am going to tell you something that you may find amazing. I am going to tell you something, that makes this Consultation paper that TFL have issued, more relevant. This will come as even more of a surprise to my 25000 self employed, self motivated, sole decision making, professional London Taxi driver colleagues, who have to think on their feet and make decisions daily.
 
This bullshit and bollox that the Civil Service use for recruitment, appointment, progress and training.............ACTUALLY WORKS !!
 
IT ACTUALLY EFFING WORKS, FOLKS !!!    Unless you are me of course, or three or four of my civil service colleagues who were ex job from Firearms or other units, who could see straight through this juvenile, immature, short focused twaddle. IT ACTUALLY WORKS.
 
Now, with this inside information from me, your colleague Semtex, I urge you to take anything and everything that City Hall and TFL tell you, with a shovel full of salt. These "exercises" of nonsense, are designed and mapped by Civil Service spinners, to give the illusion of the aforementioned authorities, taking notice and actually wanting to improve things. 

THEY DONT ! The agenda was set 15 years ago when these lollypop merchants took over ! It a ruse, a ploy and corporate deceit. These monkeys know only too well that consultations like this have to be replied to, negotiated on, drafted on and acted on. And you know what that takes don't you ? Of course !..............TIME !!  And funnily enough, guess what the London Cab Trade HAVEN'T got ?  Yes, you've guessed it ! TIME !!
 
Their brief is : Give these nuisances something to get their teeth into They love the sound of their own speil. They will get stuck into this and fight over it between themselves. Soon as they take their eye off us and onto trying to have us over on this paper, start dismantling their trade behind their backs. In other words......Give them a lollypop !
 
All the while we are democratically conforming to the consultation, meeting up to discuss progress, meeting up to discuss the finer points.........barristers, advisors, commissioners and consultants working for the Men Who Have Come To Kill Us, are dismantling our trade to a point whereby our bridges back to safety have been blown up behind us.
 
Trust me, this consultation is more about shutting our trade up for the time being, than what they really want to do with mini cabs.
 
Remember The Cabby's Cabinet ? 
Remember The London Olympics ? 
Remember The Safer Transport Command? 
Remember The Sattellite Consultation?   
Yes, so do I.
 
Each and every one of them total bollox, deceit, worthless to us and crippling to our trade, and a blinding way to give TFL more time to shaft us.
 
Reading through this latest plan to stall us, one question on the consultation riled me more than many of the others. I quote it:
 
 
22 Do you consider that TfL should introduce a requirement for private hire driver applicants to be able to speak English to a certain standard? If so, what should this requirement be and what criteria should we set to determine how applicants meet this criteria? 
Single choice radio buttons  
  
  
 
 
Background
To facilitate the provision of safe travel for those attending nightclubs and other late night entertainment venues, TfL has allowed private hire operating centres to be licensed for such venues.
Issues
There have been cases in which operators’ staff have accepted bookings and touted (approaching prospective customers) outside venues. TfL receive a number of complaints about PHVs parking and waiting in the vicinity of operating centres, particularly late at night.

Customers are typically unaware of the need for a PHV to be booked at an operating centre, and touting has occurred as they approach drivers outside venues as if they were offering a taxi service.

Since the 2010 Private Hire Consultation, TfL has introduced a number of additional requirements for operators particularly those operating from shared premises. These include a requirement for operating centres within shared premises to have a designated booking area and for operators to obtain the appropriate local authority planning consent.

13 What are your views on current arrangements for regulation of in-venue operators and how they may be improved? 
Unquote.
 
 
For almost 400 years, London have had a proud and iconic Taxi Service, known and respected in every corner of the globe. For centuries, we have driven the public, sportsmen and women, film stars, personalities, business people, clubbers, revellers, professionals, diplomats, and even royalty......to their destinations in safety, comfort, skill and elite professionalism !
 
So why then do these two bob, crafty, manipulating, untrustworthy, lolly pop administering snides at TFL and City Hall, want to replace us with non-English Speaking, untrained, unaccountable, dangerous imposters ?
 
I will tell you. They are worth more money to them than we are. they are easier to control by virtue that most of them have so much to hide, that they daren't rock the boat and demand anything.  As a result, min cab drivers and operators will by their sheer numbers put financial bonuses in the pockets of the hierarchy who license them.
 
As Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo said to Don Corleone after he did his best to kill him. "Its only business, Vito. You know that, don't you?".
 
Fortunately for the proud and established Corleone family, they had the moral fibre and spunk to come back and get their retribution.
 
I wonder if we will ?............We shall have to wait and see, wont we?
 
Stay safe all. Be lucky, and for those like myself who believe in him....God bless.
 
8829 Semtex.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm very much reminded of Sir Humphrey when I read some of these consultations, I'm sure they are written by somebody emulating him.

I always get the feeling that the decision has already been made and the consultation is there to placate the trade/public.

Anonymous said...

Great article - I used to be a senior civil servant and your totally right - smoke and mirrors - it's all a game to these careerists - we have to get away from TFL asap

Anonymous said...

How many years experience as a senior Civil Servant Semtex ?

Anonymous said...

I've had a very similar experience in the public sector and you're spot on!

Excellent piece.

@fivefortee

Anonymous said...

6 1/2 hours at LAP today, the jobs over uber have taken a third of our work with only 15 to 20 K drivers, they have a target of 100K by the end of the year.I hear drivers calling for another demo, whats the point. We have to look at ourselves, the public have deserted us, why? You can demo untill the cows come home, but all you will be doing is helping TFL destroy us. All the orgs need to get round a table and sort out a stratagy, a cap on ph must be a priority, even Steve Wright would agree that now. So called ligit ph have been devastated by the rise of uber. We will never see uber banned, but we must make sure they dont kill us before they kill themselves, if you know what I mean.