On Thursday 2nd June 2011 members of the United Cabbies Group attended the ‘Talk London’ forum with Mayor Boris Johnson at Westminster City Hall.
The forum was hosted by LBC 97.3 FM’s Nick Ferrari and was broadcast live to an estimated audience of 200,000 listeners across London.
The audience were asked to put questions to the Mayor on all manner of issues affecting Londoners, and they were also invited to heckle and jeer him and generally give him a tough time by the host.
The UCG didn’t need a second invitation, and our spokesperson Jonathon Myers was very quickly on the list to volunteer a question.
After introducing himself as a representative of the London Taxi trade’s fastest growing organisation, Jonathon asked the Mayor what action he was taking to reduce the appalling number of sexual assaults and rapes being committed in unbooked Minicabs?
Jonathon’s question raised the biggest round of applause of the night from the audience who obviously feel that this is a serious issue that desperately needs addressing.
Boris Johnson’s response was the usual old TfL rhetoric that we generally hear, trotting out the latest statistics and telling the audience that the number of attacks was falling and how they have increased the number of enforcement officers blah blah blah.
Other members of the UCG wasted no time in telling Boris that his figures were misleading and how only 4 of the 58 enforcement officers worked at night, and none of them worked at weekends when they are most needed.
We also questioned his claim that female usage of unbooked minicabs has fallen from 19% to 3%, asking how they arrived at such a statistic?
The atmosphere was certainly heated as the Mayor struggled for an answer.
Does he really know what’s going on out there?
Or is he just fed this nonsense by the likes of Peter Hendy in a bid to disguise Transport for London’s failures?
We suggest that if Boris really wants to hear the true facts of what London is like at night for it’s citizens frequenting bars and other establishments, he should sit down with the United Cabbies Group who are out there every night facing it.
But it is rather easy to bury your head in the sand and only listen to those who will tell you what you want to hear.
Meanwhile two more females will be attacked and sexually assaulted in unbooked minicabs this week!
Come on Boris, if you really what to sort this problem out then sit down with the people who witness it every night of the year.
** It has come to our attention that senior members of the London Cab Drivers Club have been spreading malicious rumours and lies that members of the United Cabbies Group were ejected from the venue by the security staff.**
Please allow us to explain the true facts of what occured.
Earlier on in the evening, this gentleman Davidstar Royal King (formerly known as David Fergus) stood up to speak.
Back in 1994 Mr King was a promising amateur boxer who was undefeated and had sparred with the likes of Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Danny Williams, he was destined to turn professional and was tipped to go right to the top.
Until one night when his career and almost his life was cut short!
He was leaving a youthclub disco when a 13 year old boy walked upto him with a sawnoff shotgun and blasted him in the head at point blank range. Mr King survived but lost his left eye and was seriously disfigured by the attack, and he spent the next 6 months in Kings College Hospital with shotgun pellets lodged in his brain.
As you can imagine Mr King is very lucky to be alive today!
Another tragic symptom of the attack is that Mr King’s speech is now slow and slurred, but he knows exactly what he is saying.
The question he put to the Mayor was what was he doing to reduce gun crime in London?, but as he was speaking very slowly both the Mayor and Nick Ferrari dismissed him as some kind of nutcase and quickly cut him short.
Later on when the UCG were asking their questions of the Mayor, Mr King started complaining how we were allowed to speak, yet he was not.
He had a point!
The noise levels were raised and Nick Ferrari ordered the gentleman to be silent or the security staff would remove him. Mr King refused to be quiet and the bouncers moved in and dragged him outside.
This caused quite a stir and unsettled the whole forum for a few minutes.
Soon after everything settled down and the forum continued.
But that hasn’t stopped certain members of the LCDC twisting this story in a futile attempt to try and tarnish the good name of the United Cabbies Group, and we can only suggest that if they had attended, along with the other members of the United Trade Group, they would have witnessed it for themselves and not have to make it up.
And if they put as much effort into fighting to save the London Taxi trade as they do trying to besmirch the UCG then the trade might not be in the sorry state it finds itself in today.
The UCG will always fight to protect the London Taxi trade, and the safety of the travelling public.