Praise Or Trouble Stirring?
Let's not beat around the bush; we all like a pat on the back
whether it be for a good deed, a sporting achievement or, as in my
case, praise for Call Sign. Whenever drivers come up to me and say that
they enjoy the magazine, not only do I appreciate them taking the time
to tell me, but it really does give me a buzz - a feeling that hasn't
changed in all my time in the hot seat (and believe it or not the next
issue starts my sixth year). After all, producing this mag is hard work
and the occasional praise tends to make it feel worthwhile.
But as we all know, there's praise and there is praise...
An example of that last sentence can be found in the issue of TAXI
dated 17 April 2002 under a column written by the LTDA's General
Secretary, Bob Oddy. In it, Bob talks of the recent fare increase -
which admittedly they have always been in favour of - and talks of the
those who opposed it and who he names as Dial-a-Cab, Radio Taxis and
the LCDC. Bob says:
"It's clear that the long overdue increases have
now received 100% backing from all sections of the trade, but of the
three campaigners against the charges, only the executives of
Dial-a-Cab have been men enough to admit their mistake." Bob
then goes on to butter me up by offering the praise I so obviously
"Their apology takes the form of an
Editorial," writes Bob, "published in the circuit's in-house
magazine where Alan Fisher, the editor, has held his hands up to the
fact that the new tariff has been a success and he used the seldom
heard phrase - 'I was wrong.'"
Bob ends by congratulating me! "Well done,
Alan," he enthuses, "Dial-a-Cab's 2000 members will respect
you for your change of heart."
He ends by saying that RTL and the LCDC haven't yet seen
the light and says that their members should decide whether either
organisation should actively campaign against the increase.
As I said at the beginning, we all like a pat on the back,
so why do I not accept Bob Oddy's praise as just that? Well, the big
difference is that Dial-a-Cab is a democratic organisation - something
that the LTDA and TAXI apparently cannot claim to be. What do I base
Bob says that RTL and LCDC members should be asked to vote
on whether their respective
organisations be allowed to
against the increase, but if that is the case,
why wasn't I, as an LTDA member, asked if I wanted such a large
increase? You can't have one view without the
But my real beef with Bob Oddy's praise is that he is really
using it to create mischief. As I said, DaC is a democratic organisation
and as such, I say in my Editorial whatever I think is relevant. While the
Chairman reads it before publication, he has never indicated that any
Editorial should be altered, as he understands - just as our members do -
that it is my personal opinion. So when I said that I held my hands up and
that in my view the fare increase didn't cause the harm that I feared it
might, I was obviously speaking as the Editor and giving just my view -
after all, Brian Rice has been on TV and radio giving his personal view on
the topic, one that differed from my Editorial.
And did Bob read Steve McNamara's column in the same issue of
TAXI, who after describing Call Sign as the second best magazine behind
TAXI, then rips into Tom Whitbread for having the opposite view to mine,
that's to say, he too is against the increase?
So how can someone in Bob Oddy's position possibly claim that
my Editorial is actually a climb-down by the complete DaC Board? As a
reminder, his words were: "Only the executives of Dial-a-Cab have
been men enough to admit their mistake."
Believe me, Bob Oddy is no fool. When he says 'executives' in the plural
and 'men', he is inferring that I am speaking for the BoM. Of course he
knows that I'm not, as I said, he only had to read Tom Whitbread's article
to know that, but it suited his purpose. It also suited his headline of
"1 Down, 2 to go."
Perhaps Bob is trying to say that Brian Rice writes
everything in Call Sign or even better, that I am really the Chairman!
Either way, Call Sign is a magazine where within reason, everyone
associated with this Society can give his or her views. Just as certainly,
Bob Oddy is trying to stir up trouble in the ranks of other organisations
to his own.
It may well be that Bob pulls the strings in TAXI and that it
represents just his views, but
the Call Sign Editorial is still just
my view and mine alone, just as every signed article represents the views of
that person. So thanks for the praise, Bob, but no thanks...
A Lousy Month
This has truly been one of the lousiest months I have ever
experienced as Editor. Last month ended with the death of a dear aunt whom I
loved very much and who I will miss for a long time. Just prior to that, a
cab-driving friend suffered a fatal heart attack while on the golf course at
the young age of 51.
Then this month arrived and within the space of a few days, I
received news about the deaths of three long-serving subscribers: Joe Hutton
(T43), Ted Andrews (Y87) and Dennis Wilson (W92). You will have read
messages on your terminal about all three, giving dates of funerals etc.
Then, as is the way, a few drivers will ask who so and so was because they
weren't sure if they knew him. Many of you knew Joe, Ted and Dennis but
don't realise it because as cab drivers, we don't always know surnames. We
are more likely to have a nickname that we are known by as was the case of
Joe Hutton who was known by many EC5 regulars as "Irish"
Joe. Yet few knew his surname.
So in this issue, I have published photos of all three so that
we can all see who they were and for at least a short while, think about
them as fellow drivers rather than brief messages on the terminal. May they
all rest in peace...
And The Rest ...
Other than the above, nothing much happened other than being sent
a destructive virus via the address book of one of our drivers, which
totally wiped clean my hard drive taking with it a lot of files.
Fortunately, all my Call Sign stuff had been saved, but for whatever reason,
the virus seemed to coincide with my scanner not working so that everything
had to be typed and any typewritten letter that should have taken just a few
seconds, ended up taking me 20 minutes. As I speak, the printer
has just started to jam up! It's a funny life at times!
So, bearing in mind the above, I'm delighted to tell you that
as Call Sign publishes 11 issues a year, the next issue is the one that will
not appear! So I'll be back on July 1. We're still open for letters and
(For the benefit of Mr Oddy, all the above views are mine and mine alone!)