|Allen Togwell's Marketing Place|
The insignificance of whingingÖ
With the lack of activity during the holiday period, it never fails to amaze me how your Editor continues to produce what is without doubt the best magazine in the taxi industry. Not only is it of such high quality, but always topical and fresh and even more remarkable, is it rarely contentious unlike my own contributions over the years, which by nature of my role on the Board have concentrated far too often on negative issues that on reflection when compared with every day life, really are so insignificant.
A typical example comes even as I write this; I have just torn up two pages of copy for this issue of Call Sign after following news of the devastation and death toll in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. Most days we hear of tragedies at home such as 7/7 and around the world to the point where we have become almost immune to human suffering and instead whinge and moan about the most mundane of things Ė worse still, we tend to lose sight of how very fortunate the majority of us really are.
Several years ago I was in New Orleans as a DaC representative at a World Taxi convention. The Big Easy, as it is known, was an amazing place. The people were so laid back, friendly, polite and always with a smile, particularly the blacks or as the Americans politely refer to them - African Americans. You could see many of them living in abject poverty, a stark contrast to the many whites of extreme wealth.
I remember the Sunday I was there; I attended an early morning Church service in an area known as the Garden district. Being the Bible belt, it wasnít a surprise to see well over a 1000 people in the church, but what was surprising was the noticeable absence of black people other than amongst the choir. On the way back to the hotel, I travelled in an open sided bus through wide, beatifically clean tree-lined streets along which virtually every house was set in acres of manicured lawns and replicas of the colonial mansion as seen in Gone with the Wind. The whole district oozed old money, which makes it more difficult to believe how so little assistance was given to the poorer areas in the aftermath of the hurricane and how so much suffering was allowed to happen. In all the years I have been writing articles for CS, I cannot remember ever referring to issues outside of our trade. But in this instance and I suppose having been there and seen the manner and conditions in which these people live and now how so many have now died or found themselves in a worse state than they were before - if such a thing is possible, I cannot help but make comparisons as to how fortunate the majority of us are who live in the UK. London in particular, including those with a
secure living such as driving a cab and perhaps, just occasionally, we should reflect on that fact more often before whinging about what in reality is little else but utter nonsense.
Barclays Bank and Toggers!
Go east young man!
east of Great Portland Street? An
explosion of poison gas, perhaps,
but that wasnít the case and I will never know why those four cabs broomed me off. What I do know is that had I been an ordinary member of the public, I would have no hesitation in disagreeing entirely with the views of those who repeatedly refute suggestions that more cabs are needed on the roads and also that they have no
case whatsoever in their condemnation of minicabs. If those selfish idiots within our trade who insist on being selective in what work they choose to accept and in doing so drive the bread and butter work into the hands of PH, they will have only themselves to blame when London becomes inundated with a surplus of empty cabs. Itís a pity that those scribes such as in Taxi Newspaper who
are regularly on their soapbox about protecting the tradeís age old monopoly and resisting any change, donít occasionally look inwards and use their columns to highlight problems within the trade that everybody outside can see except them. Perhaps then, the allies that we need most - namely Joe Public - will support our plight to the point where the death of PH will come not from confrontation, politics and picket lines, but from natural causes.
Disagreeing with the Ed
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