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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:03 pm 
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The Reiver – The Happy Conspiracy

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The Law Commission have been a rather busy bunch.

They’ve held meetings with representative groups across the country, from Newcastle in the North to Exeter in the South, they’ve turned up at meetings the length and breadth of the country. They will no doubt tell you these meetings are all part of an elaborate consultation process, one where views of the representatives are offered, noted and have a real effect upon their deliberations.

They even had a fabulous phrase for it; a ‘pre-consultation process’.

Sadly, only one chap appears to have written anything about views towards this process being an utter sham, and he writes in this magazine. He has been described as being “negative” by his critics.

Maybe it’s his dour northern tones – or maybe it’s a stark reality of the gravity of the situation. Maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t believe in coincidences. Maybe he doesn’t believe the Law Commission documents – containing minor errors – are actually minor errors. Afterall, whilst Alexander Pope stated; “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” I very much doubt he was thinking about the Law Commission when he said it, indeed, I seriously doubt anything the Law Commission has ever written or stated has been in error.

From memory the Law Commission have been very honest; everything is there if you bother reading closely enough. It’s not Casey’s fault, or indeed the fault of the Law Commission that you couldn’t be bothered.

He stated the documents were deliberately confusing; the majority of the cab trade would take one look at the documents – documents costing nearly £40 – and simply not read them – and if they did read them – they wouldn’t understand them.

The warnings he gave, went largely ignored; only now are his counsel beginning to be not only heeded but in many respects stolen by other bodies as their own. Of course, I don’t believe the chap in question will mind, the result is certainly in the case of the Law Commission, more important than the game, but people should be aware.

I do wonder about this consultation process and the meetings. You see, I can fully understand the need for meetings prior to the consultation documents being published. They needed the thoughts and views of those people their consultation would affect – usually these views would be considered and possibly included within their documents – although I can’t actually see many sane views in there.

Yet, as any person who attended the National Taxi Association conference last October in Scarborough will tell you, the Law Commission, even at that very early stage, appeared to be working to a predetermined agenda.

They subsequently published their documents in May 2012. They subsequently continued their tour of England and Wales, telling those attended what their plans are. As my late father used to say to me in the midst of one of my more stroppy moments – “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you”. My dad didn’t consult and I’m pretty much sure – you’re dad didn’t either – telling someone what you intend isn’t consultation – its fair warning.

Sadly, we appear to have a trade of nincompoops – people so pleased the law commission turn up at their meetings; they are seemingly left in star-struck awe, unwilling to question the motives and intentions. Of course, if you want it explained to you – the reason they turn up is to create a sense and paper trail showing that they have consulted.

I don’t particularly see why we need to be polite with these people – it’s like coming downstairs and offering a burglar a refreshing cup of tea and a delicious slice of Battenberg. If this thing goes very badly indeed, and we have no reason to suspect otherwise – it will see many of you lose everything.

I’m sorry but that’s a fact – it’s something you’ve been told through the pages of this magazine consistently for 18 months – a horrible truth you must face, hiding behind the propaganda of not only the law commission but also those in the taxi trade who have failed to give you fair warning (and are equally complicit) Isn’t going to make the reality any different.

I am not saying give up or things are all lost. I’ll fight like hell for this stupid cab trade of ours, but I’m not going to follow blindly, I’m not going to follow those with an agenda. Rather surprisingly the grand strategy for the future of the cab trade appears to be running around like headless chickens. Call me cynical – but I don’t believe this will work.

What the cab trade needs is a hard hitting response to the Law Commission documents – cited facts not implied theories or rhetoric. It needs the response to have an equally hard hitting but easy to read summary.

We’re all conspiracy theorists now

In case nobody noticed, a number of the law commission proposals look suspiciously like those proposed by the shadowy organisation now called Local Government Regulation (LGR). I wrote about the LGR in the December 2010 issue of the magazine (it’s available on the taxitalk website). Amongst their solutions to the various problems surrounding the taxi trade they advised the transport select committee to; (at 5.1)

“the Government considers adopting national standards for certain key conditions which do not require local consideration.”

At 5.2;

“Alongside statutory national standards, joint enforcement agreements would be welcomed, which allow licensing enforcement officers to enforce vehicles which have been licensed in other areas.”

At 5.3;

“Many licensing authorities would also welcome fixed penalty notice (FPN) powers, which would give licensing enforcement officers an instant control measure to ensure drivers were adhering to locally set conditions.”

They then went on to certain other issues, these started with 6.1;

“Restricting the number of hackney carriages in an area (often referred to as quantity restrictions). At present approximately 100 local councils continue to restrict numbers. This is currently a local political decision.”

Points 6.2, 6.3, & 6.4 covered driver training, CRB checks and airports.

You may even be aware that all of the above points appear to have the approval of the Law Commission and are included within the ‘consultation’ documents. I must say, that’s a startling coincidence isn’t it old chap?

What you won’t be aware of is LGR met with the DFT on 12 January 2010, 17 February 2010, 9 March 2010, 22 June 2010, 23 August 2010, 22 November 2010, 7 December 2010, 21 February 2011. If you still have enough fingers left, that’s 8 meetings in 13 months with ‘taxis and private hire’ cited as the topic of the meetings, but, rather conveniently, with no notes taken of the meetings.

To add a little more to all these ‘coincidences’. Unite the Union, a little upset by the ongoing situation (and by ‘ongoing’ read the last 30 years) with Sefton licensed PH vehicles sitting in Liverpool awaiting pre bookings. Unite actually made no secret of their desire end this particular cross border debacle. They duly met with the Transport Secretary, Norman Baker, on 4th October 2010, again, rather conveniently, no meeting notes were taken – although it is safe to presume Unite must have advised the transport secretary that they had organised a petition and intended to present it to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.

Sadly, Unite the Unions own ‘in-house’ newspaper isn’t too specific on dates, indeed, it normally isn’t too specific in facts either, to use a golfing buddies favourite phrase, “It’s about as much use as t*t’s on a man”, but they do appear to have reported on a presentation to Louise Ellman (chair of the Transport Select Committee) of a 3,400 signature petition shortly after their meeting with the Transport Secretary, this was followed by letters of support from various MP’s at the beginning of November 2010 making reference and giving support to the Unite petition.

It is reasonably fair to presume the Unite letters to MP’s were sent in October, at least two weeks before the replies of MP’s.

Meanwhile, DFT officials secured a meeting with the Law Commission, this took place on 4th November 2010, the meeting outlined many of the problems which would eventually be covered by the transport select committee, meeting notes suggest this was a preliminary meeting and the DFT would contact the Law Commission “within the next few weeks” advising if they would fund the ‘application for our project’. Released FOI’s appear to suggest the ‘few weeks’ turned into a few months, as the next meeting took place on 17th May 2011. Due to some rule of protocol the only civil servant mentioned in dispatches from the DFT was a certain Anthony Ferguson – who explained the government position as wanting one of a ‘deregulatory’ approach with a ‘localism’ agenda.

At no stage in any correspondence released is there a single reference to the ‘red tape challenge’ which Mr Ferguson allegedly assured Unite Union was the reason behind the Law Commission being invited into the arena. Indeed, the references to buses and taxis on the ‘red tape challenge’ website seems to have attracted a massive 297 responses, a proportion of which concerned purely buses, a further proportion of which were multiple responses by the same people. The expression ‘cranks’ could be used and in many respects it would be entirely accurate.

All of the above have been brushed off as ‘coincidences’, because presumably, these coincidences do happen.

Was it a sheer coincidence within one month of Unite the Union meeting with the Transport Secretary that his department had preliminary discussions with the Law Commission? Was also a coincidence that nobody from the DFT, at least in respect of information received via FOI’s, apparently thought it would be wise to contact the transport select committee advising of government intentions?

Norman Baker told the Select Committee on 15th March 2011;

“I have asked the Law Commission in fact whether they would consider this as one of their project areas to look at, which is, hopefully, an interesting and successful way of dealing with this matter, because it is quite complicated.”

Of course, what ‘Norm’ didn’t say, at least in respect of the released FOI’s, is that all they appear to have done is make a few preliminary enquiries, that isn’t actually the same as “I have asked the Law Commission in fact whether they would consider this as one of their project areas to look at”. So either, the DFT hasn’t disclosed all the FOI’s that were requested, or the Transport Secretary wasn’t being entirely honest with the select committee.

As stated above, the A number of interesting points appear to be raised in meeting notes between the Law Commission and DFT on 17th May 2011. There was for example no reference to the transport select committee, which is quite bizarre considering the job they were doing. It perhaps suggests whatever the select committee wanted it would not affect law commission involvement, which you might have thought would have been mentioned in the meeting of 4th November.

The Law Commission were seemingly very keen to ensure ‘payment should not be before July when the project officially kicks off’. The Transport secretary’s words would appear to suggest there had been agreement; however, there was nothing in any FOI.

All of this is to do with ‘red tape’ – which is seemingly apparent as much in Whitehall – as much as it is within local government.

Naturally, I could be mistaken, but I would have thought during the Ministers presentation to the NTA conference during late October 2010 in Sunderland, there would have been mention of his department contacting the Law Commission. The minister sent a DVD presentation to save on money – a concern they didn’t appear to consider in respect of a (Law Commission) enquiry running practically hand in hand with the select committee enquiry. So presumably, he wasn’t aware – which again raises questions as to what’s going on in the DFT – it would seem we have a case of ‘the tail wagging the dog’.

source: http://www.national-taxi-association.co.uk/?p=3982

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Yes but as I said in Preston last week when are you going to meet with the trade drivers, on plans to do that. well done LC =D> i dont think, there is nothing in there that well benifit the Hackney trade, all I hard was what was good for the passingers. I told them that I will report to my lot, less enforcment, more regulation on hackeys, less on P/Hire, i thought that we were going to get a fairer lot of regulations.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Spoke to nearly 40 taxi drivers in Coventry today. Not one knew about Law Commission.

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Justice for the 96. It has only taken 27 years...........repeat the same lies for 27 years and the truth sounds strange to people!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:36 pm 
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MR T wrote:
Spoke to nearly 40 taxi drivers in Coventry today. Not one knew about Law Commission.

What were you doing in Coventry? It's miles from your manor.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Brummie Cabbie wrote:
MR T wrote:
Spoke to nearly 40 taxi drivers in Coventry today. Not one knew about Law Commission.

What were you doing in Coventry? It's miles from your manor.

The same thing that was happening in Birmingham..... aweakening the trade.... surprised at how many people did not know anything about the Law Commission...... don't you have a radio station in Birmingham... I mean like Radio Merseyside...

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Justice for the 96. It has only taken 27 years...........repeat the same lies for 27 years and the truth sounds strange to people!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:02 pm 
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MR T wrote:
a radial stations in Birmingham...



Fort Dunlop?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:08 pm 
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captain cab wrote:
MR T wrote:
a radial stations in Birmingham...



Fort Dunlop?

Was doing something else at the same time... tanks for pointing it out :lol:

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Justice for the 96. It has only taken 27 years...........repeat the same lies for 27 years and the truth sounds strange to people!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:24 pm 
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The DfT wanted someone, or something to open the door to a new cab act.

Unite the union supplied a bloody great big key.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
The DfT wanted someone, or something to open the door to a new cab act.

Unite the union supplied a bloody great big key.



yeah, they were convenient. :wink:

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