Johnson discovers how deep the rabbit hole goes

Is Darren Johnson the new Van Jones? Is News Shopper the new Fox News?
First, Fox managed to oust Jones, Obama's "Green Jobs Czar", by constructing an elaborate series of "scandals" about him. Now Brockley's Green representative on the London Assembly is facing calls to go from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association for Tweeting a confession that he took an unlicensed taxi home one evening. All this, on the eve of the Copenhagen climate change summit. Coincidence!?!

The News Shopper carries a rather OTT apology from from Johnson, which is still not enough to placate the taxi lobby:

Writing on his Twitter page after the party, Mr Johnson wrote: “Ten pound tip for first cabbie to find me” and “Illegal minicab will do if you get me home”.

He later wrote: “Well im in some dodgy minicab paying an exhorbitant rip-off rate but at least getting home”.

Spokesman for the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Steve Mcnamara, said: “The man’s arrogance is astounding. He has encouraged a criminal act, he has been a party to a criminal act and then he brags about it on Twitter.”

Mr Mcnamara added: “He has embarrassed himself, the Mayor, the GLA and London, he needs to go.”

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

OTT response from the Taxi Association chap I reckon.

Anonymous said...

Tweeting is a risky thing for a politician. If you've had 1 too many to drink and you drunkenly tweet very risky indeed.

Anonymous said...

Frankly the LTDA can kiss my arse, their members are a bunch of unmentionables.

Their "bash the flash" advertising wagon gets on my wick every time I see it.

mb said...

having had to bail out of a black cab early twice because the fare was rising faster than the national debt, they can kiss my bottom. They want to maintain their monopoly, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

..although one does wonder about the green credentials of jumping into a cab by yourself...an unliscensed cab which are usually old with high carbon emmissions? Hope Sue 'lets forget about anything but sustainability' Luxton doesn't get to hear of this, or Darren will be in real trouble.

Sid said...

Was the cab driver an illegal immigrant?

Jim Jay said...

It's obviously uncomfortable for Darren but the taxi drivers have it in for him because he's made them service their vehicles more often to combat air pollution... that's why they're so over the top about him on this, because they'd rather pollute London than have efficient vehicles.

Well, that's what I reckon anyway.

Sue said...

@anon 18:13: let's get this clear, you begrudge people ever ever getting taxis, even v late on a cold night when worse for wear after a few drinks? Bah humbug, sounds a bit hairshirted to me!

That said, we (Lewisham Greens) have all taken the micky out of Darren fairly thoroughly over the past few days for his reckless tweeting (and I'm starting to regret having nagged him to get on it in the first place!).

Oh, and sustainability for me is a pretty broad concept which should encompass social and economic aspects as well as environmental - would you agree? Not quite sure what your remark was getting at?

Anonymous said...

Taxi Drivers opinions are always OTT. Empty vessels, the lot of them.

Maybe if they lowered their prices and adopted a more amenable attitude towards going South of the river they might lose less custom to their competitors.

Tamsin said...

@Sue - I would guess the Anon was referring to the whole sorry Gordonbrock School fiasco.

Anonymous said...

There's less chance of getting raped by a Black Cab driver though,Some people ain't very street wise are they.

a girl said...

I've had several black cab drivers refuse to take me to Brockley from the City despite it being within the distance that it's compulsory for them to accept fares. That's no way to discourage people from using illegal mini-cabs. The sexual assault threat does so far more effectively.

Anonymous said...

At least the risk of assault in illegal cabs is low - you end up taking it from behind in a black cab every time guaranteed!

Headhunter said...

I barely ever stay out past last trains these days but last night I found myself trying to get a black cab to Brockley (via Tulse Hill and Denmark Hill) from Soho after the work Christmas party at about 2.30am and 3 or 4 drivers refused point blank to take us before one begrudgingly said he would, but he seemed to think he was doing us some amazing service. When we finally arrived on Manor Ave he said something along the lines of "wow you leave way deep in south London" - it's bloody zone 2, yet if I'd wanted a taxi to some distant extreme of north London, he probably would not have batted an eyelid.

At the time I was thinking why aren't black cab drivers obliged to take fares as they are in New York, however "a girl" seems to think they are?

graeme said...

HH Being somebody who at one point looked at getting his badge, I think the rule is that they're not allowed to refuse a fare within 6 miles of Charing X. Coincidentally the effective boundary of the Knowledge. I'm sure you'd be well within your rights to take his number and complain to the carriage office if you are refused. How far the complaint goes is another matter.

As you might or might not know, they don't like coming south of the river because the chance of getting a return fare is virtually nil. (Apparently in these badlands we're all too tight or don't have the money in the first place.) They'd rather trawl for fares and bigger tips between the City, Soho, Kensington and the Airport.

Anonymous said...

I wonder If the Black Cabs In Lewisham would go to North London.

Headhunter said...

We're not talking about minicabs that you have to ring a number to get, we're talking black cabs that you can hail in the street. I don't think many of them are based around Lewisham, permanantly buzzing around SE13!

According to the TFL site, black cabs have to:

"Accept any hiring up to 12 miles or any hiring up to one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London
Accept any hiring up to 20 miles if starting at Heathrow Airport
Accept any hiring up to one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London"

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/taxisandminicabs/taxis/1140.aspx

graeme said...

there are quite a few who rank up at the station and down by the clocktower. Having memorised thirty local 'runs' they've gained their yellow (suburban) badge and are not supposed to pick up fares outside this area.... The green (full) badge entails seemingly memorising the colour of every front door within 1/4 mile of the 350 or so 'runs' they're given.

Brockley Jon said...

I too had to find a cab last night at about 2am in Soho (Headhunter, you weren't at the Glue party were you!?) and was refused by a couple of black cabs - in the end we got a minicab, and to be honest I didn't even notice whether it was licensed or not (*slaps wrist*).

The taxi driver's reaction is indeed well OTT. Darren is just proving he's a real person and does what other Londoners do - gets drunk, posts regretable messages on social networks, gets in the first cab-like vehicle that is willing to take them home.

Anonymous said...

Have you not been down to Lewisham Station then HH,Or outside the Clock tower always Black Cabs there.

Anonymous said...

I think they could refuse to take any fare, just like a publican can refuse to serve anybody.

Headunter said...

Nah I wasnt at that party, Brockley Jon. We spoke to a couple of minicab drivers but they were asking something ridiculous like £60+, so we left them to it.

OK, so there are black cabs in Lewisham. TBH I barely ever use Lewisham station or black cabs so I hadn't noticed.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin yes probably they're referring to Gordonbrock, but pretty unfairly. I thought Sue's position on it was pretty nuanced and thoughtful, and not giving undue weight to one single issue.

Anonymous said...

Seems you dont have your eyes open a lot of the time HH

Headhunter said...

I should hope I have my eyes open, seeing as I cycle through rush hour London traffic most days! As I said, I barely ever use Lewisham Stn or black cabs.

Anonymous said...

Nuanced or not, Gordonbrock are left with a massive playground. The single story rooftop which could have compensated for some of the lack of playground is not even a brown roof, so children won't be surrounded by chorus of birdsong. Spending millions badly. Fiasco or tragedy?

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