London kann mit dem Ende des traditionellen Londoner Taxis aufatmen | End of London ‘Black Cab’ is a breath of fresh air for London

English: London black cab (Hackney carriage) C...

Link to original article:   Der Londoner Wendekreis

Link zum Orginal in der Sonntaz: Der Londoner Wendekreis

Als es bekannt wurde dass Manganese Bronze, der Hersteller des traditionellen Londoner‘black cabs’ bankrott sei, bedauerten es viele. Nur wer sich wirklich mit London auskannte, wusste, dass es ein gutes Omen war.  Die schwarzen Taxen sind bisher ein schwarzer Fleck für die Gesundheit der Londoner. Was nicht im Taztext steht:

  • Manganese Bronze und die London Taxi Internationals Firma wechselten mehrmals Besitzter und Teilhaber. Am Ende war die chinesische Firma Geely einer der Hauptteilhaber
  • Die Welt der Londoner pferdegezogenen Droschken kurz vor den motrorisierten Taxen kann man am besten (aus Pferdesicht) in Anna Sewells’ Roman ‘ Black Beauty’ nachlesen oder dessen Verfilmungen nachsehen.
  • Zu andere Maßnahmen des Bürgermeisters die Taxiluftverschmutzung zu reduzieren gehören (lautder  TfL “Strategie für saubere Luft in London”):  Bestimmte Reifen und Gangschaltungen, die sich weniger abnutzen, Ökologisches Fahrtraining aller neuen Fahrer (Option für bereits zugelassene), Anregung den Motor  im Stand auszuschalten.  Management der Warteschlangen an Bahnhöfen und Flughafen (insb. Heathrow) durch “taxi-marshals”
  • Schwerste Dieselmotoren: Die Taxen der TX Serie waren zuerst ein Nissan Motor. Später war es ein Ford Transit Motor, sowie ein Chrysler Diesel Motor wie in Jeeps (VM Motori R 425 DOHC Diesel , Chrysler 545RFE, und Eaton FSO 2405.Bereits 1989 gab es ein alternatives ‘moderneres’ Taxi, nämlich das Metrocab.  Die Firma wechselte zweimal die Besitzer und die Herstellung war unter anderem für 14 Monate unterbrochen.  2006 wurde die Herstellung entgültig eingestellt.
  • Es besteht die geringe Möglichkeit, dass verschiedene Firmen Manganese Bronze aufkaufen werden und beschließen die Herstellung wieder aufzunehmen.  Es ist allerdings fraglich, ob die Firma trotz des Ikonenstatus des Taxis, mit den für heutige Londoner Umweltverhältnisse untauglichen Motoren gegen die Taxen von Nissan und Mercedes ankommen könnten.  Allerdings werden bis 2027 für die bestehenden Taxen der TX  Ersatzteile gebraucht werden.
  • Ein von mir geschriebenes Profil zweier Taxifahrer erschien in der Taz im August:
When Manganese Bronze, the company that manufactured the London black cab TX4, most newspaper articles, even those appearing in British papers, failed to question, whether beyond its iconic looks, the taxis the company produced were worth saving.   In an euphoria of sorrowful commentary it was in some of the readers comments that one could read about issues with fuel efficiency, exhaust emissions and the noise these vehicles created.  My article in the Sonntaz, the Sunday magazine supplement of the Taz newspaper discusses, if the demise of Manganese Bronze as producer of the London Black Cab was in deed ‘bad news’ for London.  The taxi’s iconic status acknowledged, the TX Series with its heavy Diesel engines (Ford Transit and Jeep based) actually means that these Taxis constitute 1/3 of the NOx London air pollution (even today).  I speak to one of the partners involved in the design of a new hybrid hydrogen / electric taxi for London, the general secretary of the largest organisation representing cab drivers, those who mange the transport infrastructure in London, London politicians and environmentalists.  The results indicate clearly, the TX cab although traditional in design and loved by many because of that, should since a long time have been radically modernised.  Those steps taken by the company alongside an alternative energy consortium proved too slow to save the taxi and the company.

  • Drivers View: Earlier in August 2012 I published in the Taz (Olympic supplement) a profile of two London black cab drivers,  known as London cabbies:
  • Not included in text: I also spoke with UNITE representing the workers of Manganese Bronze in Coventry and the London Cycling campaign.  Their responses are noted here:  UNITE: “The London taxi is iconic and the staff who build them are highly skilled. The black cab is part of Britain’s car manufacturing heritage and we expect the company and the administrators to do everything possible to secure the future of this Coventrybased company. Unite has met with the senior management today and the union has pledged to assist staff and the company to support a swift resolution to the current funding gap. Manganese Bronze is the last car manufacturer left in Coventry. If it becomes necessary the government should step in to support the company and protect the highly skilled workforce.”  London Cycling Campaign (Gerhard Weiss LCC): “Black cabs are very common in central London. Because they are allowed, like cyclists, to use bus lanes and need to stop frequently on the kerbside there is potential conflict with cyclists that’s a problem. Black cabs also contribute to air pollution which affects cyclists and pedestrians. However, I don’t think either of these issues is related to the cab manufacturer and both could be tackled with better regulation. Clearly zero emission vehicles would be ideal and should be feasible these days.”
  • An English translation can be ordered on request and for publication purposes only.

Nappy-Change. The challenge of modern fatherhood.

English: Father with baby in the shower.
English: Father with baby in the shower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
on London Resonance 104.4 FM 
Monday February 27th. 2012 at 4:30pm and 
Wednesday  February 29th. 2012 at 7:30pm (repeat)
25 minutes feature,including translations
Listen to the version without supporting music (songs removed due to copyrights) :
Listen now link:
Having been a full time father himself for two years, Daniel Zylbersztajn asks what the challenges of more involved fatherhood are today and discovers both progress in gender equality as well as a surprising amount of prejudice about fathers.  The feature covers paternity issues both in England and in Germany.Period of recordings:April – November 2011
Date of production Dec2011

The Possibilities and Impossibilities of Being A Neighbour

Article on thinking about Jewish-Polish, Jewish-German relations and simply on the issue of being a neighbour, or not!  Leading Feature Open Democracy 4/11/2011

Special thanks to the editors of Open Democracy, above all R.B., and front page ed., for your interest as well as choosing this as your leading weekend feature-story.  Thanks also to Ben Gidley, James Renton and Agnieszka Piśkiewicz for their respective input and Kei Kulp for one of the pictures.

Conference Press Release

The press release written by me, was first issued on Sunday, 22 November 2009 on .  The conference was fully researched and organised by me, minus on the ground implementation on the day. 

Untermenschen and Asylum Seekers. Conference Sunday 24th of January 2010.

“Untermenschen” and “Asylum Seekers“: 
Refugees and Economic Migrants. Past and contemporary themes on refugees and migrants, reviewed by experts, time witnesses and campaigners  from Britain, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. A one day information conference organised by Meretz UK.
24th January 2010 
Start 09.45  (9.00Doors Open), End 1930 (approx.) 
Venue: Meretz UK – 37a Broadhurst Gardens, NW6

Costs: Advance £25 / Concessions £15.
Donation ticket £65 (£40 will go directly to charities present on the day).
On door £30/£20. Donations welcome.

People who can not pay the lowest rate above, but who wish to attend are advised to contact the office by email and state their case for an application of a further reduced rate.

Any surplus income will be donated to charities related to the 
presentations, including Asylum Aid, ARDC, SOS Children Villages, Save Behnam.


Mimitah Best New Comer Awarded Singer

to perform at our refugee day
  • David Rosenberg: The 1905 Aliens Act . How it came to be, its impact and why it is important to know about it 110 years on.
  • Leslie Baruch Brent: Sunday’s Child? My life story and how it shaped me.
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind: 25min. FILM documentary, (Harris / Ben Tovim) Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • Edwin Shuker: Jewish Refugee from 1970s Iraq. How being a refugee has shaped me.
  • Jayyab Abusafia: Refugee Existence in Gaza. A young Palestinian journalism student recounts his years growing up as a Palestinian refugee in Gaza under Israeli occupation.
  • Nitzan Horowitz: Current Meretz Israel Member of Knesset (MK), Israeli House of Parliament. CANCELLED, We have instead Rotem Ilan of Israeli Children, an organisation fighting for the rights of refugee children who lived in Israel for the majority of their lives. 
  • The Forgotten Refugees (2005):  Award winning  Documentary about Jewish refugees from the Middle East and the Maghreb produced by the David Project / Isra TV.
  • Ben Du Preez:  Refugees cared for by African Refugee Development Centre (ARDC), Tel Aviv.
  • Maurice Wren: Director, Asylum Aid. London: Asylum Aid 2010. Contemporary challenges and successes
  • Pauline Levis: One person can make a difference. How and why I got involved in running a campaign to safe Behnam
  • Mimitah Abofando: Professional singer originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She will perform live as well as talk a little about growing up in a refugee family!

If any people are experts on being refugees by their experiences throughout human history, the Jewish people would surely make a good candidate. Jewish people with direct refugee experience live still amongst us and can recount their still vivid memories. What the German Nazis labelled to be racial sub-humans “Untermenschen” were to be expelled from the German Reich by force. Today many Jewish people are well settled in relatively safe countries. Our refugee experience obligates us to look around us. What are the realities of refugees today? The last few decades saw a tightening of the EU borders to outsiders, with an increase of desperate people willing to risk all to reach Western shores. Many just want a better chance in life, others are refugees from the war torn battlegrounds that humanity fails to prevent or end. Asylum Laws have tightened in spite of the introduction of the European Human Rights Charter in the U.K. 1000s of people drown every year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, others perish in deserts. Many live phantom existences in European towns, exploited, without medical aid, always on the run. People smuggling has grown into a sophisticated business involving criminal gangs from many corners on earth. In Israel Darfurian Sudanese refugees and other migrants who hoped the Jewish people will understand have made headlines, mostly because of appalling treatment by the state and related authorities. The birth of Israel supposed to end unsafe refugee existence of Jews caused other Jews from Arabic speaking countries to become refugees and the stories of Palestinian refugees goes hand in hand with the establishment of Israel, and remains still unresolved. This is the reason why Meretz UK has decided to dedicate a special day on the issue of refugees and migrants to inform, discuss and encourage to help and take action. We have succeeded to get an excellent line of speakers and what’s more money raised through this event will reach refugees in Europe and in the Middle East.

Be there listen, participate, get encouraged, take action!

More details:

David Rosenberg: is a teacher and writer who also leads guided walks on London’s radical history ( He is on the National Committee of the Jewish Socialists’ Group and on the editorial committee of the  Jewish Socialist Magazine. During the 1980s he was co-ordinator of the Jewish Cultural and Anti-Racist Project and then worked for the Runnymede Trust – a research and information body dealing with issues of racism and discrimination.

Leslie Baruch Brent’s autobiography is called “Sunday’s Child? A Memoir.” He is University of London Emeritus Professor, and a Kinder-transport refugee, and has been outspoken on a number of civil rights and human rights subjects in the past.

Edwin Shuker fled Iraq when Arab Nationalism caused Jewish expulsion as a response to the foundation of Israel. However he is a man of bitter sweet memories, who thinks that the Jewish experience amongst Arab and Muslim countries has more to offer than an example of failure, but also a possible example how “Others” can live successfully amongst a non-Jewish Muslim majority in the Middle East. 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind is a 25 min documentary following three mothers as they struggle to provide a normal life for their children against the shocking reality of being an asylum seeker in the UK. Emily Harris and Yoni Bentovim are an award winning filmmaking duo. They began collaborating whilst studying at the London Film School and have continued to produce successful projects ranging from drama shorts and feature to television documentaries. The film was recently screened at the Human Rights Film Festival.

Jayyab Abusafia is  from Jabylia Refuge Camp in the north of Gaza Strip, the biggest Refugee Camp in the Occupied Territories.  He is studying for a Journalism career here in London.

Nitzan Horowitz, MK  cancelled due to unexpected committment in Germany.

Rotem Ilan, of the organisation Israeli Children, replaces Nitzan Horowitz on suggestion of his office.  Rotem was described to us as one of the real hopefuls on young Left in Israel.  Being only 24 years of age, with a BA in Psychology and Special Education she set up “Israeli Children” herself in July 2009.   “Israeli Children” is fighting against the government decision to deport children of migrant workers that were born and raised in Israel. She will introduce the organization (that is supported among others by MK Nitzan Horowitz from Meretz), and talk about the absence of a clear migration policy in Israel that led to the current situation in which these children are facing deportation after they already felt a part of the Israeli society. See here for a profile in Haaretz.

Ben Du Preez (formerly Amnesty International (Refugee Rights) and Sadaka-Reut): Refugees cared for by African Refugee Development Centre (ARDC), Tel Aviv. ARDC was one of the first is today one of the leading organisations to reach out to non Jewish African refugees in Israel. Ben Du-Preez worked alongside ARDC as part of his mission in Israel to check on refugees in prisons. Du-Preez currently took a break from work to study at SOAS.

David Project (Boston).  An educational trust and lobby group that serves to promote “strong voices for Israel,”  who also campaigned for the story of Arabic speaking Jewish refugees to be publicised.  They and Isra TV are producers and promoters of the documentary “The Forgotten Refugees, (Executive Producer: Ralph Avi Goldwasser
Director: Michael Grynszpan)” winner of the Marbella Film festival 2007 and The Warsaw Film festival 2006.

Maurice Wren, Director, Asylum Aid. London: Asylum Aid 2010. Contemporary challenges and Successes:Asylum Aid is a leading national charity working to secure protection for people seeking refuge in the United Kingdom from persecution and human rights abuses abroad. They provide legal aid, and act as a lobby and support group

Pauline Levis is a single-handed grassroot campaigner for an Iranian Refugee and Asylum Seeker. She is a former chair of Meretz UK by coincidence.

Mimitah Abofando is a  professional singer originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She grew up in a refugee family in the UK and has recently won the award of best new talent at the 2nd African Music Award.

Buy Tickets either via our online facility here (now deleted), with a cheque issued to to Meretz UK, 37a Broadhurst Gardens, London NW6 3BN or pay on door.  Limited Availability!