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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Uber - The Pundits Bleat

After yesterday’s decision by Transport for London not to renew the operator’s licence for driver and rider matching service Uber, the right-wing punditry has offered its entirely predictable response. The clear reasons for TfL refusing licence renewal were all but ignored, the story was framed as the personal intervention of Sadiq Khan, who took no part in the process, and the decision was held to be all about choice.
Thus the ardent free marketeers ignored the inability of Uber in London to abide by the rules, the effective servitude imposed on its drivers by having no job security, no control over rate cuts, and the constant threat of being “deactivated”, should a punter take exception to them. That there are several other transport options available to Londoners, including other app-based services, was not allowed to enter.
Typical of the sour and partisan tone was that struck by Alex Deane, another of those Clever People Who Talk Loudly In Restaurants: “Well done Sadiq. Next up, smash the spinning jenny”. It was nothing to do with Sadiq. But do go on. “A concentrated minority of determined campaigners will often overcome a diffuse majority. Millions will pay higher fares now”. Stuff the sub-minimum wage offer for the driver, eh?
But at least Deane had engaged brain first, which Spectator editor Fraser Nelson had not: “World over, approach to #Uber is a proxy for whether a gvt/city is on the side of the vested interests (the few) or consumers (the many)”. Very good Fraser - Uber IS a vested interest. And a very large one. How about blaming Khan? “Sadiq Khan declared himself anti-Uber while on the mayoral election campaign. He has been consistent”.
Blub! Sniff!! Snot fair!!! Meanwhile, Sohrab Ahmari, ex Murdoch Wall Street Journal, complained “A regular black cab to Heathrow can easily cost as much as your roundtrip flight to many European destinations. Uber was a life-saver”. But he hadn’t heard of all the other app-based offerings or existing minicab firms either. And then came the loathsome Toby Young: “Awful. Monopolists successfully stifle competition”.
Brilliant Tobes - Uber ARE monopolists. Did the Mail on Sunday’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges have anything useful to say? “Tories struggling for popular distinction between their vision of capitalism and Corbyn's socialism. Uber have handed them one”. Sadly, no he didn’t. How about the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie? “The Uber decision. Appalled at @SadiqKhan's attack on consumers? Sign the Petition. I just have”. Stuff safety standards and rule breaking, just think selfishness.
Isabel Oakeshott fared no better: “Stunned by Uber ban. So anti free market! Don't believe it will actually happen but if it does, suspect @SadiqKhan will come to regret it”. No, it’s Uber that is anti-free market. Was there no sense to be had from those on the right? For once, it was left to the attention seeking Julia Hartley Dooda to think before whining: “I use @Uber all the time & want to continue doing so. But they should vet drivers properly & report criminal allegations to police”. There was more to the decision, but a good start.

Uber is an aggressive corporate looking to drive its competition out of business and impose its own monopoly. Ultimately, it does not give a rat’s arse about consumers. Yet all these ostensibly sensible pundits fall for it every time. I’ll just leave that one there.

18 comments:

Darren Leathley said...

I am only marginally surprised that no one claimed a dastardly EU element to the decision. The usual suspects usually do.

Anonymous said...

That petition shows London is Gobshite Central.

Unknown said...

The reason Über is cheap is because the passenger only pays 41% of the journey.

I see none of these free marketeers are talking about how Uber is subsidised by venture capitalists out to capture the market.

Oscar James said...

I hear Sadik Khan (even though it's not his responsibility but who cares, let's blame him) is going to announce electricians, plumbers, carpenters, builders..you name it..no longer need a license or government mandated regulations to ensure that new light switch doesn't blow you to Kingdom Come.
Do these ghastly pundits really believe what they are saying or are they just being mendacious? Either way they are absolute scum who either cannot even be bothered finding out why a decision was made or lying has just become very normal for them.

John_at_leeds said...

Where is the petition to support the ban?

iMatt said...

Does the twit that is Toby Young actually use the bus or train? If so, he'd realise they are regionalised private MONOPOLIES.

If I wanted to take a trip from here in Leeds to Manchester next week I'd have to use Trans Pennine Express. There is no alternative. Esp. for a journey at a given time. Similarly if I wanted to get into Leeds city centre by bus I have no other choice but to use First Bus.

He really needs to THINK befor putting finger to keyboard.

mirandola said...

In addition, there's this to consider from the ultimate spoilt-boy newspaper brat:

Carole Cadwalladr‏ @carolecadwalla

Carole Cadwalladr Retweeted George Osborne

BlackRock: £500m stake in Uber. Pays @George_Osborne £650k/year
Oh look...
"Customers lose cheap fares""Business fears" "jobs jeopardy"

https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/status/911180150947139585

Anonymous said...

According to The Guardian, that petition to have a rethink stands at 500k plus???????


Rly

pete c said...

40000 potentially facing job loss. Yeah, right.

Sounds to me more like 40000 chancers trying to make some bonus cash whilst making the commute to their regular job.

So why are so many supposedly sensible people prepared to hand themselves over to an un-regulated and un-certificated risk.

TFL has long had a publicity campaign warning against just such rash behaviour.

High time the gig economy had some slapping down.

And high time these gob-shites got over their antipathy (and barely suppressed racism) towards the London Mayor.

Ceiliog said...

@John_at_leeds
It's easy to start a petition with change.org

I note that the Uber petition is open to everyone in the world and that many of the signatures come from non-UK residents.

Anonymous said...

Uber would surely be welcomed with open arms should they decide to co-operate and follow the rules like everybody else. It's nobody's fault but their own if they can't or won't. I'm sure all these drivers whose 'livelihoods' have been destroyed can soon go out and pass The Knowledge, get the necessary licences etc and carry on working.

Bob said...

For what is a 'local' petition to have gained such traction in a short space of time is very unusual. Are Uber texting past and current customers from their database (illegally?) to garner support.

Ceiliog said...

@Bob
The petition is international, not local, and it is getting signers from around the world and even from people who have never been to London and have no intention of visiting the UK's capital.

Anonymous said...

iMatt point of order. You can get a Northern service from Manchester to Leeds via Halifax or Morley!

Anonymous said...

iMatt. I'd rather shit razor blades than go to either Manchester or Leeds. Horrible places.

Anonymous said...

"...Tory...vision of capitalism..."

What a load of bollocks.

Capitalism has no "vision". All it knows is maximum greed and profit. Its propagandists keep telling us so.

Which is why, no matter how long it takes, it will be hoist on its own petard. Always assuming its homicidal maniacs haven't blown up the world by then.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting to be able to sign an Anti-Uber petition, to counter the highly publicised pro-Uber petition (apparently signed by twitter zombies from all over the world). Not only to ban Uber from London, but from the whole of the UK.
Enough already of the West-Coast "locusts" (not only Uber) who cream off profits, pay almost no tax, and exploit people. I'm all for innovation and reform, but do we need "celebrity capitalists" (and would-be monopolists) from another continent to tell us how to do it?

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Just found the online petition to STOP Uber being re-licensed in London:
https://www.change.org/p/minister-for-transport-9df9dceb-e98e-4b20-8560-1c5de2454450
Let's get it up to 1m+ signatories!