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Thursday 13 April 2017

Uber - Why Whetstone Went

Yesterday’s Evening Standard had a surprise revelation for its readers: “Uber’s PR chief Rachel Whetstone adds to its woes by quitting after two years in post”. Well, it may have been a surprise to the Standard, but here on Zelo Street it was not. Nor, more to the point, was it a surprise to the Standard’s Northcliffe House neighbours at the Daily Mail, where hatchet job purveyor supreme Guy Adams was on Uber’s case once again.
The driver and rider matching service has now found itself in the crosshairs of the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor at a time which will cause the Standard maximum discomfort - to the latter title’s new editor, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet. Osborne and Young Dave, his then next door neighbour in Downing Street, are two of the main reasons for the Mail’s assault.

Paul Dacre never really warmed to Cameron and Osborne. Now that Adams has his teeth into Uber over the influence of Ms Whetstone in allegedly causing the then PM to lean on his pal, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, to go easy on Uber by backing off from subjecting the firm’s drivers to stricter regulation, it will only go downhill for Travis Kalanick and his fellow executives.

The story is well-known, and was covered by Zelo Street in June 2015 - yes, nearly two years ago. Bozza was going to get TfL to insist, as current Mayor Sadiq Khan has done, that Uber drivers should at least have a competent command of English. Uber didn’t like that one bit, which tells you all you need to know about the gulf in standards between them and black cab drivers, who have to pass The Knowledge. In English.
The Knowledge, as viewers looking in on a Channel 4 documentary yesterday evening will know, takes at least four years to conquer. No-one gets to be a London cabbie without it. Thousands of landmarks, along with street and road names, traffic restrictions and cut-throughs, must be committed to memory. The order of the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue must be memorised correctly - all other tourist destinations likewise.

Now, the Mail is bringing the influence of the “Chumocracy” - Cameron, Osborne, Ms Whetstone and her husband Steve Hilton (Dave’s former guru) - to a far wider audience. The article’s headline, “£1m-a-year Rachel, favours to Uber from No10 and the growing smell of scandal”, tells you all you need to know. And there is more.

A Daily Mail Comment ominously tellsAs an inquiry is launched into No 10’s failure to disclose crucial emails, this paper hopes light will be thrown on the workings of the chumocracy at the heart of the former prime minister’s administration”, before taking the biscuit with “Indeed, the Mail has led the way in exposing how Downing Street leaned on Boris Johnson, then London Mayor, to drop his plans for regulating Uber”.

Ho ho ho. Better late than never, say I. While the Mail is at it, they could look into the claims that Uber was bribing journalists in order to secure favourable copy. Steve McNamara of the LTDA made the suggestion on Newsnight, there was much talk of defamation suits, but nothing materialised. Just a thought for Guy Adams.

Once the Mail goes for you and all that … there will be much more on this story later.


Anonymous said...

Just been to Rome and there are lots of less than subtle signs telling people to avoid Uber at all costs.

It is now easy to do as the Italian government have banned them:


Andy McDonald said...

Ah, I wondered at the reference to Rachel Whetstone in Richard Littlejohn's latest branespeek, where he had her partnering Gideon in an imagined remake of Car Share. Must have had Dacre hovering over his shoulder dictating to him.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that for all the stories about the press being diminished, it's when they pick something up, years later, that then heads roll.

D Trump said...

I gotta tell ya folks.

We have the best technology. Watching those missiles going off was just great.

We've spent trillions of dollars on technology because we fleeced the taxpayers.
That's on top of that planet we discovered and landed on.
I forget what its called.

I think it was the moon or something but anyway we put a flag there.
You can see it flapping around in the videos we filmed with help from studios.
We can't show you the originals because we lost them.
It only cost billions of dollars.

I would like to take this wonderful opportunity to say to the American people, keep paying your taxes and I might think about paying mine.

S Spicer said...


You fool. Do you always have to go and open your big mouth without thinking?

It wasn't the moon.

Uranus. It was Uranus we conquered.

Your penchant for a hole in one should have reminded you of that.
Just leave the Press reporting to me.