Ideology Uber Alles

The transport regulatory body for London, TfL, announced yesterday that it was revoking the operating licence for Uber due to safety concerns and governance issues.

The Socialist Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, publicly supports this decision.

Uber will appeal this decision, resulting in a stay of execution for about a year while the legal process is underway.

Some pertinent numbers might be useful. London has;

44,000 Uber drivers

3.5m customers

Around 50 sexual assaults a year by Uber drivers

Around 125 sexual assaults by other taxi drivers per year

Any number higher than zero is too high for sexual assaults but the relativity of the figures above make sense; a would-be attacker is less likely to do so if you’ve been able to identify him from a picture of his face and have a record of his car registration on your phone.

Indeed, even the Financial Times gets it right in an opinion piece yesterday, proving the old saying about stopped clocks being accurate twice a day;

Bill’s Opinion

This is an ideological decision made for reasons of Socialist dogma. The disruption that Uber has brought to London has had two main effects;

1. Shaking up a previously fat and happy taxi industry.

2. Excellent price and service outcomes for the consumer.

Sadiq Khan and the UK extreme left wing cannot reconcile 1) with 2). They are wracked with anger and jealously that an innovative idea has resulted in a heavily-unionised industry experiencing change and the parent company owners becoming rich.

The outcomes for the consumer are a very distant 2nd place to this envy in their list of priorities.

How this plays out will be highly-interesting; a popular mayor may find himself badly-damaged by this knee-jerk decision.

14 Replies to “Ideology Uber Alles”

  1. I see Uber as destroying a Rentier system, the cab licence in the same ways as AirBnB destroys hotel license. So its interesting that you see this shutting down of Uber as Socialism, could be true as I guess an elite Rentier class would not like the many proles getting a piece of the action.

    1. I understand what you’re saying but we’ve moved on from rentiers and capitalists; it’s just blue and red now.

      And blue isn’t always blue; Pauline Hanson, for example is as red as they come.

      Conversely, team red don’t realise that Uber is emancipating the workers because half a dozen people still paying union fees say it’s bad.

      It’s a fucked up world!

        1. Have you heard Dan Carlin’s history podcast episode about nuclear weapons. The Bay of Pigs taught JFK the lesson he needed about holding his nerve against the military that saved us in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

          1. No I haven’t seen that but I have read a lot of what he done in his short time at the top pushing back on the military industrial complex as well. Some other nerves of steel with both his internal and external opponents included:

            – not invading Laos

            – defusing the Berlin tank standoff

            – plus he got the nuclear test ban treaty up again with Khrushchev.

            The not very well publicized “peace speech” he made shortly before his death could have quite easily been the start of the end of the madness, but sadly it wasn’t to be.

            Definitely worth listing to what he had to say about peace just before he left us.

  2. Coming in late for this. Thanks Bardon. An interesting recording, that provides many contrasts to discussion today for not just what he says, but how he says it. One interesting point (among many) is mainly how the Democrats in the US have changed spots over the years. While it could have mere marketing from Trump, he was the isolationist, not looking for the world to be subject to American power. The other side (including the media) were the active interventionists, seeking to ensure that peace was imposed, and not derived locally by the inhabitants of the relevant area learning to co-exist – not loving each other, but as tolerant, reasonable people.

    One thing that seems to define much discussion these days, in particular (but not solely) from the progressive side of politics is the degree of control they wish to have over everybody else. Only they have the answer, and it must be that way. I think it is this trait that most irritates people, in particular in America. It is easy to confuse socialism with a simple desire to impose your will on others – much like a religion. This is often combined with a healthy dose of envy.

    I think it is this desire for control and envy, a dislike of change, and a very short frame of reference (their own adulthood), that creates a decision like the Uber one. For the possible dissonance (if they actually recognise the outcomes) their intentions are pure, so the negative effects on others can be ignored, when viewed from such lofty moral grounds.

    1. Welcome.

      Yes, Uber is one of those touchstones that is capable of bringing out the core of the individual; envy, distrust of the market, a desire to impose a view on others, etc.

      You’re right, it’s easy to just bundle this up and call it “Socialism” but perhaps it goes far deeper and earlier in our human history than this modern name for it.

      I’m reminded of the Somerset Maugham quote, “…it is not enough to have achieved personal success. One’s best friend must fail.”

      That’s Socialism in a nutshell.

    2. G’day Northcote,

      They have certainly changed their spots from tears as Trump took out a lease of the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to anger and shear hatred. Now these intellectuals have managed to polarize the people to such an extent that I think they have now manged to mobilize the normally quite silent American, which to me may be a good thing in the long term.

      As for Uber I see this as the whacking of a Mafia Don, the old cab licences Don being whacked to make way for the new ride share Don. Some places will transition quicker than others, its a bit like when some Mafia resisted drug dealing in the fifties.

      A fascinating story if interested is the guys that created the finance system for NYC Cab medallions, it really was a clever scheme that made them fortune whilst keeping the price rising and allowing no new entrants. Very clever indeed.

      The main game for ride sharing is in developing countries such as India and the like, never mind millions of new ride share drivers getting a car for the first time, they also need a smart phone as well. The numbers in India are mind boggling large.

      1. I’m taking the family to India in December, I’ll keep you posted on the Uber experience, although the tuk tuks are good enough for me usually.

        1. Enjoy it, I was supposed to be in Chennai tomorrow but managed to get someone else to cover. I have very fond memories of the north and Srinagar as a lad.

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