Uber’s licence from Transport for London, the body regulating taxis and mini cabs, expires at the end of October. This week ten MPs wrote to TfL opposing any renewal and declaring Uber to be “an unfit and improper operator” which fails to protect passenger safety. They cited the alarming statistic that an (alleged) sexual assault by an Uber driver is reported every 11 days, something the company seems reluctant to deal with. The MPs also raised Uber’s treatment of its drivers, some of whom claim to earn only about £2 an hour after expenses. Uber insists its drivers are self-employed, despite the company imposing all manner of rules and penalties on them and maintains that the contract is between the driver and the passenger despite the fact that neither driver nor passenger agree or even discuss the fare, has no idea who the hell the other one is and it is Uber who is paid, not the driver. The matter is currently occupying the attention of the courts with m’learned Friends rubbing their hands with glee, perusing the new Porsche catalogues and pirouetting around Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
WTF’s own objections to Uber include both of the above matters, in particular the treatment of its workers common to global companies upon people needing a job. The gig economy is basically an excuse for big companies to make money out of people without the concomitant obligations of employing them. She also wishes to add the following charges to the indictment. First, most Uber drivers are crap and have no idea where they are going. They rely on their SatNav, causing them to stop suddenly, usually in the middle of the road and without any prior indication, to the great annoyance of other road users. Second, Uber pays neither tax nor VAT in this country, purporting to be a technology provider based abroad. WTF has a marked dislike of businesses which trade here but do not hand over tax. As she has remarked before, either pay up or piss off. Third, WTF has a great fondness for black cab drivers, who do know where they are going, having studied London roads for several years, and shelled out for their cab on the understanding that they would not have direct competition. Fourth, the said cab drivers have their fares regulated and imposed by TfL which makes them more expensive than Uber, particularly after 8 pm when the fares go up although the price of petrol remains the same. Uber on the other hand, being a global monolith, subsidises its losses of £2bn a year whilst London cabbies go bust. And fifth, Uber and the Tory Government were once cosier than lovers snuggling under the duvet. Uber’s chief lobbyist was godmother to one of David Cameron’s kids. No 10 officials and others vigorously lobbied the then Mayor, priapic windbag Boris Johnson. After May booted him out of office, George Osborne walked into a £650,000 a year, 48 days a year job with Black Rock, which has a massive stake in Uber. Not only did Uber get its licence but Johnson dropped a number of stringent requirements, like ensuring that its drivers spoke English. It all stinks worse than the giant fatberg currently blocking the sewers under Whitechapel.
Of course, Uber is cheap – much cheaper than a black cab with its regulated fares and regulated drivers. But often things are cheap because the people supplying the services are cheap. So if you do not mind making rich companies even richer and sod the consequences, use Uber. Buy from Sports Direct. Or make a stand for standards. Your call.
We start the review of the week’s fashion flops with actress Andrea Riseborough at the Fox TV party, wearing St Laurent.
Andrea used to be dark haired and pale but has fallen into the clutches of a new stylist who needs a sharp talking-to and a new pair of glasses. Andrea’s hair has gone white and her skin is the same colour as her dress. The single sleeve resembles a leg of ham on her shoulder, like a tiny Pamplona meat porter.
To the Toronto Film Festival and actress Diane Kruger, wearing Prabal Gurung.
This is just designer tinfoil wound randomly around Diane’s person and stapled together by unfortunates on an art therapy course. And that split is putting onlookers in fear of an imminent Minge Moment.
New York was bursting with celebs and fashionistas for New York Fashion Week. Here is singer Liana Banks, wearing Maison Le Faux at its Show.
WTF does not even know what this is supposed to be but whatever it is, it looks like a giant bat undergoing a post-mortem.
The woman who defines pointless celebrity, Kim Kardashian, walked around New York City in her undies.
This falls squarely into the category of “that’s not even clothes”. There needs to be more outfit, to whit something, anything, below the waist other than a pair of panties (giving new meaning to the old tune “Just a Thong at Twilight”) and black footless tights. And what’s with the Danaerys Targaryen hair?
To the Harper’s Bazaar ICONS Celebrate Carine Roitfeld shindig, a regular event during NYFW. First up, WTF bugbear and celebrity son Brooklyn Beckham.
He is not dressed for the occasion and looks entirely gormless. He could be taken for the lad delivering the ice sculptures. Why is he even there? Judging from his debut book of photographs, a baboon would have done better with a Box Brownie.
Actor Jared Leto was there, making it a record four weeks in a row in this blog. There will now be a moratorium on him. Of course he is wearing Gucci.
Those paying attention will recognise the lapels as the same ones adorning last week’s lairy check number. WTF might even have been able to forgive the Chinese wallpaper pattern were it not for the fact that the trousers are flowing over his embroidered slippers like an ink spilling from a bottle.
Motor racer Lewis Hamilton was also there, looking like a prat.
Here is a WTF rule. If you wear sunglasses indoors or in the dark, you look like a wazzock. In Lewis’ case, the wazzockry is only just beginning. From the neck, it is downhill all the way from the silk blouson to the buckled belt (are those dollar signs?) to the ripped jeans complete with bulging gear box. Wazzock.
Anna resembles a particularly wistful ghost clad in used paper hankies.
And this is Leomie Anderson, wearing Versailles Boutique. WARNING! MORE TITS!
Leomie is gorgeous, but she seems to have been taken out of the freezer and is slowly defrosting.
This week’s It’s Got To Go is nominated by WTF of Islington who is appalled by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Mnuchin made $300m at Goldman Sachs before accepting his new role and has already distinguished himself by flying down to Forth Knox, Kentucky “to discuss gold reserves” on the day of the Total Eclipse (prime viewing point – Kentucky). If he was there to discuss gold reserves, why did the new Mrs Mnuchin go as well? The only thing she knows about gold is that she likes it. It has now emerged that Mnuchin also tried to schnorrer an Air Force plane to fly to Europe on his honeymoon (this is wife number three), citing “communication and security reasons”. Fortunately he was told to pay for his own trip. Greedy bastard. He’s Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Please keep those comments coming in as WTF enjoys them enormously. And don’t forget your excellent suggestions for It’s Got To Go. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x