The abusive email that exposes how a Cameron crony acted as a bully boy for chums at tax-dodging tech giant Uber

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The abusive email that exposes how a Cameron crony acted as a bully boy for chums at tax-dodging tech giant Uber

Post by eddie on Sat May 13, 2017 5:52 am

Downing Street fixer Daniel Korski berated TFL for upsetting Uber
The cab company had siphoned off UK earnings into the tax haven of Bermuda
But both Cameron and Osborne lobbied against regulations that'd affect Uber
Each sent furious text messages to Boris Johnson lobbying for the U.S. firm
Few things are more terrifying to mild-mannered civil servants than an angry dressing-down from a member of the Prime Minister’s closest staff.

Falling out with No 10 can ruin careers or condemn entire departments of government to obscurity and irrelevance.

For a brief time 18 months ago, this was the chilling prospect that faced Jamie O’Hara, Head of Government Relations at Transport for London (TfL).





The date was September 30, 2015, and he’d just sent a polite email to one of then Prime Minister David Cameron’s top aides requesting a ‘catch-up’ at the Tory conference in Manchester.

Such meetings formed an important part of O’Hara’s job at the TfL quango, which oversees the capital’s road, rail and Underground networks. It involved liaising with Whitehall over a wide range of issues — from funding major infrastructure projects to placing road-signs.

This time, he hoped to brief the senior Downing Street adviser — Daniel Korski, who he’d met at the previous year’s Tory conference in Birmingham — about how a new ‘ticketless’ payment system recently introduced on the Tube ‘could be replicated elsewhere in the UK’.

So far so anodyne. Or so you might think. But four minutes after sending his email, O’Hara received a response of extraordinary hostility. Short in length and aggressive, it radiated petulance and menace.

‘To be honest,’ read the message from Korski, ‘as TfL does the kind of insane and luddite things you’re consulting on for private hire vehicles I can’t really see much point in discussing innovation and technology with you.’



Rachel Whetstone was one of David Cameron's closest friends and a senior executive at Uber



The email ended abruptly, without so much as a ‘thank you’ or ‘best wishes’.

Judging by the tone, Downing Street — where Korski was deputy head of Cameron’s policy unit — was angered by something TfL had done. Specifically, I can reveal that the ‘insane and luddite things’ Korski was complaining about were proposals by O’Hara’s then boss Boris Johnson, who was London Mayor, that had upset a tax-dodging internet company called Uber. Based in California, but funnelling most of its UK earnings to the tax haven of Bermuda, via Holland, the Silicon Valley firm runs a mobile phone app that allows users to hail minicabs at the touch of a button.

Launched in 2012, it quickly grabbed a big share of the taxi market. Yet Uber soon began to generate serious controversy in the process.

Some accused it of using predatory pricing (it loses around $2 billion a year) to undercut traditional black cab and minicab firms, to drive them out of business and create a monopoly.

Others noted that Uber had roughly doubled the total number of taxis in Central London, creating some of the worst congestion ever, and causing serious pollution. There were further concerns about passenger safety, with allegations of rapes and sexual assaults by Uber drivers reported at a rate of one every 11 days.

The tone of Korski's email to TFL's Jamie O'Hara was extremely blunt and abrasive
With all this in mind, Mayor Johnson had in September 2015 (days before Korski’s caustic email was sent) announced that TfL was considering 25 measures that might protect the public more and regulate better the private hire industry.

They included capping the number of taxi licences, making drivers pass an English test (many of Uber’s workers are foreign-born) and requiring cabs to wait at least five minutes between accepting a booking and picking up a client (Uber likes to fulfil such requests in just three). Naturally, the plans outraged Uber, which launched a petition against them.

Then, almost immediately, its campaign attracted some remarkable, heavyweight support.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4501580/amp/The-abusive-email-exposes-Cameron-crony.html



Dirty corruption. Cameron and Boris Johnson pretty much killed off the London Black Taxi and the private hire firms in dodgy dealings and loadsa money lining their pockets.

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Re: The abusive email that exposes how a Cameron crony acted as a bully boy for chums at tax-dodging tech giant Uber

Post by sassy on Sat May 13, 2017 7:27 am

Corruption and sleaze, the only thing the Tories are good at.

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Re: The abusive email that exposes how a Cameron crony acted as a bully boy for chums at tax-dodging tech giant Uber

Post by eddie on Sat May 13, 2017 6:28 pm

sassy wrote:Corruption and sleaze, the only thing the Tories are good at.

They absolutely ruined London.

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