top of page

You can't build a bridge from the middle...

Black Cab drivers in London are pretty smart aren't they? The fact that to get a licence might take two years of driving around and around Greater London on a moped in all conditions means that they at least have a bit of staying power.

I can quite understand that they were really upset when Uber arrived in town and started to take business and further clog up the streets with vehicles. GPS, 4G, and a slick app really has put them on the back foot. But the market did react with the launch of Hailo, Gett, Kabee, and Maaxi, all that offer similar solutions to Uber. However the power of a single brand offering jobs for 40,000 people many of whom driving is probably the one thing they are able to do meant that it was always going to be a disruptive time similar to so many 'Technology revolutions'.

But is this different? Has technology reached a tipping point when the man in the middle, yes the middle class are now realising that their jobs are under threat? It seems that the work force is becoming like an hour glass. Lots of low paid manual, gig economy jobs at the bottom and the rich owners and leaders at the top.

Of course this is not news, from the start of the industrial revolution the backlash to progress has always taken its toll on the poor and least educated. In less then than two decades these new Uber generation drivers will be protesting about self-driving electric car like things which will be putting then out of a job just as they reach their late forties!

There does seem to be a greater need , however, to understand how we plan for the future. Brexit in the UK has presented the opportunity for us to play on a world playing field unencumbered only by controls we design or agree to alone. Then we immediately see the US imposing sanctions on Canada preventing the free movement of goods based on the principle that state supported business present unfair competition.

The result is a 200% import tariff on new planes and potentially a dark future for Northern Ireland and Bombardier just at a time when they are likely to have a new border between them and the rest of Europe.

The vision from Jeremy Corbyn also seems to offer hope to the lower paid and struggling working class. His view takes us on an interesting path not seen since Michael Foot in the 1980's They are some parallels here, not to mention views on nuclear disarmament and re-inflation of Government spending. It all looks very good on paper! and to be honest some of the policies do make our current Government look pretty harsh. The key is that you cannot be a moderate fence sitter if you want to build a following of passionate people. Corbyn has got this right. It is interesting that Tony Blair 20 years ago

made a speech saying that every school in the country would be connected to the Internet and his mantra was 'education, education, education'. He may have a won lot of votes in his first election win on a tide of new ideas and change driven by technology. We have the internet but it seems that we may have failed on education with 33% of all politicians being educated at a private school, 25% going to an Oxbridge university. In the end Blair and the Labour Government were in the middle and finally became powerless because we couldn't see the difference.

But returning to the point. Progress and technology advancement go hand in hand. Governments can easily restrict technology and should do so if it is pollutes, destroys or is dangerous to its people and their freedom but technological advances sometimes have hidden unintended consequences. Sadiq Khan's Uber decision in London should be a wake up call for us all.

Avoid the middle!


bottom of page