Friday, September 22, 2017

Hey! David Keohane Is Back At Alphaville And He's Got Some Bad News For Uber

Mr. Keohane has been writing some stuff for the paper but this is the first time we've seen him at Alphaville in over a month.
And he's reminded me of one of the best quips ever from the world of diplomacy.

From FT Alphaville:

"Taxi for Uber"
“TfL has today informed Uber that it will not be issued with a private hire operator licence.”

And the quip?
In 1899 American president McKinley appointed an extremely sharp attorney, Joseph Hodges Choate, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
One of the stories told about Choate was that at a Duke's dinner party he was standing near the front door when another nobleman approached and mistaking Choate for a butler said "Call me a cab".

When Choate didn't immediately respond the aristocrat said, "Won't you call me a cab, please?"
To which Choate replied "You are a cab".

The aristo took great offence at this and sought out his host to inform him of his impudent servant.
The Duke told his bro-in-peerage Choate was not a butler but rather the ambassador to the Court of St. James.
Mortified, the noble one went back to the ambassador to express his regret for the misunderstanding, to which Choate responded, "Pray, don't apologize, if I had known who you were I'd have called you a hansom cab."

Choate always denied the story, see: The Atlanta Constitution, February 3, 1902 pp5: Choate's Hansom Apology