Uber has lost its London operating licence and now the public howling begins. The first response to Uber losing their London operating licence was the inevitable "it's not fair! How are we going to cope?" ('We,' obviously being Londoners; those of us outside the capital were mostly only aware of Uber because the media talked about them a lot.)

The smarter objectors to the loss of the Uber licence played the 'sympathy for the working classes' card, citing the supposed plight of all those poor people (usually 'poor' in both the sense of 'deserving of sympathy' and in terms of not enjoying financial stability), who would now lose their jobs.

Now, we're starting to get the handwringing - the "I'm so glad someone did something - I could see the problems, but I didn't want to risk saying anything." As though there's a chance, in the UK, that criticising an employment model could get you carted off for ten years' hard labour.

The gig economy doesn't work

Everyone knows that. The only reason the media celebrates it is that, in response to the digital disruption of their sector, it allows them to make money: set up a news site, put up a couple of Facebook ads asking for writers, and offer to pay those writers in "share of advertising revenue" generated by their articles. They then charge advertisers to be featured on the site and watch the money roll in.

The writers might never have to be paid at all: Social media users are a lot more jaded and savvy than they were. Very few will actually bother to click advertising links in an article anymore, and many will not even bother to open most "news" articles on social media that come from a source other than long-standing outlets who made their name in print media first.

People recognise clickbait when they see it.

But the news sites aren't bothered: brands always want their name out there, and they'll always pay for it. Once the advertisers have paid up, it doesn't matter if the content gets read.

The Gig Economy took the concept of self-employment and twisted it. Instead of something that genuinely rewarded initiative and hard work, it became yet another way that the already wealthy could exploit everyone else.

And no one said anything because the individuals working in the gig economy needed the money they were making. Reluctantly they accepted that rights, legal protections, and the basic concern of their employer for their welfare were luxuries they would simply have to get used to doing without. Meanwhile, the politicians that oversaw its stratospheric rise needed a way to keep unemployment figures down. And the gig economy offered that in spades.

Unemployment is the stick that gets used to beat everyone into accepting the unacceptable

Of course, there are employers - small businesses who have seasonal increases in work. These include the arts and heritage organisations, the third sector - who rely on casual labour and zero-hours contracts.

These employers, however, typically value the staff they employ, and will often go out of their way to make their appreciation known in other ways.

The gig economy, however, is the playground of the rich and reckless, those employers who see human beings as nothing more than a cost line on a spreadsheet. In fact, they resent the fact that they can't simply get robots in to do the jobs they're currently losing money hiring people to do. The gig economy is the economy of the already comfortably off, maximising profit at the expense of the wider good.

In theory, it should be obvious that the gig economy is a cynical, exploitative system. Rather than helping those who help themselves, as all employment, and particularly self-employment, is meant to do, the gig settles for helping those who do the least.

Those of us who don't already have a comfortable lifestyle should be refusing to work for the chancers of the gig economy. But we don't because those employers have got together with the government to wield the stick of threatened unemployment. In the UK, this can involve waiting months with no money at all while the decision is made as to whether you are entitled to an amount that is just about enough to live on. At the same time, it is so little as to ensure that, unless you have another form of financial support, you are trapped in the cycle of dependence. The dependence includes poverty and abuse that the government enjoys overseeing because there is no better deterrent to the masses than the agony of others.

Uber has heard the first death-knell of the gig economy and those who are used to the easy money and lack of responsibility it has afforded them thus far are terrified.