At War with America - Ken Livingstone (Poll)

Is Red Ken Right?

  • Just this once, I agree with the irksome little man

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Back Off Ken: The Spams and the Frogs have got it right.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0
#1
I say, Ken :!:
This Time, It’s Personal: Mayor Blasts U.S. Envoy on London Toll
The New York Times
June 22, 2007
By ALAN COWELL

LONDON, June 21 — Diplomatic it was not. In a feud with the American ambassador here, London’s mayor notched up the vitriol on Thursday to the point of wishing harm, even terminal harm, to Washington’s envoy.

The subject of the dispute — a congestion charge levied on vehicles entering a chunk of Central London in working hours, Monday through Friday — has proved divisive here and may soon become so in New York.

The fee for passenger cars in London is around $16 a day, which the American Embassy has refused to pay for its vehicles. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York has proposed similar, if lower, charges.

The dispute here has sharpened during the assignment of Robert H. Tuttle, who became American ambassador in July 2005, when the United States stopped paying the charge. In response, Mayor Ken Livingstone accused Mr. Tuttle of behaving “like some chiseling little crook.”

This February, the American envoy won support from an unlikely quarter when the size of the congestion-charge zone was doubled and embassies in the new, wider area — including the French — also decided to withhold the payments.

The embassies’ refusal to pay has angered the mayor, but the action by the United States seems to have riled him in particular.

“If it was up to me, I would’ve seized their cars and crushed them, but it’s not legal for me to do that,” he said Thursday morning on a radio talk show. “I would’ve been quite happy to crush the car with the American ambassador in it, quite frankly.”

The American Embassy declined to comment, and the mayor’s press officers declined to say whether he wished to elaborate on the remark.

The dispute is over the nature of the charge. American officials argue that it is a tax — a form of levy from which foreign diplomats are exempted under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. But the mayor maintains that it is not a tax because it is a charge for a service — reduced congestion — and that anyone can legally avoid paying it by using the bus, subway or some categories of “green” vehicles.

Nonpayment of the charge — which is enforced by batteries of cameras at entrances to the congestion-charge zone — is punishable by fines, and the American Embassy has racked up a bundle of them. By June the embassy’s unpaid charges and fines were equivalent to $3.3 million, the mayor’s office said.

But the American and the French Embassies are not the only diplomatic outposts in default. Many African embassies have insisted that they be exempted because of the poverty of their home nations.

Last September, however, the mayor’s office said the American Embassy had become the worst offender, with unpaid charges and fines totaling around $1.7 million.

Source: New York Times
22 Jun 2007
 
#2
Lets face it Red Ken will knock the Americans at every oppurtuninty he gets. All Embassies and there staff can not be touched for any offence committed even murder, so why the hell does he expect them to pay his road charge.
 
#5
Anyone or anything that p!sses that self-serving Blair wannabe cnut off has got to be alright with me.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#7
“If it was up to me, I would’ve seized their cars and crushed them, but it’s not legal for me to do that,” he said Thursday morning on a radio talk show. “I would’ve been quite happy to crush the car with the American ambassador in it, quite frankly.”

The American Embassy declined to comment, and the mayor’s press officers declined to say whether he wished to elaborate on the remark."

'tis funny though :D Just imagine if all international politics where commented in the same way :wink:
 
#8
I'm with Ken.

Morally, they're guests in our country and all their embassy staff and nationals benefit from the services the charge covers. So they should pay it.

Incidentally, the Vienna Convention grants diplomatic staff immunity from prosecution under the domestic law of the recieving state, but also stresses that they should obey that law as a normal expectation of diplomatic protocol.

It's not like the US and French can't afford it FFS! If London's to expensive they can always move to Watford or somewhere.
 
#10
Er, isn't something that used to the Foreign Office to sort diplomatic and that sort of things out? Wotsername, Maggie Buckett, in charge, nowadays in a strictly non-speaking role, with a genius called Geoff Hoon under her. Either there is Diplomatic Immunity or there isn't, and Ken Of The Dump is not the one who decides. And don't we pay vast sums to an Attorney-General for advice as well? There are enough International Lawyers around London to help him. Or are they all too frit of Ken and his unique sense of humour?
 
#11
Why is London's mayor so concerned about this diplomatic BS and not the social problems plaguing his city?
 
#12
Khyros said:
Why is London's mayor so concerned about this diplomatic BS and not the social problems plaguing his city?
Having French diplomats living free in London is on a par with with a plague of disease carrying rodents, and Ken has already resolved the Trafalgar Square pigeons issue . . . :wink:
 
#13
nice to see an elected official representing a major city using the language of the gutter. Newt loving freak. Lets hope if he does crush he car he's in the boot (trunk for ant spams present)
 
#14
He is a revolting little man and sadly my Council Tax has doubled since some namless nonentity dreamt the idea of a mayor. We have a real one the real City of London, we have one in the City of Westminster, we have one in all the boroughs, what did we want this unreconstructed communist sh1te for !
 
#17
I'm not a socialist, but I could never understand why people hate him so much. Are they just jumping on the band wagon of hate?

Achievements as Mayor

An Association of London Government survey, conducted by MORI towards the end of Livingstone's first term, demonstrated Londoners' increased satisfaction with public transport and buses in particular were seen as more frequent and reliable.[9] In accordance with his pre-election pledge bus fares were frozen for four years, but then the standard single cash fare on buses increased from 70p to £1.50, though the pre-paid Oystercard fares remained at 80p off-peak, £1 peak. Livingstone removed the famous Routemaster buses from routine service on 9 December 2005, replacing them with wheelchair-accessible buses, although several of the old buses are used on shortened "heritage routes."[10]. As of 1 January 2007, non-Oystercard journeys became the most expensive in the world with journeys now costing £2.[citation needed]

Livingstone has also been a strong proponent of the Oystercard smartcard ticketing system for London's public transport network introduced in 2003. In late 2005, Livingstone proposed large fare increases for on-the-spot tickets across the Tube and bus network to encourage regular travellers to use the automated Oyster system to reduce queuing at Underground stations and avoid delays in conductorless buses as drivers issue tickets. The plans, although ratified by the GLA and introduced in January 2006 were condemned in some quarters by those who argued that the increases would increase the cost of travelling in London to tourists and others who do not travel regularly. Civil liberties groups have expressed concern over the way in which Transport for London is able to track the movements of passengers using the Oystercard system [2]. Recently, Livingstone has moved to make all bus journeys free for passengers under the age of 18 travelling with an Oystercard in full-time education,[11] and introduced initiatives to enable visitors to buy an Oyster card before arriving in London.

Livingstone introduced the London congestion charge with the purpose of reducing traffic congestion in central London. The charge was initially controversial, it is claimed to have reduced traffic levels by 15%, but this is disputed.

He applied for readmittance to the Labour Party in 2002 but was rejected. In November 2003, however, rumours emerged that the Labour Party would allow Livingstone to rejoin, just ahead of the 2004 London mayoral election. Opinion polls consistently gave a poor showing to Labour's official candidate, Nicky Gavron, and many in the party leadership (including Tony Blair himself) feared that Labour would be humiliated by a fourth-place finish. In mid-December, Gavron announced she would stand down as the Labour candidate in favour of a 'unity campaign,' with Gavron as Livingstone's deputy, with Labour's National Executive Committee voting 25-2 to pave the way for Livingstone's readmittance. The deal hinged on a 'loyalty test' administered by a special five-member NEC panel on 9 January. The panel recommended that Livingstone be allowed back in the party. The move towards readmittance came amid considerable opposition from senior party members, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and former party leader Neil Kinnock. In a ballot of Labour Party members in London, Livingstone was overwhelmingly endorsed as the Labour candidate for the 2004 Mayoral election.

In November 2003, Livingstone was named 'Politician of the Year' by the Political Studies Association, which cited his implementation of the 'bold and imaginative' congestion charge scheme. The honour came a week after Livingstone made the headlines for referring to George W. Bush as 'the greatest threat to life on this planet,' just before his official visit to the UK. Livingstone also organised an alternative 'Peace Reception' at City Hall 'for everybody who is not George Bush,' with anti-war Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic as the guest of honour.

Livingstone was re-elected Mayor of London on 10 June 2004. He won 35.70% of first preference votes to Conservative Steven Norris's 28.24% and Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes's 14.82%. Six other candidates shared the remainder of the votes. When all the candidates except Livingstone and Norris were eliminated and the second preferences of those voters who had picked neither Livingstone or Norris as their first choice were counted, Livingstone won with 55.39% to Norris's 44.61%.

Albeit from Wikipedia
 
#18
Not a socialist either, and I reckon he's done a lot of good - congestion charging for example, is about the fairest way possible of getting some dosh into London's ailing public transport system after decades of under-investment by Labour and Tory governments.

And it works - there is noticible improvement in PT and less congested traffic in the centre.

I'd rather have a somehwat obnoxious newt fancier who gets things done and is prepared to make big decisions than some smarmy, 'clubbable' Tory Boy who won't go up against business or the Chelsea Tractor brigade.
 
#20
Khyros said:
Why is London's mayor so concerned about this diplomatic BS and not the social problems plaguing his city?
Because he's a cnut.
 

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