The Null Device

The Grosvenor Square Congestion Charge Party

Staff from the US embassy in London are asserting their God-given right as Americans to drive where and as they please by refusing to pay London's congestion charge. The staff claim that the charge is a tax, from which, as diplomats, they are exempt; Transport for London asserts that it is not a tax but a road toll, for which no exemptions apply. The Tories, opposed to both taxation and the abridgment of private transport, are making hay:
"Most of us have been making this point for some time. The Americans may only just be waking up to the reality of having Ken Livingstone for Mayor."
The US Embassy has run up about £142,500 of unpaid congestion charge fines since stopping paying the charge in July; there is no means for the government to collect payment other than by threat of sending diplomats back. More recently, the German embassy has joined the revolt.

There are 1 comments on "The Grosvenor Square Congestion Charge Party":

Posted by: Michael S. Sun Oct 23 10:45:17 2005

This has been going on in NY for ages: "But his [Sam Schwartz, NY's traffic commissioner] finest hour was his assault on illegally parked cars with diplomatic plates. Not only did Schwartz ticket these cars; he began towing them, which caused an uproar in the diplomatic community. A special session of more than a hundred delegates to the U.N. was convened to meet with the traffic commissioner. The Russians cited the Geneva Convention, which they claimed guaranteed the right to free parking. The French said it was possible that the entire U.N. might move to Vienna if the diplomats didn't get their parking privileges back. But Schwartz was unmoved, and kept up his assault until, a week or so later, the United States State Department informed him that American diplomats in Norway and Togo had lost their parking privileges, and that to avert an international crisis Schwartz should consider refocussing his energies."