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Monday, 17 August 2009

Note to Boris: restrict the CD plates

The new American Ambassador to the Court of St James has annoyed Boris by not coughing up an estimated £3.5m in unpaid congestion charges.

When I was a lad a school friend's dad had an elderly and unfashionable Humber that he had brought home from a Foreign Office posting in Africa. It was slow, it was noisy, the suspension was shot so that one slid from one side of the leather bench seats to the other on corners, but it had one superlative advantage; it retained its CD plates. Those little enamelled ovals that announced the car as belonging to a member of the Corps Diplomatique were worth a lakh of rubies. No parking fines, and respectful plods waving you through road restrictions were the least of it.

Now there are ten accredited members of the US mission to London by my reckoning; the Ambassador, the Chief of Mission, the Defence Attaché and seven Minister Counselors. In fairness, the US Embassy should therefore be allowed ten cars with CD plates that are exempt from all charges, including the Congestion Charge. However, other cars driven by the hundreds of other Embassy staff - the clerks, the Marine guard, the boiler maintenance man - should have no such exemption. Fair's fair.

C'mon. We need the money.

1 comment:

Curmudgeon said...

When Ken was in charge a lot of us were covertly cheering the US embassy for cocking a snook at him. The Con Charge is an abomination anyway, and the fact that Boris has taken over doesn't make it any better.