The mayor of London yesterday unveiled plans to charge the highest polluting vehicles £25 a day to drive in central London and the enlarged congestion charge zone to the west of the capital
'End of the road: 4x4s targeted by £25 congestion super-charge' Guardian, November 15, 2006
Ken Livingstone's proposal to radically increase the congestion charge for so-called Chelsea tractors demonstrates that the only social groups you can now publicly express hatred for are the white working class and the well-off middle class - albeit on different grounds. If the kind of language Livingstone uses towards some car drivers were directed at another minority, he would likely find himself in court.
Like the invasion of Iraq, the congestion charge is turning out to be a tool for pursuing any and every political whim. While it is illogically designed for tackling congestion, it is now being wielded to fight climate change in an equally irrational manner. What the congestion charge clearly demonstrates is that any latent spirit of innovation in transport has finally been nailed, and any expectation that everyone's lives might be improved by new technology and imaginative planning has also been laid to rest.
Published as a letter in the Guardian , November 18, 2006 entitled Ken's war on the gas-guzzlers