Thursday, March 29, 2007

Livingstone finds more people to offend

This time the Japanese government and its people. There may, or may not be a case for arguing that the congestion charge is not a tax, but this hardly classes as diplomacy, especially when conducted on the radio:

"Commenting recently about Japan's decision not to contribute toward the central London congestion motoring charge, Ken Livingstone told the LBC radio station, "I think there are several problems with Japan that we could go on about here. "Admitting their guilt for all the war crimes would be one thing. So if they've not got round to doing that, I doubt they're too worried about the congestion charge." (Source)

Showing his usual cavalier disregard for the facts, he fails to note that the Japanese authorities have made numerous apologies. Quite apart from the issue of diplomatic niceties, it is hardly good business to offend a major source of foreign direct investment, and the £312,000 which the Mayor considers Japan owes is a trifle compared to the potential investments that he may have deterred. He has taken aim at the US in similarly crass terms, and given that around 50 diplomatic missions are not paying the charge, perhaps we can anticipate a whole range of specially tailored slurs for individual countries.

No comments: