Wednesday, August 08, 2007

'A consultation' - Livingstone style.

Maybe I am being naive, but the concept of 'a consultation' suggests that something is being investigated without there being pre-ordained aim. Not, however, when it comes to City Hall and the Mayor of London.

The 'consultation' is about an exciting new class war attack on folk fortunate enough to drive large and / or luxurious cars. Not that it is phrased thus, it is all about CO2 emissions, which Livingstone has determined to have caused the recent floods. Uh-huh.

There is, as one would expect, some rather poor reasoning at work in the press release, and some fairly masterful sleights of hand. The attack on the owners of these cars is justified by their only being driven by '8% of Londoners'. Given that the congestion charge zone covers Westminster and K&C, the honest figure to dig out would be the percentage of these chariots of CO2 owned by people living in those boroughs, but as the average Westminsterian / Kensingtonian probably drives something a little further up the food chain than a 10 year old Toyota that would not allow him to produce a figure of 8% for the rest of us to place, metaphorically speaking, in the stocks and pelt with unread copies of 'The Londoner'. Although doubtless he would love to do that too.

And it is 'argued' further, "Some of the worst examples produce two or three times as much greenhouse gases as the average family car". Per mile? Per day? Per whatever? If I have been taxed for the privilege of driving a car in town, having once paid the tax there is absolutely no disincentive to spend all day in it, rather than just use it for the originally planned scoot to the shops.

And there's more: "The proposals are part of the Mayor's strategy to do everything possible to reduce pollution and London's contribution to climate change - a top priority as the recent catastrophic weather has brought home".

"Everything possible"? Given that by Livingstone's own admission less than half of the non-aviation transport produced CO2 comes from cars, what is he doing about his ghastly bendy buses, for instance? And that is before he targets people for breathing out, plants for photosynthesising, etc etc.

And then compare this statement: "The Mayor will keep an open mind on the proposals until he has considered the responses to the consultation".

With this: "The highest CO2 emitting cars - like some of the so-called Chelsea tractors, high powered sports cars and luxury executive cars - can produce twice as much carbon dioxide emissions as the kind of car driven by the average Londoner. By proposing these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact on the environment of their choice of car".

Any bets on Livingstone deciding not to charge extra for some vehicles? I'll happily take any money anyone wants to stake.