It is just over a year since the Mayor mooted the idea of charging the most polluting vehicles £25 to enter the Congestion Charging Zone.
Since then the idea has been refined to include the notion that such vehicles inside the zone should lose the residents’ concession.
One year on and the Mayor is talking about consultation. This is just another bout of electioneering from the Mayor. He thinks that the green shtick has resonance – he is right, even a pretty libertarian conservative like me thinks that 4WDs are anti-social.
Today he says he wants to consult. He doesn’t really. According to a poll conducted by IPSOS/MORI for the Mayor in July 2006, 64 per cent of Londoners think the most polluting cars should pay a higher congestion charge. So the Mayor knows this will be popular and he has already spent out on the poll. He doesn’t mind though spending another few hundred thousand of our cash to put a leaflet through our doors telling us how green he is. Whatever the result, which is bound to be positive, he will proceed as planned. There are few central London 4WD drivers, apparently only 8% of cars in the zone would be affected, so we are talking about a minority of a minority. This is a fairly safe piece of rich people bashing for the Mayor.
The Mayor’s use of tendentious language such as “gas guzzlers” and “Chelsea tractors” demonstrates, as ever, that he is not the sober public servant but a populist politician who happily spends our money spinning to stay in power.
I will find out how much he is spending. I will report back after the usual 20 days have elapsed.