Friday, May 02, 2008


"Red Ken" Livingstone has gone down in defeat before Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson. The position of Mayor of London has become, since its recent creation, one of the more interesting political experiments in Britain. And Livingstone sought to set his stamp on it. One of Red Ken's bright ideas was to charge motorists fifty dollars in congestion tax if they wanted to drive into central london. Like many initiatives of this sort it will be impossible to wholly roll back and once the electoral wheel turns again the tax python will constrict its coils another quarter-inch more. "Johnson insisted on reforming the £8 (US $16) congestion tax imposed on drivers entering the downtown area. Signed contracts make it impossible for a new mayor to abolish the tax completely." But for the moment there is mirth among the Ewoks and celebration all across the forest moon of Endor.

Pat Dollard notes that "Labour’s London campaign chiefs reported that the ethnic-minority vote had turned out for Livingstone, but the white working-class vote had been increasingly hostile to him." DNC take note. Livingstone disparaged Boris Johnson, who looks like an older version of Owen Wilson, as a "joke". Who's laughing now?

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of Red Ken's bright ideas was to charge motorists fifty dollars in congestion tax if they wanted to drive into central london....The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

Hey, Wretchard, there's an idea, you could charge a congestion tax for people who want to exceed the three-post-per-thread rule!

5/02/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger talnik said...

Another commie bites the dust...perhaps he can get a job at Harvard.

5/02/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

The congestion tax was of course morphing rapidly away from having anything to do with congestion, as exemptions were being withdrawn from inner-city residents who owned cars deemed too powerful, and new blanket exemptions added for a lengthening list of 'eco-friendly' models.

Livingstone's populism was always of the 'give them the finger' variety, opposed to all other established politicians. But this, after he defeated all his opponents and it became clear that in London he could do just about anything he wanted, became a problem. Given responsibility, it was no longer clear what Ken Livingstone was all about. The only things left in focus were his peripheral activities: pandering to minority groups (often Muslims), dalliances with Hugo Chavez and a determination to talk around the minority-led crime wave while hobbling the police with a raft of multicultural restrictions.

'Progressives' in London today imagine that it's a modern city, but it's actually New York in the 1970's.

5/02/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Contracts are made to be broken. If Boris has any balls he'll simply break the contracts, eliminate the tax, and tell the contractees to go take a hike, or he'll investigate them for bribery and influence peddling with Red Ken. Who I am certain had more than a bit of it in deciding who got what.

5/02/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Right up there with the congestion tax is farm reparations. You have to read it carefully however to get how the scam works.

5/02/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In Los Angeles, the plan is to create a "High Occupancy Toll Lane" on freeways, with the possibility of requiring available technology allowing charging by the mile!

Meanwhile, on the surface streets, additional spots will be marked off as "No Parking" at difficult hours for "street sweeping."
(although no one ever sees them being swept)

Fleets of eco-friendly Priuses stand by at the ready, and when the clock strikes twelve, they can turn working people into pumpkin-like paupers, since tickets will also have a added "user fee" of more than $100 added onto the previous amount of each ticket!

Viva La Revolucion!
McCain wants a carbon tax, G_d knows what Hillary and Barry want to extract.

5/02/2008 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Get dentures now, Doug, save yourself the pain. They won't use aenesthetics.

5/02/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/02/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Killing Rommel
The Long Range Desert Group

"Killing Rommel" by Steven Pressfield
- Hewitt

5/02/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've often wondered why Republicans say they are the party of small government. They don't actually reduce the scope of government (there has been an increase in then net regulatory burden since 2001, nor do they let markets work ...shrimp farmers, steel workes, midwest corn farmers, forestry workers...there is a long list of beneficiaries of Republican protectionism.

I mention all this because there is a lot of talk about Red Ken or Red Obama and so on. But, what's worse? A marxist who says he is a marxist, or a capitalist who lacks the knowledge and the courage to defend the essential goodness of capitalism.

If we are to be irate and livid, let it not be against the kens and obamas of the world. They are proud of their biases.

No, the proper target of our anger are the chickenshits we voted to guard the hen-house. When the fox came along, the guard chicken(shit)s struck deal after deal after deal.

I remember reading here, after Bush won in 2004, how the democrats were so full of themselevs and living in an echo-chamber that they had no idea how it was they came to lose. I remember thinking then how naive that view was.

Power corrupts all. But it more easily corrupts those who rationalize away the need for principles in politics.

The difference between the left and the right is the difference between being raped by those who made it clear they were out to rape you and those who promised they would keep you safe.

What the Republicans have done to America is a bit like that father in Austria. What a tragedy.

5/02/2008 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

No it is not Aslam. You seem disappointed that politics is a corrupt bargain of influence peddling. It's like be shocked at how sausage is made. That's the whole point.

Where Reps failed was to have a coherent, dedicated leader able to force recalcitrant legislators who depend on bringing home pork to get a competitive advantage over the other party by tax reductions and arguments on spending.

This was enabled by a compliant press and good times.

Well, good times are over. Now all over the Western World, voters are demanding lower taxes and particularly lower spending on Welfare which they see accurately as being studded with "No Whites Allowed" signs.

Budgets will decline. The pie is shrinking. Voters will get the end of nickle-dime fees, and pass them on to people they don't like. Mostly in the form of ending welfare and other social spending.

Single mothers who receive aid will be one fat juicy target of opportunity, for obvious cultural reasons (middle/working class voters would argue, she should have chosen better not depended on the taxpayer). So too block grants, other stuff sending money from middle/working class whites to minorities who hate them and are not shy about saying it.

We are at the end of the luxury times. It's hard times ahead. Which means a sea change in how the Left has been able to operate. The lean and hungry men are not McCain or Trent Lott, or Bill Ayers or even Obama or Wright. It's some unknown version of DC Stephenson.

A truly frightening man.

5/02/2008 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You make a good point. It is not that I am unaware of how sausage is made. It is that I've had it with folks who advertise vegetarian rib-eyes and I'm dumbfounded that so many of us fell for it.

I do hope you are right about voters gettnig tired of it all.

But I think it's at least worth considering how tired a voter is really going to be when the government, in some shape way or form, is responsible for his paycheck.

Today the government share of GDP is about 25% in the US; you begin to touch an awful lot of people with that much pork.

Maybe you are right and people will recoil against that.

I am not so hopeful.

I see the U.S. becoming less reliant on free market forces and more dependent on the "Government" to fix things and "create and protect" employment. And I see a whole host of folks (capitalists included) aiding and abetting that because it is lucrative in the short run and/or very good for their narrow self-interest.

I hope I'm wrong. And, to read what you say, Whiskey, there's at least a decent chance that I AM wrong. If so, I could not be happier.

5/02/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Overall having Tories replace Labor in the UK is good for the US.
Anti-American sentiment centers in the Labor Party with Tony Blair being one of the few willing to front the Ameriphobes.

Unfortunately, Torydom contains a rabid anti-Israel and necessarily anti-Jew element that will would destroy Western Civilization just to spite Israel. These are few in number and cannot get their geo-political way but can sabotage and alliance if we are not careful.

Gotta take the bad along with the good folks.

5/02/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The Mayor is dead. Long live... Oh, never mind.

5/03/2008 03:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aslam: The difference between the left and the right is the difference between being raped by those who made it clear they were out to rape you and those who promised they would keep you safe.

I'm picking up what you're throwing down, aslam, but America isn't "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" any more. We don't go around on horses in empty places wearing our serapes, smoking cigars and listening to coyotes, every man for himself. When you talk about being "raped" you are referring to the act of paying for the common infrastructure which makes the life of Joe Republican, self-described "self-made man", the envy of the world:

...Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards...

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university...

5/03/2008 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Insight said...

Teresita, All those "government" and union goodies were produced by folks like my father, my uncles, their hard working friends and folks like me who saved part of their income. Now the kids spend more than the make.
My students can hardly find the classroom. I would not employ 95% of them for any type of work.

5/03/2008 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Ken Livingstone was a dhimmi...

go to hell Ken Livingstone!

Gas congestion tax? small potatoes

I want to know if the New London Leader is going to stop the dhimmi slide?

5/03/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insight: My students can hardly find the classroom. I would not employ 95% of them for any type of work.

The U.S. Government hires young apprentices to work in the Electronics Depot to prepare torpedoes before and after they are ranged. They get two years of college, and after school they come in for on-the-job training. They are hired as "career conditional" and if they wash out in physics class or leave a ham sandwich inside the warshot, they are on the beach. This vetting process works for Uncle Sam because he has deep pockets. In the private sector, it might not be so good. Yet it was Rumsfeld's dogma that we needed to farm out work to private contractors whenever practical, the more the merrier.

5/03/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I thought when the deranged Left ran a perfectly good Prime Minister, Tony Blair, out of office, everything was going to be beer and skittles in Britain immediately and from then on.

Brown has shown me absolutely nothing except vapid vacillating. And now the English have thrown *all* the bums out and are getting ready to start all over again. Be interesting to see if the Brits can manage to forestall their unelected entry into the European Union. If *that* happens, and the citizenry don't get a chance to vote on it, then that's all she wrote for England.

Personally, I think they need to arm themselves to make it crystal clear that they mean business. And I'm wondering how long Rudd will last in Australia after the Aussies also threw out a perfectly good standing Prime Minister.

5/03/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Personally, I think they need to arm themselves to make it crystal clear that they mean business.

A PPK in every Pocket, an Enfield in every pantry, That would at the very least, get students to focus a bit. Some may drool and some may stand aback, but all will be focused.

5/03/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Teresita, Public Safety is a good that taxpayers are willing to pay for.

However, consistently, in America and Europe, Leftists have refused to deliver that good. Instead, criminals are coddled. It's worse with minority criminals, who are celebrated, but even white ones are left alone. See Dalrymple's books for anecdotes after anecdotes and some back of the envelope calculations.

One thing that shocks Brits when they come to NYC is how safe the city is, and how absent public drunkenness is there. They expect to be shot down at any time, and don't realize the Rudy legacy (showing Republican advantages in delivering public safety by telling Al Sharpton to shut the hell up). Drunks are arrested, unlike in Briton. And much crime is prevented.

The reaction to the Sean Bell case is interesting. Several of the NYPD cops who shot Bell were Black, the cries of racism were dismissed, the Judge found the cops not guilt, and the public largely concluded that getting into a thuggish fight at a strip club, flashing a gun, trying to drive away from the police by driving over one of them was sure to get one of the party or more shot.

And that more interestingly, the Public would trade off Sean Bells getting shot occasionally when they did monumentally stupid stuff as above, for public safety. More muggers, con artists, stick up men, rapists, murderers locked up.

That's the implicit argument the Left can never make. The Left CANNOT deliver public safety because they fundamentally don't believe in it and usually celebrate thuggery of all kinds.

[It's also why most people HATE public transportation -- the daily threat of assault particularly for women, the elderly, and disabled who draw predators, mostly minorities, is a terrible threat. Like a wounded fish draws sharks, with no prospect whatsoever of protection from ordinary people (intimidated by both thugs and "racism") or the police (ditto).]

5/03/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger HotAire said...

Boris johnson's unusual (for a Briton) ancestry may intrigue some readers. This is from the New Statesman (a UK let-wing magazine)but can be confirmed elsewhere:

"...if history had taken a different turn a century ago, the Tory MP and former Spectator editor of today, whose Wodehousian circumlocutions seem the very quintessence of Englishness, might have found himself named not Boris Johnson but Iskander Ali.

Whether Boris's great-great-grandmother was indeed a Circassian slave is an unprovable matter of family legend. Her son's life, however, is better documented. Ali Kemal, Boris's great-grandfather, was the last interior minister of the Ottoman empire after the First World War. Soon after Atatürk's nationalists took power in 1922, Kemal, who had been one of their most vehement opponents, met a sticky end. He was kidnapped and taken to Izmit, where he was handed over to a mob who attacked him with sticks, stones and knives, then hanged him from a tree in the square.

Before all this, though, Kemal had fathered a son, Osman Ali, by his half-English first wife. Born in Bournemouth in 1909, the child was brought up by his grandmother, whose surname he took; so Osman Ali became Wilfred Johnson. (If this change of surname and religion had not taken place, then Alexander Johnson could have been Iskander - the Arabic version of Alexander - Ali.) "

5/03/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger peterike said...

...Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. And indeed Joe is grateful for that. Then Joe opens his mailbox and sees his exorbitant electric bill. He grinds his teeth at the environmentalists that for forty years have prevented the construction of safe, clean atomic power plants, while coal-fed plants still spew pollution.

He walks on the government provided sidewalk because he can't afford the price of gas. Those same environmentalists have prevented drilling on American soil and cut-off access to more oil than Saudi Arabia has. And they haven't allowed new refineries to be built, ensuring tight gas supplies for decades to come.

Joe takes the subway and hands over two bucks for a single ride which must be government subsidized because the government runs it so badly and can't turn a profit even though millions of dollars a day are dropped into the till. Joe's dad tells him stories about back when the subways were privately run, you could eat off the floors of the cars, there was no crime and it cost a nickel.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay because his company creates cutting-edge products in a free economy. They stomp all over their competition in the rest of the world where innovation is stifled by government rule and regulations and investment hobbled by taxes. Unfortunately, the Democrats are eyeing Joe's industry: such success MUST be the result of exploitation. If Hillary or Obama are elected, the new regulations will squash Joe's company and the good times will be over.

Joe does get good medical benefits, but every year they cost him a little more. That's because the trial lawyers -- the pimps of the Democratic whores -- create an exorbitant drain on the medical system with their phony lawsuits and children channeled from the grave. Joe's wife gave birth last year, and they had a hell of a time finding a gynecologist because they are dropping out of the system in droves, unable to pay their malpractice insurance. Thanks, Democrats.

Joe has to pay his student loan. He is glad the government lent him the money, but he wonders why the cost of higher education has outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds for decades. Somewhere Joe recalls hearing someone explain how subsidized industries invariably lead to higher costs. He wonders why college used to be so much more affordable than it is today. But he can’t think about this too much, and he would never raise the question with other people. He’s not sure why, he just knows it’s impolite to bring up such things. He wonders why so MANY things seem outside of allowed conversation, or even thought.

He doesn't know how on earth his own kids will be able to afford it when they are college age. Meanwhile, he pays ten thousand dollars a year in property tax, most of which goes to his local school system, which somehow spends $12,000 per student. For first grade! Yet they don't seem to learn much these days. Though they do know all about racism and sexism and environmentalism.

Joe also doesn't understand how all the college professors at the State College can be so stridently anti-American. Doesn't America give them the freedom to spout their Communism? Can't they show even a little gratitude? Not to mention the state pays their salary. How would it be, Joe wonders, if my company paid me to attack it year after year and spout revolution to overthrow the management. That would be weird.

Joe reaches his office. One more day, he says. How long will the good times last?

5/04/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Why was it Nixon who enacted SSI and created the Department of Education? Why was it Reagan who created the Departments of Transportation and Energy? Why was it Bush who created the Department of Homeland Security?

Had these supposed conservatives never read the Tenth Amendment?

Phooey. The political parties in the US are both complete scams, enemies of the people.

5/05/2008 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Isegoria said...

Is this conservative crowd against charging people to use congested roads?

5/05/2008 08:44:00 AM  

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