back to article Red Green Ken v Porsche in battle of the polls

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone last night called on German prestige car builder Porsche to drop its lawsuit against the new CO2-based "Congestion Charge" bands planned for the capital. Both Porsche and the Mayor claim to have conducted surveys proving that the public is on their side. The Guardian reports that Mr Livingstone …


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  1. Campbell


    " put their energy into reducing the carbon emissions "

    So Ken, tell me, why are all the taxis, max speed approx 20mph in London STILL running on diesel?

  2. Fenton

    This is a tax pure and simple

    If this had been a charge on newly registered cars, I'd be happy but the fact that it is back dated to cars registered after 2001 is a real kick in the teeth for a lot of people.

    I don't particulary care about the Porsches and 4x4, but there are alot of average cars that will be hit.

    Example, My wifes 2l Beetle automatic.

    So we either stump up the money (upto 6K a year) or pay lots of dosh trading the car in.

    This policy will totally deflate second hand car prices, will increase the amount of polution in making new cars. At the same time it will not reduce congestion, in fact I think it may well increase congestion as anybody who has bought and expensive car will likly keep hold of it and buy an additional car leading to more parking problems in London.

    Ken needs to make his mind up what kind of charge this is.

    Its obviously not a congestion charge, otherwise clean cars would not be excempt from the charge.

    Its not a pollution charge as CO2 is not a pollutant, if it were pollution he'd target diesels (his beloved taxis)

    Its a tax on the rich, but called a congestion charge as he doesn't have any tax raising powers, why else would he extend the zone to the rich west rather than the poor east.

  3. Steven
    Thumb Down


    No fucker asked me.

    In fact I can't recall ever being asked an opinion on anything that happens in London despite being one of its residents!

  4. Matt Hamilton


    Not to mention the fact that I'll have to pay £100 LEZ charge to drive to Heathrow airport in my campervan (my only vehicle). I think the irony there is lost on the planners. So others in the area that have older perfectly good campervans are being encouraged to buy a new vehicles... hrmm... very green.


  5. N

    Nothing to do with the environment

    And all about fleecing motorists, whoever thought that driving round a large chunk of communist controlled London was environmentally friendly?

    'Comrad' Ken of course.

    Go Porche...

  6. Matt Brigden
    Paris Hilton

    More statistics lol

    Let me guess Porsche polled their customers and Ken polled the green party .

    Stats can say anything . Personally I think all this carbon footprint caper is a load of bollocks .

    Paris as she wouldnt know a carbon footprint if it was in a video with her .

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    If the government are that concerned about green issues and honestly believe that cars et al are to blame then place a limit on travel.

    If I had a limit on the amount of fuel I could use per year/month/week it would push me to buy something more economical or find alternatives. As soon as you say you have to be 'green' unless you can pay not to be, the whole argument is lost!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get Shot by JR

    The problem with Judicial Review is it's quite strict :- in effect they'd probably need to prove either: A) Looney-Livingstone doesn't have the authority to make this change, which give he probably does. Or B) the classical 'so unreasonable, no reasonable person would have done it' test (called Wednesbury to the lawyers) and it's virtually impossible to win. There is some possibility under C) that it will be seen to be 'disproportionate', but with Green being the colour de jeur: fat chance.

    I love the possibility of the courts declaring Commrade Ken as an unreasonable person. But it isn't going to happen...

  9. Pete James

    Crippen was innocent!

    This rather sad little story only demonstrates that political figures are quite happy to waste public money on pointless biased surveys to prove their decisions were correct in the face of other similarly pointless and biased surveys from selfish little groups to say they were wrong.

    No doubt lots of people will make disparaging remarks about Porsches, based more on the politics of envy than anything else, but to describe this as an environmental levy really is utter bollocks and Livingstone knows it.

    I have spent several occasions in his presence and I have to say, I really don't find him a particularly nice person.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nimby Ken

    It's a form of Nimby'ism isn't it?

    If all the Londoners all paid a congestion charge that was proportional to their CO2 output they'd tell him to go f*** off.

    So he targets out of towners (giving up to 90% discount to the people who vote for him, London residents, whilst making out of town commuters pay the full amount).

    Now he's targeting a select group of vehicles, and using the tax to benefit the rest, effectively dumping all the CO2 problems on them, and using the money to better the people who vote for him, Londoners.

    And the Londoners who vote for him all cheer while secretly being glad it's not them that's targetted. All that Nimby'ness, they're glad someone else is getting hit for their benefit, but they produce kCO2 whilst paying only k/30 quid. They're glad their getting off without paying their full share.

    Porsche should win. Ken should spread the penalty in relation to the CO2 instead of trying to find groups that don't vote for him and slapping the tax on them.

  11. Jonathan

    Oh Ken....

    I, for one, agree with Porsche. None of the people I know agree with the C Charge in any form or fashion, and considering what Ken says the norm is, that is quite surprising.

    If Ken can prove that the revenue earned from the C Charge is going to improve public transport and roads to ease congestion and allow citizens to move around London in a greener fashion, then I will support it. However, at present, transport in London is in a bit of a shambles,and Ken's C Charge isnt helping.

    The fact that Ken will not allow car owners who live in C Charge zones a discount if their cars are "bad", shows that this is simply a tax, and Ken thinks he can pin it on the rich "because they can afford it", and because its green, therefore popular. But its just a tax, its not going anywhere.

    London has many areas that need improving - we need more police, the police need more authority, we need more tube capacity quite urgently, we need more above ground trains - and I dont see Ken targeting those, or showing how his green taxes are helping to accomplish them.

    For the record, I do not own a car, I cant afford one, and even if I could I dont see the point in owning one in London. And I still dont agree with Ken.

  12. O
    Thumb Down

    One of Ken's very few good ideas

    I think Porsche know that they have practically no chance of succeeding with this action, but think they can gain some positive PR out of the exercise ...... however, they are wholly wrong - from talking to friends (both cyclists and ones who drive Porsches), almost all are massively in favour of the congestion charge. One of the few tools available to policy makers to improve air quality in cities is to tax the most polluting cars off the road.

    Now, if only Livingstone hadn't made such a tremendous balls-up of the introduction of particulate filters on London's older taxis (the retro-fitted ones don't work and newer taxis aren't required to have them) ... :-(

  13. Andrew

    Good idea

    This legislation would go a long way towards fixing the current slightly arbitrary system, highlighted by Top Gear; a Lexus 4x4, at around 30mpg, pays no congestion charge since it is a hybrid, while high efficiency conventional vehicles pay the full whack, despite using less road space, fuel, materials, causing less road wear, etc.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    What's next

    I don't drive in London (and try to aviod it as much as possible), but to me it does smack of money grabbing.

    What next.

    Congetion Zone increase (few more million £)

    Green Zone for lorries (few more million £)

    Low occupancy next?

  15. Simon Rockman

    I think it's a great principal:

    I think it's a great principal:

    A recent YouGov poll showed that 49% of Londoners want Boris as the next Mayor and only 37% wanted Livingstone.

    On the basis of the idea Livingstone gave for Porsche dropping its challenge, he should pull out of the race to be the next Mayor.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Car makers should ignore the laws of physics

    "Luxury car manufacturers such as Porsche should take the hint and put their energy into reducing the carbon emissions of their cars instead of pursuing pointless legal action against this ground-breaking policy," said Mayor Ken.

    There is a direct relationship between the power output of an engine and the amount of fuel that it burns. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between the amount of fuel going into the engine and the amount of CO2 coming out.

    The only way therefore to reduce the carbon emissions of a Porsche is to fit a less powerful engine. But the whole reason that anybody buys a Porsche is because of its powerful engine. Nobody is going to buy a Porsche with a 1 litre engine.

    Driving in London is now only for the rich people. It's only a matter of time before it spreads to the rest of the country. Pirate icon because Ken is plundering motorists.

  17. George Johnson


    Didn't something stupid like this happen in Athens, some time back? Something along the lines that the city council said on alternate days, odd and even numbered plates would be allowed into the city, to try to reduce the smog. All people did was buy a very rough old second car with opposite plate to theirs and still drove in causing just as much smog to build up!

    I hate to say it though, but if you can afford a £50k+ car with 6 litre engine, surely you can afford to pay to park/drive it in London? I can't so I use the ever so wonderful public transport mess to get to work!

  18. Richard

    Missing entry in the El Reg Phrasebook


    n. Survey engineered to justify the stance of an interest group.

    cf. Self-serving Survey

    I agree that the way it is set up unfairly discriminates against sensible large cars but don't worry! - those new cameras for the High occupancy lanes should sort that out with a per person CO2 allowance. What? You mean if I don't actually have passengers a Chelsea Tractor mightn't be a teensy bit unnecessarily polluting?

  19. Mr Larrington

    Go Ken!

    I live in London. I own a car. And I've paid the CC precisely once since it was introduced, life being too short to attempt to avoid it while doing Walthamstow-Old Kent Road in a hired Transit during the rush hour.

    And AC above should note that the 90% discount does /not/ apply to all Londoners - see

  20. John A Blackley

    OH what a lovely scam!

    So tell me, my little green friends (which has taken on an entirely different meaning than in my student days), precisely how is taxing peoples' travel going to 'benefit the environment'?

    I've heard the argument that, if we make the "bad" car owners pay more then they'll stop driving into London. And this is a good thing, is it? All of these people who currently drive 2008 Earthrapers are suddenly going to put themselves at the mercy of the trains and tubes? Personally, I wouldn't ship my auntie's cow on British passenger trains but that's just me.

    Oh and I've heard the argument that the money, sorry, 'raised' will be used to improve London Transport. So how long has it been now? LT is the envy of the civilised world by now, right? No? Oh dear!

    It's a con. It's a tax to allow Ken to play with his trainset and to hobnob with radicals in fine style. Still, if it helps you with the bending over and taking it part, keep on believing the 'green' story.

  21. Andy Turner

    But it doesn't

    "One of the few tools available to policy makers to improve air quality in cities is to tax the most polluting cars off the road"

    A ban on new sales would get them off the road. A tax doesn't get them off the road, it just collects more money for Livingstone. Which is *obviously* the entire idea. Everyone up and down the country is subject to some degree of 'green' related tax but the extent that Livingstone is going to is likely to permanantly damage the public conception of them.

    It's just about the money.

  22. Jim

    Red Ken???

    I don't get why everybody calls Ken red, commie, socialist, liberal etc - what he does is purely capitalist approach - make money and more money regardless (using all means available). The real rich won't be affected, as one ABD poster ( puts it "fiver won't even buy me a cigar". Squeezing working folks dry is nothing to do with socialism, he's a typical capitalist... or should i say fascist?

  23. james marley

    Go Porsche

    I back Porsche on this one. If it is congestion charging surely it should be based on congestion (ie how big your car is) rather than CO2 emmisions which are an environmental issue (depending on who you believe). So your average Porsche is a lot less long than a bendy bus so should pay an appropriate amount less. To get the sums per person right you take the number of occupents per foot of vehicle and there you go. So the average car will have 1 and therefore still cost more than a full bendy bus.

    Just get Ken to admit that its nothing to do with congestion and all to do with the environment.

    Now I'm off to file a patent for a bus that is 200ft tall but a footprint of only 6 sqare feet.

  24. david g

    Correction to Law of Physics

    "Driving in London is now only for the rich people."

    No AC - you mean only for watermelons whose taxi rides are all paid for on expenses out of the public purse. Copyright K Livingstone Esq.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Read this story

    So If I were to stick a 12v motor on a Hummer it's a Hybrid so it's green. Brilliant!!

    I have Porsche but also an oldish VW Passat which also fulls into this stupid higher catergory and I also cycle everywhere in summer. Luckily I live outside london so don't have to pay for Ken's bloody bendy buses (Cyclist will know what I mean), but I work in London and due to CC and stupid parking restrictions put in by local dictatorships, I have to get the train into work.

    Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fernley-Wittenstone et al, forget battery chickens, get a train at 8.00am and see what real inhumane conditions are!!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    poor rich people

    So I'm supposed to care that a bunch of rich people have to pay to drive around in their porches and 4x4's? No thanks - we need to reduce CO2 - this is one part of (hopefully) many extra taxes on CO2 emissions.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Taxis - and Ken's surveys

    Isn't Ken's department the one with the highest bill for taxis in the entire government? Why not use the bus? Why use DIESEL cars that has to come from another place (i.e. double the carbon load) instead of locally parked hybrids? As for 20mph - you haven't been watching. The taxi lanes are kept free so taxi drivers can drive well above posted speed limits, especially visible on the M40 inbound from Heathrow where traffic moving at posted speeds (rare, but it happens) gets flown past by buses and taxis. Strangely enough there are never speed cameras that cover those strips..

    As for a TFL survey, I've seen all I needed to see when they rigged the tram surveys in Ealing. I have no idea how much money they were promised to get from the supermarket chain at the end or the tram builders themselves, but something must have been going on to so blatantly rig the survey. They interviewed people who were not near the proposed area and not impacted (I suspect analogous to what I've heard re. the congestion zone expansion process), and as far as I recall (it's been a while) they casually neglected to mention that it would require the destruction of thousands of mature trees. Yes, "green" Ken..

    Oh, and just to worry you, when I started digging into what they were proposing I discovered they hadn't really planned on any routes for the emergency services. It appeared to have escaped them that trams find it challenging to move aside on account of being on rails. Or that you need fire brigade or ambulance and police at all in a region (neither of them lives there).

    Please Londoners, if you have any sense do NOT vote for this guy again. At this stage I'd vote for Boris Johnsson. If we have to suffer, let us them at least have someone who can make us laugh. And start reading the small print - leave trust at home.

    BTW, the congestion charge system doesn't work very well with foreign plates. Expect an influx of terribly maintained VW Beetles with non-UK plates, belching oil. And old Mercedes diesels.. I'm sure you can rent some abroad...

  28. stickman
    Thumb Up


    jesus give Ken a chance - his stated plan for using the money raised by this scheme is to promote cycling and other public transport.

    we need more police? yes, but I hope you weren't one of those who squealed when a charge for exactly that was itemised on your your council tax bill?

    you don't see Ken targeting overground trains? umm try getting out more. he has just taken the overground services under his control after two years of haggling. the number of trains running per hour is set to double, and every station is now manned. this, ladies and gentlemen, is where the congestion charge money is going, and I will welcome any ex-Porche driver to share my seat.

  29. Campbell

    Be careful

    about the CO2 emmissions thing, AFAIK there are upwards of 10 million people in London and they are ALL exhaling CO2. Keep up the emissions/carbon footprint argument and the breathing tax could be just around the corner.

    "Nobody is going to buy a Porsche with a 1 litre engine."

    Actually they may, driving a 6+litre motor at 20-ish mph is insane. No it's the flashiness of it that they are going for, unless of course they are insane. In which case the breathing tax IS just around the corner.

  30. Scott Beckford

    agree w AC

    "There is a direct relationship between the power output of an engine and the amount of fuel that it burns. "

    ...correct, and since our beloved government insists on taking 65p tax for every litre of fuel burnt, dont you think that the porsche/4x4 drivers of this world are already being taxed more for owning their vehicles than your average 1.2L vehicle?


    (I dont own a car either, I cycle, and Kens CC hasnt reduced the number of cars in london during my commute.)

  31. Andy Mc

    Re: poor rich people

    erm, you're not getting it are you? People with Mondeos, Passats and Beetles are going to be hit. These aren't exactly your typical rich city boy cars, are they?

    And if it was to have the desired effect it should only be applied to new cars, so people can choose. Strangely we don't all change cars every year, and with the huge impact this'll have on 2nd hand values of these cars no-one will be able to afford to replace them with more economical newer ones, and even if they did most of the environmental damage comes from manufacture of the thing in the first place.....

    Go Boris...

  32. Tim

    Not about

    The impact of this tax is not aimed solely at gas guzzlers, 4x4s, Porsches or whatever else, though they are affected. Plenty of very ordinary family cars will be hit by the £25 charge - things like four year old Mondeos, Vectras, whatever. The sort of car someone might buy second hand because it's ex-fleet thus very cheap, reliable and much better at carrying the family than a brand new supermini which costs more. Posters above talking about £50K, 6 litre cars are missing the point entirely.

    This is a tax grab aimed at a section of London that will never vote for Ken - the rich and the middle class. He doesn't care what people think of this tax because his power base doesn't drive.

    For all their good intentions, Porsche have done the wrong thing here unfortunately. They are helping to keep the debate focused on high performance cars whose drivers don't attract a great deal of sympathy and playing right into his hands in the process. The lawsuit should really have been bought by all the working families of London who drive comparitively clean, petrol-burning £4,000 saloons, sadly they vent their frustration by commenting on threads like this rather than organising.

  33. Jonathan


    No, I rent a house so I dont pay council tax directly. I'll take your word for it that there was such a charge, and I agree with it - the police need better equipment, more officers, and more authority to do their jobs.

    Some of these problems can be solved by throwing money at the problem. Some require a change in thought about policing - it appears that police are not very popular.

    Anyway, I travel on the tube every week, I catch buses at least twice daily, and used to travel on overground trains but decided that the bus suited me better. Every one of those transport routes suffers from congestion. Yes, I am aware that until recently most Tube lines were privately run. But whatever Ken is doing with the C Charge money, it is not benefitting anyone.

    It doesnt reduce the amount of motorists on the road. There is still lots of congestion. Thus, we have the same number of people on the roads (roughly), but now, they pay for their "crime". That money, although intended to benefit public transport, has done little. The Tubes are still vastly overcrowded. So it seems, Ken raises the price of motoring while offering not really making public transport any more attractive. It is still overcrowded, it is often delayed.

    Ken's C Charge is nothing but a tax. And the sooner we see the back of that charlatan, the better.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    The Congestion Charge is a good thing.

    Well, that's got your attention. Yes it is, it pays for a lot of the increased public transport provision in London, an long may that continue, perhaps with some decent orbital tube and rail routes being added.

    But hang on £25 for the most polluting cars and those older that 2001, no, I'm with the purvayor of suped up Volkswagens here. I don't think big 4x4s and Pickups are needed any more than many other vehicles on the road, but why single out the private individual, what about White Van man, whose vans are getting bigger and faster, why not include suped up vans, and the older they are the worse they are maintained.

    I also fail to see how the new policy will maintain public transport expenditure levels, if so many low emission vehicles suddenly become exempt, I'd rather see any emission vehicle charged £8, and only electric vehicles exempted, maybe half price for hybrids.

    If we must have higher charges for larger vehicles then lets see a better approach with staggered rates, so if you must drive your Roller, Bently, stretch limmo or Hummer in central london, then you get to pay £25, but so do van drivers with Sprinters, Crafters, and alike. Then people carriers, sports cars, etc. get £10 or £15, and residents still get their discount, regardless of their choice of vehicle.

    By the way, why haven't more couriers switched to electric vehicles, anybody know, I'd have thought Royal Mail would save a fortune, or do they count as residents.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I care.

    My Porsche 911 has CO2 emissions of 300 g/km. My round trip to work and back is 10km which equals 3kg of CO2 a day. I usually exhale 1kg of CO2 a day but if I decided to be green and run to and from work that would rise to about 3Kg. I usually give a colleague a lift to work, if they also ran, between us we'd be producing an extra 4Kg of CO2, which is more than the car. So I drive because I care about mother Earth.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    wake up and smell the coffee people - its a tax, pure and simple... if it wasnt and actually did something for the environment, it would be all over the news and other places would do it ASAP.

    This is just a way to get money - pure and simple. This place is a rip off, trust me on this - for the last 6 weeks i have been living in Tokyo, and its less expensive than living in Birmingham...

    London certainly aint... (plus there is Akihabara, or geek heaven as its know)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why do people bother living in London

    Been there done that a simple solution is to move away.

    In London:

    The schools are crap

    Traffic is a nightmare

    You spend hours a day traveling

    You never see your family your too busy commuting

    You pay over the odds for everything from a bottle of coke to these C charges

    House prices are crazy

    Full of tourists

    English is no longer the first language.

    London is decent for a day trip but that is about it now a days. Leave it to rot with the tourists and wannabes.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Why do people bother living in London

    Well, I work in London so when I lived outside London...

    Traffic was a nightmare

    I spent hours a day traveling

    I never saw my family as I was too busy commuting.

    Now I have a 20 minute walk to work.

  39. Richard Lea
    Thumb Down

    RE: poor rich people

    Moron!! The problem you cant seem to fathom is that only the Rich can afford to drive in London as it effects a lot of cars you might not classify.

    Just as Top Gear pointed our there are 17 odd Bentley GT Continentals registered as Mini Cabs, so avoiding the Congestion Charge.

    Another tax from Commrad Ken as his beloved CC hasn't worked

  40. TeeCee Gold badge
    Paris Hilton

    Depends how you ask the question.

    Ken's version:

    "Do you think it's a good idea to tax the cobs off greedy bastards who drive big 4x4s and Porsches?"

    Everyone else's version:

    "Do you think it's a good idea to tax the cobs off everyone with a family car who can't afford to dump it for a shit-load less than it's worth and buy a brand spanking-new, tax avoiding one?"

    (Hmm, no "Ken with horns" icon. What to do? Ah, Paris for the c-word connection.)

  41. Anonymous Coward

    'c' charge

    Bearing in mind who is behind it I thing the 'c' charge is very well named..

  42. /\/\j17

    Folks - don't post unless you have something constructive to say

    So, lots of people saying they don't like paying more money than they do at the moment. Let me guess, you would all like fuel duty cut to make petrol cheaper too?

    Now moving away from the school of the blindingly obvious do any of you actually have a constructive suggestion?

    Yes, the congestion and CO2 charges ARE taxes that DO make it more expensive to use a car/etc and DO make money. But the great unwashed masses are too stupid and selfish to reduce their carbon emissions on their own and the stick of taxation is the only one governments have to use.

    Lets face it, if the tax on petrol was removed over-night would you drive your car more, or less? It would be more, because it would be cheaper.

  43. Luke Wells

    How does this help the enviroment?

    How does any of this actually help the environment?

    You can pollute the air as much as you want as long as you are willing to pay Green Ken some money (based loosely on how much you want to pollute the air) ?

    How is the system fair?

    My boss drives a fuel guzzling range rover for no sensible reason that I can see. If you told him that road tax was going to be £10,000 per year for it, would my boss sell it and buy a Honda Insight? Don't be stupid.

    I drive a diesel saloon car that gets 55mpg. My car is in band C. Why? Should it not be band A?Tell me where I can get a (non-hybrid false economy) saloon car that is in band A or B. We can't all drive Smart cars, some of us have cars because we need to put things / people in them.

    If my car was less economical, but had a battery and an electric motor attached to it then happy days, but it doesn't

  44. David Tibbs
    Thumb Down

    @Jim - They call him "Red Ken" because

    He's trying to force everybody to drive crap cars, as well as specifically having a problem with/trying to financially penalise the rich = communism. Look at the USSR and everyone driving Ladas. He's trying to remove the option of choosing what kind of car you drive - he wants everyone to cycle, or drive Gee Whiz's.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    re. Car makers should ignore the laws of physics

    "There is a direct relationship between the power output of an engine and the amount of fuel that it burns. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between the amount of fuel going into the engine and the amount of CO2 coming out."

    Yes, but there's also a direct relationship between the power required to move a vehicle at a given speed and the speed and a whole range of other factors (i.e. weight, aerodynamic drag, tyre friction etc.).

    A high-power engine moving a car at, say 30mph, only needs to produce a similar amount of power as a low-power engine, if all the factors are the same (with the possible exception of internal engine friction i.e. more pistons means more friction). The problem is that many of the worst polluting vehicles (4x4) NEED a high power output to move at fairly low speeds because they have high weight, high aerodynamic drag, high mechanical friction, wide, soft tyres etc.

    At the moment the 4x4 is trendy and *some* people can afford to put fuel in them so it's a case of "if you're rich enough you're allowed to pollute more"; a better solution is to start putting limits on the fuel consumption of vehicles to force manufacturers to produce "greener" cars. This would have to be phased in to give manufacturers time to engineer in the changes and it would also have to be EU wide (at least) to provide a level playing field for the manufacturers.

  46. Jim


    "jesus give Ken a chance - his stated plan for using the money raised by this scheme is to promote cycling and other public transport"

    The future (Ken's) image of London:

    Wait, I've seen it somewhere - 20-30 years ago in China??? Not exactly a way forward as far as my understanding of progress and development goes...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I hope that this does deflate the previously enjoyed (second hand sounds so... last century) car market.

    Perhaps I'll be able to pick up a nice 911 to nip to the station with, or a Hummer (so handy for the trackless wastes of the Tesco par park). I'd only have to pay the congestion rip off; sorry charge, once as I drove it home to the country.

  48. Jonathan


    if London ends up like that, with everyone cycling everywhere, you can bet there will be a tax levied for flatulence produced by the extra exercise. Carbon footprint and all that, its all a bit complicated but the end result is better for the environment. You like the environment, dont you?

  49. 3x2

    Better idea for Porche and others affected

    (although more expensive) would be to take RK to court and make him PROVE the whole AGW scam is real (you know with actual evidence rather than religious opinion). Once he fails then it simply becomes an issue of trade restraint or something similar.

  50. Campbell

    @/\/\j17 - Not strictly correct

    "Lets face it, if the tax on petrol was removed over-night would you drive your car more, or less? It would be more, because it would be cheaper."

    A flaw in your argument there, if you use your car for extensively already eg: shopping, work, vistiting the mates/the country etc then I can't see WHERE or HOW you'd use your car more. So doing all these things would be cheaper, yes, but doing more because it's cheaper would not be physically possible.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Average car?

    "are a lot of average cars that will be hit" "2l Beetle automatic"

    How long has this been an average car? I drive a 1.6l Astra (manual gearbox). Seating for 5 and does 70+ mph on motorway.

    I see the charges as an extension of the clean air acts. I also live in a suburban area of a city in a otherwise rural part of the country.

    Go on Ken, stuff the Londoners.

  52. Jim

    @David Tibbs: Still not Red

    "He's trying to force everybody to drive crap cars"

    Well, not everybody but your average Joe. The few privileged won't be affected at all - even more, the common folks will be paying for the privilege not to be able to drive, to have to use shitey profit-making "public" transport etc-etc-etc. This is more like oligarchism by definition, not communism

  53. Jim

    @Jonathan: Good for environment

    "the end result is better for the environment"

    The best for the environment would be if we just kill ourselves off - no carbon footprint at all. I guess that's what the greenies are advocating and Ken's implementing? Well, what can I say - they should lead by example (Blair likes this phrase so he should be among the first) and commit sepuku and save the world :)

    "You like the environment, dont you?"

    Definitely. I also hug trees :-) But I like to get there by car nevertheless...

  54. Ivan Headache

    @ Tim

    "He doesn't care what people think of this tax because his power base doesn't drive."

    Oh yes it does - at 80mph in 20mph zones in white Vans that don't stop at red lights, and then there's the bu... no, don't get me on about bus drivers and red lights

  55. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    The problem with Ken is he's a sneering little communist who hates anyone being successful other than himself.

    The sooner Crazy Boris rubs Ken's face in it the better (even if he's a muppet).

    IT because - Where is the IT angle here?

  56. Ben

    A survey backing Ken?

    If Ken does have a survey backing him, then it will pretty much be the first one he's ever commissioned that does. Normally he has a consultation for some plan, the majority reject the idea, but he goes ahead anyway. That's how we got the congestion charge in the first place, and the extension to the west.

    I'm more inclined to believe Porsche to be honest. Certainly everyone I have asked (car driver or not) is against the £25 tax.

  57. Elmer Phud

    Short memories - old problem

    Many moons ago, in the distant past there was British Rail. This was a BAD thing as it belonged to the people and had frequent delays due to strikes. Best solution was to sell it off and then give those who bought bits loads of their money back to pay out bonuses. New, comfy, faster and more frequent trains were foretold by the profit Rich Branson in the entrails of shop stewards and lo, the commuters saw the share price was good.

    Many years past and the flock began to realise that yes, the companies bonuses were good and they were still being given even more money by those who had sold the railways but the trains were even worse than before.

    By now many tribes had moved camp out in to the wastelands known as Surrey, Essex and other far places with the promise of easy returns to the holy city. The priests demanded the daily worship yet the trains were becoming scarce so the wise ones took to the road instead.

    With less people on the trains there was less need for trains so the carriages and staff were culled once again and even more took to the roads.

    Then came, from the west - well, Brent East - , a strident prophet who captured the souls of those who dwelt in the city and he was told he had to do something about the traffic.

    "Pay up or piss off" said he,

    "We have to come in or we cannot worship" said the outlanders

    "You wanted something done about the traffic" said the Ken

    "Yeah but not this, we expected to still drive. Pull down some houses to make bigger roads and more car parks, that sort of thing." they whined.

    "It's not my fault you've got no trains - ask that Blair chappie about Cross rail and the like"

    "We thought he was your friend" came the reply from the masses.

    "Where the fuck have you lot been these past years" came a nasal sigh, "Now piss off and hassle the train companies, they got you in to this, not me. Oh, and by the way, ask who broke up the bus service while you're at it."

    Mine's the one with "my other car is a bike" on the back

  58. Phill Toms
    Black Helicopters

    Polution not politics

    If Ken or any other government body were at all serious about reducing emissions as opposed to raising extra monies to pay for their 2nd homes and surround sound flat screen TV's set ups, then they could not possibly justify the use of a CO2 output as a means to judge vehicles by.

    The system is a complete farse CO2 is one of the LEAST damaging emissions emitted from a car, not to mention something that can be tackled with many innovative solutions. Why should companies such as Volvo (I'm a true petrolhead so anyone who knows anything about cars must know that I feel pretty pissed to be using them as a ref.) who's cars clean up the air as they drive through it due to particle filters in the radiator, a manufacturing company that has been truely doing their bit for the environment through every step of the supply chain, recycled this, sustainable that for decades already be penalised simply because there cars are heavy and require bigger engines and by default produce more CO2, however compare an S80 2.5 turbo to a Citroen Saxo 1.2 on every other aspect the Volvo is a far "greener" car (less sulphates, nitrates, and energy in the manufacturing process) but it would be subject to the higher taxes. In the meantime the fake green cars such as the Prius continue to be allowed to drive around the place for next to nothing.

    I think the whole process of what is considered environmentally friendly needs properly evaluating as opposed to taking a pointless snapshot based a very weak scientific background.

    If ken or anyone else is remotely serious about this then they need to look at the bigger picture.

    So how about only allowing the government to use the road fund license and fuel duty to fix the roads and plan disruptions better as opposed to going into a giant black hole, only allowing so called green taxes to be used improving the environment, investing in microgeneration or new filtrate technologies (nanotubes are looking promising) but know all we do is sit back whilst the gov. half's their investments in science and engineering (see the recent physics cuts for a start) and what we have is a spiralling taxation system that will only spread and get worse like some form of cancer for the entire country.

    Anyrate thats my two pence worth;.................

  59. Elmer Phud

    re: pollution not politics

    "So how about only allowing the government to use the road fund license and fuel duty to fix the roads and plan disruptions better as opposed to going into a giant black hole,"

    The rot started some time back with that bastion for all things British (and aerial chemical weapons in Persia) Winston Churchill for 'twas he who took the "Road Tax" and put in it the general coffer. Since then roads have had to beg for some of their money back.

  60. chris

    Get it right up you, lazy rich elitist scum

    "Global warming is a scam, cars that clean the air as they drive, Ken Livingstone is a Communist, driving is more environmentally friendly than running, trains are environmentally unfriendly too, a Porsche should pay less than a bus because it's smaller"

    You Porsche owners are a funny lot. I bet you think people envy you as you sit in traffic listening to The Best Power Ballads in the World...Ever! as well.

  61. Nexox Enigma


    The idea that Porsche (or whatever company) could reduce the CO2 output in a car just by 'spending money' is kind of flawed. If the car weighs a certain amount and has a given amount of power, it's going to produce CO2 above some physical minimum rate. And people want to buy largish and/or high power cars, or rather they would if there weren't a huge tax on them. Seems that Porsche has a reason to complain about legislation that will damage their market while promoting competitors'. I imagine that Lotus could sell a load more Exige S models (~216g/km) with this tax.

    And as for the breathing tax: The carbon in breath comes into the body as food. Food pretty much all eventually comes from plants, which get the carbon from the air. Breathing is carbon neutral, like burning wood to generate electricity. It's only polution if the CO2 is added to the atmosphere, like the stuff that gets dug up and burned (Fossile fuels.)

  62. Jay

    Why we dont use electric vehicles.

    <By the way, why haven't more couriers switched to electric vehicles, anybody know, I'd have thought Royal Mail would save a fortune, or do they count as residents.>

    Because they are expensive and crap.

    I work as a bike courier and drive anywhere between 50-500miles a day. Find me an electric vehicle with that range that can pull a steady 70mph, costs less than £1000 to buy and can carry the weight of myself kitted up (over 130kilos) and a full load of luggage, possibly another 80kilos and I might be interested.

  63. John Munyard

    He's doomed and he knows it.

    Looks like Ken's been advised he's going to lose this one in court, hence his need for threats.

    I wonder if Porsche can get a court date before the London elections? That will spice the story up a bit.

  64. Steven Raith

    A couple of points...

    ..might be worth noting.

    1) It's called the Thin End Of The Wedge.

    Either make a bit of noise now, or prepare to paying £5/day [or more] anywhere within the M25 - I'll put a tenner on it being proposed, if not actioned, within the next ten years.

    If Ken was serious about getting people out of their cars and onto the tube [not something I disagree with, despite being a proper, hardcore petrolhead] then he would do something about the fucking northern line at rush hour - where it's impossible to get on unless you specifically want to be elbowed in the face seventeen times between three stops.

    Same goes for a lot of the train routes into London - I use FCC from Letchworth and at peak times it can be utterly awful. Not as bad as some places mind, but still nasty. I pay the better part of £400/month for this privelidge - nearly as much as my rent.

    2) Now, if 100% of congestion charge money [and a lot of the CoL overflow] were to go to *substantially* increasing tube capacity initially at the major crush points [pretty much any tube line that has multiple connections to main line stations], and then extending the commuter line platforms and providing twelve carriage services at rush hour - rather than the four, or sometimes eight if you are lucky - then I *might* be able to sit here without spitting blood from my bitten tongue.

    But alas no, it will go on bloody bus lanes, cycle lanes and 'green initiatives' - not to mention the financial back hole that is Capita's invoices.

    Sort out the tubes, sort out the trains, *then* start looking at cyclists, buses, and congestion.

    Big picture first, little details later.

    Steven R

    PS: As for 'getting out of London' - it's the only place round here to get a decent IT career - if you haven't worked as a sysengineer/sysadmin in the city, no-one wants to touch you in the sticks IME....

  65. Gordon

    To be brutally honest.

    Regardless of "Red Kens" own brand of politics (misguided and self-congratulory hatred of everyone from a priviledged background than him) the wind is DEFINATELY blowing due-green. I don't like this policy at all, but I think that trying to change it in the current climate is likely to be farting against thunder, to be honest.

    Porsche would do well to take this as a hint of things to come and start to build smaller, more fuel-efficient models. The days of the their 80s-style GT cars are over (or soon will be) and I think fashion (as much a practicality) is moving towards small, lighter, more efficient sports cars. If you look at the approach BMW is taking (encorporating enviro-tech into their cars in a low-key way that avoids labelling them as "green", whilst reaping the benefits of doing so) it's quite effective. Maybe "porker" need to look at returning to the design philosophy of the 914 et al they produced during the last fuel crisis of the 1970s?

    I'm not saying it's a good thing. I'm just saying that if you take a pragmatic viewpoint, they're in danger of producing a product that doesn't fit market conditions. The big problem is that LOTUS and the Japanese already control the light sportscar market.

  66. George

    anyone regularly driving in london on weekdays is an idiot...

    ... and no amount is too high for them to pay in tax!

  67. Dave Bennett


    Sterling piece of commentary there George, useful, well thought-out and well executed. I particularly liked the way you carefully set out your argument and reasoning. My very favourite part was the exclamation mark, genius!


    PS: You sir, are a fool.

    PPS: I don't work in London, but I want to.

    PPPS: Thursday is the new Friday.

  68. Anonymous Coward

    Ken is a C*nt

    ken is a cupid stunt

    nuff said

  69. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Red Ken is rotten.

    There is no way anyone can convince me that the deluge of empty red busses lining Oxford, Regent and other streets every day could be explained by anything other than corruption.

    The "congestion" charge? Congestion is still there in the Central London. The busses must be causing much more polution than a few Porsches and Jaguars and what about those Japanese cars which qualify for discount? Has anyone investigated any connections between their manufacturers and the Mayor or his relatives? I think I know the answer to this one...

    Some people seem to be bent just like the bendy busses.

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