One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eat the Rich? No, just tax their cars...

Ken Livingstone has decided to treble the congestion charge for large cars entering Central London.

Hallelujah. Call it the opening salvo in the long war against pointless pollution.

Immediately, the Evening Standard has leapt to the defence of the middle classes and suggested that this charge is basically a class tax.

No it isn't, you numbwits. It's a tax on large, polluting, unnecessary vehicles pumping tonne after tonne of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and other noxious chemicals into the atmosphere. The fact that thse cars are expensive and can therefore only be afforded by wealthy people is immaterial.

The Standard ventured out into the street to get the reaction of "average" Londoners to the proposed charge.

Vox-Pop 1, a lady property developer who drives a Jeep, calls the charge "preposterous" and "mean-minded." She whines that she needs to lug materials around in her Jeep. So a nice small van wouldn't do the job?

Vox-Pop 2, an 18 year-old student who (and I *love* this) drives a Range Rover, claims Ken Livingstone isn't interested in being fair. When's the last time you saw a student driving a top-end 4x4? Of course, at the age of 18, you're not thinking with your brain, but rather an organ about three feet south of your head, and so this kid clearly thinks Ken is trying to mess with his underendowment issues.

Vox-Pop 3, a yummy mummy of 3, says she needs her Volvo Tractor to transport her three kids around. Oh? And something a little less ostentatious or carbon-intensive wouldn't manage? A Saab, perhaps?

Finally, Vox-Pop 4, a lawyer, says it's his God-given right to drive around in whatever he chooses to.

Absolutely right, Mr Lawyer. It is your right. And it's the right of the authorities to tax the living shit out of you for choosing to drive around in a completely unnecessary piece of steel that serves no other use than to compensate for your lack of self-confidence.

Hell, if I were lucky enough to own a Ferrari, I'd expect to pay through the nose for the pleasure.

All four of these specimens clearly have more money than sense and zero awareness of or interest in what's going on around them. As far as they're concerned, it's just another example of them being hassled by The Man. I bet they have issues with paying tax, too.

Elsewhere, a columnist accuses Ken Livingstone of targeting those people who are wealthier.

Which is precisely the point. These wealthy gourmands are the ones who need to pay for their indulgences. I don't think there's anyone who, if pressed, would argue that the more you impact the world around you, the more you should have to pay.

In fact, it's not just the wealthy gourmands - it's anyone with too much money and not enough brains to see the bigger picture.

Large cars like 4x4s and SUVs are nothing more than an expensive indulgence. I don't think that more than a miniscule proportion of 4x4 owners have ever driven off-road. The Chelsea housewife driving her kids to the local school in a Range Rover could make the school run just as well in a Peugeot, or a Ford. The arrogant student above is clearly a spoiled twit who should be driving a clapped out Mini anyway. Students in Range Rovers - don't make me laugh.

What Ken's done is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. Within a few years, we're going to be paying a lot more. Not just for our fripperies and our status symbols, but for what we charmingly like to think of as our "basic essentials."

When you fill up your car's tank in 2020, you'll be buying carbon credits to cover the emissions from your car. When you get your heating bill, you'll get a carbon dioxide statement as well. And when you fly abroad on holiday, you'd better believe that, in addition to the airport tax, the fuel surcharge and the landing fees, you'll be paying for the 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide that your ass is generating by being on that plane.

It's a new kind of tax - earth tax. And we'd better get used to paying it.


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