28. March 2006 · Comments Off on Red Ken Vs. US Embassy · Categories: General

In a matter strangely reminiscent of Rudy Guiliani’s UN diplomat parking ticket kerfuffle, it seems the US Embassy to Great Britain has refused to pay London Mayor “Red Ken” Livingstone’s congestion fee (about $14/car) on cars entering the city center.

Our embassy is framing the argument as a tax matter, and claim they are exempt under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. I would agree with this. But I wonder, how many of the estimated 100 cars/day at the embassy are actually conducting the US’s business, and how many are just the private vehicles of staffers commuting to work?

But this quote from Livingstone really jumps the shark:

When British troops are putting their lives on the line for American foreign policy it would be quite nice if they paid the congestion charge.

Man, this guy is an idiot.

Update: It seems this has been going on for decades, and is far broader based. Here’s an article from last year, saying NYC also want’s property taxes for embassy buildings not directly related to the diplomatic mission. And here’s a World Bank paper (PDF), from 1995 about (among other things) African nations which wanted fees for diplomatic vehicles.

Comments closed.