more thoughts on outrageous Ken

M A Jones jones118 at
Thu May 11 02:23:17 MDT 2000

If Red Ken's congestion taxes are imposed they could yield more than $600m
in taxes which will flow straight into the mayoral coffers, for use in
improving the housing, social conditions, health and welfare of average
Londoners, doing something about chronic inequities (a disproportionate
percentage of socially deprived + longterm unemployed live in London's
blighted poor w/c areas, compared to the rest of the UK. London is
incredibly unequal even by New Labour standards of rising ginis). At the
moment, Blair has so constructed things that the mayoralty is a titular
figurehead able to help the Queen open new monuments, as yesterday when Ken
and Prince Phillip walked behind Her Majesty across the (incomplete! the
centre span was embarassingly still missing!) new Millenium pedestrian
bridge, straddling the Thames between St Paul's and the new Tate Modern and
designed, according to architect Lord Foster, to look like Flash Gordon's
'bridge of light'; it's snazzy, but useless, and not what Ken would do with
the money (I hope). The net money Ken actually has to play with is a paltry
50m UK pounds, about $80m. That's what Blair has given him. It is a bad
joke, of course, but there is no intention of letting him get his hands on
real resources, since he would certainly use it in al the wrong kinds of
ways - opening nurseries, reducing public transport fares etc.

The congestion tax would therefore be a major form of redistribution and
would give Ken the kind of money he'd use to guarantee his continued
populist success. That's the real reason the Blairistas want to block it for
4 years.

Agreed, Ken's strategy is not exactly the final assault on state power, the
storming of Buckingham Palace etc, but unless the 0.0006% (s+t) faction have
some concrete ideas about how to jump straight from where they are now, to
that goal, then they better start looking in the face at some of the
implications of Ken's populist/popular front politics .

Mark Jones

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