Red Ken the road troll


The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, launched an attack on the US Ambassador yesterday, accusing him of being a "chiselling little crook".

Mr Livingstone, who was spared a suspension last month after being accused of anti-semitism, also likened Robert Tuttle to a car salesman. His comments relate to a row over whether the American Embassy should pay the £8-a-day congestion charge. The embassy stopped paying the charge for the officials shortly before the new ambassador arrived in London to take up his post last July.

Earlier, speaking at the unveiling of the new Wembley Park station yesterday, Mr Livingstone queried the motivation for the decision to stop making the payments. He said: "This new ambassador is a car salesman and an ally of President Bush. This is clearly a political decision. 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," he said. "We will find a way of getting them into court either here or in America. We are not going to have them evade their responsibilities."

The US embassy is arguing that the congestion charge is a tax and as such should not apply to diplomats, whom it says are exempt. But Mr Livingstone contends that the charge is a payment for a service as it is aimed at reducing traffic, and should therefore be paid....


Last week Mr Livingstone told the Reuben brothers, Jewish businessmen originally from India, that they should "go back to Iran and see if they can do better under the Ayatollahs".
Ken is quite the insult artist, so he probably will not be offended by being called a road troll. He has a rather weak case since it is his claim that the charge is for reducing traffic, not for using the road.


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