Full council last night, where the feature event was a debate on the ‘£10 to enter Greater London’ policy advocated by the Lib Dem Mayoral candidate (see ‘Weak thinking, Brian’ below).
Needless to say the Lib Dems ‘amended’ the Conservative motion, which was critical of the policy, by changing one thing – ALL the words. The only debating chamber in which I have ever been where the substitution of an entirely different motion from one which has been proposed and seconded is called an ‘amendment’ is the Council Chamber of this Royal Borough. However, the Mayor seemed to think it was alright, so who am I to criticise?
It appears that the Lib Dem policy has undergone two clarifications and evolutions since the Conservative motion was submitted (about 2 weeks ago so the agenda could be published!). The latest version, pulled off the website yesterday, gives two possible options for dealing with the nonsense I pointed out some days ago. These are:-
Option 1: create an exempt zone outside Greater London, the residents of which would be inside the Congestion Charge zone and thus exempt from paying the charge on entry into Greater London. Precisely what would be included in this zone is nowhere indicated – as yet. Would Esher be in or out? or Leatherhead, which lies outwith the M25 circle. We don’t know. But our Lib Dems seem on the face of it, not to believe this would be adopted. I say this because their ‘amendment’ seemed geared to
Option 2: exclude some of the Outer London Boroughs from the Congestion Zone. Our Lib Dems took it for granted in their ‘amendment’ that this would mean that Kingston would not be affected. Presumably the charging zone would start at Ham Parade if this were the case and Richmond were not so privileged. Would this mean I would have to stump up £10 a time to go to 6 p.m. Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas on Sundays – as the proposal is for the charge to apply 24/7? But the point is that this is only listed in the manifesto as an option which might be applied, and there is no guarantee that it would be or that Kingston would be protected as one of the selected Boroughs.
So the evolved policy is a better presented dogs dinner than it originally was – but it’s still a dog’s dinner nevertheless.