Headed for the G8 summit in France, President Obama left Britain today on Air Force One. He left a pile of unpaid traffic tickets behind. London’s Mayor Boris “BoJo” Johnson announced that he will bill the U.S. government 10 pounds for each car in the presidential motorcade, including The Beast that either did or did not get stuck in Ireland. The money is for the London congestion charge, abbreviated to C-charge. “Our roads were not closed during the President’s visit so his motorcade will pay,” the Mayor told London’s Evening Standard. “The Beast will pay the charge, I’m delighted to say.”
While it looks like The Beast will be billed, payment is a completely different matter.
A number of embassies in the capital insist the congestion charge is a tax, and that they are immune. The U.S. embassy carries the highest balance, with well over 45,000 notices since the C-charge was introduced in 2003. London insists it’s not a tax, it’s a toll charge.
A spokesman for the Mayor later said: “They already owe £5.3 million so it is probable the bill for the motorcade will just go on top of that.”
Meanwhile, back at the Buckingham Palace, they still are not amused by Barack Obama raising his glass to the Queen during the rendition of “God save the Queen.” He looks at her, thinks “well, if you don’t drink, I won’t either” and puts down the bubbly.