By on May 27, 2011

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.

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30 Comments on “Obama Leaves London. And Unpaid Tickets Behind...”


  • avatar
    PickupMan

    And how much to other countries owe NYC for parking violations around the UN?

    Just the way it works. Presidents pass, peons pay.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Put it on our bill

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6005695/Foreign-embassies-owe-28-million-in-unpaid-congestion-chargepp.html

  • avatar
    jmo

    Is the British Embassy in DC and the UK UN Mission in NYC all paid up?

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Why does an automotive blog care about an awkward toast with the queen? Is TTAC trying to score cheap partisan points?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Because Obama is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to introduce EVs to America thus polluting our precious bodily fluids.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Definitely an “Ooops!” moment. At least he didn’t try to give her a massage.

    • 0 avatar
      tech98

      The etiquette and protocol for interacting with the Queen is so elaborate and detailed that almost all foreign heads of state run afoul at least one of their prissy rules. Nobody cares except for cringing royalists.

      Yeasr ago the Australian Prime Minister dared to touch the queen’s back lightly as he was guiding her at a reception. The UK tabloids were outraged and dubbed him ‘The Lizard of Oz’.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It wasn’t just the Aussie PM who did that, the acting mayor of San Diego, Bill Cleator, did it (allegedly) during her state visit, and the Brit press was all over it. When he ran for mayor himself, the tabloids reported it, when he retired from office they reported it, and when he died they reported it, each time asking the Palace for comment. San Diegans referred to him as “the Queen Masher.”

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      Yeah, I fail to see any relevance to ANYTHNG auto-related about about Obama’s (minor) toast gaffe…but of course, a day without an attempted Obama-bash (relevant or otherwise) around here is like a day without sunshine. Gotta give some red meat to the TTAC TeaPublicans.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      As we’ve seen in the last couple year, politics is part of the automotive business. And not just American politics. Be it bailouts, CAFE standards, LaHood recalls, Chinese tire taxation, FTAs, or Brazilian tariffs. There is a lot national interest in building cars. You cannot separate politics from this discussion (unfortunately).

      As far as Obama’s incident with the Queen, you would be surprised at how relevant and hyper-analyzed things Obama’s movements (and perceived slights) in London are:

      Recent Foreign Policy article on this Obama visit to London:
      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/05/25/abusive_relationship

      “Every time a U.S. president takes office, the British press worries that the new man may be insufficiently Anglophiliac. This hysteria reached new heights of absurdity when Barack Obama was elected.”

      “This is tedious beyond belief. The relationship between the White House and Downing Street has been fetishized beyond satire. Each new U.S. president has to be reminded by his staff to mention the magic words “special relationship” when he first meets the British prime minister. If Britain really needs this kind of validation then it’s in bigger trouble than even the most anxious doomsayers thought. “

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Pretentious and clumsy. Put it on the bill indeed.

  • avatar
    obbop

    These and similar events may have severe ramifications upon far-flung affairs that, at first glance, are seemingly unconnected or considered to be impossible for even the most remote connection.

    If one ponders long enough and tosses in economic, social, psychological and even primordial factors such as mammals possessing a reptilian-brain component deep within it is conceivable that scofflaw Obama and his herd of minions, lackeys and other assorted scoundrels when placed upon a diagram extended outwards to a 124th + N1 separation could affect even a dumpster diving shanty dwelling disgruntled denizen in a region known for swarms of sub-par examples of the USA human herd.

    I rest my case/

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Exactly how is this an auto or auto industry news event worthy of TTAC?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You don’t like the story, so you question it’s relevance in auto news, even though it is auto news.

      C’mon. I know Obama fans don’t like to hear criticism of him, but this is a stretch even for you guys.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      LOL! Obama supporters sure are brittle these days. But really, I think we should just pay the $XX million to settle up with the Brits. It’s a pittance, and why should anyone be exempt from a law like that? I’d love to buy an EV for my 2.5 mile commute to the train station. Too bad my job may not exist long enough for that.

  • avatar

    ^ lol

    Also, it is no secret that the London mayor hates automobiles and their owners. This is just him making an ass of himself to prove a point.

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      You mean the guy who used to be the motoring corespondent for GQ? In other words, an actual PAID automotive journalist?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That would be the previous guy. The current guy supposedly doesn’t hate cars quite as much.

      Ostensibly, Boris Johnson holds a contrary opinion, or at least did until he learned that, hey, wow, managing traffic in a densely urban city of several million really is hard and maybe this congestion charge thing isn’t such a bad idea after all?

      I’m being facetious: I actually like the man, more or less. The policies he’s working with make sense when you’re talking about a city like London.

      He is an avid cyclist, mind you, so you never know!

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Boris Johnson is the current mayor and was an automotive journalist among other things. The last mayor was Red Ken Livingston. He was the one who started all the fees and charges to get cars out of the city.

        Boris was a star in a resonably priced car a couple of years ago.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    It has nothing to do with the queen. Everyone knows Muslims aren’t allowed to drink alcohol.

  • avatar
    kkt

    “It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill; I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”

  • avatar
    AJ

    All Obama has to do is to sell one of Michelle’s dresses to pay the tickets. Very simple!

  • avatar
    AlexG55

    If Boris really wants the US embassy to pay the C-Charge, the solution is simple. Stop enforcing parking regulations to the advantage of the Embassy. Start simple, like taking away/not enforcing the diplomatic parking spaces. If they still don’t pay up, ramp up the inaction until people can park across the gates of the ambassador’s residence and not get towed (and given that parking spaces in that part of London are like gold-dust, they will).

  • avatar
    obbop

    I have NEVER heard nor read of the Brits returning and repairing, repainting, etc. the USA White House after the rampaging Redcoats marched in and pillaged, plundered, trashed and set alight one of the USA’s most venerable monuments during that fracas in 1812.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Did the Royal Family pay appropriate congestion fees for all of the vehicles used in the recent wedding of the Prince?


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