Monday, November 28, 2011

Westminster Council Parking Charge

Its been a while seeing an unpopular decision as Westminster council`s  plan to introduce new parking charges from next January. Not since the Poll Tax imbroglio. You know its serious when Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone publicly and unequivocally agree on an issue. They, like a multitude of people are against the new charges. Much vociferous opposition has been raised by a broad spectrum of the population. The business owners in the West End dont like it. The churches dont like it. In fact so strong is their feelings about the the issue that they plan to put up  thier own candidates come 1014 says Churches Together in Westminster. Didnt even know churches had a trade union. Theatreland is outraged. Club and restaurant owners are at arms. Even the government is not impressed. A view expressed by the delectable  Transport Secretary Justine Greening this week. But neither her, nor Mayor Boris Johnson can intervene. So all the perfectly coiffured one could do was urge the boffins at Westminster council to have a rethink about the issue.

The question is, given this seemingly unanimous objection to the parking charges, why is Westminster council going ahead with the plan? According to Collin Barrow, leader of the council no one likes government decisions that involve charges. Am with him on that. But the council surely should not be seen as engaging in extortion and putting businesses at risk. Which to all intent and purposes is the case here.

My own view is that the scheme has less to do with traffic calming and more a means to raise revenue for the council. Its not about traffic calming at all. If you want to know what night time traffic tailback is go to Madrid. A city I frequent and know fairly well. The amount of traffic in the centre of the city at these hours being targeted by  Westminster council is most definitely higher, if not double what we have here. Ideally I think the council should scrap the idea.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The mudslinging goes on unabated in the UK Border Agency row.  The Home secretary, |Theresa May says she wasn`t aware what the Border Agency were up to talk less of giving the order. Brodie Clark says no. As I understand it she claims she only ordered a partial relaxation of entry checks. Like for travellers holding EU bio metric passports and school kids on trip. All to cut ques at points of entry. Sounds reasonable. But  we now know these measures were applied to non EU passport holders as well. Mr Clark maintains Theresa May gave the go ahead and was duly aware of what was going on. Someone is lying. It`s either one or the other.

Silvio Berlusconi Agrees To Go

 As expected, Berlusconi has agreed to go. The old fox failed to gain a majority backing in the lower house and was left with no choice but to throw in the towel. One battle too many for a man who has survived 50 votes of no confidence.

Mr Berlusconi agreed to go as soon as a new goverment is in place to carry out the reforms needed to see Italy through the economic malaise it faces at the moment. As things are it seems the country is going to be be governed by a coalition of  parties and technocrats. At least till elections are held and proper goverment established.

There are reports that one of Mr Berlusconi`s favourite amores, Franscesca Pascale was spotted driving into his Rome residential palace the night before the fatal vote and was seen leaving in the early hours of the morning. I say good on you Silvio. A man needs all the support he can get at such troubled times as these. Besides what are friends for?  Once all this tak of new goverment is done with, the old man can have his time and privacy to himself. Bunga Bunga party and all that without fear or favour.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


The Euro crisis claimed it`s first scalp yesterday. The Greek Prime Minister finally stepped down. How this helps the Greek situation only time will reveal. For now it`s just another chapter in the Greek economic odyssey to which we have been spectators for a year or so now. Mr George Panpandreou`s exit will at least bring new fervour to finding some kind of solution to the problems the country faces. Hopefully. Some might even argue that it will restore some confidence in the country`s ability not only to implement the needed reforms but to convince the people of Greece of their merits.

In Italy, folks are putting money on Mr Berlusconi suffering the fate as his Greek counterpart. We will know by tonight if that is the case. Mr Berlusconi has unequivocally made it clear he is not ready to go. The backbenchers are of course rattling up the hatchet. For Berlusconi the financial mess in Italy is an irritant he could well do without. He has enough people calling for him to go based on his personal conducts and allegations against him. What with all the lawsuits and whatnot. The questions is do the Italian people trust and believe him to be the man to see them through these rough times? He sure believes he is. Is he alone in this view?