The BBC is reporting that Obama is having to possibly soften his stance on healthcare. A shame as universal heathcare irrespective of ability to pay is a good thing, no matter what claptrap about it being a socialist conspiracy the deluded Tory MEP and viral video star Daniel Hannan spouts. Are you thinking what they’re thinking? Probably not if you have half a brain-cell. Good to see Srephen Hawking leading the charge against.

Meanwhile the US Embassy appears to have hardened in its stance on the congestion charge. The US state department are not yielding to a letter from GLA member Murad Qureshi addressed directly to Obama to cough up the £3.5million (and rising) they owe in fines. You will recall how Ken Livingstone called the Bush entourage “chiselling little crooks” when they chose to ignore the daily £8 fee in 06. At that point they were only £150k in the red. The £3.5million the total now stands at would put 151 bobbies on the beat, buy 17 routemaster buses and pay Boris Johnson’s salary for 23 years according to ITV’s London Tonight show. Despite high hopes with the advent of the new ambassador sworn in under the Obama administration, there is to be no change in America’s opposition. Could this cause a crack in the special relationship?

I’m sure most Londoners do not agree with the US high command claiming imagined diplomatic immunity in this way. Personally I’ve just had two £60 parking fines issued to me in a week, despite having a zone permit and everything, set to double if not paid promptly. When I tried to contest one before my representation took the form of a letter setting out my reasons. The reply began “”Dear Sir/ Dear Madam” and informed me after consideration the fine still stood. It didn’t look as if they’d read it at all as no point was addressed and the thing was signed by “Ealing Council Revenue Officer”- who hardly strikes me as impartial. The US should pay up with a smile in order to plug the hole in the Mayor of London’s revenues. Maybe then we could have the Rise anti-racist festie back and the episode wouldn’t smack so much of one rule for “them” and another for “us.”

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