Red Ken clobbers School Run Mums
By our filly in the 4x4, Miranda Givings
|Angry mums lashed out today at Red 'Ken' Livingstone who is determined to rid London's streets of the millions of parents who insist on driving their kids to school with his controversial new 'School Run' congestion charge|
With some parents taking as long as two hours to complete the one mile round-trip between home and school, transport pundits have welcomed the new proposal as the only way to ease congestion in London's overcrowded streets, already bursting at the seams from the increased numbers of white vans forced out of the city centre by the Mayor's congestion charge. Others have extolled the health benefits of walking to school, pointing out that three out four London children are now clinically obese through lack of exercise and a surfeit of Big Mac Meals.
Independent Research conducted by the Reliant Robin Owners Club showed that the number of 4x4s and MPV's driven by women in London, as a proportion of the total number of cars on the road, has increased by over 2,000% in the last five years. Utterpants has learned that the compulsory fitment of Global positioning satellite technology in all vehicles used for the school run will make it almost impossible for women to avoid paying the charge, netting the city council an estimated 56 million pounds — more than enough to pay for the installation of another 480 speed cameras around London.
But none of this cuts any ice with London mums who are furious at the
threat of being deprived of the use of the 4x4's and MPV's which have
become the symbol of their wealth and status in the competitive world
of the school run.
Pausing only to double park alongside an American MPV in the 'No Stopping Here — Keep Our Kids Safe' zone in front of the Montessori Preparatory School, to drop off Tristan and Sophie, she droned on: "If Ken Livingstone gets his way I'll have to walk the 100 yards twice a day. Have you any idea how far that is in three inch platforms? What if it rains? Is Ken going to pay my hairdressing bill?"
"The school run has become a bloody nightmare," contributed another immaculately dressed mother of two-point-one children, flicking a speck of cigarette ash off her Armani jacket. "Yesterday I was cut up by three ambulances, a fire engine and a Pizza delivery boy on a moped. You can't tell me they were all making 'essential journeys."
"Walk to school; are you mad?" shrieked one Range-Roving
parent. "Little Chloe could be hit by some bloody woman driving
a 4x4, or bundled into the back of a van before being whisked off to
Saudi Arabia to service the sick appetites of a gang of depraved kiddie
"It's a bleedin' fashion parade," bristled one disgruntled school caretaker we consulted, whose plaster cast bore eloquent testimony to his recent brush with the bumper of a 4x4. "The toffee-nosed cows compete with one another for the biggest bull bars, darkest windows and prettiest alloy wheels. When they do step out of their overgrown Tonka Toys dripping with cheap jewelry and smelling like West End tarts, it's only to compare stilettos, trouser suits and make catty remarks about each other's bottoms. It's like the bloody Oscars outside the school nowadays. And the kids are no bleedin' better. If it hasn't got a designer label printed on it the little monsters won't be seen dead in it. Trophy Tots, my mate Bert calls them, what with their flash 3G mobiles, iPods, Nike trainers and identikit sneers. It's supposed to be a school, not a bleedin' Hollywood catwalk. The sooner the foul-mouthed buggers have to walk to school the better, and it wouldn't do the coke swilling, face-stuffing little rugrats any harm either."
"It would do kids no good at all to walk to school," countered another mum as she programmed her SatNav to take her back home through London's overcrowded streets. "Travelling this way teaches my children to look down their pretty noses at the riff raff they'll be bossing about when they leave school and gives them the self-confidence to deal with jumped up labourers like Ken Livingstone who don't know their bloody place!"
But Ken Livingstone refuses to accept such complaints, pointing out that his proposals will make the streets of central London much safer for mums and tiny tots. "Extending my congestion charge to compel parents to stump up fifty quid every time they drive their brats to school will slash pedestrian injuries and pollution at a stroke," he declaimed while handing the keys to his Ford Galaxy to a poorly-paid Ukrainian street-sweeper to park on a double yellow line. "Kids have legs, don't they? Let the little sods use them."
Labour spokestypeperson, Lynne Farley, told Utterpants: "Four-by-four vehicles near schools are a danger to pedestrians, a hazard to cyclists and can cause more damage than any other type of car. What's more the arrogant bitches on the school run always take up three parking spaces so I can never find a slot for my Mercedes cabrio. Just as Ken's congestion charge has been an unqualified success, this new proposal will make the streets of London safe for our kids. Now, who can possibly object to that?"
London businesses are less than enthusiastic about banning the daily ritual of the school run, claiming it will damage the trade of hairdressers and manicurists, who rely on mothers' competing in the urban fashion parade to keep their businesses afloat. Other critics have pointed out that high-use female drivers in London could pay as much as £9,000 pounds a month to drive their children to school, resulting in increased congestion during the morning and evening rush hours as more women drive to work to earn extra money to pay the charge.
If it proves successful, the new charge could be rolled out to the rest of the UK as early as 2009, prompting one political pundit to comment: "If that doesn't push Tony Blair's popularity through the electric sun-roof, I don't know what will."
© 2004 utterpants.co.uk /061204