Papal Perks

21 Sep

Oh dear. It seems that as well as claiming that his publicity tour was a “State Visit” as a way of wriggling out of having to pay for the damn thing, Il Papa also had the £8 congestion charge waived for him. Well, it’s not what you know…

The Lord Mayor of London, good old wishy-washy Boris Johnson, apparently found himself reasoning thusly:

“What’s the point of being Pope, they will say, if you can’t be exempt from the congestion charge? Why should the people of London begrudge the Holy Father £8? To which the others will say, why should the Holy Father begrudge the people of London £8? They’ve got a bob or two in the Vatican.”

What’s the point indeed! Luckily London Transport staff managed to locate a convenient loophole to save poor BoJo from the horns of this “grade-A political dilemma”: it turns out that the Popemobile tying up the entire Metropolitan transport system didn’t count as a vehicle “making ‘normal’ use of the roads.” What a stroke of luck!

Actually, Boris should be hailed as a hero of the people, given the beautifully inept way he went on to baffle the Pope with his grasp of Catholic history. The visit might have been planned to be twice as long until Ratzinger realised who the Mayor was…

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