Enthused by the ‘success’ of the US/UK attack on Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair is planning a similar pre-emptive strike against the Greater London Authority (GLA), with the aim of ousting London Mayor Ken Livingstone and effecting a ‘regime change’, to ensure London’s compliance with New Labour policy. “Make no mistake, I have no intention of simply waiting for this despot to widen his evil congestion-charging scheme, or his pedestrianisation policies, so as to further oppress our key middle-class voters by restricting their car use – we must strike now,” he has told the House of Commons. “There is concrete evidence that if he is seen to be allowed to get away with such policies, other outlaw local authorities will follow suit – already we have intelligence clearly indicating that he is not just encouraging, but actively giving advice and expertise to other cities, including Newcastle, Manchester, Exeter and even Reading. Soon nowhere will be safe!” Livingstone – formerly a leading light of the Labour party – has long been a thorn in Blair’s side, defeating the official party candidate for Mayor of London and persisting in pursuing socialistic policies in the capital, including opposing the selling off of the Underground system to private profiteers and trying to improve public transport instead.
The final straw for the Premier came when Livingstone imposed a £5 a day ‘congestion charge’ on private motor vehicles entering central London so as to help unclog the city’s overcrowded roads. According to many experts, a welcome by-product of this measure has been a marked improvement in the capital’s air quality as exhaust emissions have decreased. Nonetheless, Blair remains adamant that Livingstone must go, contesting the claim that his traffic policies have been beneficial. “It is quite obvious that the increased number of ill-maintained and overloaded buses on the roads of London, belching forth noxious fumes, has in fact resulted in a significant increase in pollution. Furthermore, according to our experts, cramming all those additional passengers onto buses and tube trains is highly dangerous and a threat to public safety,” he contends, despite the fact that Health and Safety and Environmental inspectors have found no evidence of breaches of public safety or emissions violations. “Livingstone and his corrupt regime have clearly deceived the inspectors, restricting their access to key bus depots and tube stations! The only way to ensure public safety is to forcibly remove him from power and impose a new inspection regime!”
However, the Prime Minister’s critics have questioned the need for such drastic action, pointing out that new Mayoral elections for London are due within the next twelve months and that he should surely try and defeat Livingstone in an open democratic contest. “Why should people suffer this oppressive regime for a minute longer than they need to? Why should decent middle-class citizens be bled white with local taxes, parking fees and now this evil congestion charge and still be herded aboard unsegregated public transport like cattle? No elections under Livingstone can possibly be fair,” Blair argues. “We have tried, through reasoned argument, diplomacy and even bribery, to muster the requisite number of votes necessary to secure a victory in a second Mayoral election, but our projections show that we still might not win. Consequently, I have given Mayor Livingstone a clear ultimatum – he must voluntarily stand down now and go into exile in Kent, or at the very lest agree not to stand in the forthcoming elections, instead endorsing the official Labour candidate, or I will authorise the use of military force to facilitate his removal from office. I have been advised that the fact that this party held a majority on the former Greater London Council the last time it sat, gives legal grounds for such action.”
Critics remain unconvinced. “The Greater London Council is totally irrelevant, it was abolished by the Thatcher dictatorship in the 1980s – the only legal pan-London legislature is the current GLA, which has not passed any legislation authorising military action against the Mayor,” says veteran Labour back-bencher and peace campaigner Tam Dalyell. Nonetheless, Blair remains undeterred and defence experts believe that a deployment of troops onto the streets of London is imminent. “Large numbers of troops have already been reported as gathering in Colchester, just North of the capital, and in Aldershot to the East,” says Colonel Barry Trotter, of the Institute of Alarmist Assessments. “The main thrusts of any attack are likely to come from these directions, although I wouldn’t rule out an amphibious assault up the Thames, or perhaps a Naval bombardment of strategic targets, including bus depots.” It has also been rumoured that the Prime Minister is planning a ‘surgical strike’ using so-called smart weapons, aimed at GLA headquarters, designed to ‘decapitate’ the regime by ‘taking out’ the Mayor and his cabinet.
Blair’s war plans have already been condemned by the United Nations, the European Union and the Pope, although President George Bush is believed to be highly supportive and has even offered US troops and warplanes to support the proposed invasion of London. “The sooner they move to clean out that viper’s nest of illegal immigrants, towel heads, homos, pinko liberals and commies, the sooner we can all sleep safely in our beds,” he is reported to have said. Nevertheless, domestic opposition to the plans is growing. “This is sheer lunacy – such action does not have the support of the international community or the Labour party,” says former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. “The Prime Minister is merely using the alleged suffering of London’s middle-classes as a pretext to take illegal action designed to bolster his key support in middle-England!”
Mr Cook has also warned of a possible humanitarian disaster in the capital if war breaks out, with power, water and food supplies being disrupted. Blair has tried to counter such fears by announcing that plans have already been made for shipments of humanitarian aid to enter London immediately following any invasion. “We already have several car transporter loads of off-road vehicles, people movers and luxury estate cars ready to roll into London at a moment’s notice to relieve those middle-class motorists who have been so cruelly deprived by Mayor Livingstone’s policies,” he has told the Commons. If the toppling of Livingstone proves successful, the Prime Minister is thought to be contemplating similar action to oust several of his Parliamentary critics – plans are already said to be afoot to parachute official New Labour candidates and campaign managers, backed by troops and air strikes, into the constituencies of both Tam Dalyell and Robin Cook.