Given that Sadiq Khan is well in the pocket of the black cab drivers this extension of the congestion charge being discriminatory is rather the point, not a problem. For gaining legal privilege over and above what other drivers gain is the very point of being an organised guild in the first place. There is an amusement that Khan, something of a race baiter himself, is getting it in the neck over the racially discriminatory aspect of this. But that is minor compared to the discrimination in favour of black cab drivers themselves:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Private hire drivers are taking legal action against London Mayor Sadiq Khan over the congestion charge. The group, which includes Uber drivers, says the charge is discriminatory as 94% of them are from black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds. London’s “black cab” licensed taxis will remain exempt. The mayor’s office says it is not prepared to ignore the damaging impact the rise in private hire vehicles is having on congestion and air pollution. From 8 April, private hire vehicle drivers will have to pay the £11.50 daily congestion charge to drive in central London, under rules introduced by the mayor.
London has roughly 114,000 private hire (PHV) drivers, who are overwhelmingly from black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds, and this is what has led to a legal challenge.
The report also includes analysis showing that a majority of black cab drivers are white British. [/perfectpullquote]
So, a majority white British occupation will not have to pay the charge, a vastly, overwhelmingly, BAME one will. Sure, that’s discrimination and what joy to see it being pointed out.
But there’s that more important one as well. Black cabs do not contribute to congestion any more or any less than other private hire drivers. Than Uber drivers. But they are to be privileged. Why? Because they’re a guild and that’s the point of a guild, to gain legal privilege over those who compete with you.
As Adam Smith pointed out – much of Wealth of Nations is railing against the iniquities of a guild led economy – we shouldn’t be doing this. But Sadiq Khan is in London. Aren’t we all such lucky people.