As this is an aviation-themed blog, I try to keep my ranting focused on issues relating to aviation and climate change. But today, I'm breaking this self-imposed rule to vent spleen on the pompous residents of West London and their allies in the knee-jerk media. That's right: it's congestion charging.
An article in the yesterday's Evening Standard by Valentine Low sumarises perfectly the stubborn stance taken by these ill-informed hacks. Low starts by name-dropping a few select friends and relatives for whom 'Red Ken' has made the borough of K+C nothing more than a ghetto. "Two of my son's friends... were removed from school after their parents were offered a place at a school nearer their home", he says; "the clincher was the knowledge that... they were going to have to fork out far more than they could afford just for the pleasure of driving their twins to school".
Low continues, describing a family with four children and how they've had to move into the zone (and closer to school) to qualify for the 90% reduction. 'Melissa' is quoted, tears no doubt falling thick and fast, as she describes the sheer nightmare of juggling kids, rugby kits and an urban 4x4 down the King's Road at 8:30am. He quotes a further friend, scarred for life as she has to admit taking her children on a bus (yes, a bus! shocking).
Now, much as I love reading about the suffering of Mellisa and her progeny, there's a serious side to this - and one which links back to the aviation debate. Firstly, Low assumes that the lifestyle changes his cabal have had to impliment are unintended. In Valentine's world, Livingstone never realised that the extension would penalise people who choose to live 5 miles from a bus route and send their children to school in the next borough.
Nonsense. The charge is entirely about reducing the distance and frequency you drive - particularly unnecessary school runs brought about by ill-thought out living arrangements. If you want to live a lifestyle which relies on excessive consumption of fossil fuels, then expect to pay.
Secondly, if Melissa or anyone else living on the King's Road chooses to give birth to four children, that is arguably their choice - even though her carbon footprint increases with every child. But there is a caveat - children cost money, and it is not an acceptable arguement that legislation unfairly impacts upon you because you chose to have a certain number of offspring.
No one complains when a trip to Alton Towers costs more for a family with four children than for a family with two. So why are people so surprised that the effects of measures designed to reduce your impact upon the earth's resources have a greater impact upon larger families? You made your bed, now lie in it.
What's this got to do with aviation? Well, the future will need to hold more of these measures if we are to reduce the effect of aviation on the climate, as, short of a deus ex machina techno-fix, we're going to need to reduce the existing capacity - meaning flying less than we do now, and closing regional airports, not expanding them.
That will impact upon your life - especially if you bought into the whole low-cost lifestyle, and either emigrated or bought a second-home abroad. So yes, if your parents or children live in Spain, you'll see them less. So yes, I am saying you can't nip over to Malaga for the weekend. And yes, choosing to fly will cost you.
Ken's charges are just the beginning. There's more to come, and like the residents of K+C, we will simply have to learn to deal with it.