Which countries' diplomats pay parking tickets and which don't?

Originally published at: Which countries' diplomats pay parking tickets and which don't? | Boing Boing


They say “integrity is what you do when no one’s watching.”

I guess we could add a corollary, “integrity is also what you do when people are watching but you know there are no consequences for bad behavior.”


My embassy pays regular bribes to the police benevolent funds, and thereby maintains a well earned reputation for ethical behavior.


I have some outstanding traffic/parking citations in a few South American countries. Come and get me…


In the UK, the US Embassy is one of the largest offenders for unpaid parking fines and congestion charges for vehicles entering central London.

By last year, the US Embassy alone had recorded more than 102 THOUSAND fines worth, wait for it - £12.5 million.


I remember reading about this in the 1990s. I think it was Giuliani, actually, who started impounding their cars, getting himself denounced on the floor of the UN in terms usually reserved for Saddam Hussein.

I can find about a dozen articles from that month, but not the one quoting some Russian, “no buses, no subway, no way.” It was the North Koreans that averaged two parking tickets per day IIRC.


It escalated pretty quickly…

(If you really want to read specific articles beyond the paywall, ask).

Parking spats with UN diplomats seemed to have come up every decade or so, it’s just that Giuliani excelled at being an ass,.


Keep calm and be grateful that they only run over teenagers occasionally.


So what you’re saying is that the correlation noted in the article holds well?


From the article the text following the extracted quote is illuminating, too:

But no less impressive were the British diplomats. They, too, accumulated no unpaid fines. So we must not despair. The recent outcry suggests that there is still a price to be paid for breaking the rules, or for trying to rewrite them when convenient. And the evidence from New York is that British civil servants are beyond reproach.

The same may not be true for all British politicians. A certain Boris Johnson once worked as GQ magazine’s motoring correspondent. His editor noted that Johnson had cost GQ “£5,000 in parking tickets”, but he wouldn’t have him any other way.

Well, indeed. And if Johnson faced no consequences then, why would he expect consequences now?

British civil servants may be beyond reproach (hmm) and maybe the UK is not quite yet an entirely corrupt country (but reading Private Eye every fortnight tends to convince one otherwise), but our current leader is as corrupt as fuck.

Boris Johnson is no doubt right to insist that the UK is not a corrupt country. But if we want to keep it that way, punishing politicians who break their own rules would be a good start.


So, nearly 20 years ago.
I’d love to see the updated study, given current events.


See also:


My old man was career State Dept. One of his last positions before he finally retired was running the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) in Washington DC, the office in charge of managing all the foreign diplomats working in our country. Their vehicle needs, their legal issues, their real-estate holdings and official buildings, etc.

It’s a big job, and it takes a great deal of cultural sensitivity; but it ALSO means you have to occasionally boot some taintbag Saudi princeling out of the country for drunkenly pinballing his Lamborghini down a DC residential street at 3am and “do you know who I am”-ing the cop who is ultimately forced to pull him over. (The notion that police can’t pull over a car with diplomatic plates is a myth. If they’re driving dangerously or are involved in an accident, they absolutely can get pulled over or even arrested.) Dad was usually the guy who got the call afterwards. He has some stories, y’all…

He got his ass chewed by foreign big-shots all the time. Mostly to no avail. He was told more than a few times by angry foreign ambassadors and lower-level staff that not letting them get away with whatever egregious municipal issue they found themselves embroiled in was gonna cost him his job. It never did, and he knew exactly when to pick his battles. My dad was good at knowing when the letter of the law was more important than the spirit, and vice-versa.


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