Diplomatic immunity and my Dad

My father, Brian Barder was on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House this morning, to talk about diplomatic immunity.  The US Embassy in London has apparently decided that it should not pay the congestion charge.

I assume the aim was to bring on a crusty retired diplomat to make a fool of himself by arguing for the absolute necessity of diplomatic immunity to enable diplomats to park with impunity, drink and drive, molest small children and so on. If so, they failed. Though I am admittedly biased, I thought he did very well explaining why diplomatic immunity makes sense, how it is limited (by the ability to expel a diplomat who flouts it) and why the US Embassy in London is wrong to try to avoid the congestion charge.

But don’t take my word for it: here is an MP3 file (2.9Mb) which you can download and play on your computer (or iPod) with the interview.  Alternatively, for the rest of the week (only) you can hear the whole programme here.

Update: See Brian Barder’s blog entry for details of why diplomats, even American ones, should pay the congestion charge.

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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  2. An excellent performance by your father.
    I do feel that the American Embassy has been unjustly singled out here – they are far from being alone in refusing to pay up, but for all the usual reasons they are the ones considered newsworthy.

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