We like thinking of alternative worlds here at Londonist - it kills time while we wait for the Zappa on Zappa tickets to go on sale. We've done the 'if Hitler won the war' (great transport system - lousy foreign policy) and 'if Tony Blair wasn't an untrustworthy git' (too far fetched) scenarios and were looking for something new when we saw this over on the Beeb:
Plans to charge to use city roads were shelved more than 30 years before London's congestion charge came into force, newly-released documents show. Edward Heath's government considered putting a "black box" in cars but there were doubts about the technology and whether offenders could be traced.
Damn. Sure road deaths dropped by 21% last year, but imagine how quiet and safe our streets would be now if this had gone ahead back then. And better still if rather than being hamstrung by dodgy technology they had had the vision shown elsewhere in the seventies and taken Logan's Run as their blueprint.
The black box idea could have been adapted to tag the people rather than just the vehicles (like the present government's plans to label us all with ID cards) and a force of Sandmen put into service to see that the congestion charge of 50p was adhered to.
There's even a correlation as one of the reasons that the seventies congestion charge failed to be implemented was because officials warned it would be impossible to trace offenders in the "Ealing jungle". That's exactly the problem Logan and Francis had tracing Runners in the Cathedral Plaza sector of the domed city (we may have panthers loose now, but we could have been plagued by feral children...)
Now listen Ken (we know you have the Londonist web site tucked away in your favourites folder along with Subservient Blair), it's not too late to start hiring Sandmen to help implement the new £8 charge and while you're at it why not turn our own Dome into a huge Carrousel facility? It's the right shape and let's face it - London doesn't need yet another lousy music venue. Instead we'd gladly pay money to see drivers whisked up into an electrified ceiling - just tell them that it's the only way to reach 'Renewal' where they can drive 200 miles per hour and kill as many cyclists as they like.
Note: There is a Logan's Run remake on the way. If it doesn't cast Scarlett Johansson as Jessica then we're going to sulk.