12 December 2008

Mancunians Say No To Congestion Charge

Update:- Results Here.
Unfortunate, but in the present climate of recession and the propaganda in the press against the government that any taxes raised would not go on public transport, it was always going to be difficult to make the case.

There are 2 alternatives I can see - if rationing by tax is rejected (and this was always going to be the best way to pay for public transport), then we either leave things to get intolerably congested (even if we covered greater Manchester with more roads) or we ration in some other way.

We will have to see what happens.

14 comments:

  1. I like it better with a wider RH sidebar and none on the left. It was all getting enormously messy.

    By the way, C-Charge is not best way to fund public transport. Ticket sales are the best way.

    Then you have to show that public transport deserves subsidies (which is probably does) and only then can you decide how to raise that money. Land Value Tax is the obvious choice ...

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  2. Mark: Yeah have tidied blog up a bit, I am happy with it now.

    I don't think people are happy with the level of congestion in Manchester (or many other UK cities). I would imagine that the 4-1 vote against has killed it off (although central Manchester where the pollution and congestion is concentrated were far more disposed to it) - but how many voted against because they didn't think the money would be spent on Public Transport projects rather than whether they thought it a good idea?

    I would just ration by car colour - certain colours not allowed on certain days. e.g no Blue cars on Monday, no Red on Tues, no Green on Weds, no black on Thurs and only blue,red,green and black cars allowed in on Friday. Reduce congestion by a fifth at a stroke.

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  3. The people have spoken, Neil. Voting for that scheme would have been like turkeys voting for Christmas.

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  4. TT: In the present climate it was always going to be a hard sell - but I wonder how many realised that a YES would have meant an immediate £1.3bn investment in public transport BEFORE any congestion charge was implemented to pay the loan back?

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  5. Neil,

    typical labour scheme - bribe people with their own money.

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  6. TT: The government gave a referendum on the issue (the Tories in contrast would have used their majority to bulldoze policies through - like they did with the poll tax)- what more do you want? If the congestion charge had passed - you would have said it was down to government propaganda - so they cannot win no matter how they play it. They came up with some proposals - the public rejected them in a referendum. I think the proposals were the right way forward, but for whatever reason, most Mancunians disagreed.

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  7. Neil,

    I'm glad they held a referendum, and I'm glad the proposals got voted down. The more referendums the better, and I'm still waiting for the one on the European Constitution, which labour promised in their last manifesto.

    Labour can't win with me, it's true, because I believe in individual liberty and not the Hegelian state.

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  8. This shows yet again that referenda are a bad idea. Obviously people are likely to vote for their own perceived immediate interests without regard to the longer term or the wider issues.

    In Stockholm they brought in congestion charging for a trial period and THEN had a referendum. By that time, people could see how much of an improvement it made to the city, so they supported it. It was clear that they would have voted against if it invited to vote before the scheme was introduced.

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  9. PZT: I think you have hit the nail on the head - political courage and leadership is sometimes needed - and Brown and new Labour are sadly lacking in both.

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  10. This shows yet again that referenda are a bad idea. Obviously people are likely to vote for their own perceived immediate interests without regard to the longer term or the wider issues

    I think that is an extremely condescending view. Why is is that some 'democrats' are in favour of elections only if they win them? If I lived in Manchester, I would have voted against it. Not because I want to see congestion increase but because I simply did not believe the promises made in respect of improving public transport.

    The lesson is clear. If the political elite want people to accept congestion charging then they are going to have to demonstrate improvements in public transport FIRST. That is an entirely sensible position for the electorate to take and it is undemocratic high-handedness to sweep aside those concerns.

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  11. PZT,

    I'd take the wisdom of crowds over the so-called experts you doff your cap to.

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  12. stephen: "I would have voted against it. Not because I want to see congestion increase but because I simply did not believe the promises made in respect of improving public transport."

    This is probably why the referenda was lost - and it is silly because NOT A PENNY charge would have been implemented UNTIL the money had been spent on public transport - that was the whole point of the deal - the money was provided upfront from government and then paid back with the charge. So to say 'don't believe it' is silly because you would have seen the improvements first.

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  13. Neil,

    the good citizens of Manchester and its environs have looked into the matter and rejected it.

    Case closed.

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  14. TT: True. But we all know that under different circumstances (unrelated to the merits or otherwise of the proposition) referenda can be won. A newly elected popular government in a boom period can probably win referenda on proposals that are actually bad for people. And conversely proposals that are good can be rejected just because of an unpopular government, distorted press ooverage, recession, or in this case - all three of these things.

    This is the point that PZT was making - wouldn't it have been better to get on with the charge and then give people a referendum on what they think of it when the benefits (or otherwise) are evident? Sometimes governments have to show leadership or nothing radical is ever done even if it is beneficial.

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