Friday, December 12, 2008

Time for Plan B

I don't take any pleasure at all in being completely correct about the result for the Manchester transport referendum. I just feel weary and slightly depressed about the utter waste of energy and effort.

All previous rants on the subject are here.

Ten nil, and as resounding as it was, is a savage result that must be hard for the Yes people to swallow. They fought an imaginative campaign at times, but even the mendacious way in which the arguments were pitched as facts worked against a proposal that was based on a leap of faith. They were utterly doomed. This is not a time for trust.

As I said on BBC Radio Manchester last night, I was looking forward to drawing a line under this process. I think it was wrong from the outset to concede to a government proposal to consider congestion charging. The need for Britain's most important regional city to have better trams and trains is uncontestable, a charge is too big a pill to swallow.

Stockport's pugnacious leader, Councillor Dave Goddard, said the money is still there if the right plan is put forward. SHB says it isn't. Actually he said, in response to a question about whether the money was still there: "What the f*ck do you think?"

Susan Williams, Conservative leader of Trafford Council, had it right here: "There is always a plan B and we must all regroup next week and call on the government to give us the money if they're indeed serious about the growth of cities."

1 comment:

Nigel Barlow said...

I think Michael, that the problem was that the public will never vote for something that will have address a medium or long term solution.
There is no doubt that Manchester needs investment in its transport infrastructure but the bitter pill of having to pay for what many see as a divine right was too much to stomach.
I hope that a plan B can be put together.Manchester ,like many cities, will grind to a halt if we are not prepared to take painful short term decisons for long term benefits