Hope ?

Some big things in Manchester last week not least the finalisation of the Transport Innovation Proposals that will be the subject of a referendum beginning later this month. This is a package. We can't cherry pick. It's either £3billion pounds of investment in public transport, investment on an unprecedented scale, partly funded by a peak-time, Monday to Friday, one-way only congestion charge... or nothing. And nothing means nothing for a long time. On Friday last I was regularly asked what is plan B. There is no plan B, but those urging you to vote No don't even have a plan A.

We also announced progress on Royal Opera House Manchester last week. There is still a long way to go on this but if we succeed we will have a globally unique facility, producing new opera and ballet here in Manchester, and also providing training in every aspect of the production, from conducting to costume, singing to set-making etc, etc. Hundreds of jobs and most, if not all, accessible to Manchester residents.

Of course all of this pales into insignificance compared to events in the USA today, where the choice of a new President will have enormous impact not just on the lives of Manchester residents, but people across the world. If the election was taking place here, it would be a foregone conclusion with an enormous majority for Barack Obama. The relative closeness of the polls in the States shows just what a different place it is to the UK and indeed the rest of Europe. However it does seem that there is a majority for change, for a different less strident America. That's certainly my hope, and I hope that by 6am tomorrow hope is still alive.

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