Manchester City Council

White Van Man-v- The Future

The polls are now closed for the great Transport Innovation Fund referendum but not yet counted

The result is due in about three hours from the time of writing this and I have no more clue about what the outcome will be than anybody else other than I assume the staff at Electoral Reform Services whose machines will have done the bulk of the counting. Whatever else it will have been a very interesting exercise in participatory democracy and I for one certainly intend to respect the majority view of the electorate whatever it is. I am disappointed with the turnout. With over two weeks to fill in one simple form more people should have taken the opportunity to cast their ballot. Given the amount of publicity, I have been regularly amazed just how misunderstood the proposals have been by so many people. People like the owner of my local dry cleaners who seemed to think that the proposed congestion charge would apply anytime, anyplace. The people who were voting no because the public transport they are using is so bad. How they think it will get any better, heavens knows. Yet for me the positives of the campaign far outway any negatives. Manchester being prepared to have a go at what the rest of the country runs scared of, and the emergence of a fantastic progressive alliance that transcends party politics working together for a better future. I am certain that, Yes or No, that alliance will continue to campaign to get better public transport, to rid us of the economic and environmental cost of congestion, to build a stronger and more inclusive economic future whilst at the same time reducing our carbon footprint, and to make sure that in every part of the city-region our children grow up with clean air to breathe.

There are 16 responses to “White Van Man-v- The Future”

  1. greg miskiw Says:

    You didn't have a clue what the result would be, you say. It just shows how little you know about the people who live in the city you purport to respresent. The people who didn't want the C-charge felt very strongly and voted. Those that wanted it didn't care enough to vote. If you had your finger on the pulse of this community you would have known that and not wasted 100's of thousands of pounds on this futile exercise. How much did it cost?

  2. John Negus Says:

    78.8% vote No to Congestion Charge.It is now crystal clear why there was initially such a reluctance on the part of certain pro-charge members of the GM Council to hold a referendum. However Greater Manchester has not just spoken it has positively shouted from the rafters...."we don't want yet another tax".

  3. Mark & Jacqui Says:

    So Richard after wasting GOD knows how much of OUR money on a crackpot SCHEME when are you going to resign. it proves both you and LABOUR are out of touch...............
    So it looks as though we DID understsnd the question and hope YOU understand the answer you (almost highway robber.) Good result.for the greater manchester population

  4. Jacqui Says:

    If you gave the motorists their road space back (i.e. the stupid bus lanes you have insisted in putting onto all the arterial routes into the city,) and stopped messing about with the traffic light sequences. congestion could be solved in an instant. It also seems strange that road works again on all the major arterial routes into the city were started just when the consultation period for the CON charge started.

  5. pault123 Says:

    Well at least you kept your word and binned the whole TIF debacle! The people have spoken :- )

  6. christine Says:

    At last the common people have risen against this charge. I would have had to pay the £25 for 3 family members to go to work in Salford from our home in South Manchester. A journey which takes 25 minutes by car (35 on a bad day) the journey by bus, train and walking takes 1.35 minutes at a cost of £6 on train, £1.50 on the bus x 3 so over £20 a day extra if we had to travel by public transport, NO CONTEST,POWER TO THE PEOPLE

  7. john Says:

    Thank goodness for the good sense of the Mancunian people to see past this tax. We should be given the transport system as a matter of course and not as a sneeky tax. And, to say we now get nothing is a total disgace. Lets get rid of the Labour Party .... Lets see if this letter gets on the blog, somehow I doubt it will.


  8. John Mellos Says:

    You claim to be a cyclist. Why do you never mention the planned cycling improvements? Is it thay they were never meant seriouslt?

  9. Pete Says:

    Just because it was a 'No' vote is no reason to avoid blogging the result

  10. Richard Leese (EX clr) Says:

    hahahahaah you lost

  11. Ian M Says:

    I think it has greatly increased a lot of people's interest in politics, and that's great.

    I'm sure lots of people have contributed to the debate formally as well - are there any plans to open up the database so that we can see people's suggestions? Anonymously of course.

    I'd hope that there would be a lot of improvements that can happen without a great spend ?

  12. George Czernuszka Says:

    So now we do know. Manchester has elected to reject the future. Quite frankly, I fear for what will become of our city.

  13. Citizen Stuart Says:

    It's good to see that the people of Greater Manchester have had the good sense to vote against this unnecessary tax. There are plenty of non-coercive ways of reducing traffic congestion, but Labout (and LibLabCon generally) always reach for the big stick as a first resort, don't you?

    Incidentally, why are you wasting tax payers' money piggybacking your personal political blog on an official website, when you could just as easily take advantage of any of the free commercial services that the rest of us use, like Blogger or 20Six?

  14. manchester man Says:

    What a shame that the people of Greater Manchester have shown such an uncharacteristic lack of vision.

    While I can appreciate some of the arguments against a road-pricing scheme, the arguments for the whole TIF Fund plan were far more compelling. We had in our grasp an opportunity to make an unprecedented investment in the region’s transport system, create jobs for local people and cement the city-region’s status as one of the great modern European cities.

    The ‘No’ campaign may well be celebrating their perceived victory but the facts remain that there is no plan B, there is no alternative to the proposal that we’ve just rejected. Anyone who lives and works in the region and who regularly uses public transport knows that over the next few years there is going to be a serious demand for massive investment in the public transport infrastructure. The size of the investment needed will be in the hundreds of millions or billions of pounds and that money will need to be found somewhere.

    Three words: Council Tax increases.

    It doesn’t make any difference if it’s the current Labour group, the Lib Dems, or (for the love of all that’s holy, please no) the Tories that take this city through the next decade, that fact remains that the public transport issue is going to be one of the greatest challenges faced and significant investment will be needed.

    We won’t get a referendum on Council Tax increases and I know who’ll be bleating about them the loudest.

  15. Tony Says:

    I agree with 'manchester man' that the result is a shame. The local car dealerships with their big ‘no’ banners will still struggle to stay solvent, just as they cousins are all over America and Europe. Oxford Road will still look like a bus garage while the rest of the city waits and waits. Drivers will still queue in the mornings on the M61 from Chorley and on the M62 from Warrington. And one accident on the M60 and you can forget getting to meet the kids on time.
    Much ink will be spilt on the lessons for governance, and as Sir Richard Leese says there will be lessons widely learnt as well as recognizing some solid local foundations for future actions and investments.
    I would also draw attention to the sometimes vitriolic personal attacks that get made, sometimes deliberately, as a way of closing down the debate. Tackle the ball, not the player. Previously I’m sure that a lot of these sort of comments were ‘edited out’ from letters sent to newspapers and councillors. When these comments creep through, we need to credit opponents such as John McCann in America when he took issue on television with a member of the public who was attacking Barack Obama for his race.
    The credit crunch, rising energy prices and climate change are all connected, and Manchester is one of the few cities keeping its eye on the future. Cities have to work if we want sustainable living.
    We need to find some better ways to debate with each other that are still passionate but also respectful and conciliatory. The leaders of the ‘no’ campaign need to reflect on the damage now around them.

  16. anonymouswoman Says:

    i believe a lot of people who would normally have voted 'yes' strongly believe that the PUBLIC transport system should be just that, a government owned body, run in the public's best interest. the current scenario of lining the pockets of stagecoaches most hurrendous bosses hardly passes for a preferable option. i would also like to know what is going on with creating safe routes for cyclists? the state of manchester roads is dire, cyclists appear to be expected to disappear in the middle of the road along with the green paint and often (upper chorlton road being a prime example) seem to have been given a route under parked cars. helpful? show people that the tax they are paying is making a difference and they might not feel so angry about paying a little more.



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