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.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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