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Manchester votes No.

Eddie Mair | 12:29 UK time, Friday, 12 December 2008




  • 1. At 12:36pm on 12 Dec 2008, notanaveragejoe wrote:

    Could cheap fuel save the planet My friend asked me a question, I can’t work out the answer to! Could we somehow cancel our national debts at the World bank by investing from our resources today to grow biofuel in Africa, so we can get cheap fuel, irrigate a continent, slow global warming through using renewable(s) and have an opportunity to sell cars and refrigerators to the Africans? I think it's a complicated question, I just don't know the answer to that, any thoughts? [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 2. At 12:38pm on 12 Dec 2008, Tom_Harrop wrote:


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  • 3. At 12:41pm on 12 Dec 2008, copperTrixie wrote:

    I second that. I've not met anyone who was in favour of it either.

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  • 4. At 12:50pm on 12 Dec 2008, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    The right decision, I think. It remains to be seen whether Manchester City Council will go it alone.

    The crazy thing about this proposal was that for decades the councils (including Manchester) have been working to make Greater Manchester a major economic area, with good road access (not public transport) and co-operative working between each borough, but at a stroke they wanted to reverse all that.

    Quite rightly people did not believe the stories about public transport investment - who trusts politicians?

    I no longer go into Manchester for work, but if I did, I could not afford the £3,000 on top of the £3,000 for travel and parking each year.

    Well done people of Greater Manchester!

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  • 5. At 1:11pm on 12 Dec 2008, johnbannister wrote:

    Many living outside manchester but working within the M60 boundry never got a chance to vote in what was a completely unrepresentative ballot as it automatically disenfranchised many transport users.
    However in my view the vote was one for common sense. Who could possibly believe that the promise to put on a few more buses, and trams, and a lick of paint here and there would have done anything for the majority of transport users -
    It is pehaps too much to hope that these council officials will now get to grips with the situation in greater manchester and improve the road transport network !

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  • 6. At 1:28pm on 12 Dec 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    ... and since Ireland voted "No" and are being ignored, will the politicians of Manchester be more gracious?

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  • 7. At 1:42pm on 12 Dec 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    P.S. I think it serves 'em right for their misleading advertising campaign.

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  • 8. At 2:08pm on 12 Dec 2008, MThompsonBiteVictim wrote:

    As a Manchester resident I took the coward's way out... and... abstained...

    In principle I'm not averse to ... something... anything... being done about the horrendous traffic prob. I commute from Whitefield to Burnage each day and so would be hit hard by the scheme that was proposed (assuming my circs haven't changed by 2013!).... I'm also well aware of how congested central Manchester is at peak times... BUT trusting squabbling local government worthies and the clowns that run the metrolink at the moment with all that £££? Not a good idea.

    As an aside, the "Yes" campaign was really sanctimonious...

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  • 9. At 2:10pm on 12 Dec 2008, Charlie wrote:

    Following recent EU precedents, I guess the vote will have to be re-taken until Manchester City Council gets the answer it actually wants...

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  • 10. At 2:12pm on 12 Dec 2008, MThompsonBiteVictim wrote:

    7. Vyle;

    Not just a misleading campaign...

    My partner and I took the tram into central Manchester about a fortnight ago...

    It was delayed.... and the tannoy announcement?

    Wait for it...

    "Tram running late due to congestion in the city centre!"

    Talk about eating your own cake!

    Never heard this specific reason being cited before other than in the run up to the election... (...I've heard other reasons for trams running late on lots of occasions!)

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  • 11. At 2:32pm on 12 Dec 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    Manchester votes which number?

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  • 12. At 3:13pm on 12 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Thinking of Annasee (to whom these things will also matter!) - Did you know you've now morphed into Hugh, dear?*

    *[Check out the Harp Update]

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  • 13. At 3:20pm on 12 Dec 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    We've had reports on two votes in two days... In one, the voters were threatened: 'vote as we tell you or we will take away your jobs'. They voted the other way. In the other they were told 'vote as we tell you or we won't give you a decent transport system'. They voted the other way.

    Good for Sark and good for Manchester: maybe trying to threaten people into doing what you want is not going to work as often as the bullies hope it will.

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  • 14. At 3:37pm on 12 Dec 2008, MThompsonBiteVictim wrote:

    13. Chris;

    See this great quote from the Manchester Evening News...

    Lord Peter Smith, chairman of Association of Greater Manchester Authorities said the results were “very clear”. He added: “This is not just a vote no for congestion charging, it’s a vote no to improvements on the trams railways and buses and there will now be no improvements."

    ... odd because funding is apparently in place for a portion of the improvements regardless of the "C" charge.

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  • 15. At 4:04pm on 12 Dec 2008, Matterbooboo wrote:

    All the council leaders in Greater Manchester who were pushing for the 'C' charge I think should all now resign en bloc. They're out of touch.

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  • 16. At 4:08pm on 12 Dec 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Is Lord Peter Smith* one of the buffers that's been hit by this vote?

    *Is he not an aristocratic, fictional detective? Or is that just my whimsy?

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  • 17. At 4:32pm on 12 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    You mean, Lord Peter Whimsy, Cat?

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  • 18. At 4:56pm on 12 Dec 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    I'm sure the Manchester residents didn't understand the question and another referendum should be held.

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  • 19. At 5:14pm on 12 Dec 2008, Psycho B Delic wrote:

    They asked people whether they wanted to pay for something - of course they got a no vote. We British aren't generally sophisticated enough to see past the end of our wallets.

    I heard an American commentator on a R4 prog hosted by Evan Davis on the credit crunch who made the observation that in the eighties we ceased to be citizens and had become consumers. It is alleged that there is a psychiatric report on Ms Matthews, of recent non-kidnap fame, in which it was stated that she was incapable of putting her children's needs before her own. Are we surprised when every time we Brits are asked whether we want to introduce something that might benefit society as a whole, oh and by the way there might be a charge, then two to one we reject it?

    Again we know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Is not the extension of the Metroline to serve the various dying town centres in the GM area and the prospect of reduced congestion, with associated quality of life and health issued plus a public transport system put into place BEFORE the charge is introduced not worth a couple of quid? (Not all day like London but only at key times). I love the congestion charge because what used to take me three hours to accomplish now takes me 45 mins - worth every penny.

    But no - those elected to make the right decisions have failed democracy again by feeling the need to consult a population who will ALWAYS say no to paying more when given the choice. They are elected to make the right decisions for the whole of the GM area not pander to the childish whims of people who will one day refuse to buy meat that might have BSE (remember that) but the next day snap it all up as the magical process of reducing it to half price has suddenly made it safe.

    That is why we only have elections once every 4 or 5 years.

    It's the same with the Irish referendum. It is not a case that the EU won't take no for an answer - It's a case that the Irish didn't say no to the treaty, they so no to some mythical document that they thought would force abortion on them and would affect their military neutrality. So now we have the strange process of the EU saying that they will give legally binding guarantees that the treaty won't do those things, hardly difficult since the treaty didn't do that in the first place.

    What's the point of having a referendum if people can't be bothered to find out what it is the are voting for? What an insult to those who died to get us the right to vote for us to abuse their memory by voting in ignorance.

    In democracy we vote for people to make these decisions for us - in the same way we have judges to pass sentence rather than ask the victims. One way lies justice the other revenge.

    Now we are all customers and not citizens we need people making decisions to do the right things for society as a whole not just for loudest N.I.M.B.Y.s

    Manchester has spoken - now they can stew in the mess of their own making and they have no-one to blame but themselves, so there'll be no more moaning about the congestion and pollution and poor transport system - I suppose that is something to be grateful for :O)

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  • 20. At 5:47pm on 12 Dec 2008, Andy wrote:

    This was a very cynical move by this anti-car, cash hungry government to impose a 'going to work tax' on the people of Manchester and to insert the thin end of the road-pricing wedge for future use. One way of reducing congestion would be simply to remove all the obstructions such as bus lanes, bus-stop 'build outs' and chicanes, which have been put in place over the last few years.
    Secondly, why should the motorist pay for improvements to bus routes, trams etc? Why not make the passengers pay?

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  • 21. At 5:47pm on 12 Dec 2008, avmaestro wrote:

    Well, clearly the people of Manchester should be given another opportunity to vote in a second referendum until they get the right answer.

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  • 22. At 5:51pm on 12 Dec 2008, marin201 wrote:

    How sad. I think the area was too wide, a poor plan. And obviously people can't see past their wallets, especially at the moment.

    From the point of view of a north west dweller this is a victory for the owners of the Trafford Centre, who would have been in the zone. I noticed in Liverpool Aiport very popluist ads telling people could vote no...and the reason? So they could shop more. Really.

    I did wonder why they were advertising in Liverpool airport. But of course it's owned by the same company.

    A victory for capitalism?

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  • 23. At 6:05pm on 12 Dec 2008, MrNatural wrote:

    According to the pm report, iced rails were causing problems for the Manchester trams. I visited Leningrad in December 1983: the temperature was minus 28ºC and you couldn’t see out of their windows for frost, but the trams were running punctually. Wrong sort of ice?

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  • 24. At 6:11pm on 12 Dec 2008, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    19 psychodbelic

    You clearly don't live in the GM area. The vote was not just against the cost, but against the consequences to business if this went ahead. A lot (and I mean a lot) of businesses would have relocated to outside the zone - in fact my local council in Lancashire was rubbing its hands at the thought. It would have accelerated the decline of what you call the "dying" towns.

    Because the zone was so wide it took in a huge number of small businesses on small margins, with lower paid employees, not fat cats. These people would not have been able to afford to go to work.

    There were no detailed transport proposals put forward, just promises. Who votes for that?

    As marin201 said, the problem was the poor plan - the zone was huge. If they had put forward a sensible plan around the centre of Manchester, not taking in almost 1.9m people across ten towns, the result might have been different. It was arrogance and bullying on the part of elected officials that led to this result. They got what they deserved.

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  • 25. At 6:26pm on 12 Dec 2008, Simon wrote:

    psychobdelic (19);
    You said "those elected to make the right decisions". The former council leader in charge of getting the scheme in place was hoiked out of his seat last Spring by his electorate. They de-elected him specifically because of his outspoken support of the scheme. The electorate spoke then, they didn't want it. We've spoken again today, we still don't want it.

    In a democracy we vote for people who will do the things that we want them to. And by inference, not do the things that we don't want them to do. Let's hope that they learn from this.

    You should have read the proposal documents more in depth. 2.8 billion quid, half borrowed and having to be paid back. What do you get for such a colossal sum?

    12 miles of new, previously unannounced, tram track. Only 12 miles. A few new halts to go with it.
    A handful of new Park and Ride schemes.
    The improvement of a number of heavy rail stations (owned by Network Rail, who should have paid for those improvements).
    3000 extra places on heavy rail at peak times. Only 3000.
    A handful of cycle schemes, not completely separate from the roads.
    Some yellow school busses, but not anywhere sufficient numbers for all pupils in the district.
    A new bus terminus at Stockport, replacing the current shabby bus station.
    Commitments to study certain other ideas, with no funding available for any results they might suggest.

    Reductions and abatements for some categories. For example; 20 percent off for those on the minimum wage. Earn a penny an hour more though and you lose the reduction.
    Abatements for those with regular medical appointments in the zone. Administered by NHS staff, with no funding being transferred to the NHS for this work to be carried out.
    Abatements for blue-badge holders. But what if I give a blue-badge holder a lift in my car?
    It would have meant a large bureaucracy simply to administer the opt-outs.

    The prices were only guaranteed for people who pre-registered for the scheme. All others would have been liable to higher tariffs. The end-goal was to get to charging per-mile in the entire region.

    They're blaming the low turnout, so they must believe that the 46 percent who didn't vote would all have been in favour. I doubt it. I don't know one single person who will admit to having voted in favour, but all my acquaintances around here (Stockport) voted against.

    The heads of certain public bodies have railed against the public for denying the scheme. Carping against your own electorate for exercising their democratic right is one road to pulitical suicide.

    Incidentally congestion inside the zone has been falling slowly, but consistently, for years. So the rationale was slowly disappearing anyway.

    It was a shoddy scheme, ill-thought out, expensive and which didn't really deliver much for such a huge expenditure. In vast swathes of Greater Manchester the public would still have had to travel somehow to get to their nearest tram/bus, the scheme wasn't going to provide a halt on every corner. There is the rub. It didn't provide the sheer convenience and ease of use which would have got the public onside. It didn't deserve to pass.


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  • 26. At 10:26pm on 12 Dec 2008, annasee wrote:

    Big Sis - you're right! Well, I suppose it's nicer being Hugh than being John Humphreys, but really - I can't work out why I'm either of them! Why can't I still be me?

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  • 27. At 7:11pm on 13 Dec 2008, Antlonger wrote:

    There's precious little mention of the EU in all this; the EU's Galileo satellite system is intended to provide the same Global Positioning System facilities as the Americans' which is free. Galileo is to be paid for by road users, essentially.

    The odd bribes here and there, a bit more tram track etc, are merely bait to the gullible - it'll be like Road Fund Tax was, nothing at all to do with upgrading roads but it was many years before that was conceded.

    Once city/town dwellers have got us used to the idea, we shall all end up paying to use the roads - but we won't get the money, the EU government will.

    Regards Ant

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  • 28. At 01:23am on 14 Dec 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Antlonger @ 27, I don't think I quite understand what you are trying to say: what has Gallileo to do with voting for or against being charged to use the roads you're already charged tax to use (Road Tax), plus tax to use (Council Tax), plus tax to use (Fuel Duty) plus tax to use (VAT on the cost of the fuel *after* fuel tax has already been charged on it)?

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  • 29. At 10:02pm on 19 Dec 2008, Antlonger wrote:

    Hello Chris,

    I fully understand that we have already paid and are paying for our roads. My point is that the voters - lucky they, to get a referendum! - are being offered a few small bribes to permit the insertion of the thin end of a very large wedge. They are not being told the main, underlying, basis for the whole idea of road charging which is to raise money for the EU government's Galileo project.

    Regards Ant

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