Wednesday 23 February 2005

The people say "No"; elitists astounded

By a margin of 3 to 1 Edinburgh has rejected the council's road toll scheme:
The scale of the defeat was a crushing blow to the Labour council, which has spent £8 million developing its plans for the world’s most ambitious congestion-charging scheme, encircling the whole of the Capital. Having insisted that tolls were the only way of tackling congestion in the city, the council now faces having to draw up a completely new strategy.
I can't say that I'm surprised, although some are. The news was given to me by a senior, green-oriented gentleman who lives fairly close to the centre of the city. He was shocked by the result and didn't seem to understand why the people had voted "the wrong way". But a more junior lady in the same organisation confessed quietly to me that she had voted "No". You see, like most people in Edinburgh, she doesn't live in the world-famous city centre but out in the suburbs where use of a car is more of a necessity than a luxury.

I have no problem with improving public transport - preferably privately operated. For a start, I wonder why we don't reintroduce bus conductors, at least on buses in the city centre. Every evening one sees convoys of buses at each stop slowly waiting their turn to load and unload while the leading driver collects the fares. And who can doubt that we'll still be debating the reopening of the south suburban railway line to passengers in fifty years time? But this needs road tolls to cover the costs, we'll be told. Maybe, maybe not. But a properly thought out plan will have to be sold to the population as a whole including the majority who live outside the city centre. The council's plan failed because it was inadequately thought out and it didn't answer the justifiable concerns of city centre small businesses and suburban residents. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if many voters were swayed by the Yes campaign's widespread use of tax-financed illegal posters on virtually every main-road lamppost.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

David Farrer
I note that the good Comrade is a member of a very distinguished bourgeois family: 
The history of the Smirnoff family goes back to the beginning of the nineteenth century when Piotr Smirnoff won the recognition of the tzar with his excellent vodka and became the royal supplier. The family enjoyed the honours only until the October revolution when the unfortunate historical events forced the Smirnoff family to emigrate and the carefully guarded secret recipe landed in the United States after Lvov. Constantinople and Paris.

27 February 2005, 19:22:41 GMT
– Like – Reply

Sandy P
Mmmmm, smirnoff. 
Which flavor?

25 February 2005, 22:42:08 GMT
– Like – Reply

Paul Lewis
Andrew Duffin:"...their plan failed because they held a referendum." 
Too 'effin right. It wasn't all that long ago that a local authority in England ( Milton Keynes? ) tried the same thing. Higher poll tax and 'better public services'. They thought they were on to a winner there. Got such a shock when the vote went against them, they havn't dared to hold another since.

25 February 2005, 16:06:55 GMT
– Like – Reply

Andrew Duffin
I suspect the lesson the City Council will take from this fiasco is that their plan failed because they held a referendum. 
Expect them not to make that mistake again!

25 February 2005, 12:36:15 GMT
– Like – Reply

David Farrer
Trackback now OK. Hopefully.

25 February 2005, 10:46:45 GMT
– Like – Reply

David Farrer
Re my last message: I'm having a problem getting the trackback to work.

24 February 2005, 07:08:58 GMT
– Like – Reply

Neil Craig
A Malaysian aquaintance has told me that in Singapore everybody has a card which can be put into a slot on any transport system, many but not all state owned & the fare will be automatically charged to them.  
No delays, no overmanning, no serious cost. No availablity in underdeveloped countries like Scotland.

23 February 2005, 23:20:03 GMT
– Like – Reply

David Farrer
I have a rather old Blogger template. You should be able to link to the time of the post.

23 February 2005, 20:32:18 GMT
– Like – Reply

"I have no problem with improving public transport - preferably privately operated" 
All libertarians are bourgeois lappies. Your adherence to the 'invisivle hand' :+: is akin to the rabid superstition of the 15th century.  
Whenever man abandons his fate to mystical, invisible forces he is asking for trouble.

23 February 2005, 19:16:30 GMT
– Like – Reply

Simon Holledge
I would like to send you a trackback to my posting on the same subject, but perhaps you have disabled it?  

23 February 2005, 18:33:22 GMT
– Like – Reply

Harry Powell
I felt genuinely conflicted about this one. There is something to be said for a hypothecated "user pays" tax on road use (in the absence of private toll roads that is), but now the proposed £20 million in transport improvements will have to be paid by the council tax payers. I suspect that I may be personally worse off because of it.

23 February 2005, 17:58:49 GMT
– Like – Reply

I'm all for restoring bus conductors, as long as they revert to calling me "son".

23 February 2005, 10:27:21 GMT