Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's good for the Goose is good for the Gander...

It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that all anti-road campaigners are for the congestion charge (despite the fact that scumsuckers like Jeremy Clarkson are it's noisiest opponents). In the realm of the bourgeoisie, much of what is posited as 'green' politics has little to do with social justice and everything to do with enhancing inequality. After all, in a possible (& likely) future world where people are charged a levy for activities that contribute to climate change, the rich will carry on as normal, while the poor will be a lot poorer. A much wider appraisal of the way that our economic and social system is snuffing us out as a species, and how that is what needs to be changed, seems a long way off.

And as if to confirm that, one only has to look at the behaviour of Greater Manchester's council leaders for yesterday's Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) meeting to vote on Congestion Charging. 8 out of 10 leaders arrived by car to the meeting, including Roy Oldham, who lives a 10 minute bus ride away! Because that's how much this man believes in public transport. Much better for him to hop into his chauffeur driven 'ultimate driving machine' (a BMW paid for by Tameside's taxpayers, and a brand of car chosen virtually exclusively by bourgeois tossers worldwide), than mix with the masses on the bus. His quote? He would have used public transport "if it had been good enough" - for him that should read. But what is good enough for the 'masses' has to be good enough for everyone, or else there will be plenty of equality in our eventual extinction...


Liam said...

Back in 2000, the average weekly wage in Ashton-Under-Lyne was about £114 a week.

You are absolutely correct that this is a tax to benefit the rich.

It doesn't make it easy though when rail companies are pushing rail fares above the rate of inflation. No matter how you improve a service, it needs to be affordable for the people using it and the tax payer.

kirtlegreen said...

Unfortunately if the cycle of CO2 emmisions and car dependency are ever to be broken we need a congestion charge and a transport innovation fund bid now. Its a big plus in lots of ways. I even applaud Roy Oldham for signing up to it, and I dont really care if he travelled by helicopter. Lets have the congestion charge now and work out the finer details of destruction of capitalism later. Might be quite a long wait I am afraid. How about fewer people in the meantime?

Liam said...

We wouldn't need a congestion charge and a mass of funding that we are now dependant on central government, if it wasn't for GMPTE ignoring the situation for the past 10 years.

GMPTE claim we are at 170% over capacity. Does this mean we are actually at 270% capacity?

Sell off the airport, it will raise £4bn and from the £1bn left over we will make £150m in interest each year. Manchester Airport only pays a £30m dividend to AGMA each year. That way we wont be in as much debt which will only be passed on to the council tax payer, so whether you drive or not, you will be effectively paying off the debt of the congestion charge.

Richard Leese has said that the C Charge will only bring in £50m of revenue, whilst paying off the interest on the loan will be £150m a year. The MEN estimates that the C Charge will cost £500m to set up and £150m a year to maintain.

So we will be making a net loss of £250m, just who will cover this cost? The council tax payer? £250m is a lot to pass on and we would suffer a massive hike in council tax. So AGMA will be quick to try and pass this back to central government, but it wont happen as people rejected from the TIF won't be pleased to be funding more of Manchester's regeneration whilst they suffer through their income tax.

I just think that submitting this bid is a waste of money as it is estimated to cost us £500k and the scheme has not been well thought out and AGMA are not willing to release the finer details to the public. With the cost of the C Charge, we wont have much left anyway.

Whilst having a congestion charge is ideal to combat CO2 emmissions, we should implement it after we have decent and affordable public transport.

kirtlegreen said...

I havnt looked into it in as much detail as you have, and I dont doubt your reasons are quite sound, without having the time or ablity to verify all your statistics.

However I support "demand management" pretty well everywhere on principle. I think we will never have good public transport, until people have to rely on it. I think we all travel too much anyway, it is a kind of flight from cultural and spiritual "alientation" in my view. So I think the C/charge iniative may be the right way round. For once the authorities may have got something a little right.

As regards your stats, they are interesting, though I think they would be more digestible if you portrayed them in balance sheet form to illustrate your argument. Linear text to describe non linear issues is one of my bugbears. Why not write an article on your points re debt etc for this blog, and illustrate with balance sheets, numerical data, even charts.

Your points deserve consideration beyond a comments box, as does this whole issue. Sure this blog is a better place to host informed debate than the MEN which has the ethical conscience of a cash register.