Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Glossop Spur costs & Tory opportunism

Today's Manchester Evening News has a story which is well-known in anti-bypass circles, but perhaps less so more widely: namely, that Tameside Council's costs for the Glossop Spur have reached £800,000. There are two aspects of this we would like to concentrate on in this post.

Firstly, that this is in fact old news, to us at least. Indeed, our fellow campaigner John Hall submitted a Freedom of Information nearly 2 years ago and received a response indicating that the projected costs to March 2007 would be approximately £836,000. Given the hiccups with the Public Inquiry, the costs must surely be far more by now.

Perhaps it's time we rigged up another cost-counter for the Glossop Spur?

The second aspect is the fact that this article is effectively a press release for Tameside Tories. All you need to know about this lot is summed up by these words in the article:

"Councillor Bell said while the Tory group supports the proposal..."

We'd have to assume they do because there's been no opposition from them. It's hard to imagine what points they are trying to score here. Would they have done anything differently from the Labour Party? If they are committed to it, then surely that means they support it to the end - there's no implication that they would pull the scheme because of costs. This is simply a party political matter for this lot.

And who can be surprised? The 1990s Tory road policy got a bloody good hiding from environmental direct action campaigners, to the extent that most of the schemes were shelved by Labour upon coming to power in 1997. That's how unpopular they were, and still are. Why should anyone think this lot would be any different from Labour, should they come to power?

Time for a quote from Thatcher in 1990:

"We are not going to do away with the great car economy."

Any argument that advocates 'changed priorities' as a way to transport and ecological salvation really does not understand the central relationship of the car industry to modern capitalism. The answer lies without politics and capitalism, not within.

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