Friday, June 20, 2008

Passing the buck?

It seems that the local media has only just noticed the correspondence from the Public Inquiry that we broke last week, and today there are a couple of articles in the press about the delays to the PI, with some putting the possible resumption back to this time next year. The best bit is surely Brian Lashley's revelation that Roy Oldham's much mooted meeting with Tom Harris, the under Secretary of State for Transport, has still not taken place. It seems Roy doesn't find the favour he once did.

The Manchester Evening News also features a couple of 'outraged' quotes from both pro and anti bypass folk, but there is another side to this that everyone is missing. Clearly, the Government does not want to make a decision about this road, and that may well be because they don't want to be the ones to quash it. With an increasingly hostile political climate for the Labour Party, the last thing they'd want to do is nix a scheme that is the pet project of a strong Labour Local Authority, and one in the constituencies of 2 Labour MPs, one being a Secretary of State. It's much better to leave the decision to a future Conservative government, and to let them take the flak - locally and nationally - if they decide against it.

But that's a big 'if'. We should all remember that this scheme survived Labour's cull of Tory road schemes upon their coming to power in 1997. It could well do so again.

Our call for John Watson to go was certainly tongue in cheek. In fact, in reality we're happy for this charade to go on as long as possible - the chances are that the delays and increased costs will really stuff things up for the whole scheme. We'll drink to that.

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