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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Predictions for 2009

You may remember last year we made some predictions for the coming year, and we're going to try to do similar for 2009. Firstly, we'll look at how accurate our predictions were for the previous year.

Right

That the Public Inquiry wouldn't finish in 2008. Indeed, it hasn't even sat again since December 2007.

Trevor Mooney would find more uses for his car park. We haven't actually blogged about it for some time, partly because it becomes so tedious, but since we last wrote we've had the following suggestions: grazing land for horses (March 2008), an Alzheimer Unit (May 2008), a Crematorium (May 2008), Allotments (July 2008) and finally a Circus (December 2008).

Wrong

There was no General Election meaning we've endured Tom Levitt for at least a little bit longer. Because Gordon Brown's fortunes seem to have actually improved since the economic crisis came about, we're loath to write off Levitt's chances. But then again his majority is only 735 votes, and much will depend upon whether Gordon Brown decides to call an election soon, before the full weight of the recession-becoming-depression hits home.

That the planning permission for the Glossop Spur would be renewed. It now seems clear that this is wedded to the awaited traffic figures from the 'updated' Highways Agency data, hence the no-show.

This time last year, we found it hard to predict what would happen with the Congestion Charge - if we'd thought about the scale of the economic Crisis, we should have realised the incredibly bad timing and stupidity of AGMA in plumping for a referendum about increased taxation in the midst of an economic downturn.

"Widening tides of resistance to the closure of Woodhead". Hmmn, well, not quite. The campaign to prevent closure started 2008 really well, with a couple of effective demonstrations. Since then, if we're honest it has limped along. And although work at the Tunnel seems to have ground to a halt, this seems to be more to do with the economic crisis affecting National Grid than anything else.

Predictions for the coming year:

More Public Inquiry delays - almost inevitable. Will the Highways Agency act as they usually do and snub John Watson's timetable? If they do cooperate, it will be something new. But if they don't, will John Watson resign? And will the statutory objectors then pull out? We'd be surprised if the Inquiry was concluded by the end of 2009 anyway, since the information we already have suggests there's little chance of it resuming until the second half of 2009. 

Roy Oldham stands down - it's a possibility. There were rumours he would resign at the time of his Area Address in November, but we feel he was being briefed against by rivals. Since then, the Chief Executive has resigned, so you can probably have a reasonable guess who was amongst the rivals. But his health is an issue, and maybe his time will be up in 2009? If it is, will Tameside MBC drop their plans for a Glossop Spur? The possibilities could be endless once the Ancien RĂ©gime has gone. Until then, remember the Ides of March...

Geoff Hoon/Who? acts on the bypass - this colossal prick has distinguished himself before by making disastrous decisions (i.e. the Iraq War), so what's to say he won't interfere with the progress of the road? As our blog about the Hoongate meeting noted, he has suggested de-trunking the A57 and A628 as a solution and seems prepared to step in to move things forward. If this is the case, we'd like to predict such an escalation should be met with a suitable response. 

The economic situation will worsen (a no-brainer really) - with implications for the bypass, transport policy and any moves to act to mitigate climate change. This is almost a given, but Geoff Who? already seems to have handed the local politicians a way out with regards to escalating costs - unless that is, it's a trap given the lack of money in the regions to cover existing commitments. On the other hand, Labour may act to bring forward public works projects like Barack Obama has pledged to do in the USA - it already brought forward £700 million for roadschemes in the pre-budget report. Although perhaps an economic collapse will wipe the slate clean - even fine words will be junked if things get bad enough. And to be honest, there will then be fundamental issues which need to be tackled that should sideline the bypass issue for any serious activists. 

That's what we think - what do you think? Leave your thoughts as comments. It'll be interesting to see what has come to pass this time next year.

3 comments:

Tom Hagen said...

OK here are my predictions.

Levitt will keep his seat by a smidgen. Can you say the Tories have picked up HPBC? No, it has been two years nearly, they have had plenty of time. This will be the downfall of the Conservatives. They shouldn't of taken control of HPBC so soon. Gordon Brown will not call an election this year.

A cabinet reshuffle shortly before/after the budget OR the Labour Party Conference. Hoon resigns or gets shafted elsewhere and a Greater Manchester MP takes the role of transport secretary. I thought Andy Burnham would of replaced Kelly.

Roy Oldham lives! He will not die until 2009, he will beat cancer and live on for several more years. He will remain leader until the day he dies. Expect plenty of rumours on leadership bids.

40% of the UK's GDP relies on the public sector. The government will push forward bigger spending in construction by bailing out construction. Expect more "eco-villages". More power will be given to local authorities to push through tricky planning objections - as already planned.

Tom Hagen said...

That should read he will not die in 2009.

liamb said...

"On the other hand, Labour may act to bring forward public works projects like Barack Obama has pledged to do in the USA"

And on the 4th of Jan, Gordon Brown announces his 100,000 jobs creation plan.

Gordon Brown: "I want to show how we will be able, through public investments and public works, to create probably 100,000 additional jobs over the next period of time in our capital investment programme - school hospitals, environmental work and infrastructure, transport."