Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009 - (Page 11)
Why I’m not a ‘Yes’ girl Congestion-The debate continues Just because a congestion charge has been relatively unsuccessful in London does not mean it will be a raving success here. Manchester should not try to compete with London it should focus on being the sensible, affordable alternative. People in London are used to getting screwed (financially), it’s the price they pay for being in the capital and the reason they look so sullen and depressed and never say hello in the street. As the proposal did not set aside a budget to address environmental issues I felt this was an emotive drive aimed at floating lefties (nice image). No form of public transport emits fresh air and therefore when we see a scheme that looks at providing the most environmental form of public transport and the lowest end user cost it can then be marketed as ‘environmental’. Much as the politicians are telling us that there’s ‘No plan B’ and ‘No alternative’ this was a negotiation, an offer and as a general rule you never accept the first offer to the table. Beyond the propaganda and hysteria those of us on the ‘No camp’ are not burning fuel, rubbing our hands with glee at the thought of future generations with respiratory problems. We are committed to change but the current proposals were unworkable, we must now support the government and local authorities in addressing the issue in way that win over more than 28% of the people of Greater Manchester. Amber Stevens It’s been a busy few months of back-biting and controversy, out of touch MP’s and champagne socialists giving their wonderful insight. The local press also relaxed in the knowledge they had 6 months worth of content, whichever way you voted you could barely leave your house without hearing about the congestion charge. Despite a £34m marketing campaign however I remained unconvinced. Billboards and posters declared proudly that only 10% of people would pay. This has never seemed clear, would only 1 in 10 adults in Manchester would pay the maximum of £1,200? I really don’t think there’s a get out of jail early card here, overstretched businesses will pass their costs on and ultimately services and products become more expensive and everyone pays more for them. I may of considered a yes vote on the basis of increasing every households council tax by the comparative rate as opposed to expecting 10% of hard-working people to fork out a massive £1,200. This is a typical ‘tax it, ban it, fine it’ response to generating money, we don’t want to pay because we already have. The current proposals may sound like a wonderful idea if you’re a freelance aroma-therapist from Chorlton, who on a busy day sees 2 clients and is picking up supper at the local deli by 4pm. You get to alleviate your middle-class guilt and use someone elses money to do it. Not so good however if you are an admin clerk on £15k and have to cross both zones in the clapped out Fiat you brought to increase your job prospects. This is who is really affected, the working poor. Equally would the money raised even be enough? If not the charges would of course go up, the maximum £5 per day is based on 2007 prices. When are the powers that be going to realise that the way to make a scheme popular is not to punish the alternative? We should support the government and local authorities in reducing road tax on smaller vehicles and promoting car sharing schemes, along with the reduction of unnecessary journeys. I also oppose being lectured about ‘behavioural change’ getting into work an hour later, leaving an hour later etc. For most people this is simply not possible, average working Joe does not have the luxury of turning when he (yes or she) feels like it. This is not the way to create a world class city, the rest of the country is doing business at 8.30am but Manchester can’t get its arse in gear till 10.15am. In real terms this would mean a loss of business for the city, followed by a potential loss of jobs. Manchester: What were you thinking? I was hoping to write this article after a unanimous ‘Yes’ vote on the Congestion charge for Manchester. I was hoping that I could spell out for you the world class transport changes that we had voted for and explain the benefits that would make such a huge impact to our resources, our city, our space and our air quality. But I can’t. Which is strange really… why would the citizens of a huge million+ city like Manchester not want a more integrated and comprehensive transport system? Oh, yes the fly in the ointment was that they were going to have to pay for it! The problem I see here is that we really have got into this whole nanny state thing way to much. It’s actually quite worrying! For example, whilst training in the gym Page 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009
Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009
What are You Reading?
New Goth on the Block
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill
Congestion, the Debate Continues...
Sugar and Spice
Wherefore ART Thou?
LGBT History Month
Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009