Posted by: talkjack | December 14, 2008

Congestion charging in Britain – Just say NO!

Congestion charging in Britain, also known as road pricing, has been a hugely unpopular, constant threat to British people for several years. This week, the good people of Manchester voted overwhelmingly to reject congestion charges for cars driving in and out of the city. There was a high turnout (53% turnout as reported on the news) and a massive no vote. 79% voted against congestion charging in Manchester, which is almost four out of five people demonstrating that they are against road pricing.

Congestion charging is a flawed idea in Bully Britain anyway. Here’s why:

1. Pro-congestion charging people say that road pricing reduces pollution. However, the truth is that if we introduce a set of charges for driving at different times on different roads then drivers will feel it necessary to drive extra distance on varied, longer routes in order to save money.

2. Congestion charging is unfair to the poor. The entire concept of road pricing is to reduce the number of cars on the road by making it more expensive to drive, thus there will be less poor people on the road, leaving roads clearer for the rich to drive. Hardly charitable or considerate, is it? Talkjack thinks that this concept is immoral and tantamount to the rich bullying the poor off the roads.

3. Britain already has some of the most expensive, most highly taxed petrol and insurance in the world. British motorists pay more than enough for the privilege of driving.

4. The rationale behind road pricing is to reduce congestion on the roads. The inconvenient real reason for congestion on British roads is that the population of Bully Britain has risen dramatically due to immigration, and the average population age of Britain has increased over time. Therefore there are more tax paying motorists, but investment in new roads has been deliberately held back for political reasons.

5. Congestion charging is bad for local businesses because they will get less customers, and deliveries become more expensive.

Was the Manchester vote fair?

I believe that the Manchester vote was conducted in a way which actually increased the odds of a ‘Yes’ vote to the congestion charge. Here’s why:

The charge was advertised as mainly non-residents of Manchester would pay the charge (i.e. people commuting into or out of the city would mainly have to pay), and yet only the residents of Manchester were allowed to vote on it. I believe that controlling the right to vote, and denying everyone affected by a decision the chance to vote is a method which controls results, and if the vote goes your way allows you to claim that democracy made the decision when in fact politics and money speak louder in Britain.

Compare this to the voting for the unpopular Coventry BIDS scheme for example

No means No!

Will the authorities of Bully Britain listen to the ordinary people when they say a clear ‘No’ to congestion charging? Sounds unlikely. Already those who want to impose congestion charging on us against our wishes are moaning about the low turnout, when in truth 53% of the public is a rather high proportion these days.

To those with power in Bully Britain, I say: “Please listen to the ordinary people for a change. No means No!”

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009

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