Manchester UK Set for Congestion Charge. Or Not.
BBC News reveals that the UK government is about to reveal their plan to introduce a £5 ($9.84) congestion charge to the city of Manchester. This despite the recent public backlash against increased petrol taxes, simmering resentment towards new "green" sales taxes on vehicle purchases, the ouster of London Mayor Ken Livingstone (proponent of increased, CO2-based congestion charges), polls showing widespread opposition to a Manchester congestion charge, and calls for, God forbid, a referendum on the issue. Of course, British politicians didn't get where they are by attending Oxbridge. Oh wait… I mean, they didn't get where they are by not playing the class warfare card. This piece by The Times' transport correspondent on the issue– and the timing of the charge– offers a fascinating insight into British politics. "The deal has been cleverly designed by Government to ensure that local politicians of all parties must risk their political necks by approving it. Seven of the ten local authorities in Manchester have to vote in favour of the deal for it to go ahead. Once they have accepted it, they will not then be able to claim that it was forced upon them. It may sound like the councils are being bribed [by a promise of £3b for public transportation improvements] into charging drivers up to £5 a day, but they will be wary of making this accusation themselves because he who accepts a bribe is just as guilty as he who offers it." Madness.