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Good on them.

This was never to do with "green" issues anyway, just trying to bully more money out of motorists to pay for non-motorists.

I think the people of manchester are stubbon enough to vote 'no' on principal of being blackmailled too.

Thank God commonsense prevailed! Itwas just another Tax - all Political parties share one thing in common - they like taxes as it gives then Patronage and power!


After the failure of Edinburgh's voterate to accept such a scheme in 2005, and Boris's abandoning of the proposed Western extension to London's CC, Manchester's populace can only be congratulated on their wise decision.

[No doubt our erstwhile and deluded government will still continue to push ahead with plans for sme form of 'nationwide road-pricing scheme' .... ]

They will probably have a re-run of the vote until they get the 'right' answer!

A bit like in Eire...

They will probably have a re-run of the vote until they get the 'right' answer!

A bit like in Eire...

Thank goodness for the sensible voters - this was going to be a tax on people who live in Cheshire (or other neighbouring areas) and work in Manchester.

Bravo Manchester! Let this be a message to any other council considering such schemes for their area.

Why can't we have referenda on other issues?

Europe? Death penalty? Abortion?

What do democrats have to fear?

Moving money around does not clean up the atmosphere... The public know this, even if many politicians pretend not to...

'Green Tax' is an entirely bogus concept - designed to deprive the poor of resources so they can be consumed by the rich.

Tax should only ever be collected by a government to raise the money it requires to execute the programme that it has agreed with the tax payers.

Using taxes for social engineering/behaviour modification is grotesque.

The panel on Newsnight last night said it's too late to effect any change to global warming so why bother about congestion charges. "TAXES" won't stop global warming, it's just another con and I'm glad the people of Liverpool are not daft enough to fall for it.

Edinburgh is proceeding with trams anyway because the money was provided in the block grant. If its there, spend it is the mentality. And don't the greens love trams?

So in Edinburgh we are spending about £550 Million to replace the 22 bus. Yes that's right, it's one line replacing one bus route. Projected fare about £3.50 compared with the current £1.20 bus fare, but half the number of stops. Absolutely insane, and massive damage to the local shopkeepers all along the route for years to come during construction.

Rant over, but there is a general point.

Green politics has got to be sensible. OK there is an (arguable) precautionary need to protect against climate change. But there is no sense (or votes) in ridiculous green guestures. Extreme greens aren't environmentalists anyway. So insulation yes, more efficient cars yes, cleaner fuels yes, subsidies for tidal and wave yes.

But trashing the countryside for useless windmills, starving the 3rd world for biofuels, building incinerators when at least in Scotland we have quarries that need landfill, or spending £550M to replace the 22 bus? Madness.

Can we please rethink the slogan. Go Conservative, go sensible green?

I thought in a representative democracy we elected representatives to make decisions such as this one because most people - about 78 per cent in this case - are too ill-informed and self-interested to make the correct decisions in the long-term interests of the country and themselves. The same kind of short-sightedness and self-interest is why the attacks on Gordon Brown's debt bubble are doomed to fail because people are only interested in the immediate term.

I thought in a representative democracy we elected representatives to make decisions such as this one because most people - about 78 per cent in this case - are too ill-informed and self-interested to make the correct decisions in the long-term interests of the country and themselves. The same kind of short-sightedness and self-interest is why the attacks on Gordon Brown's debt bubble are doomed to fail because people are only interested in the immediate term.

We need more referenda in this country, not fewer.
A referendum is by definition a direct vote in which the entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. It could be aimed at the adoption in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy.

It is a form of direct democracy which I suspect is very appealing to the English though not to the British political class.
It makes the present holders of the monopoly on political decisions ie Westminster, very unhappy because it threatens that monopoly. Denial of such a democratic device relies on the assumption of the ignorance and inability of ordinary to appreciate the issues. It is profoundly arrogant and undemocratic to deny us refernda on important issues buit they do it anyway.

At present, sovereignty rests with the parliament at Westminster, where it has resided since being wrested away from the monarch in the English civil war and then confirmed by the revolution of 1688.

With the active transfer of sovereignty away from Westminster to Brussels and the devolved parliaments instigated and managed via referenda by none other than Westminster itself, the argument against further referenda and against them becoming a reoccurring feature of our constitution is becoming very weak.

The obvious referendum that should be held in England is as to whether we in England should have our own parliament and own government within the United Kingdom. The Scots and Welsh were each allowed just such a referendum in 1997.
Denial of same to England is profoundly undemocratic and derives from the same self regarding Westminster mindset which denies us elementary democracy over all sorts of things.

Wonder how many more children will have astmah during the next ten years who would not have had it if this silly short sighted decision hadn`t been made. A lot I suspect!

This will not cause asthma, Mr. Troll. Gainsborough, one of the poorest wards in Ipswich, has a lot of asthma and lung cancer because the town's new roads were not built, causing lorries to proceed slowly about suburban roads.
The previous administration's anti-car policies are responsible for this and they built over the proposed roads.

Jamie @15:21 and @15:22

Many people choose to compromise their own personal interest for what they consider the 'greater good' every day (and many don't) - I'll leave you to decide how representative MP's are on that score!

As regards being ill-informed - there is (quite rightly) rather less deference in operation today - many people chose to be informed on their pet subjects to levels to which a general MP could never aspire.

In many cases I would prefer to defer to a 'village idiot' rather than some of the MP's currently in parliament.

An MP's first interest is to ensure that his/her constituents are represented as well as possible. How that is acheived will naturally change with the progress of technology - this doesn't change an MP's primary purpose, is merely assists them in achiving it more effectively and efficiently. Roll on the referendum...

Jamie @ 15.22 puts it perfectly.

Jake, I disagree utterly about referendums. They are an abomination, a device used by despots and dictators (as said by one M. Thatcher) which have the appearance of being democratic but which are merely a figleaf allowing the government (or whoever asks the question) to twist the result for their own ends. Hitler loved them, and used them frequently in the early years to show how "in tune with the people" he was.

As I've posted elsewhere, the Manchester result perfectly illustrates this. If you ask people if they'd like to pay £5 a day for the greater good, lower congestion, less pollution etc., they're going to say No. They are selfish and only think of their own wallets. The referendum merely makes them focus on the immediate cost to them as individuals and not on the greater benefit to society.

By contrast the London congestion charge was introduced by Livingstone as Mayor, was experienced by the voters, who saw how it worked, saw the benefits as well as the costs. He then put himself up for re-election on the strength of it - and won convincingly. I for one didn't vote for him in 2000 - but I did in 2004, specifically on that policy.

That's how democracy in this country works and has always worked. We elect politicians to make decisions. If we dislike their decisions, we un-elect them. Simple and effective. And much better than allowing the baying mob who get their opinions from the Daily Mail deciding how we should all be governed on the basis of a loaded question.

Superblue. More cars means more pollution means more astmah. Fact. I may be a troll but ignore that and you are just a plain idiot!!!

No, Mr. Troll, the cause is car engines running whilst not gaining much distance. Give motorists some space to move quickly and it doesn't happen.

PS Try learning to spell!

Congratulations to Nigel Rathbone for being the one to invoke Godwin's Law (that as an internet thread grows someone will bring in the Nazis) earlier than usual in this debate!

I think there is a sensible debate to be had on the place of referenda in a democracy (particularly a parliamentary democracy), although in general I have found very little to disagree with when looking at the writings of Douglas Carswell MP and the rest of the Direct Democracy group.

I don't know the full details of how this referendum was conducted, but I gather that normally in the case of such a referendum the independent Electoral Commission is asked to look at the question to ensure that it could not be perceived to be loaded. I am sure that someone will correct me if I am wrong. If the council in Manchester felt that they didn't have a sufficient democratic mandate from their last election manifesto (again, somthing I have not read) for this, then I believe that they were quite right to put it before the people.

I think it's also quite right to look at personal motivations here. Would a £5 charge (I'm not advocating increasing the number, by the way) make you not use your car? The majority of respondents I guess thought that they'd just have to suck it up as another tax!

So what motivates people to use public transport instead? While thinking about this tonight, I thought about the occasions where I use public transport. I take a train to go to conferences and meetings sometimes, partly because the road system is a pain when you're going diagonally across the country, and partly because, although far from perfect, it lets me work, read (and nap!) while I travel. I'll take a bus in to the city to shop on a weekend - I have a bus stop at the end of my road, they run every hour or so each way, drop me right in the main shopping centre, and I don't have to sit in a queue to get in the multi-storey car park.

My point (long-winded, I apologise!) is that we have to think about what motivates people and what helps them as well, rather than simply penalising them for living their lives. I just wish I had a simple financial prescription for it for those colleagues of ours in local government!

Richard, I think technically you are the one to invoke Godwin's Law, so the congratulations should really go to you - but thank you anyway.

However, Godwin's Law or not, it does not invalidate an argument - if it did historians would have a tough time debating 20th century history. I am not shoehorning a gratuitous reference to the Nazis into a debate about vegetarianism, I am merely pointing out the fact - and it is a fact - that Hitler, and Mussolini, and other dictators, used referendums (note correct plural). (Incidentally, as I mentioned above, Mrs T made exactly the same point, so go and invoke against her if you dare.)

Anyway, to move on to your more substantive points, I broadly agree with your analysis re addressing peoples' motivation. My argument against this referendum is that it would be far better for people to be voting on a tried and tested, up-and-running policy (as they did with Ken Livingstone's congestion charge), rather than a theoretical proposal where the downsides are obvious but the upsides more intangible.

Where radical reform is needed, politicians should lead from the front - as Thatcher did - not ask the electorate for their advice: (a) because these issues are too complex to be addressed in a yes/no referendum question and (b) because most reforms would never happen - the status quo would almost always win out. That's not democracy, that's a recipe for stagnation through apathy and ignorance.

Nigel - thank you for your generosity on my first comment which I admit was deliberately provocative!

I still have to disagree with your main premise though - we still have a democracy in this country and if your premise was followed we would have the groundwork for parties to propose policies saying that they would do X and Y, and if elected then could immediately say that they would scrap all that because they know best and do Z instead.

That makes a mockery of having democratically elected public servants, and I hope I never see it. I am not saying that every single operational deviation should be put to a costly public vote, but for a major public polioy change this has gone to the public and the result has been accepted by the Council Leader.

By the way, can anyone confirm for me whether or how this was in the platform for the ruling group at the last set of local elections, just to enlighten me?

Superblue. So lets concrete everywhere over with new roads so we can make more room for the cars. Idiotic.Get the people out of there cars and onto public transport that is the solution.
Ever seen someone struggle for breath? I have and its one of the most distressing sights you can see.We need to deal with pollution in this country and the only effective way of dealing with it is cutting down on car use.

Troll-Stone, you will all notice, has misquoted me and then attacked the altered version - the old Aunt Sally gambit - followed by a lot of irrelevancies. Perhaps he should blog off?

Ipswich needed two external roads and one internal one, not the thousands of flats that the previous Labour administration imposed on it.

It was Prescott who said "The green belt is a Labour achievement and we shall build on it".

There was not a vote against "green taxation" there was, however, a vote against fake green taxation.

GREAT! Vox Populi Rules OK!

I salute the wise people of Greater Manchester.

Faced with this evidence perhaps Cameron might just let the silly greenery he imposed on the Conservative Party just fade away, it is a sure fire vote loser.

Jake, I am with you all the way on more Referenda especially on issues such as Capital Punishment where our MPs of all parties are so out of touch with the public they purport to represent.

As to those such as Nigel Rathbone who dislikes referenda. Sure Hitler used then in Austria etc , but they are also used in Democracies such as Eire and Switzerland, not exactly Fascist Dictatorships

People are voting every day regarding congestion - by getting in their cars and using them...

If congestion were too bad people would have to use alternatives, however they don't...

Not all green taxation is equal. Environmental taxation is one of the most powerful tool we have for change. We just have to find out which approaches work best. Check out the following book and its website:

Henderson, M. C. (2008). The 21st Century Environmental Revolution: A Comprehensive Strategy for Conservation, Global Warming, and the Environment.

It has received a favorable review:
"The book has convinced me that the ETS [the green taxation plan proposed in the book] could be an immensely important tool for the environment...“ (David McCorquodale, Co-chair of Green Pages, the US Green Party quarterly, http://www.gp.org/greenpages/).

See the full review and other information at: Waves of the Future

Tags: climate change solutions, green taxation strategies

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