Greater Manchester has said no to a congestion charge which is disappointing, not so much because I think pricing poorer people off the road is a good thing, but because it is also a no to a £3billion investment in the city’s public transport which has to be paid for somehow. On balance, it was good deal.
Manchester will now remain the country’s second most congested city and the fourth most congested in Europe.
Or will it? A no vote cannot be the end of the matter. Eventually, something will have to be done, but it’s likely to be far more modest and real improvements will not be felt for many more years.
Meanwhile, the Irish are to be asked to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty, because their no could not be the end of that debate. The EU needs to be reformed. The Irish didn’t like the Lisbon Treaty as first proposed, so inevitably they’ll have to make their minds up over a revised proposal… or leave the EU.
Referenda may be democratic, but they are the route to moribund government and that can’t be good for anyone.