Indescribable Fuckwittery.

Manchester is currently in the process of holding a referendum to decide whether the city should embark upon the world's largest congestion charge. I say referendum, that would imply some variety of democratically sound canvassing of uninfluenced public opinion which is about as close to what has gone on as chocolate is to dog turd. There have been quite literally millions of publicly funded pounds pumped into the 'Yes' campaign, involving newspaper ads, tv ads, glossy leaflets and brochures while the 'no' campaign has had to rely on donations from the public and businesses who can envisage their livlihoods heading down the proverbial gurgler should this scheme go ahead.

Today my ballot pack arrived. I was expecting a paper and an envelope to deliver it back to them. Which I got. What I wasn't expecting was for my 'democratic' ballot paper pack to contain another fucking promotional leaflet for the shagging scheme we're meant to be voting on! Imagine my surprise, swiftly followed by my anger as I read through it and absorbed some of the details that I hadn't taken in before. Here are a few of the bits that REALLY ground my gears:

Buses : More services would operate at the weekends – Really? Well this is a referendum on weektime congestion charges isn't it? So that's not fucking relevant is it? And if it isn''t relevant then it's just propaganda which to my mind has aboslutely no place in a bloody ballot paper pack.

A new coach station adjacent to Piccadilly train station in the city centre
– Would that be in addition to the existing coach station for the people who can't be arsed to walk the 600 yards from Piccadilly Station to Chorlton Street or will they flatten the perfectly good and recently refurbished coach station in order to build a new one?

Tramlines to new destinations…funds are also available to connect Metrolink to Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre – What the fuck does this mean? Since it isn't included in the list of 'new' tram stops to be created but is listed seperately as 'funds are available' then does that mean that funds are available but won't be used? Or, is it, as I suspect, that the govt haven't stumped up the cash for a station there. Just write what you mean you mendacious twats and stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. We might be Northern but that does not make us a collection of utter retards, no matter what London-centric policy makers may think.

Improvements for car drivers – Information for all drivers on local traffic conditions and incidents affecting journeys – What? Are you nuts? Do you seriously expect car drivers to vote yes to paying christ knows what for the priviledge of driving to work in return for information you can get if you are bright enough to switch on the radio? What the hell is wrong with you people?

But all this pales into insignificance when you get to the bit about how it will be collected and how much it will cost. That bit is near the end of the leaflet, possibly in the hope that readers will lose the will to live and kick the bucket before they reach the really shitty information.

 Cost – £2 to cross the outer ring road and a further £1 to cross the inner road towards the city centre in the morning then £1 to cross the inner ring road and a further £1 to cross the outer ring road out of the city in the evening – at 2007 prices for pre-registered users. – Now the price wasn't a surprise, it's what I was expecting but 'at 2007 prices'? Well it's not even 2007 now, it certainly won't be 2007 in 2013 when the scheme would come in and I think we can all guess what that means can't we? Yes, they'll offer low costs to get people to vote for the scheme then jack up the amount they charge. Utter, utter, utter wankers. And then another thing struck me. What the hell is 'pre-registered' when it's at home? So I looked it up. And that did nothing to improve my mood at all. Pre-registered is what you become if you agree to have one of their fucking tracker devices put into your car so they can direct-debit cash straight out of your bank account every time you drive past one of their beacons. So there's your choice – have a device put into your car so you can be tracked like a lab rat whenever you drive round the city or be slapped with a charge that is three times that which the lab rats are paying. Nice, very nice. You utter bastards.

So that is the choice that Manchester is making, be bullied and cajoled into voting in something that is not only going to cost your average person a fortune but will also make the city uncompetitive or stand up for citizen's rights and tell these politicians to fuck right off. If the city doesn't make the right decision I will not be impressed.

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14 Responses

  1. [esto es genial]

  2. You missed out the bit about the 3 million of taxpayers' money being spent on "public information" by the Yes campaign including a TV advert that has just been ruled by OFCOM to be political and biased and therefore illegal.

  3. Ouch! It's amazing how all the really important information ends up at the bottom in really small print. They really just hope that you can't be bothered/interested enough to read that far.I like the new tiles in your bathroom – very swish!

  4. The Metro is indeed good but it's expensive, a bit unreliable and full of other people. If there's one thing I can't be doing with first thing in the morning it's other people. I'm bad tempered enough on my own, without having to attempt to not glare at strangers. And you're right, it is a fucking tax, robbing shites.Glad to hear the blog is back, once I get back to work in the morning I'll check it out. The wireless in our house has all of a sudden got very very slow.

  5. 3 million on the 'yes' campaign? I want my portion of that money back, along with the bit spent on buying booze for Westminster and anything spent on Hazel Blears. I've posted off my ballot form with a nice bold cross in the no box and so has the husband, the parents, the work colleagues and the boss. Oh, and the friends. I only know 3 people who've voted yes and hopefully they are going to be disappointed.

  6. Thanks! I'm loving the new bathroom. I've also repainted the hall, stairs and landing in a nice yellow colour (NOT custard, as someone asked) and I'm loving the house now!

  7. Vicola you are awesome – just my luck you already have a husband you sound like my kind of girl!
    You should check out the Association of British Drivers, we have been very involved in opposing the charge (we have close links to MART).
    This is only the bit you can see when it comes to anti driver measures and the sort of devious tricks used to back em up. There is a whole iceberg that you can get your teeth into if you look…..

  8. It's a Sprat to catch Mackerel. Once Manchester gets a Con
    charge it switches on the whole countries link-in with nation-wide travel tax
    via in car snoopers and deductions from bank accounts. And will there be any
    relief in the way of reduced/revoked fuel tax or VED? You have got to be
    joking! The bastards locally (Hertfordshire) have even refused to pass on the
    reduction in VAT to car parking in town – might not be much but every little
    helps – and they're very good at helping themselves, usually from what's yours.

    I drove delivery vans, Green Line coaches, and for the better part of 28yrs was
    a despatch rider in London from around 1968 through to 2004. London's
    congestion charge was NOT with the consent of Londoners, unless you only count
    Livingstone's staff rota. It was fought against tooth and nail, but you didn't
    hear about that in the press! All the self congratulatory back slapping at
    reduced vehicles in the central zone and how things had got 'moving' again, was
    pure tosh. Prior to the charge going live, our streets were bedevilled with
    road works, which in the main were areas of tarmac being replaced with pavement
    and new sets of traffic signals. Trafalgar Square was acclaimed as being turned
    into a 'World Class' square by having it's traffic volume cut by forty percent
    – they achieved the latter by removing forty percent of the available tarmac,
    and making two way traffic lanes where before there was a perfectly capable one
    way system. That story can be repeated just about all over London – bus lanes,
    cycle lanes, roads cul-de-sac'd and turned into pedestrian precincts – try
    delivering in those after finding somewhere to leave your van/bike without
    coming back to a ticket! I dare say the story is the same in Manchester as
    well. It was all planned to make life hell if you used the roads, then
    magically on the day the charge went live, all the road works disappeared,
    giving justification to the charge. Londoners weren’t fooled, they were con’d.
    Fight it every step of the way.

  9. This is what I keep trying to tell people, if they think that they are going to see a system that just charges them a quid a day to go into the city centre and goes no further then they are entirely bloody mental. It's the naivete of those who have accepted the idea of the congestion charge than really grinds my gears.

  10. Cheers! Always good to know that there are men out there who appreciate a bad tempered witch! The establishment baffles me, they aren't happy unless they are grinding someone up. First it was smokers, now it's motorists and drinkers and my money is on fat people once they've finished banning wine and cars. My contempt for them knows no bounds, especially as it seems to be one rule for us and another for our politicians.

  11. This was the first piece of your wisdom to which I was exposed. I had barely got past the halfway mark when I realised that I wanted to have your babies. Given that I am (a) too old, (b) happily married, (c) male, and (d), genetically averse to indisciplined rugrats; this posed problems that, following a nanosecond's reflection, were insurmountable, so I read on. By the end, I was contemplating encouraging you to run for Prime Minister, but that might have entailed you turning into a mendacious, incompetent twat like the rest of them. I have to say that the phrase, "Utter, utter, utter wankers," is the finest example I have ever read of that spitting, tooth – enamel – splintering rage, caused by officialdom, not only brass – faced enough to take the piss out of you, but so breathtakingly arrogant, they think you're too stupid to notice.

  12. They give me rage, they really do. I don't know whether they think that the general public is flatlining in the brain department but all the evidence points to this being their conclusion. Do they seriously think we can't read between the lines? The fact that they think they are so much cleverer than the general populace sums up everything that is wrong with the collection of smug twats and is why they should all be kicked out of office and forced to do a McJob for minimum wage until retirement, at which point they should be forced to live on the pissy little amount that they seem to think elderly folks can get by on. If they were having to live by the rules they set everyone else I suspect policy may be somewhat different.

  13. According to the website from which I found your blog, the "No" vote seems to have triumphed. A mere 80% voted No. It'll be interesting to see how they squirm their way out of this one. Maybe the knobs will do an Ireland and run it again until they get the "right" result. Don't you just love it when the people speak? Ken Livingstone (hawk, spit!) said, if voting actually changed anything, they'd abolish it. I'm watching the space.

  14. They have indeed received a sound walloping from the electorate and if you look at Greater Manchester Future Transport's website you will see that they are taking it with the good grace and sportsmanship that you would expect from this shower of twats. Smirk.

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