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Author Topic: Le plus ca change ..... (The More Things Change ....)
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 21 July 2004 11:56 AM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Le Plus Ca Change ..... ("The more things change...")

".... [under the British government's] Transport plan Motorists may have to pay to use roads according to how congested they are under proposals floated by the government. The transport secretary, Alistair Darling, told the Commons a national road-pricing scheme was not yet feasible. But he said local schemes could be viable and the Government would press ahead with examining this with councils..."

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/commons/story/0,9061,1266043,00.html

The issue of The Economist for Feb 18 to 24, 1989 had a cover of central London's traffic congestion with a big fat headline reading:

Make Them Pay.

There are various debates going on on babble on how the NDP should position itself in the next election. I think the above quote is an interesting policy example and also indicative of how social democrats seem to always adapt to changing ideological currents. Often enough they end up with the same positions other parties further to the right hold. Take Tony Bliar's government's plan of charging motorists for using the commons (i.e. the roads).

As an ecologically minded person I applaud measures leading to a decrease in automobile traffic in cities. As a person with concerns about social equity I have reservations about charging people to use the road. (I know to some extent that is happening already because of license fees and gas taxes. But the above scheme would do it explicitly.) Rich people will find it much easier to pay than the night janitor who needs his car to commute because there are no buses when he finishes work at 3 am. Corporate executives might use taxis and charge it to their expense accounts. Or corporate limousines.

So I have two questions to others here:

What do you make out of my contention that 'often enough social democrats ("the left"?) end up with right wing positions. Is it because of changing external circumstances? Is it 'opportunism', i.e. the desire to win votes? (I know charging for the use of roads isn't going to win anybody many votes but I am asking with respect to a more general picture.)

What's your position with respect to reducing car traffic in cities through such schemes (or others, such as getting people to use public transport more often)?

[ 21 July 2004: Message edited by: Sir George Williams ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
HalfAnHourLater
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posted 21 July 2004 03:57 PM      Profile for HalfAnHourLater     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Having been a cyclist for nearly 2 months here in London now, all I can say is ANYTHING that gets cars off the road is a good thing. The city's a traffic jam, on good days. There are several issues here:

1) Will the money be used to shore up the decaying public transport systems (My guess is London won't win the Olympics 'cause the entire system is currently hanging by a thread)

2) Will this come with a reduction in other fees: licensing, etc, such that you're getting charged for over-driving or driving at peak hours.

3) If 2) is the case, then many people who use a car occasionally might actually save money, and have clearer roads when they do drive.

4)How is this actually going to be implemented? (transponder) And how much is it going to cost to do so?

5) Cycling in London is very feasible, just need yer wits about ya...more showers in the work places too. (not really a point, but whatever)

[ 21 July 2004: Message edited by: HalfAnHourLater ]


From: So-so-so-solidarité! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sir George Williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6119

posted 21 July 2004 10:39 PM      Profile for Sir George Williams        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
HalfAnHourLater

I gather you're in London, England not London, Ontario.

Right?

I lived in London UK 1973 - 75 and I would never try to cycle on one of the main roads even though the bike has been my vehicle of choice for most of my life. (Can't do it anymore because of health reasons. Bummer)


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged

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