Was Manchester’s decision a vote against the government?
Are there national implications in the C-Charge rejection?
First of all hands up! I read the Manchester C-charge referendum wrongly thorough putting too much weight on the polls and believing that the Â£2.8bn promised investment would swing votes towards the proposal.
What are the national implications? Firstly the Manchester vote following last year’s Edinburgh rejection will mean that it’s going to be much tougher pushing through such schemes. My guess is that we won’t see a further big C-charge proposal this side of the general election.
But does it go wider than that? Can the decision by such a large number of voters across ten major boroughs in the conurbation be seen as being anti-government and if so is there are problem for Labour?
For the fact is that the proposal came out as it did because this is what ministers wanted. This was not just a vote about a locally originated proposal – it had the government’s finger-prints all over it.
It’s often said with referenda that part of any result reflects satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the party in power. Just recall how Ireland’s Lisbon vote was explained away.
In this case it’s hard to put too much weight on this notion – but there might have been an element.
What do others think?