Sunday, June 07, 2009

The future for Nottinghamshire and the tram

After 28 years of Labour in power in Nottinghamshire, the Tories have gained hold, with the final votes coming in from Hucknall to give them victory.

To say this is profoundly depressing - albeit under current circumstances utterly unsurprising - would be a mild interpretation events.

Since 1973, the Tories have only controlled Nottinghamshire for one 4 year period: 1977-1981, that great period of the tumultuous end days of the Callaghan government into the we-can-make-unemployment-figures-even-worse early days of Thatcher. That, despite everything, Labour held onto the council after that point til now says a great deal.

First amongst the likely casualties as the Tories take power and slash costs - should they stick to their manifesto - will be the demise of the Nottingham tram extension.

I know these projects divide opinion, but I really cannot see how holding up this project - or drastically changing it after numerous consultations - is a feasible and reasonable action (with all the expense and waste that will create with it having gone so far already). The Tories argue that the costs so far are precisely the reason they want to call a halt to the expansion, but in a period of declining employment the loss/delay of any major civil engineering project like this is surely short-sighted at the very least.

They particularly claim that the routes are not right, but Nottingham is cornered by a number a limited factors affecting tram expansion that sooner or later have to be tackled and which aren't resolved by mere road amendments and more 4-wheel transport (either cars or buses). The impossible-to-widen A52 as it runs along Wollaton Park and the university is one; the residential and shopping areas of Beeston along the other side of the University an inevitable other.

I'm also desperately concerned about the effect of the Tories slash and burn cost-cutting on local government jobs: and not just because I have people I care about who work for the council. There has been quite enough 'efficiency savings' in the region so far. Can services - and people's jobs - cope with more? I don't think so.

Whatever council leader Kathy Cutts may say, this election was chiefly about political disenchantment with politics in general and the Labour Party as the party of Government at a national level being seen as, well, rubbish frankly. Good individuals at a local level have consequently lost out. It will be interesting to see how the next significant set of local elections turns out in the likely event (oh help us all) that the Cameronites take power after the next General Election. Last time, after their brief flurry of power, the Tories were returned to local exile for 28 years...


George said...

I feel for the town Lisa!

Similarly here mass Labour loss and SNP gain, it must mean independence is what everyone wants...

JoeinVegas said...

Well, it was a majority of those that vote that selected them, so you really have to blame your fellows, either for voting like that or not bothering to go to the poles.