Saturday, December 13, 2008

John "Transport Swerve" Leech: Jumps on NO Bandwaggon

John Leech whose wholly inadequate impersonation of a useful MP was swatted back at PMQs a few weeks ago (5 November 2008) by Gordon Brown - which recording ought to be a must-watch for any waverer thinking from Hoaxer Leech's own PR that he is anything but inadequate - has immedediately sent out a bleating Yes-but-No-but press release calling on the Government to let NO mean YES:

"Until now, the Prime Minister has refused to be drawn on what would happen to the money in the event of a no vote, even when challenged directly by Mr Leech in the House of Commons, but Mr Leech is now demanding that Manchester should not be punished for rejecting the government's scheme.

"The people of Greater Manchester have spoken and have emphatically rejected the government's prescriptive proposals. But that doesn't mean that they should now be punished by having the money taken away from Manchester.
"Gordon Brown must ring fence the money for Manchester and we must be given the chance to come up with new and improved proposals that are acceptable to the people of Greater Manchester. This is not a rejection of the principle of congestion charging, but rather a rejection of this specific, inadequate scheme. If the government's half of the money was there on the table this morning, it has to be there tonight too."

So, it's not a rejection of charging then? Though the whole debate was in fact moved by the NO campaign and their nefarious "ultra" fringe unto the charge, aided and abetted by the persistently C-Charge media. And not unassisted by NO-means-YES-Leech. The vote is nothing if not an attempt to avoid paying a fair share for vast improvements and giving a nudge to unnecessary road journeys.

But here's that exchange - cleaned up from all the glitches, mumblings and cries of "Christie Hospital Hoaxer" from Tory and Labour back benchers, which you can watch again above and here in the context of the day - and in which the Prime Minister unlike the stumble bum Hoaxer John was very clear indeed:

Mr. McLeech: Will the Prime Minister ensure that in the event of a "No" vote the people of Greater Manchester will have the opportunity to come back with an improved scheme without the concern that the Government might take the money away?

The Prime Minister: I know that the voting paper has options for a "Yes" vote and a "No" vote, but I am afraid that there is no option for a "Don't know" vote. In the event of a "No" vote, it would be up to Greater Manchester authorities to decide whether they wanted to do further work on the proposals.
The Government are in principle prepared to contribute, as he has said, up to £1.5 billion towards the Greater Manchester package, but that is dependent on the broad scope and nature of the package remaining the same. If Greater Manchester came back with a revised proposition, we would need to assess it on its merits.

John Leech was only nominally and very reluctantly in the progressive YES vanguard. In fact it is rather obvious he wanted to have it both ways. All three ways. For NO to mean YES. For DON'T KNOW to mean YES or NO according to where you're standing when you mumble it. To escape any electoral pain from being decisive and showing strong leadership.

There are no constituency level data on actual voting but I understand 'phone polling for Leech's temporary Manchester Withington seat showed things on a knife edge with the high turnout 'burbs of Chorlton, Didsbury and Withington very much on a YES-ward tip with Burnage, Old Moat and Chorlton Park needing some leadership.

With even the shameless laughing stock Cllr Norman Lewis telling me in vino that it was a no-brainer for YES, but alas not persuading his old chum, who owes Norm everything, to do the right thing and campaign for change.

Withington must now watch out for Leech leaflets trying to have it both ways and pretending it was YES and NO respectively, according to the letter box he's shoving his litter through.

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