Middle of the road politics

It’s fair to say that at a national level, our MP Anthony Browne has kept his head down since he was elected in 2019. However, he has also been largely absent here in Queen Edith’s, the most built-up and easily the most nationally significant part of his constituency.

This week, however, he turned up to film a short video about what he calls the ‘congestion charge’ (and what the local authorities who are putting it out for discussion call the ‘Sustainable Travel Zone’).

Locally, his political party senses an opportunity in opposing the proposal, even before it has a chance to be discussed. They’re making it sound like the charge is done and dusted, not just yet another proposal to be implemented in several years’ time, from a local authority body which has so far achieved almost nothing in its expensive, seven-year history.

However, the reaction to this video from local residents is not so much to debate the concept of the ‘Sustainable Travel Zone’ with him, but to ridicule his observation that there’s no congestion in the area, using Nightingale Avenue as an example.

I am sure Mr Browne is quite aware that the only reason he can stand in the road on Nightingale Avenue is because it’s been closed to through traffic for the past two years, after a successful trial to block it off as a commuter rat-run.

I think we deserve better than this.

3 Replies to “Middle of the road politics”

  1. I don’t know the proposal well enough to have an opinion in it, but to deliberately misrepresent the lack of congestion using Nightingale Ave as an example is about par for the Tories.

  2. All politicians use words and situations that are economical with the truth when that aids their case. I am incensed when I walk down Nightingale avenue to see the words on the barrier boxes that this is an ‘experimental’ closure linked to ‘Covid’. I have never heard of any experiment to find the emission benefits along Queen Edith’s Way or how long it takes to open the emergency ‘gate’ and get a real fire engine through. Again, ‘Covid’ was used because no one could reasonably be against any idea that might lessen the spread of Covid. That was the “Greater Cambridge Protectorate”, so our MP is simply treading in the steps of lesser mortals by using a blocked off road to illustrate that the congestion charge is not needed.

  3. This really is laughable. What a tool, standing in a filtered road to point out how there isn’t any congestion to fix!
    And much of the rest of what he says is wrong too. You don’t have to pay £5 to go shopping if you use a bike/cargo bike (like I do almost every time), you don’t need to pay £5 to go to the farm shop, because it’s a 2 mile, 15min (entirely off-road) cycle from where he’s standing, and Addies is a 5 minute walk/2min cycle. The whole _point_ of the sustainable travel zone is that people will be discouraged from driving absolutely everywhere (at busy times), especially when it’s only a few hundred metres away, unless they actually _need_ to. And they will have useful public transport alternatives as well as walking and cycling.
    Finally, the idea that ‘EVs don’t contribute to climate change’ is yet more drivel. Less than ICE vehicles, but they still have a hefty carbon footprint from both manufacture and electricity generation, and of course their contribution to road danger, congestion and public space use (and to a large degree noise) is just the same as any other car. And that of course is why they are included in the charge.
    I know Anthony Browne isn’t actually an idiot, and understands that climate change is a big deal, so I hope he’s embarrassed by this risible contribution to what is actually a very important debate. If he really doesn’t think the STZ is good plan, then how _does_ he propose to achieve a 50% reduction in vehicle emissions in 8 years and a less miserable (congested, noisy, polluted, unsafe) environment for people driving, cycling, bus-ing, scooting or walking?

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