Thursday, 11 December 2008

Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton.

The church was quiet last night after the late Mass and, just before I turned out the lights, I paused for a second at the Holy Souls Altar, imagining how good the icons will look when we put them there on the Epiphany. The hope is that our Orthodox deacon friend, who gave them in memory of his Mother and Father, will carry them in procession at the beginning of Mass and then place them on the High Altar for the duration of the Mass. After Communion we will all gather round the Holy Souls Altar and hang them, singing the Panikhida for the repose of the souls of the donor's parents. There will probably have to be oven bottom muffins and strong tea afterwards, lest we not feel that we are in Prestwich anymore. All we need now is a new lectern and missal stand, if anyone is feeling generous, or indeed has something we can use.

We are in the middle of the Nativity play season now as well as the 'aargh, not more bills, mounting debt' season. Both, of course, are coming early this year as Manchester decides whether to impose another tax on ourselves in the form of a congestion charge. Tomorrow is the crunch day, months of canvassing and weeks of voting will decide whether we will cripple our city by imposing a charge to drive into the suburbs and then again into the city centre, a charge which was twenty nine times more in planning stages but which has been pulled back to get a 'yes' vote, or whether we, erm, don't impose a tax. The yes mongerers are claiming that the tax will only operate at certain times because you can trust local and national government to look a gift horse in the mouth for ever, and that it will bring revenue to better public transport and somehow make it safer. How will it be safer? Will troublemakers be microchipped to make it impossible for them to board the bus? Do we believe that the money will be used wisely, the money borrowed from central government at a time of recession? A yes vote will lead to the collapse of small businesses on the perimeter of the charging zone and a vast deficit in the coffers. A no vote will be business as usual. I do not believe the hype, I am sorry. All will be revealed tomorrow.