Who will keep turning the wheels on the truck? 28 April 2015
As we go to press and 7 May draws tantalisingly close, the 2015 election bandwagon is reaching fever pitch, dominating the news 24/7. But, like it or hate it, the outcome of this election matters – particularly with the economic recovery so vigorous yet fragile, and the world an increasingly unpredictable place.
Clearly, the sympathies and dogma of any new parliament matter: these dictate the detail of its ideas and direction. But, just as important, its nature matters – and, sadly, that is almost certainly hung. Expect a coalition, formal or otherwise, and all that entails in terms of weakness, compromises and missed opportunities.
Interestingly, more than half (57.7%) of visitors to last month's massive CV Show (review, page 16) believe the Conservative party would best represent transport's interests. That's according to an RHA (Road Haulage Association) exit poll. And, while its sample was small, Labour's tally of just 8.2%, SNP's and the Greens' of 2%, and the Liberal Democrats' less than 1% suggest strong agreement with the Tories' advocacy of responsible resurgence founded on austerity.
That result, however, should be no great surprise. What matters to the RHA, and others with transport at heart, is bearing down on fuel duty, investing in the roads infrastructure, supporting professional driver development and funding technologies capable of delivering on the competitiveness and sustainability agendas. And the previous administration has undeniably made moves on most of those.
So, if you haven't done so already, which way might you vote? As ever, it's a matter of thinking beyond local issues at one end of the spectrum and political point-scoring at the other. Everyone knows the NHS, defence, education, employment, Europe, immigration and the economy are important. What matters is how a new government intends to tackle them – and keep the wheels on the truck turning.
Brian Tinham BSc CEng MInstMC FSOE FIPlantE FIRTE
Society of Operations Engineers
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