Back in March 2000, when John Prescott was still a reasonably respected Deputy Prime Minister, and ‘cloth cap central’ was still hopeful that Blair’s brave Nu-Labour world would rain financial largess on their neanderthal ambitions, the lads in the Wheeltappers and Shunters Club decided to realise one of their grandfather’s long forgotten dreams – to extend t’ tram line oot Oldham and Wythenshawe way. They’d heard o’ tha’ gooovernment grants that the lads down in London had got their sticky fingers into, and fancied a bit o’ modernisation themselves.
Not oop for anything too fancy, just a nice new tram for Elsie an’ Minie to ride into town and fetch the tripe for tea.
The Whippet Fancier’s Evening News reported that John Lad had cum oop trumps, wi’ Â£280 million o’ they southern smackers and sum o’ that European money to put into this toe dipping exercise into the post-Luddite world. Prezzer turned oop and said
“It is a very big, happening city and we have declared it a centre of excellence.” He said we would be “the envy of Europe”
We called it ‘Big Bang’ like what thay southerners had in the city.
Wigan Councillor Joe Clarke, who’d been bleatin’ on aboot it in Prezzers ear for years got so excited, he dropped dead the same day.
They got themselves one o’ they fancy London Architects (who really ought to concentrate on their web site before they are let loose on any more public projects….) and before they knew (well, five years and Â£36 million later) it they had a tram stop that looked like something out o’ t’ lad’s space comic.
Just one problem. No tram. No tripe for tea. We wuz looking like the laughing stock of Europe.
Meanwhile, down in London, the lads had hit a few problems, the southerners were kicking up aboot all t’money we wuz costing them, and they cut us off. Without ol’ Joe Clarke we wuz proper stumped, so we put us heads together in the Snivelin’ Ferret, and sent a message down to tha’ Tony Blair tha’ we wuz proper brassed off an’ thinking o’ votin’ UKIP or summit. Ee’ sent back word that we cud ‘ave ‘Little Bang’, an ‘ave a tram wha’ went as far as Rochdale. Bit o’ a problem there, ‘cos there won’t be no toilets on the tram, and the journey is going to take half o’ long again as tha’ train, so God knows wha’ state tha’ tram’ll be in when it gets to Oldham on a Saturday night.
They say we’ll ‘ave our first tram in 2011. We’re going to ask that John Prezzer MP to walk in front o’ it, it being so damn slow, and lead it into our fancy station…….we have long memories ‘oop here, and we remember the opening of the London to Manchester line, fact is, we had a whip round for a plaque to commemorate it. It reads:
A mark of personal respect and affection has been placed here to mark the spot where, on the 15th of September 1830 at the opening of the rail-road THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM HUSKISSON M.P. singled out by an inscrutable Providence from the midst of the distinguished multitude that surrounded him, in the full pride of his talents and perfection of his usefulness met with the accident that occasioned his death, which deprived England of an illustrious Statesman and Liverpool of its honored Representative, which changed a moment of noblest exultation and triumph that science and genius had ever achieved into one of desolation and mourning, and striking terror into the hearts of assembled thousands, brought home to every bosom for the forgotten truth that in the midst of Life, we are in Death.
We’ll give him ‘Big Bang’ and the ‘envy of Europe’ all right. Aye, t’bloody train went right over ol’ Bill Huskisson.
nb. I’m a Scouse, before you start.