LHR Heathrow A Third Runway ??? CancelledJanuary 12, 2009 at 5:44 am | Posted in Heathrow | 3 Comments
Tags: Adding capacity at Heathrow airport, Airlines, Arrivals, Aviation, Business interests, Carbon emissions, Climate change, Climate policy, Decisions, Electorate, Environment, Heathrow, HM Government, Lobbies, No third runway, Transport policy
This Future Heathrow Flight Arrivals ad (PDF) appeared in national newspapers (such as The Daily Telegraph, but I noted it was absent from London’s Evening Standard) on Monday 12 January 2009.
Nicely timed in anticipation of the Cabinet’s imminent decision on the Third Runway (R3), Soley’s Future Heathrow lobby group, and no doubt the Prime Minister and his allies, are keen to be seen to be supported by these eight entities:
- British Chambers of Commerce – ‘The Ultimate Business Network’
- GMB – Britain’s General Union
- IoD – Institute of Directors
- CBI – ‘The Voice of Business’ (see CBI climate change “CBI is at the heart of the climate change debate. We are focused on delivering action to put the UK back on track to meet its carbon reduction targets.”)
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- London First
- Unite (the UNION)
(I’d like to see how the CBI correlates its support for expansion of Heathrow airport with putting the UK back on track to meet its carbon reduction targets …)
Today’s Future Heathrow advertisement shows a typical Flight Arrivals board in a Heathrow terminal. It displays:
CDG Paris Economic Growth Landed
AMS Amsterdam Capital Investment On time
FRA Frankfurt Jobs and Opportunities Expected
LHR Heathrow A Third Runway ???
Aside from those flights that have already Landed, are On time, or Expected, any regular air traveller can tell you that the heart-sinking categories for scheduled flights are Delayed, and, worst of all, the gut-wrenching Cancelled. At first glance, this emotive ad image works well subliminally. After all, who would want to imagine this pet-project Cancelled?
Uncertainty, and fear of uncertainty, is bad for business: that’s why HM Government’s dilly-dallying on a mish-mash of conflicting, disintegrated transport, climate and energy policies is so destructive for Britain. Like a disembodied soul, the United Kingdom appears to be floating around aimlessly, looking down on its former self tearing itself apart: with members pulling in different directions instead of working together for the good of all. The desperate need for certainty in uncertain times does not mean that the wrong decision must be made now; though in the case of LHR’s proposed expansion, by all accounts, it will be.
Naturally, business needs no live presence in the voting booths because instead it relies on powerful, well-financed lobbies to persuade government officials, and is armed with PR professionals spending national advertising budgets to propagate the business-preferred message to the masses. Meanwhile the electorate are allowed one vote each, once in a blue moon, and have no effective, continuous charming influence behind closed doors nor can lowly commoners operate at the highest, decision-making levels. Is it any wonder many British voters are cynical? Any government decision that pits the preferences of corporations against those of individual members of the electorate is bound to favour business interests … unless other business interests come to the aid of the people 😉
The Future Heathrow ad copy title reads:
The UK can’t afford to duck the decision on Heathrow’s third runway.
Of course, taking into account the current financial crisis there is not much the UK can afford. Crucially, this is not the time for ‘ducking’ any decision. Equally crucial, this is no time for the government to choose the only proposal on the table ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport‘—simply because it exists, then call it a plan, and decide to activate it. This is another form of the activist’s fallacy we are warned about by Miles Templeman!
The economic and environmental arguments for ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport‘ will not fly. The current business climate requires supporters of the proposals to go back to the drawing board. How suitable funding can be raised for such a risky venture during this credit crunch beats me. If any major project is going to receive investment, it needs to be sustainable, in both an environmental and an economic sense. Finally, Future Heathrow tagline is ‘supporting sustainable growth‘. Who is Clive Soley kidding ? ? ?
Tuesday 13 January 2008 update: Despite rumours that a decision on Heathrow was expected today, I have recently read that there was only a “brief discussion” of Heathrow during today’s Cabinet meeting, and the BBC is reporting Brown ‘dithering over Heathrow’. Good. This indicates how weak the arguments in favour of expansion really are, shows how unprepared Gordon is to stick his neck out, makes him look even more indecisive, and also means that when he finally announces his decision he cannot claim he hasn’t thought through the details sufficiently, so he will certainly feel even more shame and embarrassment when his decision is eventually overturned (one way or another).