Saturday, March 15, 2008

A spot of politics. Sort of.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate politicians. Well, modern politicians anyway - you know the sort, the ones who make it to the front bench, the eton/oxbridge/etc educated career politicians who dabbled in law before they "heeded the calling" and decided they'd prance about in a gothic craphole getting pissed on our taxes...

But the recent budget has me slightly hot under the collar, and not because I'm some telegraph reading twat who's concerned about the residuals on his mondeo ( - "Families to suffer" ) - but because ( I should mention I'm under the heathrow flight path) of the brutal hypocrisy of the government with regard to air travel.

Nearly everybody who lives in this area thinks the third runway is a pisspoor idea - in Slough it's apparently 100% (dunno how they managed that one) - and it appears that the department for transport is also in deep deep collusion with BAA to try to push this through ("Heathrow runway collusion denied" but then they're not going to admit anything, are they?) and besides, some of the original figures used to justify the expansion are massaged ( "BAA rigged figures to hideairport delays" ) - and Ruth Kelly actually supports the expansion of Heathrow with a third runway(!) - there are voices of dissent in higher places, thank god ( "Report attacks heathrow expansion" ).

This doesn't stop the CBI from spreading the usual pinstripe hysterical blackmail - "Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, recently said major financial institutions would desert the City if Heathrow was not expanded." - and the quotes from some self-interested conglomeration of parties whose livelihood is intertwined with air travel have suggested that 500,000 tourism jobs would be lost without airport expansion(!)... what a load of sensationalism.

So. Cars = bad, planes = good. Because we all know planes run on carbon dioxide and spew out oxygen! Oh yes...

I see in some of these stories that other bodies than groups of citizens are objecting to BAAs relentless lobbying. NATS and the CAA have concerns, and if your air traffic controllers reckon there isn't enough room in the sky, I'd listen. Before a 747 falls on your precious houses of parliament after crashing into another 747.

Seriously, we have to rebase how we think about "progress". It's not economic growth. Economic growth brings us, amongst the good stuff, some really bad stuff (I'm using this mode of speech deliberately). Gordon Brown went to China and wilfully ignored how they treat people as he wants their cash injected into our economy...

We have to slow down. We've only been running this hot as a species for a hundred and fifty years, maybe. If we don't slow down we're going to come to an abrupt halt.