Janet Street-Porter: “Sorry, Boris, I don’t care about the size of your landing strip!”
Janet Street-Porter, writing with characteristic panache in the Mail, says airport expansion has become linked to masculinity with Tim Yeo and Boris Johnson telling Cameron to be a man on the matter of new runways/airports. Janet says asphalting over a big area on the edge of our precious Green Belt is not a good way to demonstrate manhood. So, asks Janet, what is it about men and planes? The aviation industry, like tobacco and alcohol, tirelessly promotes the idea of growth as a Good Idea. And Janet says she never believed the “rubbish about creating jobs — do they mean toilet cleaners, fast food operatives and duty free sales assistants?” Why are we so keen to copy China in building new airports, when we don’t copy their one child per family rule, their unpleasant working conditions in factories, or their denial of free speech. So why should we fancy an airport in the Thames modelled on one in Shanghai?
Sorry, Boris, I don’t care about the size of your landing strip!
3.9.2012 (Daily Mail)
Airport expansion has become linked to masculinity. A furious debate rages over the future of Heathrow — Boris Johnson has demanded the Prime Minister ‘stop pussyfooting around’.
Tim Yeo, a former environment minister, says that Dave must show whether he’s ‘man or a mouse’, that dithering means ‘a slide to insignificance’.
Asphalting over a big bit of the UK on the edge of our precious Green Belt is the latest way to demonstrate your manhood.
Proving a point? Janet-Street Porter believes airport expansion, like that of Heathrow (pictured), has become linked to manhood
Times have changed. Mr Cameron promised in his election manifesto that there would be no expansion of Heathrow — and, no matter what else about him may be irritating, he understands that voters like consistency.
That doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind for the next election, but if he did, it would be a massive vote-loser.
Justine Greening is not an inspiring Transport Minister, but she has rejected any expansion of Heathrow, and I haven’t noticed any high-profile women in Parliament supporting it either.
So, what is it about men and planes? The aviation industry, like tobacco and alcohol, tirelessly promotes the idea of growth as a Good Idea.
True, Heathrow operates at 98 per cent capacity and half the planes need to queue — causing even more pollution — before a slot is free for them to land. I’m still not persuaded we need another runway, let alone a new airport costing £60 billion right on Heathrow’s doorstep or a £23 billion airport in the Thames Estuary blighting the lives of everyone in Kent and Essex.
Heathrow is a busy hub — with most passengers going on to another destination. Is this really an economic benefit to be encouraged? To be a giant service station for somewhere else?
I never believe the rubbish about creating jobs — do they mean toilet cleaners, fast food operatives and duty free sales assistants? I’m not impressed by the argument that we must attract more
Chinese tourists either —pretty soon the UK will be out of fashion and they’ll all want to visit the North Pole.
To visit anywhere in Europe, you can easily fly from regional airports and change somewhere else — it’s certainly no slower than walking miles around Heathrow. China is building 70 airports — so what? We don’t copy the rule of one child per family, their unpleasant working conditions in factories, or their denial of free speech. So why should we fancy an airport in the Thames modelled on one in Shanghai?
In ten years’ time, air travel will be outmoded — there will be more efficient, high-tech ways of conducting business than traipsing halfway around the globe in person.
Talk of airport expansion might be macho, but it’s completely bonkers.