Thursday, 1 January 2015

Regionalism Should Rule on Decisions on Gatwick (and HS2)

One of the most disgraceful votes in recent history at a LibDem conference was that in 2014 which voted against the construction of a second runway at Gatwick. From the most basic point of view the Gatwick runway is a London/SouthEast issue and frankly no conference delegate from branches beyond 70 miles form London should have been allowed a vote on this. 

It is all too easy for a delegate from York, Manchester or the Highlands to get on their high horse and vote against a desperately needed new runway at Gatwick on the basis that airports should be more decentralised around the UK but it flies in the face of Gatwick being the nearest airport to the tens of millions (yes, that many..) that live in this part of the country. 

Just imagine the hullaballoo if in the run-up to the Scottish referendum if the party had voted down a runway expansion at Edinburgh on the same grounds.

Once again, like Defence and Foreign Policy, where this party has a woeful lack of adept practitioners (and not even inspired amateurs) a decision has been made without access to the full facts and left those branches and PPCs in the region to live with the consequences. Was there any discussion of the fact that a second runway at Gatwick would, for instance, be a major attraction for one of the major airline alliances to decamp in toto from Heathrow to Gatwick, producing a massive rebalancing away from the West of London location? 

I, for one, do not regard this issue as settled will be pushing to have votes on this (and HS2) restricted to those that are most effected in the future. The party is content to give lip-service to regionalism and then comes up with votes like this. Those not effected by the airport issue in London should butt out of the process....