The Evening Standard, aka the London Daily Bozza, has published a curious piece today. Under the by-line of “City Hall correspondent” Peter Dominiczak, it is effectively calling for the creation of a new Thames estuary airport – the “Boris Island” scheme. This, for the Standard, is not new news. But it is also backing the effective imposition of this scheme by diktat.
What you may or may not see
The piece looks at the recently constructed Hong Kong airport, a project which had to go ahead given the constraints of the old facility and its mildly hairy approach over the city – this included a right turn almost immediately before landing – and that the new airport may soon be expanded by constructing a third runway. This is contrasted with the timescales affecting similar schemes in the UK.
But here a problem enters: the scale of the resources required – not just the money, but also the inevitable enquiries and opposition – cannot be met from private firms alone. Government must stand behind such a scheme, especially if it is to be pushed through with any speed in the face of what will inevitably be vociferous opposition. And that’s without sorting the SS Richard Montgomery.
Socialism? Gosh chaps, no way! Popularity? Cripes, er, difficult one!
So what does the Standard suggest? Apparently, in Hong Kong, now an autonomous region, but a province of the People’s Republic of China none the less, they just decide to do things, and then go right ahead and do them. So presumably all those rotten environmentalists and others opposed to dumping an airport in the Thames estuary would be forced aside.
And all the while, no doubt, there would be a resolution of the Richard Montgomery problem and the main project work, reclaiming the land and building the airport, going on under the control of, well, a Government department. That, after all, is how the Hong Kong scheme was built. And it is how Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport (quoted in example) was conceived and built, starting back in the mid 60s.
After all, no airport of any size in the UK has ever been built without at least some public money being advanced: even London City was granted a substantial sum by the London Development Agency. Heathrow was developed by Government, as were Gatwick and Stansted. All other significant airports in the UK were the result of local or national Government intervention (notably via the RAF).
And if Boris Island is to go ahead, in the way that the Standard is suggesting, it too will need significant Government intervention. So the London Daily Bozza is effectively calling for the imposition of this project by state socialist means, all of which is curiously apposite for a paper that is owned by a Russian businessman. What career Tory Bozza will make of this is not clear.
But if there’s any credit to be had, he’ll be there. Crikey readers!