Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gale Warning

Cripes! I would sooooo like to turn this into a caption competition, but my wolf pack of highly trained legal beagles have advised against it. Hey-ho.

With the St Jude storm about to hit our septic isle and mash everything to a gelatinous pulp, one of my correspondents has alerted me to another blast of dreadful wind which emanated from Sir Roger Gale, Member of Parliament for Fannit Norf since 1874, in the House of Commons this week.

As usual, Sir Rodge was guffing on about the airport in his customary, swivel-eyed manner (anyone recall his plan to turn Manston into the London Olympics Airport? Nope, nobody does, as it never happened.) Here's the entire text of his latest meanderings from Hansard:

I am delighted to see you in the Chair this afternoon, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman) for generating the opportunity for us to debate something of absolute national importance. Finally, I am pleased to see my hon. Friend the Minister on the Front Bench and welcome him to his new job. I look forward to welcoming him to Kent in the not-too-distant future - he does not know that, but it is going to happen.

I do not want to rerun yesterday's debate either, but during the debate on air passenger duty, the hon. Member for Blackley and Broughton (Graham Stringer) referred to the loss of business to Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle - he might have added Frankfurt - and several other locations in Europe. This is crucial for the economy of the UK. We cannot gainsay the fact that the economic hub of the nation is in London. There is much good business in Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland, but the place that people have got used to interlining through, and therefore also doing business in, is London.

Frequently people just change planes, but equally frequently they stop over. Because they are coming through London, they take the opportunity to take in a show or do business in the City of London. It is not just the thousands of jobs at Heathrow or Gatwick that are at stake and which we could lose to mainland Europe; this is about all the other, ancillary jobs, and the tourism and business that go with them. The cost to the country from the loss of aviation business in the south-east to mainland Europe is almost inestimable.

A long time ago, I upset my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Sir Alan Haselhurst) when I championed the cause of the airport at Stansted. I remember saying then, "It's not Heathrow or Stansted; it's Stansted or Schiphol." That is even truer today than it was then. If I need to underscore that point, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France are now flying from Manston, in Kent, twice daily to Schiphol, as they are from a number of other regional airports. They are not doing that for fun; they are doing it because they can see there is business to be taken, from the south-east of England in particular, to Schiphol to interline and to go on to all the other places in the world - literally, anywhere that it is possible to fly to from Schiphol. We cannot afford to sacrifice that business.

This debate is about aviation strategy, but my worry is that there is no aviation strategy. There is a commission, and Sir Howard Davies will do his job and report by 2015. Then there will be a debate and more discussion, and there will not be another strip of tarmac or another building, or a Boris island, for 20 years. That is how long it will take. We are losing business today - not tomorrow, in a year's time or in five years' time, but today. As we speak, business is transferring from the United Kingdom to the mainland European airports. We cannot afford to sustain that loss.

On the doorstep of London there is a place called Manston, in Kent. It has the fourth longest runway in the country - it has taken Concorde and wide-body jets - and it is available now. I am not suggesting for one moment that Manston could or should be another London airport, but I believe it could have a major role to play. In, I think, 2005 - I stand to be corrected - the right hon. Member for Edinburgh South West (Mr Darling) published his White Paper on the future of aviation in the south-east, but since then nothing at all has happened in any meaningful or constructive form, apart from perhaps another terminal at Heathrow. I put it to him at the time that Manston was available, and I was told, "No, it's too far from London" - 76 miles.

Let us think about that. Manston is quite a long way - it is further than Gatwick and Heathrow. Actually, it is not, at least not in time. I hope we will eventually finish High Speed 1- my hon. Friend the Minister might have a hand in that. Indeed, I have travelled on the existing line, with old rolling stock, in under an hour from central London to Manston, and if that was possible then, with High Speed 1, it is even more possible today. We can get the journey time down to about 50 minutes. It takes more than 50 minutes to get from central London to Heathrow and almost as long to get to Gatwick. Therefore, in terms of time rather than distance, which is what matters to the traveller, Manston is viable.

So what do we have? We have an airport sitting in Kent, out on the peninsular, relatively out of harm's way in terms of overflying, available today and under new ownership - Manston was sold and bought last week. Its future was in a bit of doubt because it was on the market, but it has now been bought, so it is secure, at least for the foreseeable future. Manston is there and I say to my hon. Friend the Minister and the House that we have to buy time if we are not going to lose more jobs. Manston is never going to be another London airport. What Manston can do is take traffic from Gatwick to release capacity, allow Gatwick to take traffic from Heathrow and free up the capacity there, which is what we need in the short term while the Government take long-term decisions. Manston is a national asset - not a regional or local asset - and we need to use it now. This country cannot afford to waste it.

If you haven't died from a boredom-induced stroke (quite how Our Roger kept the bright young things tuned in during his stint as a pirate DJ in the 60s is beyond me!), you'll have seen that he perpetuates one or two inaccuracies there. Did you spot them? No?

Well how about '(Manston is) relatively out of harm's way in terms of overflying'? Oh well, perhaps geography isn't his strong point. 'Is secure for the foreseeable future'? Business and commerce not a strong point either, clearly. Unless by 'foreseeable future' he means the end of next month.

'Fourth longest runway in the country?' Er, it's the 14th longest, actually.

No wonder the bigwigs in That London don't take Sir Roger seriously. They've twigged he's about as reliable as Michael Fish!

Speaking of which, I'd better tool off and batten down the hatches here at the old cliff top mansion. Let's hope nothing blows off during the night!!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoever transcribed all that deserves a drink or two! If he hasn't done so already!

Anonymous said...

Gale is a useless scoundrel ignoring the pollution and safety problems created by Infratil and TDC/KCC.

Not one word in public form him in 7 years. And still banging on about the Parkway nonsense made up by Carter's tarmac crew.

Gale has his knighthood and it's time for him to retire. He has done nothing and will do nothing.

Our MP's and councils are simply extensions of the construction industry funded by us. And all the more irrelevant with Climate Change.

Anonymous said...

Discovery Park is a disaster if that turns into houses and shops like WC.

Who comes up with this bullshat and why does Gale stay silent? Although Sandys is for it.

Yet they say nothing about Thor or the sewers or cliffs.

Anonymous said...

In what way is it a disaster? The infrastructure (roads, plumping, electricity) are already there.

Anonymous said...

*plumbing*

Anonymous said...

No, 7:32, he meant plumping because he was talking about his middle and jowls. Think the Climate Change is on its way and should arrive tonight in the early hours. Let's hope Timmy boy has got his thermals on.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Timothy, and I wrote both 7:32's. I was correcting myself. Anyway... why?

Anonymous said...

'Vote for me or the kitten gets it.'

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Tim, thought Timothy was your unabbreviated name. You don't have to correct your spelling mistakes because we are used to them.

Anonymous said...

ECR, any chance of you going on to the Royal Sands and the Harbour Arm at about 6am tomorrow and taking some pics for us?

Anonymous said...

ECR, any chance of you going on to the Royal Sands and the Harbour Arm at about 6am tomorrow and taking some pics for us?

Anonymous said...

See the old repetitive finger quiver has kicked in again. You ought to see someone about that.

Anonymous said...

Discovery Park is a disaster if that turns into houses and shops like WC.

Who comes up with this bullshat and why does Gale stay silent? Although Sandys is for it.

Yet they say nothing about Thor or the sewers or cliffs.

Anonymous said...

You said that earlier 8:22, and I asked you why. Explain?

Anonymous said...

Why do The Duffers think only Tim is concerned about Climate Change?

Admittedly they won't be around to see the effects.

Anonymous said...

Doddery old cant

Anonymous said...

He has reverse plagiarised our old and admired mate BoJo. (The plan for an airport on the Goodwin Sands)

I think I see why your gang of lawyers had kittens at your choice of photo for this piece.

They no doubt thought it would somewhat ruffle feathers in the NTT Assn.

Tim and Tim substitutes do often mention pollution.

As you know the duration of the massive Sericol pollution of aquifer has never been satisfactorily established. The Environment Agency hinted at the existence of inquiries by other authority (Police ? I mention that with trepidation as there is a contributor who always wants to report everything to police)

Why is this relevant ? Your razor sharp brain ECR has already alighted on the answer I am sure.

Yes. Cyril.

Vis a vis forged qualifications. (See Sericol above and the question of inquiries EA expected of police)

If Manston does begin to grow commercially and recruit staff. We have to ensure that Ann Gloag knows about Cyril and forged qualifications. Perhaps her recruitment team should blacklist all Thanet tories just to be on the safe side unless they can validate their qualifications.

Simon can lead the way. How about the details of that Emergency Medical Technician course you attended Simon ? To be fair I think his doctorate as a blog issue has been done to death and he has never claimed to have a relevant degree or masters supporting his PhD.

And his Royal Marines Reserve service record.

I did take a bung from your wolf pack of lawyers by the way hope this is helpful.

Anonymous said...

No it is not helpful 8:53, just your usual spiteful venom directed at Tories in general and Simon Moores in particular. Then you have the cheek to claim you are a big man protecting the realm. You are just a vindictive old nutter.

Allan Mallinson said...

Tories? Lets call them what they are, they're bloody nazis.

Allan Mallinson said...

ECR, the comment at 9:49 is not me. I comment less frequently these days, having just moved house and having plenty to do on the new des res, but when I do I use a google account.

9:49 is no doubt Rick on his hate all Tories kick.

Anonymous said...

You're stupid enough to have said it Mallinson. Certainly Thanet Tories are dreadful although many of them have shifted to UKIP. Unfortunately Thanet Labour is only marginally better. We need a clearout of these failed politicians and civil servants that have poisoned us.

Anonymous said...

You have lost me, 10:27, but what exactly was Mallinson stupid enough to say. As I read it he has simply confirmed the earlier post under his name is not by him and that it is probably by someone called Rick who hates Tories.

If, as you say, Labour are also a failure, where do you envisage the new breed of local politicians coming from. A majority of the electorate will still vote either Conservative or Labour when it comes to the crunch.

Anonymous said...

They don't 10:35. Most of the electorate don't vote. The Canterbury turnout was 12% and the Police Commissioner was similar.

The Parties themselves would be the first to admit they have problems: lowest Tory membership ever, UKIP surge and so on.

Attempts at State funding or weekend voting or compulsory voting are superficial attempts to reverse the problems.

Mallinson was stupid enough to say Tories are Nazis.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Mallinson if you bothered to read the next comment to it. Mallinson uses a google account so why would he just type in his name.

Anonymous said...

General election turnouts are much better and it is only the votes that are cast that count. I repeat most of those are for Conservative or Labour candidates.

Other than the odd protest vote, people without a party machine behind them have no chance. Not saying that is desirable but that is the way it is.

Anonymous said...

General election turnouts are not much better.

They have rapidly declined to less than 50%.

That's why the parties are worried - they simply are not representative any more.

Nor does the party machine exist any more with falling membership.

You're right that Tory and Labour candidates tend to be elected but it is no way as automatic as you suggest.

And in Thanet it is far more open with corrupt, elderly and incompetent politicians.

Anonymous said...

50% is a lot better than the 12% you quoted earlier and general elections tend to bring voters back to their usual loyalties. That is why mid term and local election blips are seldom repeated in general elections.

Party memberships may have declined, but the money and machinery is still there. How many small parties or independents get party political broadcasts on the mass media?

Even in local elections most independents are on a hiding to nothing. Look at Ian Driver in the county elections. Despite all his campaigning, band wagon jumping and camera hogging, he still trailed well behind the parties.

It is not enough to call the current crop useless or duffers, you have to convince the electorate you have something better to offer. That's the tough bit as a lot of independents found out in 2011.

Anonymous said...

You're clutching at straws 8:18. 12% is unbelievably bad. And 50% is terrible for a general election.

And I repeat that's why the main parties are worried - they recognise they are not representative any more.

And in close elections the vote is split even more.

Utter rubbish that the money and machinery is there - it simply is not. Membership have declined so has income. And in UK you simply cannot spend much on elections by law.

Worryingly most of the parties are usually bust themselves in terms of income and then get a few big donors like JCB to sort it out, hardly brilliant in terms of running the country.

You have to justify why the corrupt and incompetent main parties in Thanet are the future. Their track record is terrible isn't it? And many of them are on their last legs - look at how old UKIP is.

Anonymous said...

8:54 you are talking at cross purposes with me for I am not supporting the current system, merely pointing out how difficult it is to break it.

The situation with declining memberships and punting round for big donors existed in the general election in 2010 and again in the local elections in 2011. Still Labour and Conservatives took most of the seats. In Thanet the independents mainly took a hammering.

In the county elections, UKIP made a surge, particularly in Thanet, but county wide the Conservatives still obtained a good working majority. All I am asking is how you think you are going to change that.