A comment piece by Philip Stephens in the FT caught my eye today.
Some wise words, not least about the bad timing of the Stansted protest. I noted it was a distraction from the (under-reported) Poznan talks. It’s clear too that – as implied in Stephens’ article – the rejection of consumerism is likely to find more support in boom times than during a recession.
Stephens’ main argument, though, is that, in general: “Self-flagellation does not sell” (unless, of course, the customer is Max Mosley trying to set an example to the F1 teams by reducing his costs), and that: “The case must be framed as an opportunity rather than a burden.” Indeed.
I do disagree on one point, though. Stephens writes:
“The young campaigners at Stansted had a point. There is something odd about the British government’s twin commitments to lower carbon emissions and to promoting a headlong expansion of London’s several airports.” [The grammar is not mine!].
If we just stop building runways we’ll just end up with even more overcrowded airports, and all but the most affluent will be forced to fly at inconvenient times.
No, what Plane Stupid should be doing is renaming themselves to something like Train Crazy and relocating from Stansted to King’s Cross (for some reason Gerald the Gorilla comes to mind as I write this). Perhaps they could all dress in sardine costumes, invite the TV cameras and see how many of them could cram into a carriage on the 17:15 to Cambridge on a Friday evening (returning the space to the travelling public before the train leaves, of course). Maybe highlighting the dire state of the rail service – and showing a little consideration while about it – would garner a little more support than screwing up people’s holidays.