Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Boris Island is More Than an Airport - it's a Statement of Intent

The great Douglas Carswell blogged brilliantly yesterday about the small-minded navel-gazing of our pygmy political class.

Right on cue, we hear that MP's of all parties are strongly opposed to the so-called "Boris Island" air port in the Thames Estuary, with only 16% supporting it.

They just don't get it, do they? Boris Island is more than just an airport, it is a statement of intent as to our future direction: to become once again a great global trading nation.

Symbols matter, and at a time of national despond there is a strong case in factoring in the morale effect of big, bold projects like this which may capture the public's imagination and allow us the to reshape our identity in the process. Who knows, a successful flagship project like this could lead to similar grand ventures to revitalise our great ports in the future - perhaps Liverpool could in time become the new Rotterdam, connected to the channel tunnel by a Berne gauge railway capable of carrying lorries on trains, as the visionary entrepreneur Andrew Gritten put forward a few years ago.

Returning to Boris Island and Heathrow, there is also the question of  aesthetics to consider. Heathrow is ugly, chaotic and congested - an appalling shop window for people arriving into the United Kingdom which scream THIRD WORLD DUMP. How many business contracts have we lost out purely on the basis of the conscious or subconscious sense of demoralisation business people get on arriving at Heathrow, particularly when compared to the gleaming glass of Frankfurt or Schiphol?

Expanding Heathrow is not surprisingly, the option most favoured by LibLabCon MP's. It is perhaps the perfect metaphor for our political class. It is the small-minded option, the timid option, the myopic option, the demoralising option, the spatchcocked and retrofitted option, the clumsy option, and, not least, the ugly option.

Membership of the European Union has made our democratic representatives psychologically small people. Shorn as they are of much responsibility and little more than local councillors in an impressive gothic building, our MPs have lost the courage to think big. They have lost confidence in themselves and, more importantly, in the nation. Their very smallness of character condemns us to mediocrity and decline.

Until as a nation we elect men and women with the true vision and courage to carve out a new identity and lead us into a very different future, we will continue our descent.

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