Tim Yeo thinks David Cameron has a tiny cock

Right, so you know how yesterday I was going on about how unimpressed I was with the macho-posturing of so many politicians on the issue of a third runway at Heathrow? Well Tim Yeo has also intervened and proven my point for me quite brilliantly.

To wit:

“The environmental objections are disappearing, too. Last January, greenhouse gas emissions from flying were brought within the EU cap. Indeed, we could cover the whole of Surrey with runways and not increase emissions by a single kilogram: if Heathrow expands, so remaining the European destination of choice, airlines will fly their newest and quietest aircraft to it. If not, then older and noisier planes will be the norm.

Unveiling this policy now would seize the political initiative, and could be the start of a desperately needed programme to make Britain the most business-friendly country in Europe. That would enable us to remain in the economic Premier League and allow our children to enjoy the rising living standards that today’s decision-makers took for granted when growing up.

With investment more mobile than ever before, only those nations with modern, efficient transport, energy and IT infrastructures will attract it. And with global competition intensifying, only economies with low income tax rates – personal and corporate – and genuinely light regulation will attract business.

So the Prime Minister must ask himself whether he is man or mouse. His place in history is assured as the leader who made the Tories (nearly) electable again, an achievement that eluded three previous leaders. But does he want to be another Harold Macmillan, presiding over a dignified slide towards insignificance? Or is there somewhere inside his heart – an organ that still remains impenetrable to most Britons – a trace of Thatcher, determined to reverse the direction of our ship?”

The article is the crystallization of everything I find objectionable about the debate. The discussion about the third runway, like any discussion about a big shiny thing, has become a crude, cocks-out virility test. The expansion of Heathrow is somehow a miracle cure for the nation’s economic woes (the obligatory football analogy to prove how connected with reality they are, moronic flag-waving, trying to connect a third runway to a bright new future for Britain, drivel about Britain competing in the international marketplace/our competitors ‘stealing a march’ on us and comments about tapping into the Chinese market are all present and correct, as they usually are when a Tory decides to hold forth on economic policy.)

Cameron is being a coward if he doesn’t go through with it, apparently. He needs to show he’s a real man. Other senior Tories have been playing the knob-measuring card too, as pointed out in the Guardian:

“The outspoken comments came after the housing minister, Grant Shapps, warned recently that a third runway was needed to ensure the UK remained a “great trading nation” and the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, accused Cameron against “pussyfooting around” on expansion.”

Is this the level of political debate we have sunk to? And since when are we a ‘great trading nation’ in 2012? It’s sub-Top Gear stuff.

Yeo used to oppose the third runway, being quite the militant environmentalist (supposedly). Apparently the situation has changed though:

“But the world was very different then. China’s economy was barely two thirds of its present size, and other Asian tigers were much smaller, too. Now, not only are our competitors stealing a march on us, but we also need to modernise our transport infrastructure – and where better to start than with the third runway at Heathrow?”

And there was me thinking that the reasons for not going ahead at the time were environmental, or does that stop being a consideration when we are ‘losing’?………and the idea that all these extra flights will have no impact on emissions is palpably absurd. Planes will get more efficient but not that much more efficient.

And to top it off, an old-school Tory favourite to appeal to the Telegraph readers who might not want a new airport or runway on their doorstep:

“Since the whole cost will be borne by the private sector”

Now where have I heard that before? And how much do you want to bet that it won’t turn out to be true?

I think we can safely conclude that if so many Tories are in favour of this it’s probably a big mistake, that the government is getting genuinely desperate in its attempts to turn the economy around (although an actual change of policy is obviously off the cards) and that a few people with the ear of the Conservative Party stand to make a lot of money if the expansion goes ahead. The more I hear, the worse an idea it sounds.

By all means let’s invest in public infrastructure, but there must be a more environmentally sustainable way to proceed than just facilitating ever-greater numbers of flights.

Whenever a question becomes a test of a politician’s ‘manhood’ you can bet your life that a) rationality will go flying out the window and b) the end result will be a shit one.

NB: another good take on the third runway dilemma can be found at Liberal Conspiracy, penned by the peerless Dave Osler.

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