Dithering Dave is tearing the Conservative Party apart over Heathrow’s third runway

In politics, a politician’s entire legacy can sometimes be defined by a single word, usually with negative connotations. Say “sleaze” and you think, probably unfairly, of John Major. “Iraq”, most fairly, Tony Blair. With David Cameron, his repeated use of the word “dither” could become the word associated with his time as Prime Minister.

Take this reshuffle.he wanted to move Ian Duncan-Smith, but IDS refused to move. He really should have sacked or moved George Osborne, widely booed at the Paralympics. But he dithered and left George in situ. Before the election he said that there would be no third runway at Heathrow.

But now he is dithering. First he sacks Justine Greening. Now it is being said the commitment was not to build the third runway in this parliament. Tory MP Zac Goldsmith has threatened to resign his seat and fight a by-election in his West London seat if there is a U-turn on the third runway.

So what has Cameron done? Decisive Dave has given way to Dithering Dave by asking Howard Davies to lead a commission into the UK’s airport capacity.  Boris Johnson has attacked Cameron by calling the enquiry as a “fudge”.

The greenest government ever is desperate to find a way to get out of its pre-election pledge regarding Heathrow. Because of his dithering, Cameron is tearing his party apart. Perhaps it isn’t just Osborn that needs sacking.

3 Responses

  1. I’m certainly no fan of Cameron, but I can’t see what else he could have done. Rightly or wrongly the Tories made a commitment in their manifesto not to build a 3rd runway at Heathrow. That commitment is also written into the Coalition agreement. Since the election a huge amount of data has come out showing that Britain desperately needs more air capacity in order to help the economy (and especially to help links with emerging markets like the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

    New airport capacity is obviously a highly emotive subject and there will be huge opposition to any of the options available e.g. expanding Heathrow, expanding Gatwick, new airport at Thames Estuary, doing nothing.

    Sacking Justine Greening was a sensible move because she would have been a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion during the work of the commission and would not have allowed them to carry out their work in an objective manner.

    As I say because of the manifesto pledge and coalition agreement, a commission to look into the issue and to report after the next election (although I understand there will be a preliminary report before the election), is the only realistic option open to Cameron.

    It means that in their next manifesto the Tories can be vague and say “We will carefully study the findings of the commission”. I bet you Labour will say something very similar – and let’s be clear here Labour are in just as much a mess over this issue as the Tories.

  2. If the north of England was as developed as the northern USA, increased airport capacity would be sited there – in the, say, Manchester area. If Scotland was REALLY a proper part of any kind of UK partnership, then increasing airport capacity there might be the way to go.

    But oh, no. Nothing north of Watford has been deemed the equal of the south and no political party does anything worthwhile to creat equal value across the entire UK.

  3. What is propelling the 3rd runway- business pressures/relative loss of competitiveness in world markets. The demographics don’t favour Scotland(10% of GB population) and the North has Leeds/Bradford, Lennon, as well as Ringway.

    I think Boris Island will win out in the end. There will be a revolt by South and West London Tory MPs/voters. Already there is a plane every 40seconds or so along the flight path-horrendous.Boris will avoid extra environmental problems over London.

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