The commentators 02-07-15
It's no surprise that Sir Howard Davies' Airport commission recommends Heathrow as the preferred choice to provide additional avaiation capacity. While the great political minds have dithered for almost a generation, we have suffered – as has the British economy. There is a local economy in West London that thrives off Heathrow, those in global commerce and those that benefit directly from airport jobs. Local residents that object to the expansion have never been happy with the airport - which has been there since 1940. Nothing will convince them that more aviation capacity is a good thing as their prism on the benefits is too narrow. What must happen is what Sir Howard Davies has recommended: strict conditions must be placed and met when delivering the third runway. This way, we get what is best for London, British commerce and the vast number of Londoners who rely on Heathrow, while ensuring minimal impact on quality of life. It’s not wholly a win/win but its the best option.
- Kulveer Ranger, Spectator
Britain’s Airports Commission has done what was expected of it. It has called for a third runway at Heathrow. You do not have to be a cynic to suspect policy-based evidence-making. Unkind souls might call the report an establishment stitch-up. Never mind. Its conclusions are destined for the long grass. The pity is that money, time and energy will be wasted on a debate that can have only one outcome. Forget the commission’s expensively deceptive cost-benefit analyses. The runway will never be built.
- Philip Stephens, Financial Times
The Davies report answers too limited a question. It was prepared in the absence of any national airports plan, let alone a wider transport one. Network Rail’s investment programme of £38bn has crashed, yet the Treasury wants to blow £70bn on a single high-speed train. Britain’s crammed road network must be the biggest obstacle to its economic growth, yet that too is butchered. We are now told the leisure travel industry needs a £24bn new runway crammed into the most overheated industrial zone in Europe, west London’s M4 corridor.
- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
It is a pity that Sir Howard Davies did not go further and support a second runway at Gatwick, too. For there seems little doubt that as fast as Heathrow is expanded, so capacity will eventually choke up again and there will be pressure for Gatwick to grow. Even then, the UK will still be playing catch-up with Continental competitors
- Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
Davies should have ruled out Gatwick, but his sense of fair play has seen him perpetuate the row that’s been raging for decades, between the Nimbys against Heathrow and the national interest. It’s a controversy that has been fuelled, shamefully, by naked political cynicism.
- Chris Blackhurst, The Independent
It sounds cynical, but five dead Britons are not enough to drive the puffs from their home at the top of the front page. Especially on a Saturday morning, when the promos are deeper and occupy extra columns in the body of the page. Ten might have been; "at least fifteen" certainly would.
This is why the Star shines today. Hallelujah! News has reclaimed page one. And not only page one, but pages two, three, four and five.
How to cover a massacre: a lesson from the Daily Star
Comment Awards 2015
Anyone can nominate their favourite writer
Friday 12 June, 2015 Are the comment pages and columnists too Londoncentric? And if they are, what is the solution when the financial and political powerhouses are based in the capital?
Does the character or personality of the writer matter? Should we read columnists with whom we violently disagree or is it, as Eleanor Mills suggested, good for the soul but bad for the blood pressure?
Why did the so-called political experts get it so wrong in calling the general election? And will they - and Rupert Murdoch - influence the result of the EU referendum?
All these points and more were addressed under the guidance of Dr Anthony Seldon at the launch of the 2015 Comment Awards last night. Seldon will chair the judging panel for the awards, now in their seventh year.
Nominations are now open and anyone can put forward anyone writing in the UK media - broadcasting, print or online - by submitting the URLS of three articles published between August 1, 2014 and July 31 this year, which is the closing date for entries.
The 17 awards include four new categories: Comment piece of the year for a single piece of excellent writing; Young commentariat; Society and diversity commentator; and Technology and digital commentator.
There is no charge for entries. Details and the nomination forms can be found here.
Oh yes, and who was the most frequently mentioned columnist at last night's event? Matthew Parris? Andrew Rawnsley? Stephen Glover? No. By a country mile, the most discussed writer was Katie Hopkins.
Comment archive, 2015
Scottish National Party
If you would like
to help to keep SubScribe going,
please click here