Aside from all the Costa Concordia media hype last week, the story to steal the second place on the media podium is the palaver surrounding Boris Island. Where is it? What is it? Why is it? Hard to read past the buzz-worded titles and sift through mounds of photos of our dearest Warhol-haired London Mayor shaking hands with everyone under the sun to get his 'genius' idea accepted by the masses.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has proposed plans for building a sixth airport to relieve traffic around Heathrow and Gatwick, London's two major airports. In the meantime, we've been hit by the financial crisis, Cameron's austerity plans, being on the verge of losing our triple A, soaring Air Passenger Duty (APD) and don't even get me started on rising water levels! And no one has even mentioned that 'Boris' Island is actually a sanctuary for fauna and flora and not some fallow patch of the planet to concrete over; thousands of birds emigrate to the Thames Estuary from the Arctic in the winter.
While Boris is fannying around trying to get a £50 million project off the ground, the rest of the United Kingdom is struggling to feed mouths and keep their shelter. An incoherent move? We'd say so. So what's Boris's trail of thought here?
While it cannot be denied that traffic around Heathrow and Gatwick is becoming hugely problematic, there doesn't seem to be much of a solution. A third runway is impossible to envisage due to the roads not being able to take extra traffic to the airport, but hang on a minute, let's keep things in perspective here. London already has five airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Luton and Stansted) with extremely bad infrastructure inside and out. Wouldn't it be simpler to redesign what we already have instead of building another mega monster of an airport encouraging yet more influx, more traffic, more carbon emissions? I cannot help but sneer at the latter - and to think that the Labour government was trying to pass off APD as a green tax only two years ago!
So alright, the tax payer isn't going to pay for it (just as well) and Boris has assured that he has all the private financial backing he needs to get this project off the ground. Erm, doesn't something seem a little wrong here? No one seems to have a penny to spare when it comes to saving the country, but when millions and millions of pounds suddenly appear on the horizon, it's all "Crisis? What crisis?" Some members of the public call it hypocrisy, others call it irresponsible, but people mostly stick to describing Boris' master plan as just 'plain stupid'.
Even if we knew how to exploit every inch of the planet, shouldn't we learn a lesson and get over our greed and leave some of the earth to rest? Or do we really have to pursue along the lines of the 'Why have less when we can have more?' school of thought. I think I speak for most members of the public in saying that we must draw the line somewhere. It's high time we left the playing field to the younger generation of airports in the UAE or Qatar, for example, and accept the fact that we have got to stop developing before we really have nowhere left to go.
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