Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two Sides to the Argument

In between tearing my hair out studying the 400 page manual for the Garmin 1000, flight management system (pictured) I've been keeping an eye on the on-going airport debate across the local 'Blogs'.

It strikes me that the argument has now become visibly polarised between one group which is vocally opposed to any expansion or development of Manston whatsoever and a second group of often diverse political affiliations and interests, who believe that the public interest is served by a conditional relaxing of the F106 agreement to encourage British Airways to start using Manston for cargo operations.

All parties are of course entitled to their opinions but it should be accepted that a decision has been made and that at present, one level of the discussion involves reversing this in a most undemocratic manner and without any real evidence of consensus other than the online equivalent of shouting.

If the online debate against the airport is liberally populated with vitriol and personal abuse, it's increasingly unlikely that the very people in positions of influence, that a campaign might wish to attract to the arguments on its website will not bother with its content.

So if you disagree with the decision and wish to challenge it, recall the words of Thomas Paine:

"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason."


Anonymous said...

I think there is a vitriol from some commentators from both sides. It is just that in-built bias tends to filter out anything negative in what you personal views are, it is down to human nature. IE you believe you are on the side of the good guys and therefore every other argument is wrong. I think amongst most bloggers there appears to be a general consensus that the council is not strong enough when up against corporate might and can be a bit gullible if not supine.

You seem to have an interest in flying (and a relevant business?) and therefore you are probably excited to have many planes flying over Thanet so perhaps you views are even more skewed than others in the pro-camp.

I am only interested in flying if it produces jobs for the people of East Kent. It is ashame that nobody in the council questioned the amount of jobs that were trully available to the unemployed of Thanet. Because if it is true that amongst the jobs quoted are 38 jumbojet pilots, 14 fireman and 4 air-traffic controllers then the job argument begins to unravel.

What Manston needs is a european budget passenger airline which will boost jobs as well as being a useful asset to the people of East Kent, whilst using smaller and quieter aircraft than BAWC would be flying. Anything less and you may as well turn the site over to industry and leisure.

Infratil are a speculator who punts on investments and then builds up a business to sell on in the future. They admit to losing out on some investments.

Haviong read several papers and airport industry blogsites across the web, it appears that BAWC are just going through the tendering process as they do every four years and apparently they were approached by Infratil who pushed to bid. The costs of relocation would be huge but they may get a better deal at Stansted by waving the Manston proposal under their noses. They certainly discounted even approaching Manston in 2005 because it was to far away from Heathrow and the M25 and even politicians cannot change the geography of the place.

So we shall see what happens in the future. Whatever it is lets hope that Thanet and its people prosper.

Keep up the good cummunication, I think quite a few councillors on both sides here are very good at this.

DrMoores said...

An excellent comment - Thank you.
While I appreciate aircraft as a working pilot, I don't to the exclusion of all else; i.e. Having worked and lived near Heathrow I wouldn't wish to see a similar level of environmetal impact here.

At the same time I respect the need for both opportunity and a future for the island and that colours my view of the airport as a local economic resource.

Anonymous said...

Whatever your views, you cannot realistically claim that TDC gave this matter proper consideration before making its decision. Missing from all debate was the impact on the people who live in the flight paths. The Council simply hasn't done the studies it needs to do to determine how much noise people will be exposed to and what the impact will be. It is a legal obligation for any Council to have such information in front of them before even attempting to make a decision on an application. They even admitted in the run up to the debate that current monitoring of noise was not good enough. If they've acted illegally and thousands sue for the noise and disruption they suffer, I dread to think of the cost to the taxpayer.

DrMoores said...

I would prefer to think that council officers would have presented their advice to councillors with the proper information to support a decision.

I don't believe for one moment that "1000's" of people are up in arms over the 106 decision and would put the vocal online minority at less than 50. However, if a challenge should appear, then it will be interesting to see how far it runs on purely legal criteria.