Straight talk from Ms Kelly

MY soon-to-be ex-boss has issued this excellent* response to Ms Villiers’ silliness this morning:

“These proposals are politically opportunistic, economically illiterate and hugely damaging to Britain’s national interests.

“The Tories are posing a false choice – we need both more capacity in Britain’s airports and on our main rail lines. 

“Even if every flight from Manchester and Leeds/Bradford to Heathrow were replaced by a new high speed line then Heathrow would still be operating at 97% capacity.

“It is the Tories who cannot face up to the tough decisions needed to support the economy, hiding behind unfunded, ill thought through policy announcements which only reinforces their reputation as lightweight, shallow and only interested in grabbing a headline.  It’s hard to take them seriously when they can’t even get their facts straight.”

As a small post script, here’s my own prediction: the next Conservative manifesto will not include a watertight commitment either to vetoing the third runway or to building a new high-speed line. They will equivocate.

You read it here first.


* She’s leaving, so I’m not just sucking up



Filed under Conservative Party, Department for Transport, Politics

10 responses to “Straight talk from Ms Kelly

  1. Of course, if you limit the traffic to flights between Heathrow and Manchester/Leeds-Bradford.

    But HACAN have indicated that over 20% of flights to/from Heathrow are to 12 destinations that have, or could have, a viable rail alternative.

    Stop believing BAA/BA’s powerpoint presentations and look at imaginative solutions instead.

  2. Martin Cullip

    Why are you against an environmentally-friendly redirection of domestic travel Tom?

    As for Ms Kelly’s “… only interested in grabbing a headline” bwahaaahaaa … please!

  3. Johnny Norfolk

    Labour in BAs & BAAs pocket. You need to look again. You do not think enough of the effect on peoples lives. There ARE alternatives.

  4. Patchouli

    Congrats on the new job, Tom.

    I like Ruth, if only because she kept her dignity after being shafted by Yvette (who should be sectioned).

  5. Blackacre

    Heathrow is just not a long term prospect – even with a third runway it does not compete with the 4 or 5 runway airports on the continent for those fabled lucrative stop overs (although why they are lucrative save to the shopkeepers of BAA beats me). Please can you try to think of a real long term option for extra runway capacity.

    On your point about the conservative manifesto, I suspect you may be right lets wait and see though.

  6. Tom, you need to keep the Ministerial day job and the blog separate. You don’t have the detailed knowledge to deal with the hard core transport/railway specialists.

    For example, for thos of us trying to make sense of policy, Ruth’s references to ‘unfunded, ill thought through policy announcements which only reinforces their reputation as lightweight, shallow and only interested in grabbing a headline’ applies to the ‘1300 vehicles’ in spades.

    So please don’t spoil one of the top blogs around.

  7. Gavin

    In the unlikely event that a High Speed rail link went all the way to Glasgow and Edinburgh and replaced all domestic flights between there and Heathrow, what capacity would Heathrow be operating at?

  8. Anne

    The Government is supposedly still consulting on whether to go ahead with the third runway – a fact both you and Ruth seem to have forgotten, Tom. In any case, supporting a third runway is hardly a “tough” decision – it is a cop out in the face of concerted lobbying by vested interests. So – where are you going to put the fourth runway and the seventh terminal, exactly?

  9. Auntie Flo'

    Aviation tourism’s balance of payment’s deficit

    £18 billion in 2005

    +++ by 2020 courtesy of Darling, Kelly, Tom Harris & co

    Cost of CO2 emissions (as per Stern Report) 2005 levels

    £3.2 to £6.3 billion

    ++++ by 2020

    Aviation’s fuel tax subsidy from taxpayers 2005

    £5.7 billion per year.

    ++ + by 2020

    Aviation’s VAT subsidy from taxpayers Pa:

    £4 billion

    +++ by 2020?

    Plus £billions in environmental and health costs.

    Solely to subisdise the 4% super rich.

    And that’s only the beginning of the case against airport expansion.

    The clamour for airport expansion is as inept a case of predict and provide as that of the 1860s or there abouts that by the turn of the century there would be insufficient people to walk behind the substantially increased number of horses and carts to pick up the horse dung

  10. The Tory policy on Heathrow/High speed rail is quite clearly mad. The two are linked like the Tories say they are – if anything we need both, but we certainly can not do without a third runway at Heathrow.

    Beside, high speed rail increases environmental damages and decreases rail capacity. Who says so? The Tories of course –

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