Didn’t I argue the other day that David Miliband realises his route to power is to cement the ‘pact’ John Kampfner refers to in ‘Freedom for Sale’? He’s now come out in support of the defunct third runway project at Heathrow:
He believes that it could boost London‘s economy and businesses, sources close to him insisted, and it should go ahead as long as the climate change consequences are addressed. His leadership rival and brother Ed opposes the runway.
He has repeatedly said that Labour‘s Heathrow policy was an example of how the party had misjudged the public.
But business groups and trade unions have long lobbied for more aviation capacity for the south east, claiming it boosts jobs and overall trade.
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of business group London First praised Mr Miliband. She said: “At last a politician prepared to publicly acknowledge the vital importance of international transport links to London and UK’s economic success, though the critical question is not whether to make Heathrow bigger but how to make it better.”
As Blair before him, he’s putting the argument together piece by piece that he and Labour can & should do entirely as they please for their corporate buddies in the public sphere, then implicitly allowing almost unlimited freedom from government intrusion for the middle classes in the private sphere in return. That’s the ‘pact’ – he’s counting on most people not being bothered enough to put up a fight should he resurrect the third runway project as Prime Minister. I wonder.
Of course David isn’t going to look into why unlimited air growth should be necessary, because he’s fundamentally as wedded to the neoliberal model (another cornerstone of the ‘pact’) as his mentor. Unrestricted wealth creation is much harder if you change the economic system, so best not to ask whether unlimited air growth actually makes economic sense, nor to ask where the growth would come from to boost the economy if it’s not already there…
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