Glad at the re-opening of the Runway-3 debate, I’ve decided to summarise the arguments for it’s’ development:
-Every year that Runway-3 remains un-developed, the UK economy misses out on around 6 Billion quid; through means like inward investment and extra jobs; with our economy in desperate need of growth this is a sum we cannot afford to miss out on. It is a ‘quick win’.
-Hub Airport: Britain is not the ‘final’ destination of around 70% of passengers that fly to Heathrow. These passengers are going somewhere else in the world, Heathrow largely acts as an interchange between foreign passenger’s origin flight and their egress flight as Heathrow and BA in particular are very good at providing flights to places that very little other airports go too. It is financially beneficial for us to have such a significant interchange; this is through various means such as, sometimes these interchanging passengers decide to spend a night or two in London to break up their journey. However as Heathrow stands at 99.9% of capacity we are slowly losing this status as airports around the EU that have greater capacity are able to grow as an interchange.
-We cannot provide capacity to make new connections to the emerging markets such as those of the South American and Chinese ones…this prevents the development of new business relationships thus hindering current and future economic growth.
-There is no environmental argument against Runway-3, the airlines that can’t fly to Heathrow because of a lack of capacity will simply fly to Paris CDG or Amsterdam Schinopl instead that DO have the capacity. Thus the carbon output of aviation in the EU will be exactly the same with or without the runway.
-The private finance to construct the runway is already in place… grant permission today and BAA will begin construction tomorrow.
Before I start I’d like to make it clear that although I watch an occasional ODI or Test Match I am not a cricket fanatic, I split my time between following a number of sports, cricket is one of them; so I feel this is an impartial view from a sporting perspective. .
Having put a lot of thought into the Olympic Legacy (with particular attention on the stadium) I have come to the conclusion that Cricket has a strong argument to play host with the Olympic stadium.
My argument is based on three main principles:
1 Football and athletics tracks do not go together.
It has been proven time and time again; the vast majority of football clubs in Europe that played with an athletics track have built a new stadium without one or moved to a stadium without one. The impact on the acoustics and the weak visibility are the main culprits. The only two notable football stadiums with athletics tracks that have survived the onslaught are the Olympic stadiums in Berlin and Rome which (I assume) have only been spared the build-dozer because of their historical significance. The recently-built Juventus Arena speaks volumes, it is built on the footprint of the former Stade De Alpi which despite being only 16 years old was closed in 2006 and demolished in 2009. This is because the large distance between the stands and the pitch (as of the athletcs track) had such a detrimental impact on the fans experience that gate figures were shockingly low. Not surprisingly attendance has increased since moving to the Juventus stadium.
Significantly, many West Ham fans don’t want the stadium any-more, the majority of fans were interested when they had the option to own it and thus be able to modify it to improve visibility etc, but now they can only become tenants, the majority look on the potential move in a negative light. Why move away from a purpose built football stadium that they own with good visibility and a good atmosphere? Only to become tenants of a less-suitable stadium. I don’t know how familiar people are with Upton Park but it is largely a modern stadium with a good capacity for its’ needs. The stadium has three newish two-tier stands and one older one-tier stand (East Stand). The only developments I would recommend West Ham carry-out is revamp the older stand adding an extra tier whilst maybe increasing the gradient and fitting in some extra hospitality boxes. This would cost no more than 15m and at an educated guess raise the capacity to around 42,000. This would provide the club with ample capacity relative to demand.
2.The oval outfield of the stadium is ideal for cricket.
Every time I see an aerial shot of the ground I think cricket, the oval shape looks taylor-made for a cricket field; even the roof looks like it has drawn architectural inspiration from cricket grounds in the way it is white and doesn’t cover the entirety of the seats.
3. The stadium can still have an athletics legacy.
The only intensively maintained part of a cricket field is the wickets (or pitches) in the centre of the field; this area isn’t really used in athletics, it may suffer a few javelin hits but I’m sure something could be arranged to prevent the pitches to suffer much damage from this. The part which would cover an athletics track could be simply removed and relaid, accounting for a week or so to allow the relaid grass to ‘knit’ back together. Lords Cricket Ground achieved this when they took up the took up Archery Stands used for the London Olympics and relaid grass in their place for a crucial Eng vs SA test match to be played on the field the following week. I wouldn’t have noticed the recently relaid grass if I hadn’t have been briefed about it by Bumble. This gives us confidence that events like the 2017 World Athletics Championships could go-ahead without any major headaches.
When the stadium was available for ownership one of the bids was a joint one made by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Essex CCC, Middlesex CCC and Kent CCC; I feel this was a sensible bid with potential. Now there are three forms of cricket (Twenty20, ODI and Test) there is a big enough calender to sustain a reasonable return from the ground thus making finances available to maintain the arena well. Since the stadium has been made available for tenancy Essex CCC and East London University have submitted a bid to become tenants.
I also feel this would be a great opportunity for English Cricket to have its own national stadium; although it is considered that Lords is the home of English Cricket the England and Wales Cricket Board are only a tenant of the ground which is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club. Rugby Union has Twickenham, Football has Wembley, Cricket could have the Olympic Stadium. Whilst I acknowledge and respect that the Cricket Board like to share the wealth that international matches yearn by spreading out the fixtures around the country it would by nice of them to use the stadium for events like Finals Day and high-profile test matches to make cricket available for the masses…the tickets could be an awful lot cheaper if 60,000 were made available and Stratford is all of a sudden a very accessible place. And when we travel to Australia to partake in the Ashes series they entertain us in 60,000+ arenas, why cant we return the favour?
Below: The old Stade De Alpi, demolished after just 16 years of service.
Tell me you can’t foresee a cricket field:
Can I start this argument, by stating that what happens in Stokes Croft can not be described as an ‘independent culture’, nor a ‘sub-culture’, the place is a pit of crime fuelled by drink, drugs and prostitution, it is without wonder that over half of its’ residents are squatters. The people of Stokes Croft claim that the Tesco’s will destroy the local trade there is in the area, the fact is, there is no local retailers there, other than a poorly supplied off license, and it’s only role is to support the local tramps with their bottles of super-strength cider, and even to protect this trade the new Tesco’s has not been granted a license to sell alcohol.
In my four years of living in the vicinity of the area, I can say that the new Tesco’s is the best thing to have happened to Stokes Croft. There is literally nothing else to the area, other than derelict squats, which store the vast amount of criminals that inhabit the place, it is certainly not a family friendly zone and visitors must only be intimidated by the area. It is very unsurprising that many members of Bristol City Council have stated their intent to overhaul the place.
I am unsupportive of any local that would advocate the riots over the weekend, and I’m sure John Stokes, who was the medieval resident that the place is named after would be disgusted with the drugs, and crime that litters the place. Like I say what happens in Stokes Croft is not an ‘independent culture’, it’s a disgrace. I can warrant that comment as I am very familiar with the ‘northern indie scene’, a scene which has given birth to some of the most entertaining bands of all time, so I know what an ‘Indie’ area looks like, and believe me its nothing like that of Stokes Croft’s current state.
What I don’t understand is how the Stokes Croft stereotype can levy itself to become elitist, what makes them too good to have a Tesco? Because on a tour through Stokes Croft, I see no reason from the aesthetics of the place to warrant a snobbery of such an outlet. Granted, I realise that many of its younger ‘hippie’ inhabitants are from middle-class backgrounds, are parentally funded and have never worked a days work in their life, maybe this is where the snobbery originates from? This middle-class nature is probably the same reason why they do not realise the value of a supermarket to an area, especially to the unemployed, and also to such items like that expensive-looking trailer, that the rioters tipped over and damaged, a local businessman may have worked hard to finance that piece of equipment.
Don’t get me wrong, as a West Yorkshire lad I would rather see the Tescos in Stokes Croft as a Morrisons, but I have the depth of knowledge to understand that we are in a recession, and we are relying on the private sector to pull us out of recession. In this instance it is entirely unproductive to prevent the private sector from functioning.
Tesco’s (and supermarkets in general) are good at triggering regeneration of areas through enforcing the multiplier effect and creating jobs for the unqualified, allowing them to shine, giving them confidence and promoting them through the ranks, trust me, I am in my 6th year of working in a supermarket and I have seen it first-hand time and time again. Through working for a supermarket, I have been able to transfer to different stores to accommodate me whilst I move with my degree study, without this I would not have been able to finance my degree.
Whether the anti-Tesco mob likes it or not, the people of Britain have voted with their feet, and in doing so have selected Tesco’s to do their grocery shopping, it is the sole reason why they are so successful. All credit to Tesco, it is extremely difficult to create such a successful company in such a competitive economy; I take off my hat to any business that can gain an annual profit of 3.4 billion from this economy, I would ask the protestors to replicate such figures with their own ‘independent’ company if they want to trouble Tesco’s.
Tesco’s is a family friendly, job-providing, law abiding and tax-paying company that’s operating methods are getting greener by the day. It is the thugs that are using the new Tesco store as an excuse to riot that are the problem in this instance. The leftist yobs that run havoc in Stokes Croft have paradoxically caused Tesco’s very little trouble, I’m sure they can finance the repair bill, but as usual, it is the Police and the British tax-payer that have taken the brunt of the blow.
Let the people of Stokes Croft bite the hands that feeds, and let them shoot themselves in the foot, Tesco can pack up shop and the Stokes Croft public can have their precious shit-tip back to the way the vile set of tax-dodgers like it, it’s just a shame that such an opportunity has been wasted. It seems Tesco is too advanced for that backward, absurd set of monkey’s.
I’m sorry, but I cannot think of anything that would add even more interest to this already interesting nation than a further lashing of devolution of power, to any county (or region) that wants it.
The next two ‘county’s’ that are in line, for me, is firstly Cornwall and secondly, Yorkshire, I think the Yorkshire bid is probably about 15 years off completion, as it is still in its primary stages despite the fact that there has been talk for a long, long time. However, in November 2010, PM, Cameron promised some form of devolution to Cornwall, which is only right considering; culturally they are very separate to the rest of the England. I support the Cornish when they say that England starts east of the River Tamar, as it is a well-known fact that, like Wales and Scotland they hold a strong Celtic background.
Yorkshire’s case is also very strong, with a giant population of a similar size to Scotland, and significantly larger than Wales and NI, a strong history of being culturally separate, a distinctive dialect and a firm case for economic independence why ever not?
I think Yorkshire is an economically viable entity as; the river systems, like the Ouse and Derwant, and the hills (named the Dales) are a good natural conduit for moving trade, whilst also being global tourist attractions. Yorkshire has a good port in Hull and a large industrial area towards its western border with Lancashire, which is where the majority of its 4 million people live, and the region also retains significant (currently un-mined) coal reserves. Yorkshire has 3 airports (Humberside Airport, Leeds-Bradford Airport and Robin Hood Airport), these are largely used for charter (cheapo holiday) airlines, but, also hold a sizeable amount of scheduled airlines activity as well as significant amounts of cargo movements.
These independence movements are not eccentric led, or for that matter led by one end of the political spectrum, they hold cross-party support from the far-left to the far-right, and any matter that the extreme ends agree on must have a significant amount of substance behind it.
And for when these new states are created, there doesn’t need to be excessive amounts of money spent on fancy Parliament buildings, like the examples in Wales and Scotland, a converted, disused Church will do fine or in Yorkshire’s incidence, a renovated mill will do. Believe me, it is very easy to fit 250 tiered seats each with a small desk and a microphone into one of these buildings. Give me a mill and 500k and I will design you one fine Parliament Building.
Give these new states law-making powers, and let’s see what happens, personally, I believe that only good can come of it. The only real headache is; do we give these nations greater autonomy within England or do they split to form the United Kingdom’s fifth and sixth home nations?
Bradford, Michael. The Fight for Yorkshire. East Yorkshire Hutton Press, 1988.
My Cornish/Yorkshire mock up:
‘There’s too many Chiefs, and not enough Indians’
Let’s set the scene; my dad is an engineer, my granddad is a retired engineer, and my great granddad was an engineer. The formula is simple, engineers make goods, we export the goods, the country makes a trade surplus, and the country stays financially stable and we all have bread on’ table.
It is commonly known, under the Thatcherite era, manufacturing was seen as the past, and the future was seen in the up and coming service sector. We all know how that ended, the de-industrialised towns became impoverished, and eventually the service sector finally imploded, leaving the country in deep recession [albeit help from excessive New Labour spending].
The New Labour era was very successful in pouring money into wrong areas and dead ends; they deemed it necessary to indulge in excessive amounts of bureaucrats. These bureaucrats were well paid, often earning in excess of 35k annually, in return for little more than sitting at a desk for 35hrs a week.
So we stood there, with a crashed economy, Labour was scarred by the ridiculous fiscal commitments they succumbed to, the Tories still had a bad reputation from the Thatcherite era, and the Liberal’s heads were still in the clouds, promising people everything for very little in return. Before the election, a 60bn black hole was discovered in Vince Cable’s fiscal plan within the Liberal Democrat party manifesto. This is a point just to highlight how unrealistic the party is.
However, on the 23/03/2011, there was a glimmer of light, Chancellor George Osbourne, announced cuts to the bureaucratic areas of public money, and a clear vision to allow investment in manufacturing once again. Corporation tax had been slashed, from 26% decreasing annually till’ the figure reaches 23%, where it will stop. Ten’s of thousand apprentice schemes were announced to help the young, which, in effect, offsets the rise in tuition fees, as there are too many graduates, wanting for bureaucratic jobs and not enough apprentices making things.
‘We don’t want graduates, we need apprentices’
To me, the budget on that day made sense, as in a recession, we need to be making things and working our way out of recession, not, town planning. The unemployed people of Hull don’t want job seekers allowance, they want factories, where they can take pride in manufacturing valuable items and chat with their co-workers about the good work they are doing. These folk, are not natural service sector workers, they are natural manufactures, after all they are one of the cities that contributed towards the economic development of this country in the first place, and would still be great, if it wasn’t for futile decisions from recent politicians.
'This nation is crying out for export led development'
One bureaucrat who resides in a rural abyss said to me, ‘we need to help small businesses thrive, and not let TNC’s take over’, well if you let the TNC’s come, small businesses thrive as a result. For instance; what about the token butty shop that sits next to every factory?
The evidence is clear, the economies that had a healthy manufacturing/service/quaternary mix, were the ones that held resilient during the global recession, look at Germany, its’ car industry business is solely ‘propping up’ the EU.
When all is said and done, no one can deny that it was manufacturing that developed this nation in the first place, so let’s rely on it, our trusty old friend, to put us on our feet again.
‘Smoke needs to be coming out of the chimney’s’.
I applaud Mary Dejevisky’s proposal that Northern Ireland’s transfer to the Republic would make “cultural, demographic and geographical sense”. It is time to ignore the phony Protestant Unionist “majority” claim. Ireland consists of 32 counties, whose citizens were not consulted when the border was created. Even the nine county province of Ulster was divided to ensure a built-in majority favouring Unionism.
A basic requirement for any union is agreement by the parties concerned. Would a referendum show that a majority in mainland Britain wish to continue the expensive and embarrising union with an artificially created statelet? Highly unlikely.
Thanks to W J McIlroy of Hove for contributing, who was Ulster-born from a strong Protestant background.