18 December, 2013 - 10:32 By Tony Quested

UK grounded by aviation policy myopia

Acronyms are a device much loved by governments, pressure groups, pseudo intellectuals and people with limited vocabulary where letters or parts of words prevent having to pronounce them out in full.

Using acronyms has a number of benefits. You save breath, saliva and grey cells with the bonus of confusing the crap out of people who annoy you.

There are some obvious ones – for example, NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. It is a phrase much loved by pressure groups who don’t want any infrastructure developments on their doorstep regardless of the benefits for the nation as a whole.

These groups are also proponents of ICN (Inaction Costs Nuffink) and its radical offshoots CGAI (Can’t Germany ’Ave It?), TITS (Take It To Somewhere-else) and EFFOFF – although this latter, while phonetically appealing and an accurate barometer of sentiment, is not strictly speaking an acronym.

In the context of this article, which addresses the Government’s failure to recognise the potential for economically beneficial expansion of Stansted Airport, SSE stands for Stop Stansted Expansion. It should not, in any shape or form, be interpreted as depicting the Eastern branch of a fascist group. The distinction is important: One is a dictatorial force spouting propaganda and determined to counter the will of the majority; the other served as minders to leading Nazis.

For every SSE you get equivalent resident action groups based around Heathrow, Gatwick and pretty much anywhere on the UK map where major infrastructure developments are proposed.

The conclusion should be obvious: If all the NIMBY groups succeed in their lobbying it leaves the government of the day and the nation’s economy USCWAP – a creek suffering from extreme sewage pollution and no means of propulsion by which to effect an exit.

So does Britain as a country accept the stasis and simply abandon any attempt to leverage the unique capabilities of airports in particular to catalyse new export trade and growth based on increased international passenger and cargo traffic? Cynics would argue that this commitment to inertia has become de rigeur in Whitehall for decades so why break the mould now?

Laissez-faire might well be an attractive option to politicians and taxpayers in austerity Britain were it not for the fact that countries such as Holland, France and Germany are wiping the floor with the UK in terms of aviation and infrastructure expansion. Further afield, countries like China  must laugh hysterically at how far Britain is being left behind in its airports strategy.

In a world without borders the UK is building only one thing – barriers to growth and progress. And the policy is so brainless anyway. There is no spare capacity at Heathrow or Gatwick so this will have to be provided virtually from scratch. Send in the cranes!

Stansted has oceans of spare capacity for runway and ancillary development. A no brainer, surely, for anyone with a brain. Overlooking Stansted expansion is classic myopia – it makes Mr Magoo look like the Man With the X-ray Eyes.

If governments ignore their mandate to govern and allow the NIMBYs to win then the British economy on a macro scale will be utterly Feeble Untenable Crippled Knackered & Economically Destitute – just thought I’d better spell that out.

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