What do we make of Polly Toynbee’s explanation?
An interesting take on the reasons for the Heathrow 3rd runway decision is in Polly Toynbee’s new Saturday morning slot in the Guardian which has become my Saturday “first read” – with more political analysis and less polemic than her other platforms.
(And before you pooh-pooh her the person who game me the tip in June 2007 that Harriet, then 9/1, was going to win the 2007 Deputy race tells me that Polly’s views are influential in many Labour circles)
Arguing that the 3rd runway has undeservedly given Cameron a “green halo” she goes on “..Plunging towards depression with air travel slumping, what was the rush? No jobs will be created now. Brown by nature, the green agenda was always his lowest priority. So why? Because he has become neurotically sensitive to Cameron’s charge that he is a “ditherer”. This was the hardheaded, pro-business decision that a real leader should be seen to make. Ask ministers why now, and they simply shrug: it was political, not practical. It was about being seen to be decisive. Cleverer politics would bring the calculation that being seen to be green was a better electoral bet..”
There’s a different line by Andrew Grice in the Indy who says that some Brown allies “fret that the Prime Minister looks like a one-club golfer. ”
He goes on: “…After 21 years in economic briefs in opposition and government, he is in command of his subject but is less sure-footed in other areas.Some ministers believe his single-minded focus on the recession meant he viewed the debate on Heathrow’s third runway only through the economic end of the telescope..The environment was largely ignored until the last minute; it took a revolt in Cabinet led by Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary, to secure some safeguards.Just as the toxic decision on Heathrow risks handing the green agenda to David Cameron, ministers worry that Mr Brown’s concentration on the domestic and global economy may leave too much space for the Tories on other issues.”