Sunday 13 July 2008

Robert Burns International Airport?

No, I don't think so.

Some folk think that Prestwick Airport should be renamed in honour of the national poet.

I don't agree. Nothing against Rabbie you understand - after all, I attended Ayr Academy for three years. It's just that I think airports should be named after places, not people.

I think that the Americans made a mistake in renaming Idlewild as J.F. Kennedy. It's wrong that Roissy is now known as Charles de Gaulle. And Belfast City shouldn't be called George Best, even though I once did see him score a goal. Come to think of it, what was wrong with Speke?

The problem's this: what happens when these local worthies go out of fashion? The airport's name has to be changed again and perhaps again. At great cost to the taxpayer.

The way things are going I expect to read that Glasgow (Paisley, actually) is to be renamed "The Margaret Curran International Airport", should the Glasgow East electorate vote for the ZanuLab candidate thus saving the incumbent regime.

What's brought all this on is the news from Indianapolis:

Shortly after he was appointed to the Indianapolis Airport Authority in January, Randall Tobias started getting polite, well-written letters from people who want to restore Col. Harvey Weir Cook's name to the airport's.

Then Mayor Greg Ballard, who appointed Tobias, mentioned he supports the change to honor the World War I flying ace killed during World War II in the South Pacific.

And then the City-County Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the change.

The vote was 25 to 3 in favour of the change of name. Overwhelming indeed.

Surely the elected politicians know what the locals want. Not quite. An opinion poll in Indianapolis indicates otherwise:

The outcome: 49.5 percent wanted to add Weir Cook's name, while 50.5 percent did not.
I think there's a lesson here. Politicians are motivated by self-interest, just like the rest of us. Yes, I know that's shocking news for some but that's the way it is.

Politicians like the idea of naming airports after people. Who knows, they also might be so honoured one day. But normal folk - the 50.5 percent - realise that they're going to have to foot the bill for all these changes.

This is just another reason why the state should be allowed to do as little as possible.

Or less.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Geoff Crolley
Having an airport named after a countries national bard who has been reveered for 250 years is not the same as a political or musical figure such as Kennedy or Elvis. 
Robert Burns as born in Ayrshire, grew up and worked in Ayrshire, most of his life was spent in Ayrshire.  
To add Robert Burns' name to Prestwick International Airport seems to be common sense.  
The Homecoming is only the beginning of the promotion of Scotland and Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire should promote their connections with Burns.

25 September 2008, 23:14:00 GMT+01:00
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Mr Eugenides
Glasgow airport, of course, is properly referred to as Abbotsinch. Sadly this nomenclature went out of fashion many years ago.

16 July 2008, 17:11:18 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Prestwick is owned by heavily-leveraged private-sector operator BAA 
Prestwick was sold by BAA in the early 1990s: 
See here. 
I agree that privatisation is a good thing. But that doesn't rule out us having opinions about names - just that we shouldn't ask politicians to enforce our name choices.

15 July 2008, 11:18:24 GMT+01:00
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john b
Prestwick is owned by heavily-leveraged private-sector operator BAA, so presumably any change of name would be done on the basis that it made commercial sense. 
I'm sure you'd agree that this is one of the many reasons why infrastructure privatisation is A Good Thing.

14 July 2008, 18:35:11 GMT+01:00
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Neil Craig
NASA renamed Cape Canaveral as Cape Kennedy. I think Kennedy was so important to getting the space effort going that that was justified but a later generation at NASA disagreed & have since changed it back. 
I don't think any modern politician would have the balls to say that we should get back to the Moon by the end of a decade nowadays even though it requires far smaller ones now since we know it was done 39 years ago. I doubt George Best's shelflife is a match to Kennedy's.

14 July 2008, 15:08:44 GMT+01:00