Saturday 8 September 2012

The Third Way

The question of Heathrow expansion has been going on for as long as I can remember:
The announcement means that the debate over whether Heathrow should have a third runway, or whether a new airport should be built in the Thames Estuary, which has split the Conservative ranks, will drag on for many more months.
For some reason a third Heathrow runway would take around ten years to construct and Boris Island even longer. But what no one ever seems to mention is the real nature of the actual problem.

All of the UK's transport, employment and housing problems are caused by our having an extraordinarily centralised government that is located at one corner of a long and narrow land mass. Not only that, our capital is at the corner of the island that is nearest to the rest of Europe with all of the resulting advantages.

There are three ways out.

The best solution is to get rid of at least ninety percent of government activity. In such a paradise there would no longer be all of those government jobs in London but also no reason for so many private companies to locate there.

Next best would be to establish a proper federal system with the national capital on the Isle of Man. Preferably this would include a reunited Ireland. Again, that would result in a radical decentralisation of the UK.

Finally, if we really can't do without an oversized, hugely centralised and non-federal state, we should move the UK capital to Glasgow. We have the airport capacity. HS2 can start at the top and proceed southwards. To the provinces... And surely there's a Cameron tartan so that the PM could legitimately claim his state kilt on expenses. Then there'd be a British football team, based at Hampden Park of course. And I'm sure that the Queen would love to spend more time at Balmoral, enjoying drams with the Keeper of the Royal Stable, Lord Salmond.

A rebalanced UK would solve so many of our problems. Forget Boris Island and LHR3. Move it all up here.

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