Monday, January 19, 2009

Shields Gazette: inaccurate and misleading

Part 1 of the Press Complaints Commission's Code of Practice states:
"The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures."
In this article in tonight's Gazette they've clearly broken this guideline with this statement:
"A CALL to expand Newcastle Airport has been given cross-party support by all South Tyneside's political groups"
Note "all South Tyneside's political groups". Well, that's quite a bold claim since only three local political groups, Labour, Tories and Alliance have been quoted in the article. Nowhere to be seen are the Lib Dems, Progressives or the Green Party. I don't know about the Lib Dems, they're schizo on matters environmental, the Progressives would probably love the idea but the Green Party definitely doesn't support the expansion of Newcastle Airport. Quite the opposite.

Plans to increase flights at Newcastle fail on both environmental and economic grounds.

The "sustainable jobs" and "more efficient and cleaner types of energy" claims from Coun Anglin are laughably nonsensical and stand up as well as used toilet paper. And smell as shitty too. David Potts may love the idea of flights to New York, but shouldn't expect many New Yorkers to come to the North East on lavish shopping trips. Ahmed Khan, as spokesman for the party that's not a party, is spouting the same development and trade bullshit that framed the arguments for concreting Fellgate. It's touching that all three councillors were so quick to jump together into the palm of professional lobbyist and Labour old boy Brian Wilson.

So much for opposition.

But given the Gazette's current editorial embargo on dissenting press releases, and careful news management for its chums, don't expect any real voices of opposition to appear in its pages any time soon.


David said...

So just what is your beef with the potential expansion, Bryan?


David Potts

rossinisbird said...

The chief 'beef' is climate change. Airport expansion inevitably means more flights. More flights mean more emissions. In a world where we should be reducing CO2 emissions a policy of encouraging them is irresponsible and contrary to the alleged intentions of the government and the council.

David said...


You are an extremely bright guy and you clearly know your stuff and feel passionately about the environment (believe it or not, I do too) and I respect you a great deal for that. However surely there is a strong economic case for expansion?



rossinisbird said...

It depends on what you mean by 'strong economic case'. The issue is too complex to simplify in such a manner.

Perhaps you could clarify what you mean?

Often in such developments economic benefits are often framed in vague terms, and without evidence. Costs to society are always overlooked.

We often hear ambiguous claims about job and wealth creation but little about the hard facts. In the North East, the last figures I have for 2004 showed that the region experienced a deficit to to the tune of £761m due to aviation. We effectively exported that money (which also represents an opportunity cost) out of our economy. The lobby boys at Flying Matters missed that for some reason.

There are a plenty of other arguments against - the externalisation of costs to society, the competitive impact of subsidies, the capital and resource intensive nature of the sector, and in terms of climate change, short term profit offset against the future long term costs payable by future generations.

The Conservative Party has made a great deal recently out of future generations being saddled with Gordon's debt. They're also going to saddled with having to pay for the impacts of climate change.

Admittedly there could be some local short term winners. But just looking at it from an immediate macro perspective, encouraging airport expansion will drive more money out than it will bring in.

David said...

Your views really interest me and you are clearly very well informed. It would be great to meet up if you are free sometime for a chat. Seriously, I'm not being combative, I just love to soak up the views of others on really serious issues like this.

Best wishes


Bryan said...

I should be in the Brunny Saturday lunch time. Get the beers in!

David said...

'The Brunny'. Way too classy for the likes of me mate!

rossinisbird said...

David, if you want to contact me to discuss these issues further my email address is: