Plane stupid: the name says it all

I am actually against the expansion of air travel, including new runways at Stansted and Heathrow Airports. Yet I was furious today to read about the disruption caused to air travellers by protesters at Stansted.

People have the right to protest peacefully. But they do not and should not have the right to disrupt other people who are trying to go about their daily business. The protesters could stand outside the airport with banners and hand out leaflets to passengers explaining the dangers of climate change. But it’s really unfair to punish travellers in the way they did. Some of those travellers might only take a plane once every 10 years – hardly a big contribution to climate change – yet if that happened to coincide with the protests today, someone’s well-deserved break from work could be ruined. There was also the terrible case of the woman who was going to miss her father’s funeral in Ireland because of the protesters.

I actually think the protesters may have shot themselves in the foot. I saw no details in the media of their arguments or what message they were trying to get across. All the general public has seen is images of lots of people who have had their travel plans ruined. I think this only damages the cause of anyone concerned about climate change, as people are likely to be less symatheric towards it now.

I hope the protesters are suitably punished. They should be held personally liable for all the costs incurred due to the delays they caused, both to the airlines, and for all the passengers’ consequential losses. And they should all be banned from flying on any airline for life (as I bet many are hypocrites who still travel by air when it suits them).

Yet I don’t think the perennially incompetent BAA should be let of the hook too easily either. They claim it’s not possible to secure a site the size of Stansted. In that case, why are passengers subjected to restrictions on luggage, carrying liquids, having their shoes x-rayed, etc. when all the terrorists need to get airside is a pair of bolt cutters? Then again, given where BAA’s priorities seem to lie, I wouldn’t be surprised if they constructed a range of retail outlets by the perimeter fence ready for the next group of protesters.

One response to “Plane stupid: the name says it all”

  1. Roy Read

    Whilst you are correct in all your comments regarding the action taken by the protestors, I think you should have checked out one of your statements first.

    Peaceful protest : Would the protesters have been allowed to hand out leaflets or stand with banners outside Stansted Airport, or any UK airport for that matter. It is this curtailment of lawful peaceful protests that give fuel to demonstrations of this sort. Throw in the way that Government has become so authoritarian in the UK, totally ignoring any contradictory argument and groups like plane stupid form.

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