Anyone reading your newspaper over the past few weeks will be bewildered by the haplessness of the local Lib Dems and how they seem to be mirroring the national party’s slow, inexorable slide back into political irrelevance.
After the ill-informed, illogical and economically illiterate arguments of Frances Haigh in her half-baked article championing the expansion of Gatwick Airport several weeks ago, the following week’s paper was full of letters from Lib Dem voters and non Lib Dem voters alike essentially questioning whether Ms Haigh actually had any idea whatsoever about airport expansion, the economy and, most importantly of all, the concerns, views and wishes of Horsham people.
Her second article last week confirmed that the answer to those questions is a resounding no.
Let’s be clear; any expansion in airport capacity in the SouthEast must take place at Heathrow. In 2013, around 72m passengers passed through Heathrow Airport. Over the same period, around 34m passengers passed through Gatwick; less than half that of Heathrow. As someone that runs a business in the aviation industry, I can tell you that there is a reason for this.
The vast majority of overseas visitors that travel to London want to fly into Heathrow. This is where airlines experience greatest demand and this is why the capacity increase must be focused at that airport and not at Gatwick. And if you really want to drive forward the UK economy, build prosperity and invest in skills then your best possible return will be a Heathrow expansion.
Next May we have the District Council elections coming up. I would suggest that the electorate keep at the forefront of their minds the intent of the Lib Dems. They might also keep at the front of their minds the telling dichotomy of a party that happily signs up to the County Times Free Speech Charter, a charter that demands our elected representatives act in the public interest, and yet simultaneously ignore the public’s view by adopting a ‘we know best’ approach.
From where I stand, the Lib Dems are disingenuous, confused and utterly out of their depth and they should be consigned to political oblivion in May next year along with their national MPs.
They are simply not fit for purpose.
ADRIAN M. LEE
River Walk, Horsham