Jackie Ashley wades in with a suggestion that Gordon Brown will back the third runway to show that he is on the side of business during a recession.
Briefings over the past few days suggest that Gordon Brown and Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, will ride roughshod over the critics. They want to push through approval of the new runway so that when the Tories come to power, it's too late to cancel. "We have to show that we are on the side of business," says one minister.Ashley thinks Gordon Brown believes this is clever politics.
He thinks that in a recession, the party which seems most pro-business will gain. As deep fear grips the electorate over unemployment and bankruptcy, green arguments about the way we live, about pollution and climate change, will seem merely namby-pamby and irrelevant. If Labour commits itself to job-creating grand projects, and the Tories are forced to promise to try to halt them, then it is David Cameron who will suddenly look silly and old-fashioned.This may be unfair but, after 42 days amongst other issues, it's a sad reflection on Brown that people still think he makes big decisions just to wrongfoot the tories.