Red faces at The Times

Breaking news

The biggest airport expansion for 60 years will be approved today when the Government gives the go-ahead to a £9 billion third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

Ace columnist Kaletsky..

Why, then, do I suddenly hail Lord Mandelson as a saviour?… The less obvious reason is the inaction announced this week – over a new runway at Heathrow….I described on this page last year the overwhelming economic and business arguments against the expansion of Heathrow – and since then most of these contentions have been confirmed… There is debate in Westminster about Lord Mandelson’s precise role in dissuading the Prime Minister from his economically stupid, environmentally destructive and electorally suicidal obsession with expanding Heathrow. But the decision to delay this foolish project bears the hallmarks of the more sophisticated and pragmatic understanding of the interactions between politics, economics, public opinion and business lobbying that Lord Mandelson brings to government.

Poor Anatole, a brilliant writer who has specialised lately in confessing errors. However this one was avoidable if he had listened to noises off from the Westminster lobby or had pricked up his ears at Prime Minister’s Questions, hours before his copy deadline.

Q Will he now make a pledge that any further expansion at Heathrow will be subject to a vote in this Chamber?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman—I think—knows the procedure that we are following on this. First, there was a decision in principle—subject to air noise, subject to pollution and subject to access. The Secretary of State is examining this matter and he will report to Parliament. There will be a debate about what he says in the questions that follow. Then, if the matter were accepted and a proposal were put by the Secretary of State, it would go to a planning inquiry

  • Rory Carr

    Good to know that in these days of looming desperation there are some at least who can enjoy the luxury of egg upon their face.

  • DC

    I don’t know the ins and outs but the Times has been anti-New Labour for years.

  • Mick Fealty

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear…

    Anatole is a former Blair fan and doomsayer on Brown… Very bright; very excitable… Probably should not have let the safety catch off on this one…

    Though the difference here is that he’s had his theory blown out of the water before the ink was dry on the page… that usually happens to journos when their words are being used as virtual chip paper…

  • Rory Carr

    Indeed, Mick. Which begs the question: Could Mandy deliberately have him led up the garden path full well knowing that a pratfall lay in waiting?

  • DC

    It still makes the government look like complete crap what with Mandy as ‘saviour’ collapsing in the face of approval. A Times plot rather than a columnist’s poor judgement / timing?

    Nice article here too about the grammars:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5519688.ece