Rishi Sunak was challenged on pumping money into the airport project when he visited Lancashire
Last week the top two UK politicians visited our county to announce that a huge £200m worth of funding is to be pumped into the area.
We couldn’t possibly let that go under the radar, without taking a moment to reflect on what happened when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt made their way to Lancashire.
Now, you will have no doubt heard about the controversy over Mr Sunak being fined after he was filmed in a moving car without a seatbelt during his visit, and we’re sure that you read about the criticism raised about his decision to fly to Lancashire in an RAF jet. His 41-minute journey from Northolt to Blackpool was said to make a “mockery” of the Government’s environmental agenda and targets.
Our reporter Susan Newton was the one who challenged the Prime Minister, not only on his behaviour, but also on his hypocrisy. She asked him why, if he found it valuable to be able to fly into Blackpool to reach this part of the North West, then why wasn’t the same opportunity afforded to others, by pumping some money into reopening Blackpool airport for commercial flights.
Needless to say, Mr Sunak didn’t like the question very much, but in an effort to avoid answering it, he also made one thing incredibly obvious: he does not think we are good enough to share his privileges. Before diverting to another subject, he said: “I travel around so I can do lots of things in one day, I’m not travelling around just for my own enjoyment – though this is very enjoyable, of course.”
Mr Sunak’s time is far more valuable than yours – that’s what his response means. Of course, he is the Prime Minister, he is very busy and has lots of places to go to.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
However, he also has lots of staff working for him. What about owners of small businesses or even, the self-employed?
When they are sat on a train from Morecambe to London for three-and-a-half hours, they are losing money. No one is doing their job for them, that time is simply lost to travel.
Imagine if they could reduce that time to less than an hour. The impact wouldn’t just be on the self-employed or small-business boss, but also the entire area. If we were able to travel with such ease, what impact would that have on Lancashire’s economy?
Of course, we must also take the climate into account and the impact that increased flights would have. Of course, we are not suggesting the self-employed and the business-people start flying around on private jets – that would be absolutely outrageous and non-sensical, but surely we can find the right balance between commercial interests, environmental safeguards and a commercial flight from Blackpool airport to get our business people around the country (and our tourists into the county!).
But Mr Sunak has made it abundantly clear that his time is far more valuable than yours. However, we have a message for him. Mr Sunak, rest assured our journalists will always be here demanding to be heard and we will never stop championing the projects that make Lancashire prosper, like bringing commercial flights back to Blackpool airport.
- 11:10, 23 JAN 2023