Conservatives confuse me sometimes…

by Stephen Tall on August 15, 2012

Why do Conservatives confuse me? Well, here’s my good sparring friend Tim Montgomerie this morning expressing outrage at a Lib Dems conference motion up for debate in September:

‘UNBELIEVABLE’ says Tim, CAPS-LOCKING for emphasis. Yet a quick glance at page 16 of the Coalition Agreement suggests it’s not really all that unbelievable after all:

And if you’re wondering why a fan of market liberalism like me is sympathetic to the Agreement’s stance on this, it’s quite simple — I think Heathrow’s market dominance, though it’s reduced a little over the past two decades, shouldn’t be expanded further. I like contestable, plural markets which give consumers choice and spread both investment and risk, not all-eggs-in-basket quasi-monopolies, which is what we have in the UK:

(Graph from Civil Aviation Authority’s UK Airports Market – General Context (Sept. 2011, p.11).)

Personally, I’m open to other airports’ expansion — including Gatwick’s and Stanstead’s — and keener still on growing regional airports’ capacity to reduce the Heathrow effect which has sucked so much economic activity towards London and the South-east. And actually that’s pretty much in line with the Lib Dem policy motion we’ll be debating next month (which begins here on page 21.)