Thanet Star

Who can we trust on Manston?

Taking off Jet

Labour said they were all in favour of Manston but when it came right down to it their head was quickly turned by the offers of income from the house builders who currently hold the land. Then UKIP came in with big promises only to do exactly the same thing and betray the one thing they promised.

UKIP's attempts to do what they said seemed to have been limited to a half-hearted report (and failing to pay their own council tax) followed them by giving up entirely.

On the other hand, the Lib-Dems have been consistent. In fact, South Thanet candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Russ Timpson, seems to have done more work on his own than the entire UKIP led TDC.

After claiming that the TDC report on Manston was narrow and blinkered Lib-Dem Russ Timpson called a public meeting to prove how Manston can be a viable aviation site.

Not long after that meeting, UKIP broke their only real election promise.

UKIP had claimed that they were the only ones that could get Manston up and running. Instead, UKIP quickly showed that they had no idea what they were doing. Rather than fight for what they promised, they gave in and edited the local plan to line up with what their new chums, Stone Hill Park, want.

This raises the question - were UKIP ever serious about supporting Manston. Or were UKIP always going to betray their promise and support non-viable houses for which there is insufficient water supply?

What about the Conservatives?

Not so very long ago, most of Thanet UKIP's inner circle were all local Conservative party members (Tories). News on the grapevine is that UKIP and Conservative plan to throw their lot in together in the hope of securing equal shares of Thanet's KCC seats. Which means either UKIP plan to give the Tories their seats without a fight or they are both realise they do not stand much of a chance alone.

Can we trust the Tories to deliver on Manston? Sir Gale MP might fight the good fight when he has the time but locally Thanet's conservatives are not "all that". Aside from throwing in with UKIP to try and save their hides, they also had their last TDC leader sent to prison for corrution.

If you can trust the blues after that, you are braver than I.

That pretty much leaves Green and Liberal Democrats.

Greens have largely been anti-airport on environmental grounds but don't have any answers to what Manston could safely be used for. There is not enough local water to supply all those houses. If we see house building at Manston, we could all possibly pay the price with a local water shortage.

Tory, Labour, UKIP, and Green have all told us to trust that they have a plan. Yet not one of them has had a clue how to make it happen. On the other hand, Russ Timpson and the Liberal Democrats have been clear they have been working the problem. While there is no final plan yet, Lib-Dems have worked tirelessly to actually look at the facts. Something the other parties seem unable to do.

The Lib-Dems have been consistent in that they have never backed one particular option but have always said that they want to see Manston used for aviation. Ideally, without any night time flights. Indeed, many of the options that they have put forward would include very few actual flights at all - training, aircraft recycling, technology hub, and Space Program.

Manston as a Space Hub?

Could Manston launch us into space?

Space Program? Yes, I know. That might seem fanciful but Manston's airport was one of the few emergency runways for the US Space Shuttle. Plans are afoot for the UK to build a commercial Space Hub. Serious grant money is up for grabs for a short amount of time. Russ Timpson proposed that Thanet enjoy that grant money. All UKIP did with the idea is say the right things and then forget about it.

UKIP's inaction, not to mention the failure in this of Thanet's two Tory MPs, means that Thanet is not even in the running at this time. Only Thanet's Liberal Democrats had the vision to see this opportunity. If only we had listened to them...

We could have had the best technology hub in the country. We could have had jobs. We could have had investment. We could have had an airport without night flights. We could miss out because Thanet's political right seems to lack the balls to make a Space Port happen.

Liberal Democrats have a long history of being right even when that was a deeply unpopular thing to do. Thanet, I think could do with some politicians that are right for a change.

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