Well... no. It's still going on and Councillor Osborne (Lab and PPC for Chatham & Aylesford) is still leading the charge on his proposals though support is gaining.
During my Leave I reaffirmed my opposition to the the referendum. Unfortunately at the time I had not slept properly in weeks, was restricted to 140 Character tweets and at the exact moment was heavily involved in a pitch battle with a 4 week old baby who wouldn't stop crying and a two year old who refused to believe daddy when he says;
You can't open the gate it is locked with a padlock and daddy doesn't have the key... Sophie stop that and- You get the idea.
Basically I could not out line why I think this is a complete waste of time so I thought I would write about it - then forgot - now been reminded by a recent post.
1. In the brief discourse Tris mentioned the AV referendum;
Public opinion was against AV, didn't stop referendum
There are a lot of comparisons that can be drawn between the two referendum;
Firstly its not that popular - yeah sure there's a very vocal support group but if you ask the average chap/ette on the street I'm sure there'd be a general apathy and the ultimate; What's the point? (I'm coming to that later)
The other comparison that a lot of we AV supporters found was that we all agreed with AV, all our friends on Twitter and at political meetings, the papers we read, the people on TV all agreed with AV but the public did not. I propose, and if you really think about it (go on) that it is the same with this one too. There is plenty of noise but from the same people. All the people I've spoken to think it is a waste of time. Like I said in a previous post - deafened by their own noise.
Also, similar to AV, there has been little debate on the subject especially in the local media. The average citizen hasn't really heard the debate from organisations such as DRINK or from Lord Foster etc. Indeed a while ago there was a meeting out on Hoo about the airport and it was a complete white wash of anti- airport propaganda and no one from Foster and Co to defend the project.
Further to that, the local Labour media machine has demonised anyone who thinks that the airport might be a good idea. Happened to me and I'm a no one really (for saying; Also... This hurts to admit this but... If it will benefit the nation as a whole and boost British Business for many decades then... well... can it really be a bad thing), I imagine many Councillors are running scared of even suggesting they like the idea.
How can you have a balanced and fair referendum with an automatic public bias to the idea?
Surely, any independent survey and or Consultation would take that into consideration and dismiss the results?
Especially that the window for such a referendum is shrinking. The proposals were to tack them onto the Police Commissioner's election this November - the clock is ticking and it doesn't look viable.
2. The cynic in me thinks that this is no more than a large stick to beat the Tories with. After all it is about giving people a voice and people like that. Thoughts of practicality go to the wind, there almost inconvenient.
After all, Zach Goldsmith has threatened a bi-election, Heathrow area might get a referendum! Why not here!!!! Booooo- Tories!!!!
Of course if the airport gets built, that's the Tories fault because we didn't get a referendum and if it doesn't then they can claim victory for the over all campaign... win-win
But as I say, that's me being cynical.
3. Ultimately the referendum would mean nothing.
The Government is looking to improve National airport capacity, they will be looking coolly at environmental effects, infrastructure, space, housing etc... Of course local opinion will be taken into it but let us be brutally honest - will it really matter if the Nation's needs are more important.
If all potential sites were to return with referendums with a No vote what would you expect the Government to do?
4. There is still no guarantee that a new airport will be built as there are options like maximising current space and ports. There is also no guarantee that there will be one built here, what with all the problems that threaten the island/Hoo environmentally and logistically which are enough to sink the project before you include the lack of political support by the Libdems, Labour and Local Conservatives nor any of the local councils.
A referendum would work out as overkill.
5. Finally, and I do concede a little ground here...
The Referendum/ bi-elections are a one shot weapon. You can only use them once and it is too soon to do that. The Consultation starts next year and as I have illustrated here, and before, there is no need to run about like a wet hen firing of salvo after salvo. It is commonly known that you hold your best hand to last, or your doomsday weapons to the end - you don't drop an H-bomb to capture a bridge.
If a referendum does prove to be the only solution, the last straw or line of defence then let it be. We have time on our side and a huge ball of possibilities to unravel well before talk of a referendum or Bi-election becomes necessary.
Right, that all said, I'm going to put my ear plugs back in and wait for the inevitable return barrage....