The Lebedev's, owners of the London Evening Standard, just can't make up their minds. One minute they're whipping up support for the Tory Party and generally behaving as one would expect a reasonable size cog in the corporate machine to behave. Next minute they are masquerading as tribunes of London's working class, championing everything from literacy, safe cycling, affordable housing and clean air. The only problem with playing these two roles is, for the most part, they are diametric opposites.

You can't possibly hope to get affordable housing whilst the Tory government is thick as thieves with those tax evading corporates and their internationally laundered dirty dosh. Tax evasion and social provision just don't go hand in hand. Either a government subsidizes the corporates, the landlords and the employer class or it subsidizes affordable housing, the social environment and a living wage. It's impossible to do both.

Take for example the London Evening Standard's latest crusade  clean air for Londoners. Such a laudable ambition is pure pie-in-the-sky whilst the corporate owners of Heathrow Airport are desperate to get a third and then a forth and eventually a fifth runway. Allowing another 750,000 flights across west London is just not compatible with the ambition of clean air yet the Lebedev's just can't find it within themselves to come out against Heathrow expansion. Under pressure of two diametrically opposed positions they revert to type and line up behind global corporate interests. So much for the Evening Standard being a tribune of ordinary working class Londoners.

The Lebedev's must sleep a very uneasy schizophrenic sleep these days. One day they are promoting the idea of London becoming the first City National Park, the next day they equivocate on airport expansion. Just how hard can it be to take a principled stand? In a front page article that grabbed the attention of the weary commuter the Lebedev's proclaimed, SOARING DEATH TOLL OF LONDON'S TOXIC AIR. 15/7/15 The article begins; Thousands more Londoners are dying early each year because of toxic air than previously thought, ground-breaking research reveals today. A decent hard-hitting article is then followed up with an equally hard-hitting editorial. But would you believe it, not a single mention of the highly controversial airport commission report favouring Heathrow expansion. How disingenuous can you get?

It was a similar piece of hypocrisy when the Standard gave its blessing to the idea of designating London a CIty National Park. It's a revolutionary idea to be sure. Every decision proposed by local, city or national authorities should be measured against its environmental impact. At last, the idea of joined up thinking. But not for the schizophrenic Lebedev's. No, they want us to contemplate a National Park with hundreds of thousands more flights spewing out thousands of tons of pollutants and climate changing gases. And of course there is the debilitating noise pollution. That's one hell of a National Park that our Evening Standard editors have in mind.

Of course, the Lebedev's are not the only ones suffering bouts of political schizophrenia when it comes to airport expansion and clean air. Most of the Labour Party mayoral hopefuls are just as psychotic. Take for example Gareth Thomas, a long shot outsider for Labour endorsement. He has sought to make a name for himself by arguing for expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick. Not for him the inconvenient facts of existential destruction at the hands of man-made climate change. Most of the other Labour hopefuls are equally opportunist if not actively toxic on the issue. Of course the real crunch for newspapers like the Evening Standard will come if and when Zac Goldsmith becomes the Tory mayoral candidate. Expect the Lebedev's political schizophrenia to move into top gear. It will be a joy to watch them implode as they attempt to force the square peg of airport expansion into the round hole of environmental concern. Acute schizophrenia without doubt.

End JPK Copyright 18/7/15

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 06:14 )