These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

PLANE STUPID


Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Ashford Town on Saturday 10th November 2012. We won 6-1 in front of 234. Next stop: Mansfield Town in the FA Cup

You would hope that when a group of people come together and volunteer to run a local football club for their community they would get the support from those that are meant to represent them. Ashford Town is one of those friendly little clubs in our league that I enjoy going to, who do things the right way on a limited budget and small crowds.
So it must have felt like a real vote of confidence when their local MP thought it would be a good idea to say that an airport runway should be plonked on their ground!
Eton educated Dr.Kwasi Kwarteng heads the “Free Enterprise Group”, which published a paper that wants two more runways for Heathrow Airport. They want to resurrect plans for a shelved third runway at Sipson and the destruction of Stanwell and Bedfont to make room for a fourth runway. Apparently good for economic growth but not so good for the 12,000 people who live in Stanwell and Bedfont whose houses would be demolished.
The MP didn’t even have the courtesy or contacting the club first; that was left to a Sunday newspaper.
Despite being called Ashford Town the club are based in Stanwell and as you would expect aren’t best pleased “We are surprised that the Member of Parliament for Spelthorne has put his name to a report that proposes demolishing a large part of his constituency.  We acknowledge the importance of Heathrow Airport to the local and national economy, but do not subscribe to the view that this should be an overriding concern, to the exclusion and ultimate destruction of the local community.  This proposal would not just obliterate Stanwell and Bedfont, but also blight Ashford and Feltham for many years.  We do not believe that is a price worth paying.” 
While the threat to the ground might not be immediate, the long gestation period of a project creates its own problems. Sipson is still blighted by the third runway, years after the announcement that it wouldn’t happen. Should the new plan gain any momentum, it will be impossible for Ashford Town to obtain grant funding for facilities because funding bodies will just say ‘we’re not paying for something that could be a home for planes in a few years.’ 
It’s not just Ashford Town that would cease to exist. You can also wave goodbye, to Ashford Cricket Club, Hockey club, Bedfont Sports, Bedfont Town and Feltham. Not that there would be any resident homes to support the clubs anyway.
Gareth Coates, general secretary of Ashford Town FC, said: “I don’t feel an MP should write a report advocating the demolition of a great portion of his seat. It is astonishing that we have been earmarked as a potential runway. An MP should be representing his constituents and I fail to see how relocating 10,000 residents plus the club and demolishing their homes is in any of their interests.”
As is usual in the scheme of these things, the people that come up with these plans don’t live next to motorways and airports. Although they always seem to shout the loudest when a wind turbine might ‘blight’ their country views.
Kwarteng has also co-authored a book, ‘Britannia Unchained’ which claims that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world." It's funny how the people telling other people to work long hours doing rubbish jobs aren't the ones who have to do them. In this case, it comes from a man who spends his time as an MP and writing book sat on his arse for most of the day. 

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