Manston Airport, CPO, Manston Airport, CPO, Manston Airport … if you only read the stuff churned out by the airport enthusiasts, you would think that this is THE key issue facing the country for the next five years. Indeed, the plane lovers are telling their supporters how to vote, purely on the basis of each candidate’s declared (or guessed) support for a CPO of the old airport site.
Imagine our surprise, dear reader, to see in the Gazette the results of KM Group’s telephone poll of 1,000 Kent residents about their voting intentions. Asked which issues were most important to those polled when they were deciding which party to vote for, the answers were:
- economy and jobs – 30%
- NHS – 25%
- Immigration/EU – 24%
- education – 9%
- environment – 4%
- law and order – 4%
- foreign policy – 2%
- other – 2%.
Wot? No Manston?
Wouldn’t it be funny if all those bandwagon candidates banging on and on about their Manston-love, were completely and utterly wasting their time? Add to that the fact that of SMA’s much-vaunted 9,300 “members”, fewer than half live in the relevant constituencies, and many have been added to the SMA site by somebody else. So maybe, just maybe, the majority of the SMA posse can’t vote here and don’t actually see a cargo airport at Manston as the biggest issue driving their personal political choice.
And see that “economy and jobs” result above? Time for a smart candidate to back the legal owners of the site and make sure that their job creation plans get publicised, maybe? That could be a real winner for those voters who actually think that the airport issue was dead and buried a year ago and who want to see jobs brought to the area.
And, contrary to the scaremongering attempts of SMA, SuMA, TSMA and the like to make us all shiver in our boots about “smothering” the Manston site with housing and developing a “massive, overspill, sink estate” there, 43% of those Kent voters polled thought house building should be a priority and just 25% disagreed. 61% thought protecting the countryside should be a priority and just 11% disagreed.
Huge brownfield site available for jobs, sports facilities, new industries and some housing, anyone? Develop that instead of greenfield land? Sounds like a winner for Kent voters.