As Elly and I were standing on the Picadilly Line platform at King’s Cross yesterday evening, we were eyeing up a couple of young people sitting on a bench nearby, thinking “Are they going the same place as us…?” Then a guy with a guitar walked past and Elly exclaimed “Theo!” just as the other girl said “Theo!”
Turned out we were all on our way to Heathrow Terminal 1. At first thought, it doesn’t seem the most appealing place to spend your Monday night, but yesterday evening saw the place transformed. In the main atrium there was a huge picnic. Hundreds of people were milling around, listening to the string quartet, playing parachute games, singing songs, and having a jolly respectable evening, to demonstrate against the proposed third runway Heathrow’s managers want to build. The crowd of people included local residents whose quality of life would go down considerably, were a third runway to be built. There were also loads of young people and environmental campaigners, and the local Labour MP.
The enormous, high-viz police presence was slightly intimidating at first, but didn’t manage to dilute the cheerful atmosphere of the event. The feeling of festivity was added to by people’s dress: we’d all donned Edwardian costumes. Climate Rush, mainly-female organisers of the picnic, wanted to draw parallels between the suffragette’s struggles 100 or so years ago, and the struggles to defend the environment on which we all depend today.
The announcement over the runway is expected this Thursday, by Geoff Hoon the Cabinet’s Transport guy. The Conservative Party have already said they would not not let it go ahead if they get elected, and neither would the Lib Dems. And many Labour MPs are against it too. Some are pushing for the issue to come to parliamentary vote.