I think you have been a bit harsh here, Keith. With both swine flu and the ash, the govt erred on the side of caution and I think this is understandable. The British press would have murdered Gordon Brown if there had been a disaster such as a plane coming down. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. Papers like the Mail, the Express and the Sun do not need much of an excuse to hammer Brown.
Enjoy your blog and read it most days.
21 Apr 2010 13:49:00
Yep, the commenter above has nailed it with 'damned if they did and damned if they didn't'. There was no win to this situation, and when it comes to commercial air travel the authorities will ALWAYS take the safer option.
People are saying much about computer simulations, but there is no doubt that when the Finnish Air Force sent up a couple of F18 fighters to fly the ash cloud the engine inspection revealed beads of a glass like substance on the turbine blades - that wasn't simulated, the risk was very real.
The airlines are under massive commercial pressure to fly, so it is critically important that an independent body assesses the safety of the airspace.
You can draw analogies with the swine flu preparation and that is entirely valid, as without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I think the reactions to both situations whilst expensive and inconvenient were timely and proportionate.
Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. :)
21 Apr 2010 22:18:00
When I read that item again, I take the points that uwe and Pete make. Before I wrote it, I’d read comments from a variety of sources including the Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph. Uwe is right, the popular press take every opportunity to criticise Brown which is why I largely ignore them.
As I said in my item, It would have been highly irresponsible of the government to ignore the risks of either swine flue or the dangers imposed by the volcanic dust. The potential loss of lives was something they could never have lived with. It just seems to me unfortunate that, like Tony Blair's reaction to Saddam Hussain’s “weapons of mass destruction”, the actions of the present Government seem to regularly cost the country huge sums of money and leave them wide open to criticism.