Sheffield is one of the largest cities in Europe without a major airport.
It did have one, called Sheffield City Airport, and for a time just after it opened in 1996, it was reasonably successful. But it closed a couple of years ago and now it is being turned into a business park.
The reasons it closed was because it was designed to take limited short take-off and landing aircraft like London City. But unlike that airport, it couldn’t sustain the high value traffic that airports like that need for profit and growth.
On a more general point, Sheffield had too short a runway, to attract the low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet and in any case Manchester, Leeds and East Midlands were all within an hours drive. There is now even the new Robin Hood Airport on the former RAF Finningley.
I’m just watching the Grand Prix in Valencia on the television.
It brings back happy memories of a weekend in Valencia, that my late wife and I spent just a few months before she died. It was our last holiday together.
It rained and rained and rained. But we did have some fabulous food and all of it was gluten-free.
We actually stayed in the Las Arenas Hotel close by where the Grand Prix is taking place. It was good and excellent value.
Brewers seem to have been doing badly lately. But this report from Adnams seems to indicate that if you sell real beer you do better.
They also distribute Aspall cyder; my long drink of choice!
A report in The Sunday Times says that British defence spending is out-of-control and actually harms the efficiency of the armed forces. A few damning paragraphs.
The author of the report, Bernard Gray, a leading businessman and former special adviser to Labour defence ministers, writes: “How can it be that it takes 20 years to buy a ship, or aircraft, or tank?
“Why does it always seem to cost at least twice what was thought?
“Even worse, at the end of the wait, why does it never quite seem to do what it was supposed to?”
Was it though ever any different? I have been involved in planning defence projects since the early 1970s and I’ve heard complaints of this nature all the time. And not just from the British, but from high-up engineers in a major US defence contractor.
I’ve also spoken to senior military men, who have always had good reasons to believe that the armed services never really get the equipment, they need to do the job. Usually it is over specified to do too many roles and hence so costly, that we can’t afford enough of them.
We need much better value for money and equipment that is much better suited for the job.
Gordon Brown has said nothing so far about the Megrahi affair.
Is he being Prudence?
I think though it is interesting to look at reactions on both sides of the Atlantic. Here we put the emphasis on justice and as I said in a previous post, I don’t think anybody got that. But a lot of the comment in the US seems to ignore the truth and put the emphasis a lot more on vengeance.
I did put this topic on my list of things to do, when they dropped it in the heats of the 4 x 100 metres relay. But I decided that I wouldn’t complete it until the event was over. I didn’t want to put the fluence on the British team, who in the end got a bronze medal, less than a second behind the Jamaicans.
The Americans had helped the British cause by being disqualified too.
It always puzzles me, why when you perform at these high levels, you do stupid things like that. Just as the British quartet showed here, if you get the baton round well, you’re in with a chance.
But then, we’ve had our failures in the past!