SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh St, off Russell Square
Public Meeting, Wednesday 11th August
Around 40 people enjoyed an evening of discussion in SOAS.
John Stewart (chair of AirportWatch) kicked the evening off by stressing the importance of the Heathrow third runway victory to national airport expansion policy.
Dan Glass (Plane Stupid) then followed with a speech and PowerPoint presentation explaining the attractions of non-violent direct action and charting the history of the Plane Stupid campaign including his sticky meeting with Gordon Brown and multiple runway occupations.
Alan Haughton (Fight The Flights) gave us a passionate look into the plight of the people living in the area around City Airport and especially how unviable aviation would be if it were not for government subsidies.
Phil Thornhill (national co-ordinator) applauded the triumphs made at Heathrow, Stansted, and Gatwick, but also expressed the critical need for anti-expansion groups to triumph on a principal instead of individual expansionary proposals. He also noted the importance of direct action whilst highlighting the necessity of legal and inclusive public protests so as to render an argument of ‘illegitimacy’ or ‘marginal extremism’ moot.
The evening concluded with a lively Q&A session covering subjects such as freight transport, a just transition for aviation workers to a low carbon economy, and the need to address long-haul flights in addition to short-haul flights.