Shock horror, David Cameron has flown on planes

Yes, it’s true. David Cameron has used private planes to fly around, so he can fit more engagements in and get back to Parliament or his family in good time. The good news is, taxpayers are not paying for this.

Busy people doing important jobs do need to use the best means available for carrying out all their commitments. Before Labour rush to condemn, can we please publish the air miles of all Ministers, run up at the public expense. Were all their journeys strictly necessary?

I use my car a lot. It is often greener, cheaper, and takes less time than going by train. Where the train is quicker and easier I will use it, accepting that it may be dearer.

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14 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I guess the reason for your Blog on this subject is because of some media story about Private planes.

    Not seen any story, but surely it is in the interests of all businessmen and politicians, to travel in the most effective (workwise) and cost effective way as you suggest.

    There is a difference between work and a jolly.
    Most of us know the difference if the real facts are known, unfortunately SOME politicians (and others) and their wives, do not .

  2. Posted August 16, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Concorde, if you recall, was designed for the transport of an elite, at huge cost, whilst Boeing was producing for mass air use. The UK government had not caught on to the idea of mass air travel. Now they have not caught on to the idea that the age of mass air travel could be ending. So just what air arrangements might be necessary for the elite who will need to use planes when really necessary?

  3. Posted August 16, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This is the mess that anybody gets into over pretending to believe in catastrophic warming. It is, in principle, the same sort of hypocrisy meting reality that used to happen when everybody was outraged to find that people in public life occasionally had sex with people they weren’t married to except that getting upset about them using carbon is so much sillier.

    Meanwhile Al Gore, while getting rich selling carbon indulgences, lives in a beachfront house with heated swimming pool.

  4. Jon
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Surely the country has enough sense to see through this but on Sky news there was a singer who performs internationally who didn’t.

    Do we want our leaders spending 2 days cycling to a meeting in Edinburgh. Do we want them rowing 2 months across the Atlantic for another. I thought the story in the paper would get laughed at from the TV paper reviewers but NO?? We have a thick populous evidently. No doubt that famous singer rows across the atlantic with a full bank of amplifiers and stage hands and lighting/stage equipment?? Despare!!

  5. Mark M
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Technically, you going by your car rather than train isn’t greener. The train will still run, whether you are on it or not, and so will still be pumping out that awful CO2 stuff (boy, the plants must really hate us).

    I agree with the point about cheaper and faster though (and I’d much rather spend a few hours sat in a Jag than a train). Assuming your destination isn’t right outside the train station, it’s also a darn sight easier to use the car. No messing around with taxis or buses.

    Reply:
    it will be greener if the journeys to and from the stations are especially congested/difficult, and of course if they have to add an extra train if many of us make the same call.

    • Mark M
      Posted August 17, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Fair points on the reply. I might have a look at those numbers as it would be interesting to see how much congestion is required at either end of a train journey to make driving the whole distance the greener choice, at an individual level (assuming the train runs the same number of carriages whether you are on it or not, so the CO2 from the train is the same in both calculations).

      Overall though, I certainly would never have a problem with someone driving rather than taking the train.

  6. Robert Pay
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Until recently I lived in Westminster and have been struck at how Labour ministers would regularly be seen ploughing up the Mall in limos with police outriders…we were paying this. Cars were all upgraded under Labour and the number of ministers with access to such trappings all increased.

    I am not surprised when entite ministries are renamed and reshuffled to suit the polotics of the Labour Party…

  7. Posted August 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    This is going to be a very dirty election indeed.
    Lots of sneering and disgust.
    Lots of silly rules like not talking about the NHS, not talking about the deficit of nearly £200 billion pounds, not talking about the guarantees of the international banks, not talking about whether global warming is indeed happening. Break any of these rules and be portrayed as a Smoker/Tory Toff/heartless plutocrat on the TV!
    Lots of completely unmerited personal attacks like those on Dan Hannan.
    We are watching the maggots on what was once the great Socialist movement.

    • no-name
      Posted August 17, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      The media seems to have been trying to discredit members of the opposition parties using stories that will linger in people’s minds, and be resurrected closer to the election.

      They are a smokescreen, to direct the public gaze away from the important things that need addressing, but the public has been conditioned to view “celebrity” as far more important than the way the country is being run.

      The Tories really do need to get their act together and beat them at their own game.

      As for Cameron using a private jet – doesn’t Millband do the same? And don’t the current leading elite think it’s more important for them to have immediate access to personal transport than our head of state – the Queen?

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care how many flights Cameron or the cabinet have taken or if John Redwood uses the train or his car. I do take exception though to politicians regularly lecturing the public about climate change and “green credentials” whilst doing what they like themselves. As a consequence, the costs of transport and fuel have escalated enormously. If they believed in what they preach they would behave differently but they don’t which makes them liars or hypocrites.

  9. Bazman
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    The main problem with private jets is one still has to travel on the roads with the peasants. The helicopter is a far superior way to travel.

  10. John
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    dear john,

    i would agree with you but i do sometimes feel that presenteeism has got a stranglehold on british politics in that politicians, especially party leaders, feel they have to be everywhere, to commentate on every matter, to attend every meeting… despite the wonder of modern communication technology they appear to want to travel increasingly frequently and it does beg the question ‘ is all this travel really necessary? does it result in better politics, better governance and better policies?’ it is almost as if each political party has become a fan club of its leader and they demand to see him so he has to make rapid appearances in as many places as possible to keep them all happy.

    i am not primarily concerned whether the state or a private businessman has paid for david cameron to fly around the country ( and the same applies to the ever expanding number of ministers ), my primary concern is do these journeys really produce any tangible outcomes? one thing i do know – if he had to pay for the flights himself, he’d make darn sure every trip was worth it. (as would our frequent flyer champion peter lord mandelson!)

    best wishes
    john

  11. APL
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “Yes, it’s true. David Cameron has used private planes to fly around, so he can fit more engagements in and get back to Parliament or his family in good time. ”

    Since I have maintained for-ever that the Anthroporgenic global warming scare is a scam, frankly I couldn’t care less if Cameron flies to the Antarctic on the US Space Shuttle.

    What I object to with Cameron is his two facedness. That is riding to the Commons on a bicycle while his chaufer driven official car tootles along behind.

    Or his sucking up to the AGW mob in the shape of the Goldsmith while supporting policies and laws that will seriously disadvantage the UK economy when our competitors sensibly refuse to adopt the same stupid policies.

    His support for Carbon trading scams, Carbon reduction leglislation and all the other Carbon Claptrap that will actually put people out of work is despicable.

    So no I don’t object to Cameron flying on a private jet – so long as either he or the Tory party pay for it. I do object to his persuit of the opportune and his lack of principle.

    He has modeled himself on Blair just when we have had an absolute ‘guts full’ of that sort of grinning imbecile.

  12. Posted August 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Not sure what you’re implying here John, can you come straight out and say it. I personally think that the science for global warming is true, and a good leader and a good Tory would help work out how Britain is going to deal with that situation.

    What do you think?

    We should try to research a zero carbon way of flying. But meanwhile, we should make video conferencing easier and better, build high speed train lines, and increase the cost of flying so it includes the economic externalities.

    You’re quite right, we’re not all going to trade to using public transport. Instead, we’ll be driving electric cars powered by nuclear power stations, off-shore wind farms and concentrating solar power.

    Let’s get on and build it.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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