MPs have to weigh up the interests of their constituents against those of the the country as a whole, no wonder they’re dithering
This won’t be a popular opinion, but I have some sympathy for politicians.
They are not on the whole, automatons devoid of empathy, they are mostly ordinary people with all the weaknesses and faults that the rest of us have, they also appear to suffer from an elevated desire to please.
So I have some sympathy for the new PM in having to make a decision on the third runway at Heathrow.
Superimpose the complex nature of politics and the need to maintain parliamentary majorities and it quickly becomes clear why this government continues to dither over their decision
At the heart of the problem is that Members of Parliament want to reflect the views of their constituents. However, this desire (particularly if they are serving in the government) may sit uncomfortably when it comes to making a decision that might benefit the country as a whole.
Superimpose the complex nature of politics and the need to maintain parliamentary majorities and it quickly becomes clear why this government continues to dither over their decision.
We are rightly proud that we live in a democracy with the mother of parliaments and it’s a feature of democracy that making decisions that may upset an electorate is an important part of a minister’s job. That said making difficult decisions is what we ask them to do and what they have voluntarily agreed to do, dithering should not be an option.
If there really is an economic case for a third runway at Heathrow then make a positive decision, justify it, mitigate the negatives if possible and move on.
This will take courage and determination, two traits that are going to be needed in abundance across many policy areas over the next few years.
Nick Cullen is a partner at Hoare Lea