With the markets around the world in turmoil these are times of great instability and anxiety. Everyone is concerned and affected by the financial crisis. Families are worried about their income and savings and employees about the affect on their pensions.
This is not a time for recriminations. There will be a time when we should ask how on earth Britain found itself, at the end of this age of irresponsibility, with more personal and public borrowing than any other advanced economy in the world.
However, now is the time to act together and to ensure the country comes through this economic crisis. That is why I and my Conservative colleagues will look constructively at any Government proposal to stabilise the financial system.
Amongst all the bad news, there is at least one piece of really good news. After careful consideration of the environmental, social and economic impacts of expansion, the Conservatives have announced that they will oppose the construction of a third runway at Heathrow. Instead, a high speed rail link will be built, linking Heathrow, St Pancras, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – a national benefit, not just a local one.
We must wait to hear how the Government responds to the Conservative policy, but at least one former Labour cabinet minister in Chris Smith, now in the House of Lords, is in favour. As the new head of the Environment Agency, he has said that a third runway will damage Londoners’ health. If he can see the light, we must hope the Government can too.