JANET STREET-PORTER: Sorry, Boris, I don"t care about the size of your landing strip!

Sorry, Boris, I don't care about the size of your landing strip!



07:01 GMT, 3 September 2012

Airport expansion has become linked to masculinity. A furious debate rages over the future of Heathrow — Boris Johnson has demanded the Prime Minister ‘stop pussyfooting around’.

Tim Yeo, a former environment minister, says that Dave must show whether he’s ‘man or a mouse’, that dithering means ‘a slide to insignificance’.

Asphalting over a big bit of the UK on the edge of our precious Green Belt is the latest way to demonstrate your manhood.

Janet-Street Porter believes arguing about airport expansion has become linked to manhood

Proving a point Janet-Street Porter believes airport expansion, like that of Heathrow (pictured), has become linked to manhood

Times have changed. Mr Cameron promised in his election manifesto that there would be no expansion of Heathrow — and, no matter what else about him may be irritating, he understands that voters like consistency.

That doesn’t mean he won’t change his mind for the next election, but if he did, it would be a massive vote-loser.

Justine Greening is not an inspiring Transport Minister, but she has rejected any expansion of Heathrow, and I haven’t noticed any high-profile women in Parliament supporting it either.

So, what is it about men and planes The aviation industry, like tobacco and alcohol, tirelessly promotes the idea of growth as a Good Idea.

True, Heathrow operates at 98 per cent capacity and half the planes need to queue — causing even more pollution — before a slot is free for them to land. I’m still not persuaded we need another runway, let alone a new airport costing 60 billion right on Heathrow’s doorstep or a 23 billion airport in the Thames Estuary blighting the lives of everyone in Kent and Essex.

If domestic flights were removed from Heathrow and there was proper investment in high-speed rail, congestion would be drastically eased. If Stansted had another runway, and an improved train service, even better.

Heathrow is a busy hub — with most passengers going on to another destination. Is this really an economic benefit to be encouraged To be a giant service station for somewhere else

I never believe the rubbish about creating jobs — do they mean toilet cleaners, fast food operatives and duty free sales assistants I’m not impressed by the argument that we must attract more

Chinese tourists either —pretty soon the UK will be out of fashion and they’ll all want to visit the North Pole.

To visit anywhere in Europe, you can easily fly from regional airports and change somewhere else — it’s certainly no slower than walking miles around Heathrow. China is building 70 airports — so what We don’t copy the rule of one child per family, their unpleasant working conditions in factories, or their denial of free speech. So why should we fancy an airport in the Thames modelled on one in Shanghai

In ten years’ time, air travel will be outmoded — there will be more efficient, high-tech ways of conducting business than traipsing halfway around the globe in person.

Talk of airport expansion might be macho, but it’s completely bonkers.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Rolling on far too long

After denying they’d perform together again, the Rolling Stones have announced four gigs. Ticket prices will be around 200 — a bit much for the average pensioner of their generation.
This year is their 50th anniversary, and BBC2 will show Crossfire Hurricane, a new documentary about them later this year.

I love the Stones, but I’d rather remember them the way they were in the Sixties — sexy young dudes — when I used to watch them rehearse on Sunday afternoons and tail them back to their flat in Chelsea on the Underground.

These days, they’re more a business than a band — the spark in any relationship can get a bit stale after five decades, and Keith’s hugely successful autobiography, in which he claimed that Sir Mick, 69, was less than well-endowed in the trouser department, can’t have helped matters.

How can Zadie Smith be struggle to work when she has the temptation of the internet, asks Janet.

Addicted: How can Zadie Smith be struggle to work when she has the temptation of the internet, asks Janet.

How can a highly intelligent, talented woman be so feeble that she can’t stay off the internet long enough to work

Novelist Zadie Smith’s new book NW (which follows a group of people in a London North suburb) has had good reviews.

I loved her earlier works, White Teeth and The Autograph Man, so I’ll certainly buy a copy, but I’m bemused that in the acknowledgements she thanks [email protected] and [email protected]

They aren’t people — but two computer applications Zadie (left) downloaded to prevent her logging on to the internet and getting distracted when she was meant to be working.

also limit sites you can access — great to stop your children watching porn — but she’s an adult. Why not use a typewriter

Who knew Maggie was a style setter

Today, seven outfits worn by Maggie Thatcher from the Seventies and Eighties are being auctioned at Christie’s in London.

 Seven business suits of Margaret Thatcher are seen on display at Christie's auction house in London. The suits are to be auctioned in 'The London Sale' on Sept. 3

Style setter: Seven business suits of Margaret Thatcher are seen on
display at Christie's auction house in London

Severe, immaculately tailored, sensible, they scream Power Woman at
large. Not an inch of flesh on show, knee-length skirts, bold colours
and pussy bows — they look exactly like recent collections designed by
Miuccia Prada, who has always said she adores powerful women.

The Duchess of Cambridge training for the Chinese Dragon Boat Channel Challenge with 'Sisterhood' teammates

Prepared: The Duchess of Cambridge training for the Chinese Dragon Boat Channel Challenge with 'Sisterhood' teammates

Maggie was no friend of feminists and never promoted females, but her sense of style has turned out to be bang on-trend.

When Kate (pictured) went to buy a wetsuit in Wales, and forgot her credit card, the assistant asked her name and she modestly replied ‘Mrs Cambridge’.

The story shows what an unassuming person she is, but it also reveals a canny desire not to attract attention.

I’ve certainly had some embarrassing moments out shopping — one nosey parker was so fixated on my jumbo pack of toilet rolls at the checkout that my (then) hubby announced:

‘Isn’t it amazing, she poos, just like ordinary folk!’ I fled the store in tears.

Early one morning, I had rushed out to buy the papers when a man grabbed my elbow and said: ‘Excuse me.’

I grandly replied: ‘Yes, it is me.’

‘I know,’ he said: ‘Did you know your clothes are inside out’ The shame of it!


I'm simply frustrated

Anyone who’s grown their own vegetables knows it’s fraught with anxiety, despair and plenty of failure. This summer, my potatoes look OK but explode into a soggy mass while being cooked — apparently it’s the result of too much rain.

My runner beans are late and my courgettes have only just decided to get going. Nevertheless, the number of us growing our own veg has soared since the recession, and a new magazine seeks to cater for this new army of Good Lifers.

The Simple Things, out this Thursday, is packed with tips for thrifty shopping, recycling furniture and growing your own produce. It’s aimed at a generation whose mothers never taught them to sew.

Tom and Barbara in TV's The Good Life

Dig: Tom and Barbara in TV's The Good Life

Speaking as a renaissance woman who can sew a shirt, cook decent meals from scratch, grow onions and designer salads, and turn an old chest of drawers into a desirable piece of furniture, I can vouch for the downside of the so-called Simple Life.

First, it takes hours you haven’t got if you have to earn a living.
Second, you lose your temper on a regular basis, so invest in headache pills and soothing bath oil.

And third, if you want any sex at all at home, forget it. You’ll be covered in paint or mud, your fingernails will be destroyed, and your hair will be matted from standing in the elements.