Too un­happy for birth­days

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

RE­MEM­BER when we used to cel­e­brate re­ally spe­cial an­niver­saries? You know, cen­te­nar­ies and so on. So when did this change to mark­ing silly birth­days like the one I spot­ted on my com­puter screen this morn­ing.

For any­one who doesn’t use the same search en­gine as me – or even bother with the won­ders of the tech world – some of us are blessed with ‘Google doo­dles’ which reg­u­larly pop up on our screens. Whether we want them or not.

To­day, when I switched on, I learned that An­tonie van Leeuwen­hoek (Mr v L), ‘the fa­ther of mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy’, was cel­e­brat­ing his 384th birth­day. Pre­sum­ably not with a McDon­alds Happy Meal then. Do we re­ally need to push the boat out for a 384th?

When I was a stu­dent I was in a drama cel­e­brat­ing a big (proper) Shake­spearean an­niver­sary. I played a Pu­ri­tan. In the next pro­duc­tion I was a pros­ti­tute. My par­ents were pleased I wasn’t get­ting typecast.

Ac­tu­ally I’m not happy at the mo­ment, or I might have been a bit more gen­er­ous and sung a birth­day an­them.

I’m in mourn­ing for the vil­lages, houses, schools, churches and his­tor­i­cal sites in Hilling­don bor­ough, which ap­par­ently counted for noth­ing when the Gov­ern­ment came to a de­ci­sion last week about our com­mu­nity.

A third run­way at Heathrow, which has now been ap­proved, will see build­ings de­mol­ished and others un­able to func­tion so near a ‘slip road’ full of aero­planes. All of Long­ford and most of Har­mondsworth will dis­ap­pear.

Yes, there will be con­sul­ta­tion and a vote in par­lia­ment be­fore it is signed, sealed and de­liv­ered. There could even be a public in­quiry, but my mem­ory is long enough to re­call the long drawnout fifth ter­mi­nal de­ba­cle.

I have long ad­mired the protest or­gan­i­sa­tions, local MPs and Hilling­don Council, who have op­posed the plan, but it seems they were they drowned out by the big noise of busi­ness and com­merce. Did the Gov­ern­ment re­ally lis­ten to Gatwick, which would love a new run­way and has the space for it (in star­tling con­trast to built-up Heathrow).

Green­peace UK chief John Sau­ven said a third run­way at Heathrow will in­crease air pol­lu­tion and “be a waste of time, money and lives”. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of Lon­don, said the news was “dev­as­tat­ing”.

And still the Gov­ern­ment thinks it is OK. Does any­one still have the en­ergy to protest?

Email me: bmail­bar­bara@

Bm@il Every week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­

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