A few weeks ago, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph were pointed at a landowner and told to savage him. They were told to claim that some 60-foot trees on his land were obstructing a runway at Woodford airfield, which is operated by BAe Systems, and putting 750 jobs and a £2.2 billion contract to upgrade Nimrod anti-submarine aircraft in jeopardy.
But the 'legend' contained fatal flaws. The most glaring of them is that the regulations about the maximum height permitted for trees adjacent to a runway apply only to civilian aircraft. Nimrod is a military aircraft and not affected by the tree regulations - which means that the claim that the 750 jobs and the contract were "put at risk" is a black lie.
So why was the lie told? Because the landowner wasn't consulted and the first he knew about BAe's problems with the height of his trees was when a bunch of cowboys with chainsaws turned up and started chopping them down! He objected to the invasion of his property. BAe objected to his failure to comply with their wishes and started a campaign of black propaganda against him via willing stooges in the national press.
The next step was to get the Government involved and gain its support for an official death sentence passed on the trees. Even though they do not affect a military aircraft contract. And lo, the company now has the backing of Government stooges for an application to chop the trees down.
Q: So what's really going on?
A: Dodgy businessmen and equally dodgy politicians are clearing the way for filling the skies over Poynton with civilian aircraft.
With the trees out of the way, there is no obstacle to expanding civilian traffic to the airfield. This may be a good thing. It may bring benefits to everyone not under the flight path to the airfield and to the landowner against whom the propaganda machine has been working so busily.
But are the dodgy businessmen who launched this campaign of black propaganda truly fit persons to handle £2.2 billion of taxpayer's cash?