Search and Rescue Helicopter: Years of Campaigning Results in Yet More Spin and Collusion

Headlines in The Dorset Echo today, (Thursday 17th.November), seem to suggest that that the base has been saved, however, not as a Coastguard Search and Rescue base, but as a private company that will inherit the facility for it’s own ends.

Here is my take on the whole episode:

So the reason the 100,000 plus petition was not pushed to re debate in parliament, is that our MP was involved with a company that wanted the base, that cost over £3 – £4 million of taxpayers money to rebuild 12 years ago, for private use. This same company that will ‘acquire’ the site, will obviously charge the taxpayers for the privilege of Search and Rescue helicopters for refueling there. This is not what our community and those further afield protested for.

Portland SAR is a uniquely positioned base, covering a huge area, including, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, as flight logs prove, over and over again. This will mean that the already stretched Lee On Solent base will be the only SAR helicopter base on the entire South Coast, (nearest being Newquay, North Cornwall to the west and Lydd, near Folkstone Kent to the east.

The Military Search and Rescue role has also been disbanded and handed over to Bristow, the private company that now runs our Search and Rescue helicopters, leaving a huge gap in the ability to affect Search and Rescue operations throughout the country. This, with our border problems, seems ludicrous at this time.  (Roger Mac).

What a Con

Given that this is a Tory government the term ‘con’ is omnipotent and reading the Echo article this morning about the search and rescue helicopter and everything yet again became transparently clear. A private profit making company is providing a re fuelling base after the government ‘refused to change their minds’. Steve Gladston, CEO of Heli Operations publically  thanked Richard Drax for helping secure the future of the base. 

Really! If I had campaigned for my house to be spared demolition and told that I could keep the shed but everything else was going and that I should see this as a success I would tell them to **** off. I appreciate that this would excite them even more but it would be instinctive. However if this was not enough he then went too far. 

“Richard [and Suzy Patterson, Richard’s assistant ] have been integral in securing the future of the base. What they are doing is really just standing up for the people of Portland.

“It is a testament to their concern for the people of the constituency.”

The party political anal licking exposed this as yet again a stitch up. Wealthy mates creaming off the tax payer whilst giving the impression they care about us. 

Conned again? You certainly have been.

Douglas James