EU bureaucrats too eager to ban flights

David Fiddimore (Letters, 20 April) blaming capitalism for the cost of getting across Europe without aircraft shows all the mindless, implacable hatred of self-styled socialists for free enterprise.

Firstly, he is wrong to say costs have been widely pushed up by scarcity – booking ferry places at the last moment has always cost more. Indeed, it can be argued that for political reasons there has been too little rationing by price.

There have been news reports of people buying bicycles to become priority "vehicle passengers" – who benefits from that?

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Anything scarce will be rationed and if it is not done by cost it will be done by some more oppressive method – usually the sort of government control and allocation by political connection that so appeals to the politically connected parasites that the "socialist" movement has descended into. Of course, in his letter there was no mention of the French railway workers going on strike and making things worse. "Greed" by those charging money to provide services may be denounced, but not by strikers.

But the worst part of this attack is that he says the crisis is the fault of the airlines and that their wish to be allowed to fly merely demonstrates this.

The real fault is that of an overbearing governmental EU bureaucracy whose default position is that anything should be banned.

It is becoming clear that this ban was put in place in circumstances much less bad than the Mount St Helen's eruption, which so noticeably did not ground all American aircraft, or indeed many other instances.


Woodlands Road


Any government has a duty to deal as promptly as possible with the impact of a natural disaster.

Contingency plans for the use of naval facilities to assist citizens abroad to return home is entirely appropriate (your report, 20 April).

It is all very well to say that there are plenty of places on commercial ferries.

The government has to be ready to use its own facilities if people are to be confident it is taking the problem seriously.

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When the effect of the volcanic gas on airline operations was becoming apparent, I did feel that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a bit slow to act.

Perhaps he was leaving to officials all arrangements to keep transport networks moving, and concentrating on the vital importance of getting re-elected.

In fact it seems I was wrong. The Cabinet has met, opposition leaders have been kept informed. There is no sign that Mr Brown is making a drama out of a crisis for political gain.

Mr Brown has plenty to gain if he handles the crisis properly. He has a lot to lose if voters sense that his priority is victory in an election rather than convenience and safety of the citizens.


Shiel Court


David Woosnam's assertion (Letters, 19 April) that the volcano is emitting CO2 that makes that from planes "a drop in the ocean" is weakened by the facts. The volcano is producing 150 tonnes of CO2 per day. The grounded planes would have produced 344 tonnes per day – a net saving of 194 tonnes every day.


Ormidale Terrace