IT would have been a sight for sore eyes.
Boris Johnson throwing himself in front of the bulldozers in protest against a third runway at Heathrow, his famous blond locks browned by the mud in a throwback to his glory days on the rugby pitches of Eton.
But sadly (and I can hear the sighs from Wick to Weymouth), this is now a spectacle we are unlikely to see after Theresa May intervened to rein in her ministers and see off any resignations.
In a controversial move – interpreted as the clearest signal yet that the Government intends to back expansion at the west London hub over Gatwick – cabinet members will be able to criticise its decision for a “limited period”.
They will not, however, have the freedom to campaign against the development in the future, so bulldozer-blocker Boris will have to stay put.
I doubt he will be as disappointed as the rest of us. Now comfortably installed as Foreign Secretary and perfectly positioned for another leadership bid – should the chance arise – the last thing he wants to have to do is resign, although no doubt he will not be backwards in coming forwards with a few choice words.
But – jokes aside – the decision about where to increase aviation capacity in the south-east of England is about much more than London MPs trying to placate their constituents.
It’s a question of national significance and one of particular importance to Scotland – as made clear by the fierce battle for the Scottish vote.
Supporters of both bids have been lobbying hard north of the border.
The rival teams have run slick, professional media operations, with every possible opportunity to get one over on the other exploited to the maximum.
And the duel won’t stop with the revelation of the Government’s preferred option. No one’s going to concede defeat just yet; there’s still too long a way to go in the game.
After next week’s first step comes a statutory consultation, the results of which the Government will consider before bringing forward an airports national planning statement.
The Commons will then get a vote, so there’s still plenty of time – another year at least – for minds to be swayed.
That said, support for Heathrow in Scotland has consolidated in recent weeks.
The biggest coup came in the form of backing from the Scottish Government, with Keith Brown describing a third runway at Heathrow as “the best deal for Scotland”.
The economy secretary pointed to the potential for creating tens of thousands of jobs and – crucially – securing more direct flights.
This was also the major selling point for Aberdeen Airport and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, which both support a third runway at Heathrow as recommended in the Airports Commission’s final report.
Inverness hopes to secure a second daily link after the successful launch of the British Airways flight over the summer following a break of nearly two decades.
And Heathrow announced a package last month which, if it gets the go-ahead, would include a daily Dundee connection.
Glasgow Airport has also backed Heathrow expansion, although unsurprisingly Edinburgh – owned by the same firm as Gatwick – is in favour of developing its sister site.
Improving connectivity to regional airports is vital for Scotland – and would be a major boost for tourism and business.
It’s equally important that the already drawn-out process moves forward quickly once the Government’s preference is revealed.
Expanding the nation’s aviation capacity was already critical, but the Brexit vote upped the stakes still further.
The UK must be able to compete on the international stage, where rival hubs like Dubai and Amsterdam are keen to steal a march.
Prioritising airport expansion, which need not be constrained by the Brexit timetable, would remind the world now that Britain intends to remain a serious player.
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