Burning bridges and building them

20 January 2018, 20:59 | Updated: 20 January 2018, 21:04


As part of the government's drive to ameliorate the negative consequences of asking the people what they think, Theresa May welcomed her French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, for a chit-chat and what journalists call a “slap up meal”.

The meal was in a place that boasts a Michelin star.

That's classy. The likes of me can only dream of eating in an establishment recommended by people who make tyres.

For dessert, Mrs M chose the Humble Pie.

She was told in no uncertain terms that: no we can not have a bespoke deal, no the finance racket that we Brits depend on will not get special treatment and yes we will have to pay an extra £45m to titivate the Calais camp where migrants collect before Sellotaping themselves to the underside of lorries to make it the promised land.

Can you imagine how desperate they must be if Dover looks better than where they have come from?

May's agreement for the extra £45m to strengthen border security in France lies at odds with the 11% cut she made in border security in Britain, the 1,000 border security posts she axed and the 20,000 police officers she cut since 2010, both as PM and Home Secretary.

She seems to pulling in two opposing directions on every issue she faces.

As the PM was both distancing herself and cementing ties with the “unelected bureaucratic socialist experiment that is Europe” (Copyright N Farage), Boris Johnson was paddling in another direction, entirely his own.

Typically off-message and eager to hog the limelight, Bozo of the F.O. raised the prospect of building a bridge or road tunnel between Britain and France.

Half the Tory party want to burn bridges and he is suggesting we build one.

He said it out loud to the French at one of the meetings they had during that highly successful UK/France summit at which we bravely capitulated to their every demand and picked up the bill for lunch.

Boris said: ‘They are two of the world’s biggest economies and they are linked by a single railway. It is ridiculous.’

To remedy this ridiculousness, he plans a mighty span that will forge a new connection between the two old enemies, just as we are looking elsewhere to fashion partnerships.

Trade deals between us and the continent are being torn up, our Brexiteers are jetting off to the planet's furthest most countries to secure business contracts to replace the EU ones we are cancelling and Boris Johnson is planning to yoke Britain to France in order to glue together a relationship that is in the divorce courts.

Have the hair mousse fumes gone to his head?

Apart from anything, building a bridge to bolster ties between France and the UK sounds a lot like thwarting The Will of the People.

Just ask the man on the Southend omnibus what he thinks about building a bridge to let Johnny foreigner over here more easily and he'll spit out his dentures.

This is not the first time Boris has talked up a new connection.

In private conversations at the 2016 Tory Party conference in Birmingham, he said: ‘If you wanted to show your commitment to Europe, is it not time for us to have further and better economic integration with a road tunnel?

Two years ago he was all for MORE economic integration.

Tunnels are very expensive, however, and we don't have any funds to spend on anything that is not a palace occupied by our Queen or our MPs, or that is not a weapon of mass destruction, so it will have to be a bridge.

We could call it the Boris Bridge.

That alone is a pretty good reason not to have one.

Another is that the Channel is the busiest shipping lane in the world. About 600 ships pass through the gap between us and France every day, and unless the bridge will be one long unsupported span, it will need huge beams sunk into concrete to hold it up.

Ships will crash into these on the hour, every hour.

Then there is the wind – the road bridge over the Thames at Dartford is closed for high winds about once a month and it is closed either completely or partly due to crashes about once every day.

Can you imagine what will happen as the traffic from one end tries to get its head around driving on the wrong side of the road, in the perpetual wind and rain of the Dover Straight?

We could twin this genius transport idea to the other one from Office Boris, the cable car over the Thames.

I bet most people in London have forgotten it is there – still catering for the same 16 regular users and at a cost of only £60m.

Besides, is this the same country that can't fix the potholes in the road, can't provide a policeperson to investigate a crime against you even if it is happening right now, or operate on you in anything other than an emergency for lack of money?

Where are we going to get the billions it would cost for a bridge that long – borrow it from the Germans?

It's a good job Boris isn't in charge of anything important or we'd really be in trouble.