Like the Victorian era Boris Johnson is so enamoured with, our current Prime Minister has a strange obsession with the creation of large, ostentatious and enormously impractical projects; the latest is an implausible bridge designed to link Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Now, perhaps the desire to create huge landmarks can be put down to Johnson’s need to compensate for a total failure in implementing actual domestic policies or doing anything to help our country. Or perhaps they are simply vanity projects which he hopes will create for him a legacy that people remember more favourably than a no-deal Brexit and years of chaos, falling incomes, and failing public services.
The very idea of a Scottish-Irish bridge is ludicrous. It would be the tallest bridge in the world, over 1,4000 feet high, and be hugely expensive. Money on practical infrastructure spending – schools, hospitals, local bus services, replacing our old trains – should be any government’s priority. Money on a vanity bridge should be treated as a madcap idea and consigned to the bin.
This is without mentioning the fact that any construction work would be extremely dangerous to the actual workers. There are over a million tons of unexploded munitions, left over from WWII, in the middle of the proposed stretch of sea. Is it a risk worth taking to flatter Johnson’s ego? Definitely not.
Yet this isn’t the first of insane ideas produced by a Prime Minister who prefers gestures and gimmicks to enacting concrete reforms. The proposed London ‘Garden Bridge’ cost us £40 million without any construction work occurring, while the actually built London cable car cost another £60 million and had only four regular users during one month.
At times it can seem appealing to laugh at the incompetence behind these ludicrous infrastructure projects, but they are not always a laughing matter. They allow the Tories to transfer millions of pounds of public money into private hands without these companies doing any proper work. Incompetence, humour, and outlandish ideas provide a fitting disguise for the spending of taxpayers’ money on Boris Johnson’s chums.
Boris Johnson has a bridge to sell you, and his rich friends will be benefitting. Labour will invest in practical changes to local communities by fixing our failing rail service and reforming our bus services to give free passes to U25s and allow councils, not private profit-driven firms, to run local services in the interests of their residents.
Gus Smith – H&K Young Labour Activist