Boris Johnson’s government is seriously looking at a foolish plan to build a 25-mile bridge to Northern Ireland and Downing Street maintained that the £15 billion plan isn’t a pipe dream despite it drawing extensive ridicule.
Boris Johnson’s record is littered with abandoned projects, from the much smaller 366-metre Garden Bridge, rejected by the London mayor Sadiq Khan in 2017 after costs spiralled, to an island airport in the Thames Estuary that never came close to approval by the Airports Commission.
Yet despite his past failures, leaked documents last year revealed officials at the Treasury and the Department for Transport were asked to look at the risks and cost of the project.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson confirmed that work was underway, looking into the idea of the bridge and it appears that the Prime Minister is determined in terms of infrastructure projects and that he’s looking at a wide range of projects across the United Kingdom that could expand productivity.
It’s believed the bridge would run from Portpatrick, near Stranraer in western Scotland, to Larne, near Belfast but experts have warned the sea channel between Portpatrick and Larne is approximately 1,000ft deep and may contain unexploded WW2 bombs and critics have further warned that a bridge could cripple shipping across the Irish sea.
Despite support for a bridge from the DUP and some Irish politicians, it’s also not known what role, if any, the Scottish would play in building or maintaining the bridge and its approach roads.
However, when questioned if officials were taking the idea seriously, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said that was correct and a source close to the Prime Minister talked up the idea of a bridge, by pointing to longer structures in countries like China.
They stated that greater achievements had been accomplished elsewhere in the world and that the Prime Minister believes it’s worth looking at and it’s understood that the UK government thinks there wouldn’t need to be any customs checks on the bridge.
That is despite the government’s documents previously saying firms would need to fill out customs declarations for goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
EU customs checks and tariffs would then be required on goods ‘at risk’ of entering the EU, for example, the Republic of Ireland, at a later date.
Boris Johnson personally indicated his support for the project in December, telling a DUP bridge backer that he believed it was a pretty interesting thought.
The SNP will of course, always welcome engagement with how we can restore relationships with Northern Ireland and Ireland, but first, we should concentrate on the more realistic and feasible ideas, not unsupported vanity projects and baseless briefings which this Tory Minister is all too familiar with.
And spending £15 billion of taxpayer’s money on a bridge just to replicate what these ferries already do is unnecessary and the money could be far better spent, even though the Scandinavians have done it, so have the Chinese, so it could be perfectly feasible.
This isn’t an unachievable goal and the bridge could improve our economy and bring our countries closer together, on the other hand, it could have the opposite outcome.
We constructed a tunnel under the sea to France. Some people thought it was a ridiculous idea, although only the Tories could come up with such a plan to boost the economy, you just watch, it probably will be done.
Although this is about a bridge and not a tunnel, connecting Scotland and Ireland but the debate is not so much about whether it can be built but rather if it should be!
Some people are going to deem it a bad idea, think of all those unicorns that would escape.
But some connections can make economies grow and for business to happen more swiftly, although some people might say that Boris de piffle is away with the fairies yet again.
This is going to be a bridge to a dying country – build a bridge but let the poor and needy starve – build a bridge, what are they going to call it? “The Boris Blunder Bridge”.