Who would have thought that the PM’s big idea – variously described as the “world’s stupidest tunnel”, a “vanity” project, “one of the world’s most ambitious bridges”, and “about as feasible as building a bridge to the moon” – might not be such a great one after all.
A UK government source insisted that the scheme was “a good one in terms of the strategic network”, which definitely sounds like the sort of thing a canny civil servant would say to sugar the pill before explaining, “No, Prime Minister, we’ve looked into it but we simply cannot build your bridge”.
For, after investigating the idea, Whitehall mandarins discovered the crossing would be “eye-wateringly expensive” at about £100 billion, much more than previously anticipated.
It’s hard not to imagine that the source’s next line was prompted by a Prime Ministerial bottom lip starting to quiver: “We will keep it under review, as advances in technology could make it more attractive in the years to come.”
So it’s not impossible, they might build it, one day. All they need to do is invent a whole new way of building bridges and tunnels.
And who knows, in 100 years’ time – when all the detractors are gone and forgotten – one of his successors may hold a ceremony to proudly open not one ‘Boris Bridge’, but two – one to Northern Ireland, the other to the moon.