THE good citizens of Argyll are getting rather fed up with effectively being cut off by the never-ending closures of the A83 as a result of repeated landslides at the Rest And Be Thankful. A 60 mile detour puts off all but the most determined and business at shops, restaurants and hotels plummets as a result.

The tedious thing about this seemingly endless problem is that to everybody in Argyll - but not the Scottish Government - the solution is blindingly obvious. Mother nature will keep on hurling rocks and mud down the slope towards the road, trying to catch this debris in nets is a King Canute solution which has not worked and will never work.

The Scottish Government should take a well-earned holiday to the Alps and look at what they do there. Instead of fighting nature (it always wins), the Swiss go with the flow and cover their vulnerable roads with roofs so that rocks and mud can go over the top of them rather than blocking them and causing chaos. This solution is not rocket science and the Scottish Government should stop flouncing around worrying about Brexit and instead get their cement mixers out and get some real work done.

The A83 - a vital transport artery which switches on or off the flow of economic activity into a significant part of Argyll - got me thinking about what we can do to break through the overdone Brexit gloom and get things - literally - motoring again, as well as demonstrate that the more geographically peripheral economics of the UK are important.

The answer is a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Difficult and costly - yes - but far from impossible and, most certainly, economically transformational.

The Chinese and other nations build bridges which are a greater challenge than crossing the 20-odd mile gap between Galloway and Ulster. The UK Government is sufficiently satisfied that the £15 billion spent on London’s Crossrail line is worthwhile that it is planning Crossrail 2. The HS2 rail project is now estimated to cost over £50 billion.

Why should the South of England get all the money spent on it? A Scotland-Ulster Bridge, has been estimated (more of a guess I suspect) to cost between £15 billion and £20 billion. But think of the political and economic gains.

Scotland benefits from being part of Britain but even I get fed up with vast dollops of money being spent in the South compared to the North - Crossrail, Crossrail 2, HS1, HS2, another runway at Heathrow, London Sewers etc. The message a really bold and significant project would send to the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland would be enormous - we care, you matter, you are a vital part of the nation, is what it would say.

Dumfries & Galloway is not an economically strong part of Scotland. Northern Ireland is dependent on Government spending to a very unhealthy extent. A bridge and linking motorways would be transformational to both those regional economies and all of Scotland. Subsidies would reduce over time; Scotland and Northern Ireland could work as an integrated economic unit which would be good for each of them as well as providing an economic strength and opportunity which would be a meaningful step in addressing the unhelpful Southern bias of economic vitality within the UK.

The Scottish Government should support such a project, but it should be the whole of the UK which funds it. There has never been a better time to stop point-scoring and work together on a project like this.

Pinstripe is a senior member of Scotland's financial services community