COME with me into the mind of Boris Johnson. Stay in single file and try not to knock over any plaster busts of Winston Churchill. Now, what’s this we find? Oh my God, these are thoughts! But these are no ordinary thoughts. These are huge thoughts; thoughts that threaten to burst through the PM’s skull, leaking out his earlobes and causing panic in the streets.

Here are a couple: HS2; and a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Propelling these in the prime ministerial bonce is a disturbing can-do attitude, a revival of the building brio of the Victorians who bludgeoned a transport infrastructure onto the country before anyone had a chance to say: “Hoy, wait a minute!”

But minutes matter, and commuters haven’t time to wait for them. Hence, HS2, the high-speed rail link, will shave 20 minutes of the travelling time between London and Birmingham, thus rejuvenating the entire economy of Great Britain and making us once more the envy of the world.

However, the measure is not supported by all Britons, some cavilling at the cost which, in the traditional manner of public projects, has risen from a microscopic £32.7 billion to a wee tiny £106bn.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Bizarre Boris bridge highlights Tory perception-reality gulf

As so often, it fell to top current affairs magazine Viz to devise, in its famous TopTips column, a solution that you’d have thought acceptable to all: “LONDON businessmen. Save the government billions of pounds building a high speed rail link to Birmingham by arranging your meetings in Birmingham 20 minutes later.”

HS touché! However, the Prime Minister of All Britain is having none of this and, emboldened by visions of his legacy as Boris the Bold, Boris the Good, Boris the Whizzo, his big bonce bobbed about once more and shook out his second great thought: a £20 billion bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, bringing the two controversial provinces together in the same way that HS2 would cement a love between the north and south of England.

This bridge, alas, has been greeted by the citizenry with a giant raspberry. Even Borisian loyalists in The Daily Telegraph have derided it as bonkers. Here, Herald readers and other leading citizens denounced it as a vanity project, a cynical gimmick, a bread and circuses distraction from a noted classicist more Nero than Augustus.

Critics highlighted the outrageous logistics, with a requirement for massive columns, and the need to negotiate a seabed where of tons of munitions sit aboot waiting for a chance to explode.

They also point out that Isambard Kingdom Boris has previous with the failed London Garden Bridge project that turned £53 million into fertiliser. There’s something peculiar about Boris and bridges. Is it Freudian? Is he forcing different parts of the country into conjugation? Is it all pants? Something to do with suspenders?

Who knows? At least he can’t take responsibility for the Queensferry Crossing, which differs from all other bridges in the world because it’s an SNP bridge. And what is SNP, readers? Correct: SNP bad.

Yep, the bad SNP made the bridge close temporarily during Storm Ciara after icicles fell on the carriageway. No other bridge in the world closed, except the Tay and a dozen or so in England and, oh, the famous Øresund one connecting Copenhagen and Malmö. All together now: Denmark bad; Sweden bad.

To be fair, the Scandinavians aren’t used to cold weather. We in Scotland, on the other hand, have no excuse. To be even fairer, some critics fairly highlight not so much the closure as the failure to instal proper censors to detect dangerous ice formations, something that ought to have happened after similar incidents last year.

Having sensed the danger, of course, the bridge would still have closed, but at least it would have been before the ice fell to the carriageway. To be fairer still, the Crossing’s defenders have been characterised as knee-jerk SNP loyalists. So, while it’s a Bridge of Sighs to some, it’s a Bridge of Ayes to others.

Some of the former didn’t want a bridge at all, these being cannae Scots with a can’t do attitude that extends to running their own affairs. Funny old world. Those who can don’t. And those who do shouldn’t.


OH, as it were, dear. Or, as the influential Daily Star newspaper put it: “There’s been a f****** murder.”

Yep, the BBC continued on its kamikaze mission to lose friends and influence people with a production of Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse that took the decent and wholesome old murder story and littered it with f-bombs.

Somebody was told to “f*** off”. Someone was told to “use a f****** ashtray, you bitch”. There was a reference to “f****** donkeys”. And someone warned: “I will pop your eyes out of your f****** head”.

It has been claimed that these were not in the original text. Online, viewers castigated the production, with one saying gnomically: “You can’t say f*** in an Agatha Christie.”

One wonders what possessed the writer who adapted the original novel to do this. It’s hardly cutting edge any more, or getting down with the kids.

They must have known it would have aroused controversy, with their PR department thinking: “All publicity is good publicity.” This news just in: no, it ain’t.

The BBC used to be known for its productions of the classics. Now it’s a classic case of not knowing what the flipping heck it’s doing.


ALERT readers may have noticed ructions in the Conservatives, a political party.

Down in yonder Westminster, Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor after the Tory Prime Minister, Bertie Johnson, demanded he sack all his aides.

Apparently, Johnson’s own first aide, Rasputin Machiavelli, didn’t think they were with the programme. Dirty though it seems, there’s an evil logic in the move, with aides of Nos 10 and 11 merged into one group to forestall the PM v Chancellor animosities of old, such as that between Tony Blair and Broon.

While Javid didn’t want to be seen as a “chino” (chancellor in name only), Carlaw Jackson, or indeed vice-versa, was stepping into Ruth Davidon’s trousers as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw elected new leader of Scottish Conservatives

The former leading car salesman is thought to have gained a last-minute surge of support after slating a controversial bridge whose design he’d helped to choose.

Activists reasoned that anyone who could pull off that level of chicanery could lead their party to control all Scotland for No 10. However, some accuse Mr Jackson of lacking vision, and dislike the way he always seems to be laughing, as if he knew something that they didn’t, which they suspect might be their electoral chances.


LITTLE beyond the odd BBC play shocks us any more. The world is a place of many marvels, populated by people whose passions, obsessions and heroic absurdities make peculiarity the norm.

However, there are times when it all goes too far, when the weirdness makes us want to wail: “Enough! Let us perish rather than suffer one more grotesquerie!”

That point was reached this week with a revelation in The Daily Mail that there are people on this planet who – and I don’t know how to tell you this, but will just come brutally to the point – collect the irritating little stickers that supermarkets put on fruit.

It’s true. They paste them into albums. When storms rattle the windows of an evening, they take them out and feel all safe and warm as they examine their little treasures with their intriguing motifs and colourful images.

And these collectors are not all sad anoraks. Among their number is Jarvis Cocker, former leader of The Pulps, a pop band!

There are even niche sub-sections of this already most niche of hobbies. We are told of a Norwegian man who only collects banana stickers. How shocking. Still, it’s niche to be niche, isn’t it?

Read more: Video shops, video nasties and just plain nasty – come back Auntie, all is forgiven