Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Brexit is no Congestion Charge Boris

On the Today programme this morning Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tried to compare being outside the EU with being part of different London Boroughs.

Firstly it was clear from his choice of boroughs Camden, Islington and Westminster that Boris has never lived south of the river and had to awkwardness of trying to get a black cab home. When drivers refuse to carry passengers "Sarf of the River". Although I did love the loophole I found of asking a driver to take me to Hampton Wick (North of the River) I could guarantee that the driver would come over Putney Bridge (to go south of the River) and head towards Kingston Bridge but I would ask to get out in Kingston near a taxi rank  to make it home.

Of course the connection Boris was making was about a frictionless congestion charge zone in a built up area to a border through often rural areas. Of course on that rural boundary it will not just be the vehicles crossing it that will need to be looked at but also what they are carrying. Boris after all is one of those advocating that when we leave the EU we also leave the customs union. So he is looking at a rural border where arms have been smuggled in the past as being controllable in the same way that London can read the number plates of every cars that has to go along a defined road in an urban environment.

Maybe Boris is looking at his other great enthusiasm the Olympics and will have a fleet of drones like at the PyeongChang opening ceremony patrolling the border to record every vehicle, person, cow and sheep that crosses the border between the roads.

Also while I joke about the Thames being a border in London in Belfast or Londonderry/Derry there are borders between communities. Belfast has its Peace Walls and the River Foyle is largely a divide with the West bank being predominantly Roman Catholic and nationalist and the East bank being largely Protestant and unionist. So Boris before you dare to compare London to the Irish situation look at a bit more history and present day rather just wiff waff on.

In conclusion to even attempt to compare the London Congestion Charge to Brexit is belittling the issues that the UK as a whole faces, but to seem to wipe out the Border issue in this way even more so. The fact that these comments came from the Foreign Secretary gives me no confidence that Britain's future post Brexit is in safe hands.

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