Andy McSmith's Diary: Boris Johnson lets the chainsaw loose on HS2 opposition in Tory heartlands

Boris Johnson has excelled himself with a sweeping insult aimed at all those who oppose HS2 by suggesting that not one of them is motivated by concern for the environment: they are all thinking of the bottom line.

“People are in the humiliating position of having to pretend that there’s some environmental objection that they have, that the great crested grebe is going to be invaded or whatever. What they care about is their house prices,” he has told Total Politics magazine. “It’s bollocks. They’re not campaigning for forests, they’re not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be, obviously, but what they’re really furious about is that their house prices are getting it.”

Since most of the people he has insulted live in safe Conservative seats, and a good few are committed party activists, I can only wish Boris good luck in his campaign for the Tory leadership. But there is something he said that is just downright weird. “It’s tragic,” he said. “We have protest groups talking about ‘this ancient woodland’ when actually there’s no tree in this country that’s more than 200 years old. Most mature trees die at about my age, the average life expectancy of a tree can’t be more than about 60 years.”

Sometime, when he is not too busy, the mayor should visit Greenwich Park, within the city over which he presides, to apologise in person to the magnificent trees there that are known to have been planted in the year 1664, and to others believed to be even older.

Offence to Ukip intended

Tudor Evans, Labour leader of Plymouth Council, has told the Plymouth Herald that he hopes he has not offended anyone who is not a member of Ukip by retweeting a mock election poster with a picture of the party’s leader Nigel Farage along with the caption: “Come and tell this chinless gobshite to cram his party of swivel-eyed racist bellends all the way up his arse.” Plymouth – home of elegant political discourse.

Smith’s ambition of youth

The author Dominic Shelmerdine, who has spent years writing to the famous asking them what their first ambition was, received a reply in 1991 from the disgusting Sir Cyril Smith, who said that when young he had wanted to be Mayor of Rochdale (tick) and a millionaire (cross). He should have spent more time pursuing the latter ambition, and less time prowling in boys’ homes.

Is McBride with the rats?

Whatever happened to Damian McBride? Last autumn, you could hardly turn on a news channel without hearing about Gordon Brown’s notorious ex-spinner. Then he had a book to promote, and achieved an avalanche of free publicity after his publisher, Iain Dale, decided to hurl himself at a placard-waving homeless pensioner who wandered into camera shot.

These days, we hear nothing of McBride.  He has not tweeted for more than six months. It is even longer since he posted one of those interesting blogs he used to write. I am concerned for his well-being.

Come to that: whatever happened to the cannibal rat ship? In January, The Sun broke the scarifying news that the Lyubov Orlova, a deserted Mariya Yermolova-class cruise ship, was adrift in the Atlantic and heading for British shores, with no living creatures abroad apart from rats that survived by eating other rats. Three months have slipped by without a trace of the cannibal rat cruise ship.

It occurs to me that these two disappearances are very probably connected. Damian McBride is alone in the Atlantic living off cannibal rats. Or vice versa.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before