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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?