Talk to the trees, Boris

The Mayor has once again engaged his mouth before putting his brain into gear

 

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Let’s not beat around the bush. Boris Johnson wants to be Prime Minister. Not just wants, he believes it to be his birthright. He cannot accept that David Cameron, his junior at Eton, got to Number 10  before him and admits he “dies a little” when he learns of the success of his own younger brother, Jo, who IS at Number 10, albeit as an aide.

So when Boris talks about HS2, the highly controversial £50 billion+ railway project and its opponents, the entire country should listen carefully. Because the Pretender to the Throne has chosen to condemn thousands of people unfortunate enough to be living along the proposed route for, er, worrying about the tumbling value of their homes.

They are just “talking bollocks, pretending to be concerned about the environment”, Boris announced to Total Politics Magazine.

“It's tragic 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 the age of my age, the average life expectancy of a tree can't be more than about 60 years.”

Sorry, Boris, but this is, to coin a phrase, total bollocks. Far from dropping dead at 200 – let alone 60 – years, many live to be many hundreds and even thousands of years old. Had he bothered to consult the paper for which he writes his £250,000-a-year weekly column, the Mayor of London would have found references to the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, which was already 3,000 years when, according to local legend, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who oversaw the crucifixion of Jesus, was born in the shade of this tree and played beneath it as a child.

Druid's Oak, near Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire is thought to be 1,000 years old and to have inspired Felix Mendelssohn who composed some of the music for A Midsummer Night's Dream while visiting these “ancient woodlands” which Boris insist do not exist.

The 1,000-year-old Queen Elizabeth Oak, in Northiam, East Sussex, is where on August 11, 1573, Elizabeth I stopped on her way to Rye to sit beneath it and eat a meal served to her from the house nearby. Dickens Oak, in Chigwell, a relative youngster at 300 years old, with a girth of almost 20ft, stands near The King's Head pub which Charles Dickens portrayed as The Maypole in Barnaby Rudge.

My point is twofold. Firstly, for a very rich man to attack hardworking people (sic) for being concerned about their homes being blighted in a society which worships property values and an economy based on high house prices seems downright silly, in addition to being supercilious and callous.

Second, do we really, in an age of instant news hungry to capture every banana skin, want a slapstick Prime Minister who regularly engages his mouth before putting his brain into gear?  I think I know the answer. I might even be able to say it in Latin.

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