Talk to the trees, Boris

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

 

Share

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.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones