Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Troubled waters

The good Lady Lumley is pondering glumly.  “I

need a new project to keep me in trim—

now the Gurkhas are happy—some shiny erection to

burnish my halo.  Ah, I have a whim

to build a fine bridge clear across a great river, where

trees, grass and flowers can stretch shore to shore.

Of bridges traversing the Thames here in London, we’ve

just thirty three—surely room for one more.

Now it happens my old friend is crowned mayor of London, he

goes by the rubrik of Boris the Mad.

He’d adore such a grand and flamboyant adventure—to

jump on the bandwagon he’ll be glad.”

The Boris is happy.  “We need a designer with

boldness and vision—I know just the man.

He has built me some buses which boosted my ego—the

Heatherwick’s sure to produce a fine plan.

We also need money—of course private finance will

jump to join in, but needs time to come through.

I’ll give it some taxpayer funding, and get old saint

George of the Chancel to throw in some too.”

So the project proceeds with a little more priming (the

buy-in from business is not keeping pace)

—but Sadiq the Most Evil deposes poor Boris, and

gets the Red Margaret to look at the case.

“It’s been a fiasco, a drain on our taxes.  The

tendering process was not at all fair.

The pledges from business are far from what’s needed.  The

real public benefit’s not even there.”

Sadiq says “The Boris’s vanity project has

gone off the rails.  I’m not such a mug.

I’ve cancelled his buses, no more will I pay for—and

now on the bridge I am pulling the plug.”