Professor Hector Schlenk, Senior Researcher at the Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science
As a scientist, I have become accustomed to people asking me what on earth is going on, and this question has become all the more prevalent in the last week.
My large gleaming cranium has not proved to be the source of any answers to that conundrum, but has, coupled with my inexplicable sartorial choices, led to my regularly being mistaken for Dominic Cummings and getting fresh abuse shouted at me in the street.
Compared with the byzantine intricacies of the current political scene, String theory and quantum uncertainty are what we scientists would call an increment of micturition.
However, I have been applying myself to areas in which I can be of assistance after reading reports that a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland is being considered by the UK government.
This scheme is back on the cards in the hope that it might solve the issue of the Brexit backstop deadlock, which is almost as hard to explain as it is to say.
Some might regard a big bridge between the two main land masses which make up the United Kingdom as a good idea, to strengthen links at a time of potential division.
It also shows the that Prime Minister isn’t letting the 53 million pounds he dropped on his abandoned Thames Garden Bridge project put him off; which shows tenacity, if not a tremendous willingness to learn from experience.
But could a bridge of up to 25 miles in length be feasible? Well, there are precedents, such as the 30 mile bridge from Hong Kong to Macau, but one challenge in this case is the area of water itself.
Like the current UK political situation, the Irish sea is wide, deep and stormy, and contains a number of odd-looking fish-like creatures whose movements cannot be adequately predicted.
But putting Michael Gove to one side, there are also engineering practicalities to consider.
Something in the order of 50 support towers would be required, each taller than the Empire State Building and inserted to depths of 1,000 feet in an area where thousands of tons of unexploded munitions were dumped at random after WWII.
Logistically and literally, it’s a minefield.
In addition to the depth, the cold and a sea bed littered with explosives, weather modeling indicates that conditions in the area would inevitably lead to the bridge being closed for large portions of the year.
Still, some say, it’s not the Prime Minister’s worst idea.
However, theory only goes so far, so in order to test these potential problems in laboratory conditions, I have spent today creating a scale model of the project using a very large number of sharpened lolly-sticks plunged, whilst blind-folded, into a sink filled with clingfilm wrapped mini bath-bombs.
Thanks partially to my grasp of engineering principles but largely to the combined sugar rush and brain freeze from eating 50 Fabs, I was able to quickly confirm all of the potential pitfalls in the bridge scheme, with only minor flooding to the upstairs bathroom, and catastrophic water damage everywhere else.
I am now in town in search of flowers and chocolate, as Mrs Schlenk is the person with whom I need to urgently build bridges.
PC Bobby Constable (retired) – former Community Policeman Officer
There has ayewiz been a friendly rivalry amongst the emergency services community.
Back when I wiz on the Force, we would tak the mick oot o’ een anither religiously! Faniver we’d attend an RTC, the ambulance wid arrive, sirens blaring the Paramedics wid hop oot keen as mustard wi’ their defibrillators and their stretchers and they’d say “What do you need?”.
So we’d reply “Twa 99s and a vanilla slider!”. Fit a laugh. Though I’m nae sure ye’d really understand if ye werenae part o’ it. Some wid cry it heartless, but sometimes that ‘gallows humour’ wis the only wye tae get through a difficult job.
We took the rip oot o’ them, they’d tak the rip oot o’ us, and ab’dy took the rip oot o’ the Coastguard. Fan the Fire Brigade arrived at an incident, I wid greet them with the classic “Fit like Sam, is there a cat stuck up a tree?” But I guess those days will soon be gone.
The Fire Brigade hiv decided that Fireman Sam, Pontypandy’s finest, is no longer going to be their mascot, as he isnae “inclusive” enough. At first I thought ‘fit a load o’ dirt – but then I seen that Piers Morgan agreed wi’ me, so I kent I must’ve made a mistake.
Apparently, fit the objectors are objecting to is nae the character himself, but the word ‘Fireman’; it’s oot o’ date. They’ve been cried ‘Firefighters’ for 30 years and they’re actively trying tae recruit women tae their ranks, which Sam’s nae helping wi’.
Well, it all sounds totally reasonable fan ye pit it lik ‘at, dis it? Sam’s nae being ‘axed’ or ‘banned’ – he’s being retired, ‘cause efter 30 years in the job he’s nae near sae effective as he used tae be. I ken fit like.
But fa’s gan tae replace him? An animal? If so they’d better watch – it took the Road Safety boys years to undo the psychological damage caused by the Tufty Club.