Thursday, 26 November 2009

Only in Britain

The story of next Thursday's auction of the bridge has gone international. Today I met a French journalist from international newswire (AFP) Agence France-Presse and a reporter from Swedish national radio. Tomorrow I meet a journo from German broadcaster ARD. Having spoken to the pro-toll people (the people selling the bridge) they all wanted to hear why I object so vehemently to toll collecting, what local people think and what ideally I would like to happen (which I am realistic enough to know won't).

While there is nothing internationally unusual about toll bridges and toll roads, the fact that the Swinford bridge generates tax-free income for a private owner as a result of an antique Act of Parliament is very unusual.

It means that this story will probably be reported as 'this-could-only-happen-in-Britain'. While normally I am proud of my nationality, the fact that as a nation we still retain such an archaic unfairness in our infrastructure makes me ashamed. Thankfully, Britain also allows me to express my opposition to such unfairness. I'm very proud of that.

A beautiful thing happened on the riverbank as the French journalist and I talked about the environmental cost of toll collection: a bright streak of blue and orange whizzed past - unmistakably a kingfisher! It reminded me of why I love this place so much.

1 comment:

  1. Its not only in England there are plenty of toll bridges in France too


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.