May’s appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary was, as Labour MP Kevin Brennan said: “the most remarkable since the emperor Caligula appointed his horse as a senator.” The role necessitates a friendly, if not benign, relationship with the rest of the world, and Boris, in that regard, has a lot of ground to cover.
Boris’s unyielding support for Brexit has already antagonized the rest of Europe, while his Euro-sceptic rhetoric usually includes some ignoble insults, including comparing a unified European Union to Hitler’s and Napoleon’s desire for a new Roman Empire.
Because of his poor, personal relation to the EU, it is no surprise that he suggested the construction of a bridge connecting the UK and mainland Europe. The French Foreign Minister told Europe Radio 1: “His back is against the wall to stand up for the interest of his country but also to make the relationship with Europe clear.” Boris started against the wall, and it is now his prerogative, as Foreign Secretary, to pull himself out of the small corner occupied by a peripheral, ultra-conservative constituency, and attempt to rectify England’s relationship to Europe.
Many have criticized the practicality of a bridge across the channel, aware that it remains one of the most used shipping lanes in the world. To Boris, however, the logistics or possibility of such a project are of no concern, only the appearance that he, as foreign secretary, is extending a hand to Europe.
The bridge that once connected the UK and EU was burned impart by gasoline Boris threw, he now believes that suggesting a physical connection might reconcile his tedious appointment. This was not a long-considered plan to establish a more efficient trading link, but a political maneuver that attempts to rectify the role he played in igniting the first bridge.