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Thursday 24 September 2020

Checkpoint Charlie Moves To Kent

Once the borders were more, well, newsworthy: Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse, the Glienicke Bridge, and in the fiction of Smiley’s People, the Oberbaumbrücke. Spies were exchanged, the military squared up to their counterparts on the opposing side, tension hung in the air. Not now: the latest land border - and it will be, we are told, heavily policed - concerns the M2 and M20. Fog on the Medway, Kent cut off, Crown loses Dover to foreigners.

You think I jest? This from the Independent. “Police will patrol the Kent border to turn away lorries without an ‘access permit’ in a bid to ease Brexit border chaos, it has been revealed. Michael Gove said officers will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and ‘other means’ to block drivers - in what will be seen as an ‘internal border’ in the UK”. I warned you English, we know how to deal with counter-revolution!

There was more. “The move would try to ensure ‘constituents are not inconvenienced’, he told MPs, after warning of 7,000-long lorry queues and two-day delays to cross the Channel”. Lisa O’Carroll of the Guardian confirmed the news. “Gove confirms a de facto internal border in Kent - rephrasing previous tweet (this is something transport industry been v worried about) Truckers will have to have a ‘Kent Access Permit’ to get into the county says Gove”. Kent will become a Restricted Area. Bit like Gorky.

She added “This Kent Access Permit will be issued once [a] trucker has completed their paperwork. But sources in industry say it is impossible to implement unless police patrol the Kent border. They have asked govt to explain this. This is first time govt has said police will be used”. Will there be watchtowers? A kill zone on either side? Escape tunnels?

The opportunities for ridicule were endless. Katherine Piper mused “I love that Nigel Farage’s ‘village pub in rural Kent’, which is within the M25, comes under Bromley council, and is served by the TfL R8 bus from Orpington station (except on Sundays) is now a border area. Be careful what you wish for, I guess”. Karla Farage being sprung by The Circus across the Gravesend to Tilbury foot ferry? Netflix will be casting that one soon.

One Tweeter looked at the map and observed “All those sylvan suburban roads going from Orpington towards Knockholt. Hawley's Corner is at the junction of *five roads*, more or less all of them on or near the border between London and Kent”. So, Hawley’s Corner, “The town motto can be 'Like Basel But More Communist And No Rhine’”.

Alexander Clarkson of King’s College London had a question. "Say you're an Amazon delivery driver, do you need a special [Kent Access Permit] for any deliveries inside the Kent Buffer Zone?” The newly-formed Kentish Independence Party had the answer to that: “we're proposing a simplified arrangement where we nick bits off Surrey and London”.

It’s all very Oder-Neisse line and South Tirol all of a sudden. Will sympathetic EU member states arrange air drops of croissants, Belgian chocolate and artisan cheese to the beleaguered lorry park inhabitants? Will Shepherd Neame be able to brew enough Spitfire and Bishops Finger to enable the locals to drown their sorrows? Will comfortably-off Londoners complain that the Rotten Kentish are hogging their wine production?

It would be funny if it were not so tragic: “Oiky” Gove and his pals have fouled up, they knew this would happen, and lied to the electorate anyway. Has the penny dropped yet?

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Andy McDonald said...

If (ha ha) the hi-tech IT solution isn't in place, this will mean physical police checks. That's officers taken off other duties. They'll also need somewhere to carry out checks, unless they're suggesting closing off an entire motorway lane.

In the winter. In the rain and cold. That'll be a popular assignment.

Also, it's not just for the Kent ports. Although they handle less traffic, there's a need for similar arrangements at Felixstowe, Immingham, Poole, Southampton, every other container port.

While I get that this is the government trying to threaten chaos in order to scare the EU into a deal, they still don't seem to realise that patience in the EU is at a minimum, and the threat is all rather one-sided. If I wasn't a freedom loving proud patriot, I'd not blame the EU for laughing themselves silly.

Arnold said...

Will of the people. 59% of Kent voted Leave in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Oh what fun.

Let's go all the way: Flatten the whole of the south east and turn it into a lorry park to serve the majority population of Britain.

After all, they've thieved from us for years. They can't say they haven't got it coming.

Nigel Farage put clowns in charge said...

Springtime For Farage And The Ferry.

Arnold said...

Kent access permit. Or Kermit for short.

Arnold said...

Or Universal Kent Ingress Permit.

AndyC said...

I dont recall 'A Permit To Enter Kent' on the side of the Leave Bus.

Gulliver said...

I can't help thinking that for Oiky Gove, checkpoint Charlie has a somewhat different meaning...

Anonymous said...

"Well I'm sure Raab said Kent is part of Ireland"

Anonymous said...

All the way through without a Deal renamed to No-Deal pun? For shame, sir!