Sunday, 4 January 2015

Make straight your ways

Channel 4 News has had some fun comparing the road pictured in the Conservatives' New Year poster with an original taken by a German photographer near his home in Wetzlar. There are many examples of long straight roads on the continent of Europe, laid down according to generally accepted wisdom by Napoleon to facilitate the movement of his armies across his short-lived empire. But he never had his wicked way in England as Chesterton celebrated in The Rolling English Road:

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made

I am quite prepared to believe the Conservative back-room boys when they protest that the image is totally English. It certainly looks like the product of photo-manipulation software (British, I trust) rather than any real road in England or Wales.

However, there is another explanation which the Conservatives may not care to admit to. They could have used a picture of one of the roads laid out in the early eighteenth century by General Wade (an Irishman, be it noted) to assist in the British subjugation of the Highlands of Scotland. The lack of trees or shrubs points to a wind-swept northern location. If so, it is something which Salmond and Sturgeon could make great use of.

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