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George Street's Diary

Thursday: Chaos in the construction industry! The £1,400bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link has gone belly-up. Proof yet again we want to remain an isolated nation safely tucked behind copies of the Daily Mail. It seems that so few British people want to go to France that Eurostar will not generate enough cash - and that's Pounds Sterling not ECUs thank you very much - to fund the link.

I could have warned them ages ago that CTRL would be derailed. Television images of mauve-rinsed matrons and crusty colonels waving placards outside Parliament prove that the people of Kent would rather the link went elsewhere - ie Finland.

What's more, the British people want to trundle slowly through Kent. They love to nose in people's back gardens and wave at the sheep. Points failures and signal problems are no bad thing: passengers love to have something to complain about. Fast trains are simply not in the public interest.

Tuesday: With all the fuss over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, I quite forgot I'm meeting Mandy tomorrow to present my mood boards showing plans for the New Millennium Experience.

Run around the house trying to find some boards. End up tearing apart some cereal packets. Now need to create a stunning impression of what the NME 'mood' will be. Have to make do with a old issues of People's Friend and some saucy postcards purchased at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Up all night, Pritt Stick in hand.

Wednesday: Arrive at NME's plush London headquarters clutching mood boards. Receptionist mistakes me for a placard-waving protester and has me manhandled out of the building. Eventually enter Mandy's inner sanctum.

Mandy is sitting on a gilded throne on a dais. I approach him semi-prostrate and, following New Labour etiquette, do not look him in the eye and only speak when spoken to.

Show Mandy my mood boards. My finely tuned instincts sense he is less than impressed with my collage of a Battenburg Cake, some seasonal knitwear and a rather scantily clad woman riding a donkey. Urgent action is needed, so decide to talk my ideas up.

'Sir, I'm thinking reds, whites and blues. Small children smiling, balloons, young couples walking arm in arm. I'm thinking forking and pruning through the ages and a theatre showing continuous performances of Mandy the Musical,' I murmer obsequiously.

His Mandjesty brightens up at the last suggestion. In fact he becomes downright friendly and grabs hold of my shoulder and escorts me to a quiet corner for a Man to Mandy Chat.

'George,' he oozes. 'You are a man in touch with the construction industry. I need your help. Everyone seems miffed at the uncertainty over CTRL. What can we do?'

Have to think on my feet. I explain that money can be saved by building the link only to Ebbsfleet. Trains would then be diverted on to the North Kent Line and terminate at the Millennium Dome. 'The Link won't be built until the millennium celebrations are over. We'll convert the dome into a giant station.'

Have a warm feeling I'm in for a knighthood.

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