Remember Sealink? Brexit farce means we will pay the ferryman again – Rick Jackson

Sealink car ferry St Catherine  leaving Portsmouth Harbour for the Isle of Wight  in June 1988 PP4075
Sealink car ferry St Catherine leaving Portsmouth Harbour for the Isle of Wight in June 1988 PP4075
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Can this Brexit mess get any worse? Can we look any more stupid to our European friends and allies? Oh yes. How about awarding more than £100m of public money to run extra freight services to the continent in case of a hard Brexit and our Channel ports clogging up because of extra checks.

How about giving that money to French and Danish firms and to another which has never operated a ferry service before, has no ships and a port that’s not ready.

For the first time since 1984, a ferry will be run by the British taxpayer. That was the year Sealink, part of British Rail, was sold.

Brittany Ferries will get the majority of the cash, along with DFDS which operates ferries out of Dover to Calais and Dunkirk.

The third operator, and this is where the embarrassment really lies, is Seaborne Freight. It plans to run out of Ramsgate but the port has not had a ferry service since 2013 and it needs dredging.

With no ships and its terms and conditions advising customers to check goods before ‘agreeing to pay for any meal/order’ suggests they are planning to run a McDonald’s instead.

The government says it’s done due diligence on the firm. Did it use the same people as the FA did when Sulaiman Al Fahim bought Pompey?

The next rumour is that Seaborne Freight is in talks to charter the ferry Le Rif.

She’s been laid up in Naples for a year. And here’s the irony. Le Rif was built using our taxpayers’ money in 1979. Originally called Galloway Princess she was built for Sealink’s Stranraer to Larne service.

Even more embarrassing is that she can only carry 40 lorries, making her capacity tiny compared to the 180 that ships from Dover can take. Another rumour says talks started even though the ship was being towed to a scrap yard!

I asked my lovely listeners to pick a song to sum this story up.  Don’t Pay The Ferryman  by Chris De Burgh and  Good Enough by Dodgy were great suggestions, but the best by far was Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding!

Life at the school gates – mums chat, dads wait silently

There seems to be a marked difference between men and women when it comes to picking up children from school.

This is a new experience for me and one I find rather amusing.

Waiting outside to collect reception year pupils, mums and dads stand apart. Some mums know each other and chat, but the dads don’t. We stand in silence in a line. Two terms in and only a couple have broken the ice.

Others gaze at their phones not wishing to make small talk or eye contact. We’re going to be together for a few years now, so maybe we’d better start making an effort like the mums do? Maybe I’ll take a football and see if anyone fancies a kickabout!

Last weekend proves magic of the FA Cup will never die

It might not retain it’s magic for the top clubs, but for me the FA Cup still has many charms, as last weekend proved.

I got one over my Norwich-supporting colleague Michael Coombes as I watched League 2 side Newport dump Premier League Leicester.

Oldham beating Premier League side Fulham and non-league Barnet removing Sheffield United showed what fantastic entertainment the FA Cup is. Giantkilling, muddy pitches and stars looking like rabbits in headlights are what makes the third round special. For any team outside the top four, the cup should be given priority. Teams come and go from the Premiership, but your name will never be taken off that trophy.