LEWIS Carroll – was born in Daresbury in 1832 but had long moved from the area before the Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894.

So he never had to use one of the three swing bridges that connect the north of Warrington from the south.

But we do.

I walked across the bridge into Stockton Heath some time last year and was shocked at just how bad a state it was in.

I’m no structural engineer or an expert in restoring Victorian engineering but it looked to my untrained eye that the level of decay was more than just cosmetic.

I was reminded of this when reading the report on the Guardian’s website that the swing bridge in Stockton Heath had to be closed last week to allow ‘urgent repair works’ to be carried out.

The works were undertaken by Peel Ports, the owner of the Manchester Ship Canal. According to the Guardian’s report, a council spokesman said: “Peel Ports’ workers need to slightly swing the bridge to carry out the repairs.”

On the face of it, that’s fair enough. But is it?

Let’s face it, the bridges are an absolute eyesore and Peel has been promising to do something about them for what seems like an age.

Last month, reporter Aran Dhillon wrote: “Work to repaint Warrington’s three swing bridges is planned to begin next summer.

“Concerns continue to be raised over the state of the three sites crossing the Manchester Ship Canal.”

Peel Ports, which owns the bridges on Chester Road, London Road and Knutsford Road, has been in discussions with Warrington Borough Council over the long-awaited scheme to refurbish and repaint the structures.

In August, the company said it remains fully committed to the restoration of the three bridges, starting with the Stockton Heath site on London Road.

But wait a minute and rewind to 2019 when Aran Dhillon reported on the efforts of the then Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid (remember him?) who proudly boasted in a report of August 1 that work on the three bridges would start in 2020. Didn’t happen, did it?

Mr Rashid said at the time he would continue to pursue the issue with the firm and borough council until the refurbishment is completed, adding: “I am encouraged that both parties remain committed to delivering on these works and that there is an end in sight.”

Sadly for Mr Rashid, his political end came before work on the bridges had even started, never mind finished.

So where does that leave us? Well, according to a council spokesman, Peel is ‘currently undertaking a competitive tender process’.

The spokesman added: “Once Peel Ports has completed their tender process, and more information is available, further updates will be provided.

“They have advised that they are looking to potentially commence the first stage of the project from next summer.”

Next summer? Where have we heard that before? As Lewis Carroll might have said: “jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

  • On a different topic entirely, I spent five days solid watching American 24-hour news channel CCN as the drama of the American presidential election played out. Yes, the election may have moved at a glacial pace but it was riveting stuff.

What struck me, though, was how prepared, knowledgeable and forensic the presenters were.

Those being interviewed were allowed to finish their answers without being interrupted but the interviewers were prepared with searching, pertinent, fact-based, follow-up questions.

And most tellingly – and in sharp contrast to our compliant broadcast media – lies and misinformation were immediately called out for what they were.

If only we had had a media such as that when Vote Leave was putting its ‘£350million a week for the NHS’ lie on the side of a red bus, or when the ‘Turkey is joining the EU’ lie went unchallenged.

Trump and Brexit are two sides of the same coin. I take my hat off to those sensible Americans who have seen through the lies. If only that could have happened here.