Since the end of the 20th Century the UK has taken a financial hit from the global economic downturn of 2008 and became embroiled in costly wars around the world.
In 2010 a general election failed to give any single political party a majority leading to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joining forces to form a coalition government.
That government has been one of austerity.
Cuts, cuts and more cuts with privatisation thrown in for good measure.
So it is galling that London Mayor Boris Johnson, one of PM Cameron's old-school chummies and touted by some as a future Tory leader and even PM, committed £30m of public money to the bridge.
According to Wikipedia the bridge was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, working with Arup, on a commission from Transport for London, it is planned to feature trees and gardens. The Garden Bridge Trust was launched on 1 November 2013 to oversee the project; it is located at the National Theatre (overlooking the planned site). Lord Davies of Abersoch, a former banker who was a UK Labour government minister until May 2010, is the trust's chairman, and horticulturalist Dan Pearson has been engaged to arrange the planting.
In better economic times it might be a wonderful bridge to behold but not when welfare budgets for the disabled and vulnerable of the UK are being slashed to the bone.
It is another slap in the face for many.
Here in Hull, on the North Bank of the River Humber, a much needed Humber Bridge crossing was needed for decades. When it was finally constructed and opened it was too late to help the region. It also added a huge debt to the area.
No easy funding for the Humber Bridge but it seems plenty for a frivolous effort in London.
Mayor Johnson gave his approval for the Thames latest Bridge days ago but as the Guardian comments "Approval means construction of crossing could begin next year, but no deal reached over bridge’s £3.5m annual running costs".
Annual costs of £3.5m!!
A staggering amount of money; a white elephant of a bridge; a nightmare for a future London Mayor who may not agree with the project.
The Telegraph reports "The Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) claims that the bridge will "improve the quality of life of everyone in London". It then continues "Such mad claims do not help its cause. Do they not realise that many Londoners have never even been into the city centre?"
And what about the people who live in the rest of the country?
In October the BBC was reporting that opposition to the bridge was growing as it claimed"A proposed "garden bridge" will span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank and is billed as a beautiful garden area with 270 trees".
The Bridge will take five minutes to walk across.
BBC Parliament aired London Mayor's Question Time this weekend and it was not pleasant viewing. Johnson refused to answer a question about this silly garden bridge and its funding. Instead he showed an arrogant manner as he talked over the Labour politician who raised the question.
But Johnson's bluster simply showed that he has no idea or credibility.
He lives in cloud cuckoo land which could make him a perfect resident for the Garden Bridge. Maybe the planners will build him a tree house there and lock him in.
At least then he will be unable to cause more financial mayhem.
The Metro has some pertinent facts about the bridge including its opening times; yes it will not be open 24/7. It is also expected to cost £160m. Some provision for private functions may mean the bridge is closed on certain days. Protests and cycling will be banned on the bridge.
More details about this crackpot bridge here.
[The following links provide further reading and information on the Garden Bridge:
Thames Central Open Spaces
A Folly for London]