It’s almost a year since the US left UNESCO. Will Britain follow? Apparently not, for when International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt suggested we stop supporting UNESCO she was slapped down by Number 10: “There has been no change to our commitment to Unesco.”

But it’s not certain. Back in 1985, the Thatcher Government launched some Trumpish populism against UNESCO: its activities had “too often been used as a medium for Communist rhetoric” prompting a youthful Jeremy Corbyn to say it was not about that but about “the power of the far-right in the United States.”

Does that sound familiar? And something else said back then has a modern resonance: UNESCO had “spent too much money in Paris on too many meetings and too many studies, often of doubtful value.” Er … like meetings in Paris expressing strong opposition to the short tunnel for instance?!

That opposition is the grit in the pro-tunnel vaseline. Might the British Government conclude it would be best if UNESCO was no longer supported and could be presented to the public as a mere bunch of expensive timewasters? (We do wonder how would that play in the consciences of pro-tunnel archaeologists!)

Communist timewasters, the grit in the tunnel vaseline