WE live in a topsy-turvy world. We see it on a national level, where those who really want to remain in the EU may plunge us into a no-deal abrupt exit, and those who really want to leave may vote against a deal by which we more-or-less leave and so we end up staying forever.

We see it on a local level, where the Conservative mayor wishes to nationalise a failing piece of transport infrastructure, but he looks likely to be opposed by local Labour politicians whose party wants to nationalise even fairly successful parts of our transport infrastructure.

The five Labour council leaders on the Tees Valley Combined Authority are in an unenviable political situation. If they vote through the £40m deal proposed by mayor Ben Houchen, they’ll be enabling him to fulfil his number one election pledge – a pledge that was scoffed at because of its outlandishness – and give him a head start in the May 2020 mayoral elections. But if they vote it down, the airport – which they like to support – would continue to flounder embarrassingly and, quite probably, close in 2021.

Their position is made more interesting because also this week, Labour-led Stockton council is seeking approval to borrow £30m to buy “key sites and assets” in the borough in a bid to revitalise them.

“If we don’t step in, nobody else will,” said Cllr Nigel Cooke, the Labour cabinet member for regeneration – and those exact same words could well have been used by the Conservative mayor explaining how he hoped to regenerate the airport.

To nationalise or not to nationalise may well be the wrong question. The fifth question put to Mr Houchen after he had made his announcement was the really big one: are you going to change the airport’s name?

Mr Houchen said that it was too early to think of such things, but many of the online comments on our story expressed the desire to turn the clock back to pre-2004 when it was called Teesside International Airport.

More interesting than the airport’s name is the three-letter code allocated to it by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This is the code which gets stuck on that impossibly sticky label which goes round your luggage handle: NCL for Newcastle, LHR for London Heathrow, MAN for Manchester, LBA for Leeds Bradford. Which suggests a pattern.

But our airport, whether you call it Teesside or Durham Tees Valley, is MME, which suggests no pattern.

This is because RAF Middleton St George didn’t become a civilian airport until 1964 by which time all the appropriate codes had been allocated: TEE is Tbessa airport in Algeria, TIA is Tirana in Albania, TSD is Tshipise in South Africa, TSE is Astana in Kazakstan, TES is Tessenei in Eritrea, TSI is Tsili Tsili on Papua New Guinea, and TSS is East 34th Street Heliport in New York.

Even its current name presents difficulties, because DUR is the King Shaka International Airport in Durban, South Africa.

Teesside got a random selection of letters which it tried to persuade itself stood for Middleton St George Middlesbrough England.

So if you want your luggage to get to home, make sure it has MME on it. Don’t, whatever you do, put DHM for Durham on it otherwise it will arrive at Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala in India – a topsy-turvy world indeed.